What were the terms and effects of Berlin Conference?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I assume that you are asking about the Berlin Conference of 1884 and 1885.  This is the conference that was called by the major European powers to try to organize their “Scramble for Africa.” 

The main effect of this conference was to reduce the level of competition between European powers for domination of various regions of the African continent.  Before the conference, the Europeans had been trying to grab as much of the continent as they could.  This led to conflicts between various powers that were interested in the same pieces of territory.  The main thing that the conference accomplished was to reduce this conflict.

There were two main types of terms of this conference.  First, there were terms that reduced the level of conflict between the various European powers.  For example, it required that any country that was going to take control of a new area of Africa had to notify the other countries that it was doing so.  As another example, the conference also specified that the Congo would be the personal property of King Leopold of Belgium.  Second, there were terms that set out how Africa was to be used by the European powers.  For example, the powers were not to engage in slavery and would stamp it out where it was found.  In addition, the European countries agreed to free trade in such places as the Congo Basin.  These terms, when taken together, were all meant to reduce the amount of conflict between European countries as they engaged in the “Scramble for Africa.

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