What economic factors led to the scramble for Cameroon?

Quick answer:

The scramble for Cameroon was fueled by three major economic factors. Firstly, the country's abundance of virgin land for agriculture attracted European colonizers. Secondly, the Europeans aimed to protect the interests of their traders in Cameroon. Lastly, the discovery of large gold deposits in South Africa spurred hopes that Cameroon might harbor similar fortunes. These factors, coupled with the trading potential discovered by the Portuguese in the 1470s, culminated in the scramble for Cameroon by Germany, Britain, and France.

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Between 1884 and 1964, Cameroon was colonized by three different European countries: Germany, Britain, and France. Interestingly, it was the Portuguese that first discovered the economic potential of Cameroon during the early 1470s, but they never established official trading stations. They mostly traded in prawns off the coast of Cameroon.

Later on, in the 17th century, the Dutch took over and established the first trading stations. During this time, human trafficking was booming, and the Dutch took slaves from Cameroon and sold them to other parts of the world. The British later joined the Dutch to also gain from the trade, until they abolished the slave trade in the 1820s.

Economic Factors that Led to the Scramble Between 1884 and 1964

1. Land: Cameroon had a lot of virgin land for agriculture.

2. To protect the interests of European traders in Cameroon.

3. Minerals: with the discovery of large deposits of gold in South Africa, Europeans hoped that the interior of Cameroon would produce the same fortunes.


In the 1470s, the Portuguese discovered the trading potential of Cameroon. The success of the Portuguese traders attracted the Dutch, British, Germans, and French to this West African country. Having more established armies, the latter three countries decided to scramble for total control.

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