The scramble for Africa refers to the way European powers struggled to acquire colonies in Africa. Partition of Africa refers to the difference steps taken by the colonial powers to divide Africainto territories and fixing colonial boundaries. The major powers that were involved in this exercise were Britain, Germany, France and Belgium. European theory this theory claimed that political and social factors caused the scramble for Africa as:-
(i) Before the Franco – Prussian war 1871, the major European powers were Britain and France was defeated by Germany and she lost her territories of Alsace and Lorraine which were rich in coal and iron. The emergence of Germany changed the balance of power and this forced her to rush to Africa to acquire colonies. The defeat of France made her to rush to Africa to acquire colonies as a way of compensating for the loss in Europe.
(ii) Rise of European nationalism: During the mid 19 th century, a tide of nationalism was seeping across Europe, extreme nationalism let to slogans like, “my country right or wrong” During this period, the possession of an Empire was seen as a test of nations strength , hence European powers rushed to Africa to acquire more and more colonies thus causing scramble.
Social factors includes:-
(i) Need to stop slave trade: The European powers asserted that, they came to Africa to acquire colonies because of the need of stopping slave trade. They claimed that colonial rule was a necessity if slave trade was to be abolished completely in Africa.
(ii) Need to introduce Western Civilization: The European powers argued that their civilization had reached the highest possible standards, thus they had a duty to impose it on those people who were not civilized, the Africans were believed to be uncivilized hence they struggledfor colonies so as to introduce Western civilization.
Strategic factors: Strategic factors were also one of the factors that led to the scramble for and partition of Africa. Britain controlled Uganda because she wanted to protect the source of river Nile; She controlled Kenya because of the sea route to India. Britain and France struggled for Egypt because of the Suez Canal which shortened the route to India.How the European theory led to rise of the scramble for and partition of Africa?