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Imperialism in Africa Essay Prompts

Instructor: Tammy Galloway

Tammy teaches business courses at the post-secondary and secondary level and has a master's of business administration in finance.

In the 20th century, Europeans overtook Africa through imperialism and infused their way of life for economic gain. You can help your students expand their knowledge of this time period with the following essay topics.

Imperialism in Africa

Prior to European imperialism, the rich culture and heritage of African tribes reigned throughout the continent of Africa. However, once the Europeans discovered Africa's natural resources and opportunities, they started a trading partnership with tribal leaders. Shortly afterwards, that partnership lead to the Europeans overtaking African land and the tribe's way of life and violently imposing European religion, technology, and culture. This stronghold lasted for decades until Africa won their freedom. But the impact of imperialism still affects Africa today.

The Colonization of Africa

  • Explain how the Industrial Revolution instigated imperialism in Africa.
  • Describe the purpose of the Berlin Conference. Were any African nations invited to attend? Why or why not?
  • Which country received majority control of the African countries after the Berlin Conference? Why? What did majority control signify to the rest of the world?
  • Explain the natural resources embedded in Africa and discuss what made the country attractive to settlers.
  • Which major countries were interested in Africa? List each of them and explain each of their rationale for ownership.
  • Africa was colonized in the late 19th century. Why do you believe it was colonized much later than other continents?
  • Describe the African's lifestyle prior to colonization. Many countries wanted to colonize Africa for 'humanitarian' purposes. Do you think this idea was discriminatory against the African's current way of life?
  • Explain how the settlers exploited the Africans. Do you think their treatment could be correlated with slavery centuries earlier?
  • Define Social Darwinism and explain how it encouraged Europeans to conquer Africa.
  • What beliefs and social systems did the Europeans employ in Africa? How did this contradict the African's original way of life?

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