The Scramble for Africa

Ref: C2341630

The "Scramble for Africa" was the invasion, occupation, division, colonization and annexation of African territory by European powers during the period of ‘New Imperialism’. In 1870, only 10 percent of Africa was under European control; by 1914 it had increased to 90 percent of the continent. The Berlin Conference of 1884 regulated European colonization and trade in Africa and is usually referred to as the starting point of the scramble for Africa. The partitioning of Africa was how the Europeans avoided warring amongst themselves over African territories. The latter years of the 19th century saw the transition from "informal imperialism" by military influence and economic dominance, to the direct rule of a people which brought about colonial imperialism. The course will look at the ways in which sub-Saharan Africa was gradually explored and then exploited by the outside world.

Course aim

Students will gain knowledge and understanding of the motives for, the key events of, and the long-term effects of the Scramble for Africa

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • 1. Understand the motives of the original explorers
  • Have an insight into the purposes of the early colonisers
  • Understand how European rivalries came to affect Africa
  • Have an appreciation of the nature of African reactions
  • What topics will this course cover and how will they relate to the theme(s) for this course? a knowledge of Africa, its exploration and exploitation at the beginning of the 19th century b the spread of European political influences and rivalries c African resistance, War and redrawing of boundaries d Decolonisation

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • Paper and pen to take notes

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • Maps and a select bibliography will be made available

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full course information sheet

The Scramble for Africa

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This course is not available for online enrolment.


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  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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