The Magnificent African Cake

Topics: Colonialism, Africa, Atlantic slave trade Pages: 3 (924 words) Published: March 16, 2005
In the video, "The Magnificent African Cake" by Basil Davidson, Africa was divided up into new colonies by Europeans. After the end of slavery in Africa, Europeans wanted to expand their empires for industrialization and commerce. This period of time was called the "scramble for Africa" because many European countries were claiming as much land from Africa. In 1884, the Berlin Congress was held and these European countries "sliced" up the African countries like a cake where each country got its portion of land. The opinions and representation of Africans was non existent. In fact, Europeans considered Africans as "helpless children or lazy settlers." This led to the feeling that Africans were inferior to Europeans and killings of Africans often took place in the European colonies. In the end of the distribution of African land in 1914, there only remained two countries that were not under European control. The main countries involved in the colonization of Africa included France, England, Portugal, Germany, and Denmark.

The Portuguese colonization of Africa occurred in Mozambique and the main effects of this colonization were the economic problems for the Africans. For example, "farmers were forced to grow cotton for export to Portugal," and the price of this cotton was fixed by Portugal creating an unfair market price for the Africans, meaning the "farmers of Mozambique were forced to sell great quantities of cotton at low prices." Because most farmers were forced to grow cotton, there was a shortage of food crops in Mozambique. During colonial rule, famines were common amongst the people of Mozambique, because there was no one left to make the food. In the end, the Portugal mentality was that "Blacks are to be organized and enclosed in an economy directed by whites."

The French policy was not towards forced labor as the Portuguese policy but was more towards the assimilation of Africans. However, it turned out that it was too difficult to convince the...
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