The 1800s saw a rush for African territories by European superpowers historically recognized as the Scramble for Africa, or the Conquest of Africa. The continent was occupied, colonized and divided into territories by European powers: Belgium, Italy, Britain, Portugal, France, Spain, and Germany.
With each of the above-mentioned countries trying to get as much territory as possible, the Berlin conference of 1884 was held to regulate their activities on the continent and to establish some ground rules to guide them in their dealings.
Some of the rules were that for a country to claim any territory, they had to inform all the other countries before they made any move. They also established that no territory could be claimed without being significantly and effectively occupied by the country that wants to claim it.
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Some reasons that fueled this craze for new territory were the need for new markets for products, as the Africans bought and consumed more than they sold, which was more than good for business.
There was also the need for raw materials like copper, cotton, rubber, palm oil, cocoa, diamonds, tea and tin, which were the essentials of the European industry.
In the 20th century, a wave of conflicts and uprisings in European-ruled African territories for independence and self-rule took place. This ended in the return of the European rulers to their countries and the institution of African-led governments.
Now, the continent is largely sovereign save a number of islands and cities belonging on the African plate that are either overseas territories or incorporated as parts of non-African states. Here is a list of them: