From medicine to architecture; this is how Africa handled its business before foreign invasion

Michael Eli Dokosi October 29, 2019
The Great Zimbabwe Wall via

Africa’s radiant sun, lush forest, rich water bodies and bountiful harvest have always attracted others who wanted a bite. The continent will initially taste foreign aggression when North Africa experienced colonisation from Europe and Western Asia in the early historical period, particularly from Greeks and Phoenicians.

However, early European expeditions would come from the Portuguese who concentrated on colonising previously uninhabited islands such as the Cape Verde Islands and São Tomé Island.

For its permanency though, the oldest European founded city in Africa is Cape Town, which was founded by the Dutch East India Company in 1652.

But the big problem would come from European imperialists whose push into Africa was motivated by three main factors; economic, political and social, following the collapse of the profitability of the slave trade.

By the nineteenth century, European capitalist Industrial Revolution was expanding but the states needed guaranteed sources of raw materials and markets to sell their manufactured items.

From medicine to architecture; this is how Africa handled its business before foreign invasion
Pharaoh Khufu’s Pyramid at Giza

And crucially to stop attacks on fellow European states over access to African states, the German chancellor Otto von Bismarck convened a diplomatic summit of European powers in the late nineteenth century. This meeting without any African presence will later be known as the Berlin West African conference alias Berlin Conference, held from November 1884 to February 1885. The conference produced a treaty known as the Berlin Act, with provisions to guide the conduct of the European inter-imperialist competition in Africa.

The Act provided the basis for the subsequent partition, invasion, and colonisation of Africa by various European powers. The main powers involved being Britain, France, Germany, Portugal, Belgium and Italy.

Between the 1870s and 1900, Africa faced European imperialist aggression, diplomatic pressures, military invasions, and eventual conquest and colonisation. At the same time, African societies put up various forms of resistance against the attempt to colonise their countries and impose foreign domination. By the early twentieth century, however, much of Africa, except Ethiopia and Liberia, had been colonised by European powers.

Another undelaying factor for Europe’s Africa trip stemmed from Europe facing unemployment, poverty, homelessness, social displacement from rural areas. To solve the challenges, they set up settler colonies in the African state and exported their “surplus population.”

This led to the establishment of settler-colonies in Algeria, Tunisia, South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, and central African areas like Zimbabwe and Zambia.

But how were things like in pre-European colonised Africa?

Last Edited by:Victor Ativie Updated: October 2, 2020


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