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The growth of the british empire in africa from 1815 to1919 essay

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The growth of the british empire in africa from 1815 to1919 essay

  1. 1. Running head: THE GROWTH OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE IN AFRICA FROM 1815 TO 1919 1 The Growth of the British Empire in Africa from 1815 to 1919 Name: Institution:
  2. 2. THE GROWTH OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE IN AFRICA FROM 1815 TO 1919 2 The Growth of the British Empire in Africa from 1815 to 1919 An empire is considered entirely different from a nation. Thus despite England being the nation that established the British Empire, it is considered entirely different from the British Empire (Library of Congress & Conover, 1942). Reasons for the arising differences between these two terms come from the constituents of a nation and the constituents of an empire. For illustration, if one takes a look at England as a country, there are some characteristics uniquely associated with it. Similarly, the British Empire, representing any other empire, exhibits its unique characteristics different from a nation. Consisting of people who use a common language as well as a religion and political institutions which are within a definite recognized border are the characteristics of England. These may also be generalized to be the characteristics associated with any other country around the globe. On the other hand, an empire is observed to exhibit certain unique characteristics. These are such as having different people speaking different languages, practicing different religions, as well as having differences in their political institutions. From the reference of a central strong power, London, ruling various subordinate African countries as well as peripheral societies, is the description of the British Empire in Africa. This rule was made possible by agents of the British government, who ruled directly, as well as the locally elected governments, who extended the British rule indirectly (Rose, Newton, Benians, & Dodwell, 1929). Thus, in order to serve their own interests through their military rule and economic dominance, it is evident that both the internal and the external policies were significantly influenced by the British government. There were a lot of dynamics involved in the structure of power relationships established between the British and the different nations of the British Empire (Library of Congress & Conover, 1942). These were substantially affected by the diversity of economic foundations political as well as social contexts. In Africa, for example Kenya, the British had
  3. 3. THE GROWTH OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE IN AFRICA FROM 1815 TO 1919 3 established a direct rule which would have continued indefinitely were it not for the onset of the World War I. The British Empire in the African continent happened during the two prominent eras in the history of England. The first era which was the industrial revolution took place between the years 1815 and 1896 (Johnston, 1969). The other era was the Victorian era. In the 1870s, especially, there was a general expansion of the policy and ideology of the European overseas exploration. This particularly contributed profoundly to the spontaneous expansion of the European, including the British colonies on the African continent. After the scrabble for the partition and securing colonies in Africa, the British government had a significantly large portion of Africa as its colonies as well as a protectorate. The scramble for Africa took place between the years 1881 and 1919. Following the scramble, the British were able to acquire several colonies on the African continent stretching all the way from the South Africa’s Cape Town all the way to Egypt’s Cairo (Johnston, 1969). Thus, African countries in entirety had been divided amongst the then various European ruling governments. This was, well, with the exception of the only two countries in the entire African continent which were not colonized by any European power. They were Ethiopia and Liberia. It has been observed that at the beginning of the 20th century, eleven million and four hundred thousand square kilometers were under the British rule, forming the then-largest empire ever. To begin with, there is a long list of the countries in the African continent which were colonized by the British power. These include; West Africa’s Gambia, Gold Coast, Nigeria, Sierra Leone. Other countries from the southern part of the continent included the Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia, (which are today identified as Zimbabwe and Zambia), and Nyasaland. In addition the British had also extended their colonial rule to the eastern part of African which today covers the East African region and the Horn of Africa along the Indian
  4. 4. THE GROWTH OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE IN AFRICA FROM 1815 TO 1919 4 Ocean coastline (Rose, Newton, Benians, & Dodwell, 1929). In this region, it had taken the majority of the countries in the region including Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, and British Somaliland. The popular term associated with the British rule in this region is the British East Africa, which particularly referred to the country today known as Kenya (Johnston, 1969). Here, in this region of the East Africa, the British Empire had some stratified kind of a rule. For instance, in the current country called Uganda, the British had established this region as their protectorate while its neighboring country, Kenya, was still under the British direct rule. Finally in the northern part of the African continent, the British Empire had Egypt under its colonial rule. The account of the British Empire in the African continent dates all the way back to 1808. This was when Sierra Leone’s Freetown became a British Crown Colony. Since then, a series of events that were to see the rise of an empire unfolded. In the year 1821, there was the abolishment of African Company of Merchants by the British government and seizing of privately held lands along the Ivory Coast (Rose, Newton, Benians, & Dodwell, 1929). This led to the institution of the British Gold Coast. Following this major event was another one in the year 1878 which involved the British making a secret deal between them and France. In it, it was conditional for France to accept British to control Cyprus while Britain, on the other hand, recognized French’s control of Tunisia. Not so long after, in the 1880 when British established its control to the British East Africa. This was chiefly out of the British commercial interests in this region of the Eastern Africa. Later on in 1920, the British East Africa became Kenya. Extending its rule from the East and Horn of Africa, the British rose further north and had Egypt under its control in the year 1882. The reason for taking control of Egypt was mainly strategic to ensure that the Suez Canal was within her control and thus protecting her financial well-being. However, it took time until 1914 when Egypt was finally declared it a
  5. 5. THE GROWTH OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE IN AFRICA FROM 1815 TO 1919 5 British protectorate. In the year 1883 there was an accreditation to the kings and chiefs by a British Government counsel following France’s invasion of Madagascar. From the 1885 Berlin Conference, there was an agreement that the British East Africa’s extent was from the Indian Ocean coast to the upcountry stretches of Kenya (Rose, Newton, Benians, & Dodwell, 1929). In the same year, 1885, besides the claim for the East Africa sphere of influence, British had another to a West African sphere of influence (Johnston, 1969). This was successful as it too, just like the East Africa’s, received international recognition. Four years later in the year 1889, Gambia became a British Crown Colony. It was slightly different to Gambia situation as it had both a colony and protectorate. In 1890, a year after, Uganda came under the British rule. In the same year, the British rule also established the Bechuanaland Protectorate which was under the administration of the British South African Authorities. A year after in the 1891 the British formed the British Central African Protectorate. Five years later, in 1896, Sierra Leone became a British Protectorate. Shortly after, in 1899, Sudan ceased to be under the control of the French and became under that of the British. Between the years 1899 and 1902 there was the Second Boer War. Ultimately the British conquered South Africa. However, British’s conquer was not the only effect of the war. Africans had become enthusiastic in their pursuit of liberation from the colonial rule. In 1900, the British gained control of The Niger Company. It later on consolidated to the establishment of the modern day Nigeria. One year after, 1901, Nigeria was a British protectorate. In the same year, there was the confirmation of the Gold Coast as a British colony. 1902 is when Uganda, of East Africa, became part of the British Empire officially. At the same time was the end of The Orange Free State which was since then taken over by the British. In 1907, the British Central African Protectorate name was changed to Nyasaland Protectorate. This is the current Malawi. In 1910, there was the foundation of The Union of South Africa which was founded with British and Boer co-operation (Johnston, 1969). In
  6. 6. THE GROWTH OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE IN AFRICA FROM 1815 TO 1919 6 1911, there was a split off which resulted in two countries under the control of the British. These were Southern Rhodesia, today’s Zimbabwe, and Northern Rhodesia, today’s Zambia.
  7. 7. THE GROWTH OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE IN AFRICA FROM 1815 TO 1919 7 References Johnston, H. (1969). Britain across the seas: Africa: A history and description of the British Empire in Africa. New York: Negro Universities Press. Library of Congress, & Conover, H. F. (1942). The British empire in Africa: Selected references. Washington. Rose, J., Newton, A., Benians, E., & Dodwell, H. (1929). The Cambridge History of the British Empire. Cambridge [England: The UP.

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