Although this happened in several areas of the world,the most dramatic changes took place in Africa. Manynations took part in what became known as the“Scramble for Africa”.The following pages will show the territory gained byeach nation, and will explain why the race to gaincolonies played a part in the build-up of internationaltensions which eventually resulted in World War One.One of the major reasons for bad relations amongstthe nations of Europe in the years before 1914 wasthat they were engaged in a struggle to obtainoverseas colonies.
This map shows Africain 1914 and shows howmuch land the majornations had taken over.There is so much detailthat it is a little difficultto see exactly what hashappened.To get a better idea ofhow much of Africa wascontrolled by eachEuropean power, clickon any of the linksbelow.BRITAIN FRANCE GERMANY ITALY BELGIUM NEXT PAGE
British ColoniesBritain had managedto get some of themost valuable land inAfrica.The most importantgain was Egyptbecause of the SuezCanal.This provided a muchquicker and saferroute to India – the“Jewel in the Crown”of the British Empire.EGYPTSUDANSOUTH AFRICABECHUANALANDRHODESIANIGERIABRITISHEAST AFRICA
French ColoniesMADAGASCARFRENCH WEST AFRICAALGERIAMOROCCOTUNISFRENCHEQUATORIALAFRICAFrance had also builtup a large colonialempire, mostly in thenorth west of Africa.This had causedproblems and therehad been seriousarguments overcolonies such asMorocco and Tunis.Arguments overcolonies caused badfeeling betweenBritain and France.
German ColoniesKAMERUNGERMANEAST AFRICAGERMAN SOUTHWEST AFRICAGermany did not enterthe race for coloniesuntil very late and, as aresult, much of theland gained was notvery valuable.Despite this, KaiserWilliam II wasdetermined thatGermany should have amajor empire.
Italian ColoniesLYBIAITALIANSOMALILANDERITREATUNISABYSSINIAItaly did gain a fewcolonies but also hadits failures.It tried to take overTunis but was beatento it by France.It tried to take overAbyssinia but failed.
Belgian ColoniesEven tiny Belgiumhad an Africancolony – the BelgianCongo.This was one of thereasons that KaiserWilliam II ofGermany decidedthat his country mustalso have colonies.BELGIANCONGO
Colonial DisputesDuring the late 1800s, relations between Britain andFrance were strained by a series of disputes over Africancolonies.Both nations hoped to control Egypt and Morocco andthis caused many bitter arguments.These were eventually settled in 1904 by the EntenteCordiale. This “friendly understanding” said that Britainshould control Egypt and France should control Morocco.However, Germany strongly objected to this agreement…
Colonial Disputes (2)Kaiser William II was jealous of the empires of bothFrance and Britain and tried to break up the “friendlyunderstanding” between them.On two occasions, in 1905 and 1911, German claims overMorocco raised international tension. Indeed, the “AgadirIncident” of 1911 caused Britain to hint that war mightresult if Germany continued her claims.This crisis passed, but these disputes simply madeinternational relations worse. The bad feeling theycreated (combined with other factors) made thepossibility of war more likely.