The Fashoda Incident and the Berlin Conference

The Fashoda Incident The Fashoda Incident, also known as Fashoda Crisis, was the climax of a dispute between France and Britain, who were vying for territory in Africa, and both claimed control over a Sudanese outpost. At the end of the nineteenth century, the European powers were competing for control of Africa, hoping to extend their territory into the Sudan and the Great Lakes region. As the French extended eastward from the Congo, the British expanded south from Egypt.

The disputes arose from the common desire of each country to link up its disparate colonial possessions in Africa. Great Britain’s aim was to link Uganda to Egypt via a railway from the Cape of Good Hope to Cairo, while France, by pushing eastward from the west coast, hoped to extend its dominion across Central Africa and the Sudan. In July 1898, a French expedition arrived at the Sudanese outpost of Fashoda on the Nile. After British General Herbert Kitchener’s victory at Omdurman, he proceeded to Fashoda on orders from the British prime minister.

Kitchener claimed the entire Nile valley for Great Britain, and, after several days, both parties withdrew peacefully. The solution to the conflicting claims was later worked out by diplomats in Britain and France, and it reflected the fact that Britain had an army in Khartoum, while France had no appreciable forces in the vicinity. France renounced all rights to the Nile basin and the Sudan in return for a guarantee of its position in West Africa. The Fashoda incident is seen as the high point of Anglo–French tension in Africa. Berlin conference

A conference held in Berlin, Germany in 1884 to 1885 in order to regulate the trade and European colonialism in Africa during the New Imperialism period. The conference was held following a request by Portugal and organized by Otto von Bismarck, the first Chancellor of the German Empire. During the 70s and 80s of the 19th century, the European powers were interested in Africa to get trades rights and access to the valuable resources, such as gold, timber, land markers and labor powers. The major competition was between the British, Portuguese, French and Belgians.

The participant countries at the Conference were: Germany, Austria – Hungary, Belgium, Denmark, France, UK, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden – Norway and The Ottoman Empire. They wanted to work out policy for the division of Africa. The US was against the Berlin Conference because it didn’t want to be considered as a colonial power. The main points achieved were: – To end slavery and the slave trades. – The Congo Free States came under King Leopold’s control (Belgium). – All the European powers were given trade rights in the Congo Basin and other territories. The Niger River and Congo River were to be free for ship traffic. – If any of the participants claimed a part of the African coast, they had to notify the other participant. -The principle of Effectivity was one of the outcomes of the Berlin Conference. According to this principle each colonial power had to : – have treaties with the local leader – fly their flag – establish an administration -create a police force As a consequences of the Berlin Conference “The scramble for Africa” speeded up.

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