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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Partition of Africa: A Scramble for a Mirage?
Author:Koponen, J.
Periodical:Nordic Journal of African Studies
Geographic term:Africa
Subjects:scramble for Africa
History and Exploration
External link:http://www.njas.helsinki.fi/pdf-files/vol2num1/koponen.pdf
Abstract:This article identifies some of the causal mechanisms which led to the partition of Africa among European powers in the late 19th century. The author argues that the process should be understood as an interplay between structural conditions and personal motives and reasons. The process was structured by a situation of increased international economic and political rivalry created by the unequal development of industrial capitalism. But the form it took was decisively shaped by other factors, such as the motives and expectations of the men on the spot - soldiers and administrators, traders, explorers, and missionaries. The ultimate decisions were taken by European politicians and officials whose motives were rather different and many of whom at first tried to avoid a too close engagement with Africa. The author also argues that the European partitioners of Africa were driven more by visions than by realities and that the Africa they had before their eyes was a mirage. Notes, ref.