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The Berlin Conference
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This lesson discusses the 1884-85 Berlin Conference

Nandini Maharaj is teaching live on Unacademy Plus

Nandini Maharaj
MA in Applied Human Rights from Sheffield Hallam University, BA (Hons.) History from LSR, reader, dancer, love to teach, AIR 42 in 2018 UPSC

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  1. SCRAMBLE FOR AFRICA THE BERLIN CONFERENCE BY NANDINI MAHARAJ


  2. The Berlin Conference: 1884-85 Europeans set the rules for dividing up the continent. The occupation of Egypt, and the acquisition of the Congo were the first major moves in what came to be a precipitous scramble for African territory. In 1884, Bismarck convened the 1884-85 Berlin Conference to discuss the Africa problem. Berlin Conference, a series of negotiations (Nov. 15, 1884- Feb. 26, 1885) at Berlin, in which the major European nations met to decide all questions connected with the Congo River basin in Central Africa.


  3. The conference, proposed by Portugal in pursuance of its special claim to control of the Congo estuary, was necessitated by the jealousy and suspicion with which the great European powers viewed one another's tempts asion in Alrica.


  4. The general act of the Conference of Berlin declared the Congo River basin to be neutral (a fact that in no way deterred the Allies from extending the war into that area in World War l); guaranteed freedom for trade and shipping for all states in the basin; forbade slave trading; and rejected Portugal's claims to the Congo River estuary-thereby making possible the founding of the independent Congo Free State, to which Great Britain, France, and Germany had already agreed in principle


  5. The diplomats put on a humanitarian fa ade by condemning the slave trade, prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages and firearms in certain regions, and by expressing concern for missionary activities. The diplomats in Berlin laid down the rules of competition by which the great powers were to be guided in seeking colonies They also agreed that the area along the Congo River was to be administered by Leopold II of Belgium as a neutral area, known as the Congo Free State, in which trade and navigation were to be free.


  6. Navigation on the Niger and Congo rivers was to be free to all. No nation was to stake claims in Africa without notifying other powers of its intentions. No territory could be formally claimed prior to being effectively occupied Howeve, the compettors gnored the rules when convenient and on several occasions war was only narrowly avoided. This conference ensured that partition is done without war fought among European nations.


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