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energies —new markets for her growing industries, and with the markets,

colonies. Yet the idea of colonial expansion was of slow growth in Germany,

and when Prince Bismarck at length acted Africa was the only field left to

exploit, South America being protected from interference by the known

determination of the United States to enforce the Monroe Doctrine, while

Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain already held

most of the other regions of the world where colonization was possible. For

different reasons the war of 1870 was also the starting-point for France in

the building up of a new colonial empire. In her endeavour to regain the

position lost in that war France had to look beyond Europe. To the two

causes mentioned must be added others. Great Britain and Portugal, when

they found their interests threatened, bestirred themselves, while Italy

also conceived it necessary to become an African power. Great Britain awoke

to the need for action too late to secure predominance in all the regions

where formerly hers was the only European influence. She had to contend not

only with the economic forces which urged her rivals to action, but had

also to combat the jealous opposition of almost every European nation to

the further growth of British power. Italy alone acted throughout in

cordial co-operation with Great Britain.

It was not, however, the action of any of the great powers of Europe

which precipitated the struggle. This was brought about by the ambitious

projects of Leopold II, king of the Belgians. The discoveries of

Livingstone, Stanley and others had aroused especial interest among two

classes of men in western Europe, one the manufacturing and trading class,

which saw in Central Africa possibilities of commercial development, the

other the philanthropic and missionary class, which beheld in the newly

discovered lands millions of savages to Christianize and civilize. The

possibility of utilizing both these classes in the creation of a vast

state, of which he should be the chief, formed itself in the mind of

Leopold II. even before Stanley had navigated the Congo. The king's action

was immediate; it proved successful; but no sooner was the nature of his

project understood in Europe than it provoked the rivalry of France and

Germany, and thus the international struggle was begun.

Conflicting ambitions of the European powers.

At this point it is expedient, in the light of subsequent events, to set

forth the designs then entertained by the European powers that participated

in the struggle for Africa. Portugal was striving to retain as large a

share as possible of her shadowy empire, and particularly to establish her

claims to the Zambezi region, so as to secure a belt of territory across

Africa from Mozambique to Angola. Great Britain, once aroused to the

imminence of danger, put forth vigorous efforts in East Africa and on the

Niger, but her most ambitious dream was the establishment of an unbroken

line of British possessions and spheres of influence from south to north of

the continent, from Cape Colony to Egypt. Germany's ambition can be easily

described. It was to secure as much as possible, so as to make up for lost

opportunities. Italy coveted Tripoli, but that province could not be seized

without risking war. For the rest Italy's territorial ambitions were

confined to North-East Africa, where she hoped to acquire a dominating,

influence over Abyssinia. French ambitions, apart from Madagascar, were

confined to the northern and central portions of the continent. To extend

her possessions on the Mediterranean littoral, and to connect them with her

colonies in West Africa, the western Sudan, and on the Congo, by

establishing her influence over the vast intermediate regions, was France's

first ambition. But the defeat of the Italians in Abyssinia and the

impending downfall of the khalifa's power in the valley of the upper Nile

suggested a still more daring project to the French government—none other

than the establishment of French influence over a broad belt of territory

stretching across the continent from west to east, from Senegal on the

Atlantic coast to the Gulf of Aden. The fact that France possessed a small

part of the Red Sea coast gave point to this design. But these conflicting

ambitions could not all be realized and Germany succeeded in preventing

Great Britain obtaining a continuous band of British territory from south

to north,while Great Britain, by excluding France from the upper Nile

valley, dispelled the French dream of an empire from west to east. King

Leopold's ambitions have already been indicated. The part of the continent

to which from the first he directed his energies was the equatorial region.

In September 1876 he took what may be described as the first definite step

in the modern partition of the continent. He summoned to a conference at

Brussels representatives of Great Britain, Belgium, France, Germany,

Austria-Hungary, Italy and Russia, to deliberate on the best methods to be

adopted for the exploration and civilization of Africa, and the opening up

of the interior of the continent to commerce and industry. The conference

was entirely unofficial. The delegates who attended neither represented nor

pledged their respective governments. Their deliberations lasted three days

and resulted in the foundation of ``The International African

Association,'' with its headquarters at Brussels. It was further resolved

to establish national committees in the various countries represented,

which should collect funds and appoint delegates to the International

Association. The central idea appears to have been to put the exploration

and development of Africa upon an international footing. But it quickly

became apparent that this was an unattainable ideal. The national

committees were soon working independently of the International

Association, and the Association itself passed through a succession of

stages until it became purely Belgian in character, and at last developed

into the Congo Free State, under the personal sovereignty of King Leopold.

At first the Association devoted itself to sending expeditions to the great

central lakes from the east coast; but failure, more or less complete

attended its efforts in this direction, and it was not until the return of

Stanley, in January 1878, from his great journey down the Congo, that its

ruling spirit, King Leopold, definitely turned his thoughts towards the

Congo. In June of that year, Stanley visited the king at Brussels, and in

the following November a private conference was held, and a committee was

appointed for the investigation of the upper Congo.

Stanley's remarkable discovery had stirred ambition in other capitals

than Brussels. France had always taken a keen interest

The struggle for the Congo.

in West Africa, and in the years 1875 to 1878 Savorgnan de Brazza had

carried out a successful exploration of the Ogowe river to the south of the

Gabun. De Brazza determined that the Ogowe did not offer that great

waterway into the interior of which he was in search, and he returned to

Europe without having heard of the discoveries of Stanley farther south.

Naturally, however, Stanley's discoveries were keenly followed in France.

In Portugal, too, the discovery of the Congo, with its magnificent unbroken

waterway of more than a thousand miles into the heart of the continent

served to revive the languid energies of the Portuguese, who promptly began

to furbish up claims whose age was in inverse ratio to their validity.

Claims, annexations and occupations were in the air, and when in January

1879 Stanley left Europe as the accredited agent of King Leopold and the

Congo committee, the strictest secrecy was observed as to his real aims and

intentions. The expedition was, it was alleged, proceeding up the Congo to

assist the Belgian expedition which had entered from the east coast, and

Stanley himself went first to Zanzibar. But in August 1879 Stanley found

himself again at Banana Point, at the mouth of the Congo, with, as he

himself has written, ``the novel mission of sowing along its banks

civilized settlements to peacefully conquer and subdue it, to remould it in

harmony with modern ideas into national states, within whose limits the

European merchant shall go hand in hand with the dark African trader, and

justice and law and order shall prevail, and murder and lawlessness and the

cruel barter of slaves shall be overcome.'' The irony of human aspirations

was never perhaps more plainly demonstrated than in the contrast between

the ideal thus set before themselves by those who employed Stanley, and the

actual results of their intervention in Africa. Stanley founded his first

station at Vivi, between the mouth of the Congo and the rapids that

obstruct its course where it breaks over the western edge of the central

continental plateau. Above the rapids he established a station on Stanley

Pool and named it Leopoldville, founding other stations on the main stream

in the direction of the falls that bear his name.

Meanwhile de Brazza was far from idle. He had returned to Africa at the

beginning of 1880, and while the agents of King Leopold were making

treaties and founding stations along the southern bank of the river, de

Brazza and other French agents were equally busy on the northern bank. De

Brazza was sent out to Africa by the French committee of the International

African Association, which provided him with the funds for the expedition.

His avowed object was to explore the region between the Gabun and Lake

Chad. But his real object was to anticipate Stanley on the Congo. The

international character of the association founded by King Leopold was

never more than a polite fiction, and the rivalry between the French and

the Belgians on the Congo was soon open, if not avowed. In October 1880 de

Brazza made a solemn treaty with a chief on the north bank of the Congo,

who claimed that his authority extended over a large area, including

territory on the southern bank of the river. As soon as this chief had

accepted French protection, de Brazza crossed over to the south of the

river, and founded a station close to the present site of Leopoldville. The

discovery by Stanley of the French station annoyed King Leopold's agent,

and he promptly challenged the rights of the chief who purported to have

placed the country under French protection, and himself founded a Belgian

station close to the site selected by de Brazza. In the result, the French

station was withdrawn to the northern side of Stanley Pool, where it is now

known as Brazzaville.

The activity of French and Belgian agents on the Congo had not passed

unnoticed in Lisbon, and the Portuguese government saw that no time was to

be lost if the claims it had never ceased to put forward on the west coast

were not to go by default. At varying periods during the 19th century

Portugal had put forward claims to the whole of the West African coast,

between 5 deg. 12' and 8 deg. south. North of the Congo mouth she claimed

the territories of Kabinda and Molemba, alleging that they had been in her

possession since 1484. Great Britain had never, however, admitted this

claim, and south of the Congo had declined to recognize Portuguese

possessions as extending north of Ambriz. In 1856 orders were given to

British cruisers to prevent by force any attempt to extend Portuguese

dominion north of that place. But the Portuguese had been persistent in

urging their claims, and in 1882 negotiations were again opened with the

British government for recognition of Portuguese rights over both banks of

the Congo on the coast, and for some distance inland. Into the details of

the negotiations, which were conducted for Great Britain by the 2nd Earl

Granville, who was then secretary for foreign affairs, it is unnecessary to

enter; they resulted in the signing on the 26th of February 1884 of a

treaty, by which Great Britain recognized the sovereignty of the king of

Portugal ``over that part of the west coast of Africa, situated between 8

deg. and 5 deg. 12' south latitude,'' and inland as far as Noki, on the

south bank of the Congo, below Vivi. The navigation of the Congo was to be

controlled by an Anglo-Portuguese commission. The publication of this

treaty evoked immediate protests, not only on the continent but in Great

Britain. In face of the disapproval aroused by the treaty, Lord Granville

found himself unable to ratify it. The protests had not been confined to

France and the king of the Belgians. Germany had not yet acquired formal

footing in Africa, but she was crouching for the spring prior to taking her

part in the scramble, and Prince Bismarck had expressed, in vigorous

language, the objections entertained by Germany to the Anglo-Portuguese


For some time before 1884 there had been growing up a general conviction

that it would be desirable for the powers who were interesting themselves

in Africa to come to some agreement as to ``the rules of the game,'' and to

define their respective interests so far as that was practicable. Lord

Granville's ill-fated treaty brought this sentiment to a head, and it was

agreed to hold an international conference on African affairs. But before

discussing the Berlin conference of 1884-1885, it will be well to see what

was the position, on the eve of the conference, in other parts of the

African continent. In the southern section of Africa, south of the Zambezi,

important events had been happening. In 1876 Great Britain had concluded an


British influence consolidated in South Africa.

with the Orange Free State for an adjustment of frontiers, the result of

which was to leave the Kimberley diamond fields in British territory, in

exchange for a payment of L. 90,000 to the Orange Free State. On the 12th

of April 1877 Sir Theophilus Shepstone had issued a proclamation declaring

the Transvaal— the South African Republic, as it was officially

designated—to be British territory (see TRANSVAAL.) In December 1880 war

broke out and lasted until March 1881, when a treaty of peace was signed.

This treaty of peace was followed by a convention, signed in August of the

same year, under which complete self-government was guaranteed to the

inhabitants of the Transvaal, subject to the suzerainty of Great Britain,

upon certain terms and conditions and subject to certain reservations and

limitations. No sooner was the convention signed than it became the object

of the Boers to obtain a modification of the conditions and limitations

imposed, and in February 1884 a fresh convention was signed, amending the

convention of 1881. Article IV. of the new convention provided that ``The

South African Republic will conclude no treaty or engagement with any state

or nation other than the Orange Free State, nor with any native tribe to

the eastward or westward of the Republic, until the same has been approved

by Her Majesty the Queen.'' The precise effect of the two conventions has

been the occasion for interminable discussions, but as the subject is now

one of merely academic interest, it is sufficient to say that when the

Berlin conference held its first meeting in 1884 the Transvaal was

practically independent, so far as its internal administration was

concerned, while its foreign relations were subject to the control just


But although the Transvaal had thus, between the years 1875 and 1884,

become and ceased to be British territory, British influence in other parts

of Africa south of the Zambezi had been steadily extended. To the west of

the Orange Free State, Griqualand West was annexed to the Cape in 1880,

while to the east the territories beyond the Kei river were included in

Cape Colony between 1877 and 1884, so that in the latter year, with the

exception of Pondoland, the whole of South-East Africa was in one form or

another under British control. North of Natal, Zululand was not actually

annexed until 1887, although since 1879, when the military power of the

Zulus was broken up, British influence had been admittedly supreme. In

December 1884 St Lucia Bay—upon which Germany was casting covetous eyes—had

been taken possession of in virtue of its cession to Great Britain by the

Zulu king in 1843, and three years later an agreement of non-cession to

foreign powers made by Great Britain with the regent and paramount chief of

Tongaland completed the chain of British possessions on the coast of South

Africa, from the mouth of the Orange river on the west to Kosi Bay and the

Portuguese frontier on the east. In the interior of South Africa the year

1884 witnessed the beginning of that final stage of the British advance

towards the north which was to extend British influence from the Cape to

the southern shores of Lake Tanganyika. The activity of the Germans on the

west, and of the Boer republic on the east, had brought home to both the

imperial and colonial authorities the impossibility of relying on vague

traditional claims. In May 1884 treaties were made with native chiefs by

which the whole of the country north of Cape Colony, west of the Transvaal,

south of 22 deg. S. and east of 20 deg. E., was placed under British

protection, though a protectorate was not formally declared until the

following January.

Meanwhile some very interesting events had been taking place or: the west

coast, north of the Orange river and south of the Portuguese province of

Mossamaede. It must be sufficient here to touch very briefly on the events

that preceded the foundation of the colony of German South-West Africa. For

many years before 1884 German missionaries had settled among the Damaras

(Herero) and Namaquas, often combining small trading operations with their

missionary work. From time to time trouble arose between the missionaries

and the native chiefs, and appeals

Germany enters the field.

were made to the German government for protection. The German government in

its turn begged the British government to say whether it assumed

responsibility for the protection of Europeans in Damaraland and

Namaqualand. The position of the British government was intelligible, if

not very intelligent. It did not desire to see any other European power in

these countries, and it did not want to assume the responsibility and incur

the expense of protecting the few Europeans settled there. Sir Bartle

Frere, when governor of the Cape (1877-1880), had foreseen that this

attitude portended trouble, and had urged that the whole of the unoccupied

coastline, up to the Portuguese frontier, should be declared under British

protection. But he preached to deaf ears, and it was as something of a

concession to him that in March 1878 the British flag was hoisted at

Walfish Bay, and a small part of the adjacent land declared to be British.

The fact appears to be that British statesmen failed to understand the

change that had come over Germany. They believed that Prince Bismarck would

never give his sanction to the creation of a colonial empire, and, to the

German inquiries as to what rights Great Britain claimed in Damaraland and

Namaqualand, procrastinating replies were sent. Meanwhile the various

colonial societies established in Germany had effected a revolution in

public opinion, and, more important still, they had convinced the great

chancellor. Accordingly when, in November 1882, F. A. E. Luderitz, a Bremen

merchant, informed the German government of his intention to establish a

factory on the coast between the Orange river and the Little Fish river,

and asked if he might rely on the protection of his government in case of

need, he met with no discouragement from Prince Bismarck. In February 1883

the German ambassador in London informed Lord Granville of Luderitz's

design, and asked ``whether Her Majesty's government exercise any authority

in that locality.'' It was intimated that if Her Majesty's government did

not, the German government would extend to Luderitz's factory ``the same

measure of protection which they give to their subjects in remote parts of

the world, but without having the least design to establish any footing in

South Africa.'' An inconclusive reply was sent, and on the 9th of April

Luderitz's agent landed at Angra Pequena, and after a short delay concluded

a treaty with the local chief, by which some 215 square miles around Angra

Pequena were ceded to Luderitz. In England and at the Cape irritation at

the news was mingled with incredulity, and it was fully anticipated that

Luderitz would be disavowed by his government. But for this belief it can

scarcely be doubted that the rest of the unoccupied coast-line would have

been promptly declared under British protection. Still Prince Bismarck was

slow to act. In November the German ambassador again inquired if Great

Britain made any claim over this coast, and Lord Granville replied that Her

Majesty exercised sovereignty only over certain parts of the coast, as at

Walfish Bay, and suggested that arrangements might be made by which Germany

might assist in the settlement of Angra Pequena. By this time Luderitz had

extended his acquisitions southwards to the Orange river, which had been

declared by the British government to be the northern frontier of Cape

Colony. Both at the Cape and in England it was now realized that Germany

had broken away from her former purely continental policy, and, when too

late, the Cape parliament showed great eagerness to acquire the territory

which had lain so long at its very doors, to be had for the taking. It is

not necessary to follow the course-of the subsequent negotiations. On the

15th of August 1884 an official note was addressed by the German consul at

Capetown to the high commissioner, intimating that the German emperor had

by proclamation taken ``the territory belonging to Mr A. Luderitz on the

west coast of Africa under the direct protection of His Majesty.'' This

proclamation covered the coast-line from the north bank of the Orange river

to 26 deg. S. latitude, and 20 geographical miles inland, including ``the

islands belonging thereto by the law of nations.'' On the 8th of September

1884 the German government intimated to Her Majesty's government ``that the

west coast of Africa from 26 deg. S. latitude to Cape Frio, excepting

Walfish Bay, had been placed under the protection of the German emperor.''

Thus, before the end of the year 1884, the foundations of Germany's

colonial empire had been laid in South-West Africa.

In April of that year Prince Bismarck intimated to the British

government, through the German charge d'affaires in London,

Nachtigal's mission to West Africa.

that ``the imperial consul-general, Dr Nachtigal, has been commissioned by

my government to visit the west coast of Africa in the course of the next

few months, in order to complete the information now in the possession of

the Foreign Office at Berlin, on the state of German commerce on that

coast. With this object Dr Nachtigal will shortly embark at Lisbon, on

board the gunboat `Mowe.' He will put himself into communication with the

authorities in the British possessions on the said coast, and is authorized

to conduct, on behalf of the imperial government, negotiations connected

with certain questions. I venture,'' the official communication proceeds,

``in accordance with my instructions, to beg your excellency to be so good

as to cause the authorities in the British possessions in West Africa to be

furnished with suitable recommendations.'' Although at the date of this

communication it must have been apparent, from what was happening in South

Africa, that Germany was prepared to enter on a policy of colonial

expansion, and although the wording of the letter was studiously vague, it

does not seem to have occurred to the British government that the real

object of Gustav Nachtigal's journey was to make other annexations on the

west coast. Yet such was indeed his mission. German traders and

missionaries had been particularly active of late years on the coast of the

Gulf of Guinea. German factories were dotted all along the coast in

districts under British protection, under French protection and under the

definite protection of no European power at all. It was to these latter

places that Nachtigal turned his attention. The net result of his

operations was that on the 5th of July 1884 a treaty was signed with the

king of Togo, placing his country under German protection, and that just

one week later a German protectorate was proclaimed over the Cameroon

district. Before either of these events had occurred Great Britain had

become alive to the fact that she could no longer dally with the subject,

if she desired to consolidate her possessions in West Africa. The British

government had again and again refused to accord native chiefs the

protection they demanded. The Cameroon chiefs had several times asked for

British protection, and always in vain. But at last it became apparent,

even to the official mind, that rapid changes were being effected in

Africa, and on the 16th of May Edward Hyde Hewett, British consul, received

instructions to return to the west coast and to make arrangements for

extending British protection over certain regions. He arrived too late to

save either Togoland or Cameroon, in the latter case arriving five days

after King Bell and the other chiefs on the river had signed treaties with

Nachtigal. But the British consul was in time to secure the delta of the

river Niger and the Oil Rivers District, extending from Rio del Rey to the

Lagos frontier, where for a long period British traders had held almost a

monopoly of the trade.

Meanwhile France, too, had been busy treaty-making. While the British

government still remained under the spell of the

French and British rivalry in West Africa.

fatal resolution of 1865, the French government was strenuously

endeavouring to extend France's influence in West Africa, in the countries

lying behind the coastline. During the year 1884 no fewer than forty-two

treaties were concluded with native chiefs, an even larger number having

been concluded in the previous twelve months. In this fashion France was

pushing on towards Timbuktu, in steady pursuance of the policy which

resulted in surrounding all the old British possessions in West Africa with

a continuous band of French territory. There was, however, one region on

the west coast where, notwithstanding the lethargy of the British

government, British interests were being vigorously pushed, protected and

consolidated. This was on the lower Niger, and the leading spirit in the

enterprise was Mr Goldie Taubman (afterwards Sir George Taubman Goldie). In

1877 Sir George Goldie visited the Niger and conceived the idea of

establishing a settled government in that region. Through his efforts the

various trading firms on the lower Niger formed themselves in 1879 into the

``United African Company,'' and the foundations were laid of something like

settled administration. An application was made to the British government

for a charter in 1881, and the capital of the company increased to a

million sterling. Henceforth the company was known as the ``National

African Company,'' and it was acknowledged that its object was not only to

develop the trade of the lower Niger, but to extend its operations to the

middle reaches of the river, and to open up direct relations with the great

Fula empire of Sokoto and the smaller states associated with Sokoto under a

somewhat loosely defined suzerainty. The great development of trade which

followed the combination of British interests carried out under Goldie's

skilful guidance did not pass unnoticed in France, and, encouraged by

Gambetta, French traders made a bold bid for a position on the river. Two

French companies, with ample capital, were formed, and various stations

were established on the lower Niger. Goldie realized at once the

seriousness of the situation, and lost no time in declaring commercial war

on the newcomers. His bold tactics were entirely successful, and a few days

before the meeting of the Berlin conference he had the satisfaction of

announcing that he had bought out the whole of the French interests on the

river, and that Great Britain alone possessed any interests on the lower


To complete the survey of the political situation in Africa at the time

the plenipotentiaries met at Berlin, it is necessary to

The position in Tunisia and Egypt.

refer briefly to the course of events in North and East Africa since 1875.

In 1881 a French army entered Tunisia, and compelled the bey to sign a

treaty placing that country under French protection. The sultan of Turkey

formally protested against this invasion of Ottoman rights, but the great

powers took no action, and France was left in undisturbed possession of her

newly acquired territory. In Egypt the extravagance of Ismail Pasha had led

to the establishment in 1879, in the interests of European bondholders, of

a Dual Control exercised by France and Great Britain. France had, however,

in 1882 refused to take part in the suppression of a revolt under Arabi

Pasha, which England accomplished unaided. As a consequence the Dual

Control had been abolished in January 1883, since when Great Britain, with

an army quartered in the country, had assumed a predominant position in

Egyptian affairs (see EGYPT.) In East Africa, north of the Portuguese

possessions, where the sultan of Zanzibar was the most considerable native

potentate, Germany was secretly preparing the foundations of her present

colony of German East Africa. But no overt act had warned Europe of what

was impending. The story of the foundation of German East Africa is one of

the romances of the continent. Early in 1884 the Society for German

Colonization was founded, with the avowed object of furthering the newly

awakened colonial aspirations of the German people.12 It was a society

inspired and controlled by young men, and on the 4th of November 1884,

eleven days before the conference assembled at Berlin, three young Germans

arrived as deck passengers at Zanzibar. They were disguised as mechanics,

but were in fact Dr Karl Peters, the president of the Colonization Society,

Joachim Count Pfeil, and Dr Juhlke, and their stock-in-trade consisted of a

number of German flags and a supply of blank treaty forms. They proposed to

land on the mainland opposite Zanzibar, and

The German flag raised in East Africa.

to conclude treaties in the back country with native chiefs placing their

territories under German protection. The enterprise was frowned upon by the

German government; but, encouraged by German residents at Zanzibar, the

three young pioneers crossed to the mainland, and on the 19th of November,

while the diplomatists assembled at Berlin were solemnly discussing the

rules which were to govern the game of partition, the first ``treaty'' was

signed at Mbuzini, and the German flag raised for the first time in East


Italy had also obtained a footing on the African continent before the

meeting of the Berlin conference. The Rubattino Steamship Company as far

back as 1870 had bought the port of Assab as a coaling station, but it was

not until 1882 that it was declared an Italian colony. This was followed by

the conclusion of a treaty with the sultan of Assab, chief of the Danakil,

signed on the 15th of March 1883, and subsequently approved by the king of

Shoa, whereby Italy obtained the cession of part of Ablis (Aussa) on the

Red Sea, Italy undertaking to protect with her fleet the Danakil littoral.

One other event must be recorded as happening before the meeting of the

Berlin conference. The king of the Belgians had

Recognition of the International Association.

been driven to the conclusion that, if his African enterprise was to obtain

any measure of permanent success, its international status must be

recognized. To this end negotiations were opened with various governments.

The first government to ``recognize the flag of the International

Association of the Congo as the flag of a friendly government'' was that of

the United States, its declaration to that effect bearing date the 22nd of

April 1884. There were, however, difficulties in the way of obtaining the

recognition of the European powers, and in order to obtain that of France,

King Leopold, on the 23rd of April 1884, while labouring under the feelings

of annoyance which had been aroused by the Anglo-Portuguese treaty

concluded by Lord Granville in February, authorized Colonel Strauch,

president of the International Association, to engage to give France ``the

right of preference if, through unforeseen circumstances, the Association

were compelled to sell its possessions.'' France's formal recognition of

the Association as a government was, however, delayed by the discussion of

boundary questions until the following February, and in the meantime

Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Holland and Spain had all

recognized the Association; though Germany alone had done so—on the 8th of

November—before the assembling of the conference.

The conference assembled at Berlin on the 15th of November 1884, and

after protracted deliberations the ``General Act of

The Berlin Conference of 1884-85.

the Berlin Conference'' was signed by the representatives of all the powers

attending the conference, on the 26th of February 1885. The powers

represented were Germany, Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, the

United States, France, Great Britain, Italy, Holland, Portugal, Russia,

Sweden and Norway, and Turkey, to name them in the alphabetical order

adopted in the preamble to the French text of the General Act.

Ratifications were deposited by all the signatory powers with the exception

of the United States. It is unnecessary to examine in detail the results of

the labours of the conference. The General Act dealt with six specific

subjects: (1) freedom of trade in the basin of the Congo, (2) the slave

trade, (3) neutrality of territories in the basin of the Congo, (4)

navigation of the Congo, (5) navigation of the Niger, (6) rules for future

occupation on the coasts of the African continent. It will be seen that the

act dealt with other matters than the political partition of Africa; but,

so far as they concern the present purpose, the results effected by the

Berlin Act may be summed up as follows. The signatory powers undertook that

any fresh act of taking possession on any portion of the African coast must

be notified by the power taking possession, or assuming a protectorate, to

the other signatory powers. It was further provided that any such

occupation to be valid must be effective. It is also noteworthy that the

first reference in an international act to the obligations attaching to

``spheres of influence'' is contained in the Berlin Act.

It will be remembered that when the conference assembled, the

International Association of the Congo had only been

Constitution of the Congo State.

recognized as a sovereign state by the United States and Germany. But King

Leopold and his agents had taken full advantage of the opportunity which

the conference afforded, and before the General Act was signed the

Association had been recognized by all the signatory powers, with the not

very important exception of Turkey, and the fact communicated to the

conference by Colonel Strauch. It was not, however, until two months later,

in April 1885, that King Leopold, with the sanction of the Belgian

legislature, formally assumed the headship of the new state; and on the 1st

of August in the same year His Majesty notified the powers that from that

date the ``Independent State of the Congo'' declared that ``it shall be

perpetually neutral'' in conformity with the provisions of the Berlin Act.

Thus was finally constituted the Congo Free State, under the sovereignty of

King Leopold, though the boundaries claimed for it at that time were

considerably modified by subsequent agreements.

From 1885 the scramble among the powers went on with renewed vigour, and

in the fifteen years that remained of the

The chief partition treaties.

century the work of partition, so far as international agreements were

concerned, was practically completed. To attempt to follow the process of

acquisition year by year would involve a constant shifting of attention

from one part of the continent to another, inasmuch as the scramble was

proceeding simultaneously all over Africa. It will therefore be the most

convenient plan to deal with the continent in sections. Before doing so,

however, the international agreements which determined in the main the

limits of the possessions of the various powers may be set forth. They

are:— I. The agreement of the 1st of July 1890 between Great Britain and

Germany defining their spheres of influence in East, West and South-West

Africa. This agreement was the most comprehensive of all the ``deals'' in

African territory, and included in return for the recognition of a British

protectorate over Zanzibar the cession of Heligoland to Germany.

II. The Anglo-French declaration of the 5th of August 1890, which

recognized a French protectorate over Madagascar, French influence in

the Sahara, and British influence between the Niger and Lake Chad.

III. The Anglo-Portuguese treaty of the 11th of June 1891, whereby the

Portuguese possessions on the west and east coasts were separated by a

broad belt of British territory, extending north to Lake Tanganyika.

IV. The Franco-German convention of the 15th of March 1894, by which the

Central Sudan was left to France (this region by an Anglo-German

agreement of the 15th of November 1893 having been recognized as in the

German sphere). By this convention France was able to effect a

territorial )unction of her possessions in North and West Africa with

those in the Congo region.

V. Protocols of the 24th of March and the 15th of April 1891, for the

demarcation of the Anglo-Italian spheres in East Africa.

VI. The Anglo-French convention of the 14th of June 1898, for the

delimitation of the possessions of the two countries west of Lake Chad,

with the supplementary declaration of the 21st of March 1899 whereby

France recognized the upper Nile valley as in the British sphere of


Coming now to a more detailed consideration of the operations of the

powers, the growth of the Congo Free State, which

The growth of the Congo State.

occupied, geographically, a central position, may serve as the starting-

point for the story of the partition after the Berlin conference. In the

notification to the powers of the 1st of August 1885, the boundaries of the

Free State were set out in considerable detail. The limits thus determined

resulted partly from agreements made with France, Germany and Portugal, and

partly from treaties with native chiefs. The state acquired the north bank

of the Congo from its mouth to a point in the unnavigable reaches, and in

the interior the major part of the Congo basin. In the north-east the

northern limit was 4 deg. N. up to 30 deg. E., which formed the eastern

boundary of, the state. The south-eastern frontier claimed by King Leopold

extended to Lakes Tanganyika, Mweru and Bangweulu, but it was not until

some years later that it was recognized and defined by the agreement of May

1894 with Great Britain. The international character of King Leopold's

enterprise had not long been maintained, and his recognition as sovereign

of the Free State confirmed the distinctive character which the Association

had assumed, even before that event.

In April 1887 France was informed that the right of pre-emption accorded

to her in 1884 had not been intended by King Leopold to prejudice Belgium's

right to acquire the Congo State, and in reply the French minister at

Brussels took note of the explanation, ``in so far as this interpretation

is not contrary to pre-existing international engagements.'' By his will,

dated the 2nd of August 1889, King Leopold made Belgium formally heir to

the sovereign rights of the Congo Free State. In 1895 an annexation bill

was introduced into the Belgian parliament, but at that time Belgium had no

desire to assume responsibility for the Congo State, and the bill was

withdrawn. In 1901, by the terms of a loan granted in 1890, Belgium had

again an opportunity of annexing the Congo State, but a bill in favour of

annexation was opposed by the government and was withdrawn after King

Leopold had declared that the time was not ripe for the transfer.

Concessionaire companies and a Domaine de la Couronne had been created in

the state, from which the sovereign derived considerable revenues—facts

which helped to explain the altered attitude of Leopold II. The agitation

in Great Britain and America against the Congo system of government, and

the admissions of an official commission of inquiry concerning its

maladministration, strengthened, however, the movement in favour of

transfer. Nevertheless in June 1906 the king again declared himself opposed

to immediate annexation. But under pressure of public opinion the Congo

government concluded, 28th of November 1907, a new annexation treaty. As it

stipulated for the continued existence of the crown domain the treaty

provoked vehement opposition. Leopold II. was forced to yield, and an

additional act was signed, 5th of March 1908, providing for the suppression

of the domain in return for financial subsidies. The treaty, as amended,

was approved by the Belgian parliament in the session of 1908. Thus the

Congo state, after an existence of 24 years as an independent power, became

a Belgian colony. (See CONGO FREE STATE.)

The area of the Free State, vast as it was, did not suffice to satisfy

the ambition of its sovereign. King Leopold maintained that the Free State

enjoyed equally with any other state the right to extend its frontiers. His

ambition involved the state in the struggle between Great Britain and

France for the upper Nile. To understand the situation it is necessary to

remember the condition of the Egyptian Sudan at that time. The mahdi,

Mahommed Ahmed, had preached a holy war against the Egyptians, and, after

the capture of Khartum and the death of General C. G. Gordon, the Sudan was

abandoned to the dervishes. The Egyptian frontier was withdrawn to Wadi

Haifa, and the vast provinces of Kordofan, Darfur and the Bahr-el-Ghazal

were given over to dervish tyranny and misrule. It was obvious that Egypt

would sooner or later seek to recover her position in the Sudan, as the

command of the upper Nile was recognized as essential to her continued

prosperity. But the international position of the abandoned provinces was

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