The Berlin Conference

31 Oct, 2013 960 History of Africa

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Berlin Conference of 1884. In the 1880s, as colonial powers attempted to increase their spheres of influence in Africa, tensions began to grow between European nations including Britain, Belgium and France. In 1884 the German Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, brought together many of Europe’s leading statesmen to discuss trade and colonial activities in Africa. Although the original purpose of the summit was to settle the question of territorial rights in West Africa, negotiations eventually dealt with the entire continent. The conference was part of the process known as the Scramble for Africa, and the decisions reached at it had effects which have lasted to the present day. The conference is commonly seen as one of the most significant events of the so-called Scramble for Africa; in the following decades, European nations laid claim to most of the continent.

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  • Richard Drayton 2 episodes
    Rhodes Professor of Imperial History at King's College London
  • Richard Rathbone No other episodes
    Emeritus Professor of African History at SOAS, University of London
  • Joanna Lewis No other episodes
    Assistant Professor of Imperial History at the LSE, University of London

Reading list

  • Imperialism, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law
    Antony Anghie (Cambridge University Press, 2007) Google Books →
  • Replenishing the Earth: The Settler Revolution and the Rise of the Anglo-World
    James Belich (Oxford University Press, 2009) Google Books →
  • The Berlin West African Conference, 1884-1885
    Sybil Crowe (Royal Empire Society, 1942) Google Books →
  • Bismarck, Europe, and Africa: The Berlin Africa Conference 1884-1885 and the Onset of Partition
    Stig Forster, Wolfgang J. Mommsen and Ronald Robinson (eds.) (OUP, 1989) Google Books →
  • King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism
    Adam Hochschild (Pan, 2012) Google Books →
  • Stanley: The Impossible Life of Africa's Greatest Explorer
    Tim Jeal (Faber & Faber, 2008) Google Books →
  • The Last Journals of David Livingstone
    David Livingstone (Horace Waller ed.) (Murray, 1874) Google Books →
  • The Cambridge History of Africa (volume 6)
    Roland Oliver and G. N. Sanderson (eds.) (Cambridge University Press, 1985) Google Books →
  • The Scramble for Africa
    Thomas Pakenham (Abacus, 1992) Google Books →
  • Africa and the Victorians: The Official Mind of Imperialism
    Ronald Robinson and John Gallagher with Alice Denny (Palgrave Macmillan, 1982) Google Books →

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Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. On November the 15th, 1884, the representatives of 14 world powers arrived at the Berlin Palace of the German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck for an international summit.