Chapter

The Colonization of Africa

Malcolm Shaw

in Title to Territory in Africa

Published in print March 1986 | ISBN: 9780198253792
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681424 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198253792.003.0002
The Colonization of Africa

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In pre-colonial Africa, the concept of fixed borders typical of European-style states was a foreign and unfamiliar concept. Although no fixed borders were imminent in pre-colonial Africa, identifiable empires and states were evident in some areas of the continent, and frontier zones were widespread. This chapter discusses the concept of territory in colonial Africa wherein the territories once defined in personal rather than territorial terms were subject to foreign rule. By the late 1870s, the European Estates were no longer interested in trading advantages and coastal forts but directed their interest towards territorial acquisition and the extension of the national sovereignties of the expanding Europe. While there may be several underlying reasons for the European conquest of Africa, one of the most evident was that the territorial acquisition of Africa meant the preservation of the uneasy balance of power in Europe. Chapter 1 discusses the modes of acquisition used by the European States, ranging from treaties, to cession, to conquest, and the gradual transformation of colonial protectorates. Also included in the chapter are discussions on the prevailing spheres of influence that had an impact on the process of land acquisition in Africa.

Keywords: fixed borders; territory; colonial Africa; European Estates; territorial acquisition; conquest of Africa; modes of acquisition; treaties; cession

Chapter.  13861 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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