Berlin Conference To Colonize Africa Began On 15 November In 1884
By D.L. Chandler
Africa’s colonization by other major powers of the world at the tail end of the 19th century spelled doom and division for the mighty continent. It wasn’t until 1950 that Africa would begin the tough process of gaining much of its independence from Western Europeans. On this day in 1884, the Berlin Conference began the process of dividing Africa and its rich resources.
In 1884, Portugal called for the conference, also known as the Congo or West African Conference, and tasked Germany’s first chancellor, Otto Von Bismarck, to organize the event. Bismarck called on representatives from the following countries to lay out the new policy for colonization: Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Denmark, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden-Norway (which was united until 1905), the Ottoman Empire, and the United States. American officials did not participate in the conference because they could not do so.