Colonialism refers  to  the   situation  whereby  one  powerful  nation  extend  its  influence  over  the  weaker  nation politically, economically  and  ideologically. Colonialism in Africa started from the 19th century.

Colonization of the African continent by the European capitalist power is the stage in the development of capitalism which was contributed by the transformation from commercial/mercantile capitalism through industrial capitalism to monopole capitalism.


Mercantile capitalism – the capitalist stage that based on overseas trade. It developed between 1400 and 1750. During this period, Africa exported products of higher value to Europe while Europe exported goods of lower value to Africa. Also it was the time of the development of slave trade.

Competitive Capitalism – the capitalist system that based on industrial production. It developed between 1750s and 1870s. It was also based on free trade. Free trade became necessary in order to expand markets and control of raw materials abroad. Industrial capitalism based on the need of raw materials, markets, areas for investment, areas for surplus settlements and the need of cheap labour.

Monopoly capitalism (imperialism/colonialism) – the highest level in the development of capitalism that based on the control of overseas provinces/areas. It developed between 1870s and 1960s. Monopoly capitalism characterized by the following features:

Concentration and centralization of capital – put capital in hands of few people to maximize profit.

Emergence/development of banks – profit was accumulated through banking system.

Export of capital – the capitalist exported capital instead of products.

The formation of international monopolistic companies – such companies included GEACO, IBEACO and BSACO which divided the world among themselves.

Division of the world among the great capitalist powers – the world was divided and archived through the partitioning of Africa.



Literally the word “Scramble” means fighting, scuffle or struggling for something between two people or sides.

Scramble for Africa refers to the sudden rush or struggle to acquire different parts in Africa by the European imperialist powers.


Scramble for Africa refers to the struggle or competition among European nations in Africa in order to acquire areas of economic influences.


Scramble for Africa refers to the fighting for colonies or spheres of influence among European imperialist powers in Africa.

The process of scramble for Africa had two major stages which were: –

  • Phase/ stage one (From 1830‘s – 1880’s)

During this stage, the major participants were Britain, France and Belgium.

Britain  had  colonized South  Africa  since  1795  as  a  colony  for  settlement  which  she  took  it  after  intensive  scramble  against  the  Boers. She  had  also  occupied  Sierra  Leone  as  a   colony  for  the  ex-slaves  in  America  since  1810.

France had monopolized Senegal, Gambia and  Ivory  Coast  as  the  major  sources  of  their  industrial  development. The  two  powers  were  also  scrambling  to  monopolize  and  control  River Niger  in  West  Africa.

Belgium in other hand struggled to monopolize and control Congo River and the basin in Central Africa. This was done under the leadership of King Leopold II.

  • Phase/ stage two (From 1880’s – 1890’s)

This stage was characterized by intervention of  the  late  comers  who  were  Germany  and  Italy  in  process  of  scramble  for  Africa.


Partition simply means “divide” or “to slice, to divide or to break” something into pieces.

Partition of Africa refers to the process whereby African continent was divided into pieces among European


Partition of Africa refers to the process of dividing African continent among European nations who were scrambling each other.

The  partition  process  of  Africa  was  done  so  as  to  avoid  the  scrambling  or  struggle  of  the  imperialist  nations  in  Africa  which  could  result  into  fighting  or  wars. This  process of dividing the African continent was  done  during  the  Berlin  conference  of  1884  to  1885 which was  held  in  Berlin, Germany  under  Otto  Von  Bismarck as the chairman of the conference.


The  scramble  for  Africa  reached  its zenith towards  the  last  quarter  of  19th century. There  are  two  perspectives/ views  or  approaches  which  explain  the  causes  of  scramble  for  Africa. These are:

  1. Eurocentric views/ perspectives
  2. Afro centric views/ perspectives


These were explanations propounded by capitalist scholars in Europe. According  to  Eurocentric  historians, scramble  for  and  partition of  Africa  was  due  to  the  humanitarian reasons. The following are the reasons for scramble for and partition of Africa:

  • European Nationalism. This was union of various small European states which were ruled by princes into bigger empires. In Germany the unification was made under Otto Von Bismarck. This unification made their countries to praise their culture and declared a mission to civilize other cultures hence Germany and Italy rushed to scramble for colonies in Africa.
  • European Balance of Power. The balance of power was disrupted by Franco-Prussian war of 1870 -1871 [The wart between France and Germany]. Germany rose to power after defeating France and seizing her two provinces that is Alsace for production of coal and Lorraine for iron. There after France began to scramble for colonies in order to regain its power and compensate for the lost provinces.
  • Strategic Reasons/ Consideration. Scramble for and  partition  of  Africa  was  influenced  by  protection  of  commercial  interests  of  the  European  nations  in  Eurocentric  Historians  claims  that, European  powers  scrambled  because  they  wanted  to  protect  her  trade  interests  in  Middle  East  and  Far  East  or Asia.
  • National Prestige. The possession of colonies was considered as a symbol of greatness and respect. For example Germany and Italy struggled for colonies with the aim of acquiring national prestige.
  • Civilization Mission. European nations claimed that  they  scrambled  in  Africa  because  they  wanted  to  civilize  the  regrettable  They scrambled because they wanted to remove barbaric culture like: Killing twins, believing in many Gods, Women circumcision, Polygamy etc. They  further  claimed  that, it was their  burden  to  civilize the Africans through  education  and  religion, hence  scramble  for  Africa.
  • Superiority Complex. European nations scrambled for African colonies because they regarded themselves as superior race. They regarded  Africans  and  Asians  as  an  inferior  race  which  was  to  be  controlled  or  dominated  by  superior  race, this  myth  forced  European  to  rush  in  Africa  so  as  to  prove  their
  • Social Darwinism. Charles Darwin was among the prominent theorists in 19th c in Europe. He proposed  a  theory “ Struggle  for  existence  and  survival  of  the  fittest” which  explain  the  natural  selection  for  The  European  nations  used  this  theory  to  Scramble  for   Africa  and  colonization  of  Africa, because  to  have  colonies  was  a  sign  of  fitness.
  • Humanitarian Factor. European nations  scrambled  in  Africa  because  they  wanted  to  abolish  slavery  and  slave  trade because it was against human rights. They  claimed  that, Africans  could  not  stop  this  trade  and  mode  of  production,  therefore  they  scrambled  because  each  nation  wanted  to  participate  in  abolishing  this
  • To spread legitimate trade. The European claimed that they wanted to spread legitimate trade that deals with raw materials, and other natural goods.


These are views propounded by African scholars. According to  Afro  centric  historians, the  scramble  for  and  partition  of    Africa  was   due  to  the development of imperialism especially during the stage of the Industrial  revolution ( Development  of  Industrial  production)  which  took  place  in  Europe.

The Industrial  revolution  which  took  place  in  Europe  had  a lot  of  problems ( impacts) which  faced  European  nations. In order  to  solve  these  problems, they  decided  to  come  in  Africa, a  thing  which  led  to  scramble  for  and  partition  of  Africa.

The following were the impacts (problems) of Industrial revolution which led to Scramble for and partition of Africa according to Afro-centric historians:

The need of raw materials (Overproduction).

This was due to the use of machines in production that increased production something  which  led  to  the  Shortage of  raw  materials  in  Therefore  in order  to  solve  this  problem, European  nations  decided  to  come  in  African  to  find  raw  materials. This led to scramble for and partition of Africa.

 The need of markets (Under consumption)

After the Industrial revolution, there was failure of the people to purchase the goods produced in industries effectively. This led  to  shortage  of  markets  and  failure  of  business  to  many  European  As  a  result  they  decided  to  come  in Africa  to  search  for  markets  in order  to  sell  their  goods. This  led  to  scramble  for  and  partition  of  African  among  European  nations.

The need of areas for settlements

After the Industrial revolution there was increase of population in different nations. This was due  to  many  reasons  such  as  availability  of  plenty  of  food, improvement  of  health  services  and  This  led  to  shortage  of  settlements  as  houses  in  towns  and  cities  could  not  fit  the  increased  population. Therefore, European nations decided  to  come  in  Africa  to  find  areas  where  they  could  establish  settlements so that to reduce government expenditure.  This led to scramble for and partition of Africa.

The need of cheap labour (The rise of working class movements)

At the last  quarter  of  the  19th  c  there  was  shortage  of  workers ( Cheap  labor) due  to  the  rise  of  working  class  movement like Chartism, Luddism, new model trade unions etc. The  rise  of  working  movements  was  due  to  payments  of  low  wages  by  the  capitalists, poor  working  condition  and  lack  of  insurance  especially  in  Therefore  in  Europe, it  was  difficult  to  get  cheap  labor  who  could  work  in  industries  and  other production  areas, as  a  result  Europeans  decided  to  come  in  Africa  to  find  cheap  labor  that  could  help  the  production  of  raw  materials. This eventually led to the scramble for and partition of Africa

The need of areas for investment (Production of surplus capital)

After industrialization, European nations  increased  the  rate  of  production, a  thing  which  prompted production  of  surplus  capital ( super  profit). This led to the demand (shortage) of investment areas in Europe. European  nations  demanded  opportunities  where  they  could  invest  their  surplus  capital, but  in  Europe, there  were  no  areas  to  Therefore, they decided to come in Africa where they could invest their surplus capital.


There were different areas which had intensive scramble by the European powers. These areas included:

  • Egypt
  • CONGO (River and Basin)
  • Central Africa
  • South Africa
  • Niger Delta
  • East Africa.

Reasons for some areas in Africa to experience more intensive scramble than others are as follows:

Fertile land

These areas which seemed to have a fertile land like Zimbabwe and some parts of Kenya like the Kikuyu highlands experienced more intensive scramble than other areas. Also Congo had  plenty  of  fertile  soil  which  supported  agricultural

Presence of valuable minerals

Minerals also made some areas in Africa to experience more intensive scramble than others; for example South Africa where Diamonds and Gold were available in large quantity, also Congo where Gold was available. Those European nations wanted minerals because they used them as raw materials for industrial productions.

Presence of navigable rivers

European nations scrambled  there  because  they  wanted  to  dominate  them  so  as  to  simplify  Example Suez Canal and Congo Basin are some areas which experienced more intensive scramble. For example the Congo Basin was scrambled for by Belgium, Britain, France and Portugal. And Suez Canal was scrambled for by both the British and the French.

Large population (Population pressure)

These areas which were having large population also experienced more intensive scramble example Congo basin had high population that could help availability of markets for European goods and labourers who could work in European projects.

Good climate condition

Areas that had good /favorable climate  which  could  enable  the European  to  establish  settlement  and  invest  their  capital experienced intensive scramble than the other. For example Egypt and Congo  had  good climate  condition  which  allowed  European  settlements and establishment of investment projects especially  in  all  areas  around  the Nile basin and Congo  River

Strategic reasons

For example Britain wanted to protect her economic interest in Asia as Britain had  earlier  colonies  in  Asia  which  were  India, Burma, Pakistan, Australia  and  New  As a result wanted to control Egypt because she  wanted  to  use  the  Suez  Canal  to  reach  her  colonies.

Reliable rainfall. Also the  region that had  adequate  rainfall  which  supported  activities  like  agriculture experienced intensive scramble. Therefore  every  European  power wanted  these  regions  so  as  to  develop  agriculture  in  order  to  produce  raw  Those areas include East Africa, Congo basin and Nile basin.

Presence of great Lakes. Areas with great lakes also experienced intensive scramble than the other. The present of great lakes like Lake Victoria, Nyasa and Tanganyika of which they could use these lakes in agricultural activities throughout the year through irrigation method, hence every European nation wanted these areas.

Therefore, the Europeans only scrambled for areas with those characteristics mentioned above. And these areas which were scrambled and eventually partitioned by the Europeans, had economic importance to the European powers.


Berlin conference refers to the international capitalist conference which was held in Berlin, the capital city of Germany from November 1884 to February 1885 under the Germany chancellor  Otto  Von  Bismarck  who  was  the  conference  chairman.

The  main  objective  of  this  conference  was  to  divide  the  African  continent  peacefully  among  the  scrambling European  powers  so  as  to  avoid  the  outbreak  of  wars/ fighting

European nations which participated in the Berlin conference were 27 nations including: Belgium, Britain, Italy, Portugal, France, Spain, German etc. Denmark and USA attended in the conference  as  observers  who  were  to  observe  all  activities  of  the  conference.


There were several  reasons  as  to  why  Germany  under  Otto  Von  Bismarck  managed  to  hold  the  conference  of  all  capitalist  nations  and  not any  other  nations  like  Britain, France  etc.

Germany was able to summon the international conference due to the following: –

  1. Military power. During the  last  quarter of  19th  c Germany  dominated  Europe  in  terms  of  military  Germany  was  powerful  militarily  therefore  other  European  nations  feared  her. Failure to attend the conference could end up into military punishment.
  2. Economic strength. German was very powerful economically compared to other European nations by the last quarter of the 19th This also influenced Germany to hold the conference.
  3. The influence of Bismarck. Bismarck was a very influential factor for Germany to hold the Berlin Conference. He was very diplomatic and propagandist and therefore the conference in Berlin became inevitable.
  4. Enmity between other nations. This gave Germany an opportunity to summon the conference
  5. Participation in scramble. Germany did not fully participate in the scramble for Africa and therefore was seen by other nations as the only solution for the division of Africa.



The Berlin conference was hold due to a number of reasons. Some of the reasons for the holding the conference was as follows:

  1. To discuss the nature of the scramble for Africa so as to avoid conflicts of European over the African territories.
  2. To divide Africa. The conference was summoned in order to discuss on how to divide the continent of Africa into colonies among scrambling European nations.
  3. To solve and avoid conflicts. The conference also aimed at solving the ongoing conflicts between scrambling European nations in Africa and also avoid other conflicts which were likely to occur (To settle European conflicts which occurred before arranging the meeting).
  4. To set up boundaries in Africa. The conference also aimed at setting up boundaries in African colonies so as to avoid interference among European colonial powers.
  5. To lay down principles. The Berlin Conference was also aimed at laying down principles which were to be adhered in the division and colonization of Africa (To settle rules and principles on how Africa should be divided up among the European nations)
  6. To solve the problem of industrialization. The conference was aimed at solving the problem of industrialization in Europe such as shortage of raw materials, markets etc. This was to be done through dividing the continent of Africa into colonies for the industrialized nations in Europe.


The Berlin conference in order to divide and colonize Africa, laid down some principles to be adhered by all colonial powers. These were: –

  1. Abolition of slave trade and slavery in Africa – Every nation after being given an area (colony) in Africa was told to abolish slave trade and slavery activities in their respective colonies.
  2. Principle of notification it was agreed that that any European nation intending to have a colony in Africa must inform other nations through provision of treaties signed by African rulers.
  • Peaceful setting of disputes – Any conflict that occurred between European nations was to be settled peacefully between the conflicting nations.
  1. King Leopold II to colonize Congo – Congo was given to King Leopold II as the conference recognized her influences.
  2. Principle of effective occupation or control – European power which claims to any part of Africa would be recognized by the other powers if it was effectively occupied by such European power lie under this clause. The claimants were supposed to develop the areas through their missionaries trading companies’ explorers starting plantations and other economic activities.
  3. Freedom of navigation – the conference declared that Congo, the Niger River and other big rivers as free zones for international navigation i.e. Niger River under the authority of Great Britain and Congo River under the authority of Belgium. This means that the area was not supposed to be under control of one particular nation.
  4. Mutual agreement in drawing boundaries – There should be mutual agreement between two nations in drawing of boundaries.it was agreed to fix boundaries i.e. to divide up the African continent so as to create separate colonies where each European nation would be legally responsible to establish colonial rule.
  5. Free operation of missionary activities – Missionaries were to operate free in every colony without any restrictions.
  6. Fixing of boundaries – it was agreed to fix boundaries so as to create colonies where each Europeans nation will be legally responsible to establish colonial rule.


  1. It resolved the international rivalries that involved in areas like Congo, Egypt and Nile.
  2. It speeded the partition of Africa under the principle of effective occupation.
  3. The Conference highligtened the unity and degree of cooperation among European powers.
  4. The Conference opened the interior of African land for colonization.
  5. It avoided the possibility of the emperior powers to inter into war during the scramble for Africa.
  6. It led to the setting of colonial boundaries in African Continent


Berlin conference had a lot of impacts to African continent. Some of these impacts were as follows: –

  1. It intensified scramble for Africa. This later on led to misunderstanding between European nations, something which led to the emergence First World War.
  2. It laid down rules and principles for colonizing Africa. Therefore it legalized the colonization of Africa.
  3. It resolved hostilities among Europeans nations. E.g. Britain and France in Egypt
  4. It led to the drawing of African map and making of boundaries. This led to division of Africans e.g. Maasai in Kenya and Tanzania.
  5. It led to division of Africa .Africa  was  divided  into   colonies  among  European  nations
  6. It led to influx of Europeans in  Africa  who  most  of  them  were  colonial  officials  and  settlers  who  together  came  to  colonize
  7. It led to total colonization of Africa (Loose of African control by themselves).


The partition of  East  Africa  was  the  outcome  of  the  development  of  European  monopoly  capitalism. The  partition  was  done  from  1886  to  1890’s  and  it  involved  only  Britain  and  Germany.


The  partition  was  influenced  by  a  number  of  factors  as  follows.

  1. The development of commercial rivalries. These rivalries involved German East Africa Company (GEACO) and Imperial British East African Company (IBEACO). Each company wanted to monopolize trade and commerce in East Africa, hence the division of East Africa.
  2. Conflict between Anglican missionaries and Catholics in Uganda. Anglican missionaries  informed  their  mother  country( Britain)  about  the  interference  of  Catholics  in  Uganda  and  the  reluctant  of  Kabaka Mutesa who  did  not  allow  them  in  Later  on  after  the  arrival  of  the  Germans  under  Karl  Peters  in  East  Africa, the  Catholic  missionaries  preferred  Uganda  to  be  in  the  hands  of  the  Germans  and  not  the  British  Anglican  missionaries. Therefore they supported  the  Germans  under  Karl  Peter  to  sign  a  treaty  with  Kabaka Mutesa. This led  to  stiff  conflict  between Britain, France  and  German  hence  partition  of  East  Africa.
  3. Early Belgian Empire at Congo. There was  early  establishment  of  Belgian  Empire  by  king  Leopard  II  from  the  lower  Congo  to  the  coast  of  East  King  Leopard  wanted  to  expand  his  Empire  from  lower  Congo  to  the  coast   of  East  Africa. This  antagonized  the  British  and  Germans  who  were  already  in  the  region  hence  partition  of  East  Africa.
  4. The arrival of Karl Peters in East Africa. Karl Peters arrived  in  East  Africa  in  the  1880’s  to  sign  treaties  with  African  local  This jeopardized  the  British  interest  in  Africa, something  which  led  to  the  partition  of  East  Africa.
  5. Economic strategies of East Africa. Presence of  economic  strategies  like  lakes  and  source  of  River  Nile  attracted  both  the  Germans  and  the  This  led to  intensive  controversy, something  which  resulted  into  partition  of  East  Africa.
  6. Presence of Treaties. Both the  Germans  and  British  had  signed  different  treaties  with  Africans  rulers  in  the  region  up  to  These  treaties  resulted  into  contradiction  between  IBEACO  and  GEACO  officials  a  thing  which  resulted  to  partition  of  East  Africa.
  7. Investment (influence) in East Africa. East Africa had been  invested  by  Europeans  mainly  the  British  even  before  the  Berlin  e.g. Abolition  of  Slave trade  in  Zanzibar  and  the  establishment  of  Mission  centers. This led to the division of East Africa after the arrival of German.


The partition process of  East  Africa  began  in  the  Berlin  conference ( 1884 – 1885)  and  it  was   completed  with  the  partition  between  Germany  and  Britain  which  took  place  between1886s – 1890s. The  partition  between  German  and  Britain  was  completed  in  two  stages  of  agreement  between  them.

In East Africa, there was stiff antagonism between:

  • Germany
  • Britain
  • Sultan of Zanzibar


The two stages in the partition of East Africa were: –

  1. Anglo – Germany agreement (1886)
  2. Anglo – Germany agreement (1890)


It was an agreement (treaty) between Germany and Britain and the Sultan of Zanzibar the area of East Africa.


  1. Presentation of treaty by Karl Peters. On 5th Feb 1885, Karl Peters presents his treaty to Bismarck and President Kaiser William I in Berlin. Then he  was  granted  a  charter ( imperial)  that  stated  that “ any  area  visited  by  him  was  to  come  under  German  colonization, hence  led  to  formation of  Therefore, this  led  to  stiff  contradiction  with  IBEACO  who  claimed  that  East  Africa  was  its  area  of  influence hence, Delimitation  Treaty.
  2. German recognition of Karl Peter’s treaty. The Sultan  appealed  to  Sir  John  Kirk ( A British  Consul  in  South Africa) for  This led to the Anglo – German treaty of
  3. Companies interference. The British and German  companies  interfered  each  other  especially  in  commerce  and  treaty  making, hence Anglo – German  treaty  of


The Anglo German agreement (1886) had the following resolutions: –

  1. German and Britain recognized  the  Sultan  spheres  of  influence which were to be Zanzibar, Pemba, Lamu, Mogadishu, Brava, Mafia and  10  miles  of  the  coastal
  2. Germany and British spheres  of  influences  were  to  be  divided  by  Lake
  3. The territory of Britain was  to  expand  northward  to  Tana  River
  4. The territory of Germany  was  to  expand  South  wards  to  Ruvuma  River
  5. Britain agreed to support German’s claims to establish a custom -house at Dar es Salaam.
  6. Britain agreed to recognize Germany possession of Witu (a small market town in the Lamu County of Kenya, East Africa. Formerly it was the capital of the Witu Sultanate)


Refers to the second German agreement with the Britain over East Africa. The treaty was signed in 1890. The  treaty  was  held  due  to  various  contradictions  that  arose  after  the  delimitation  treaty. The main contradictions were Germany possession of Witu and the 10 miles coastal strip of the Sultan.


  1. German wanted to establish a protectorate in Zanzibar  and  eliminate
  2. German wanted  to  occupy  the  island  of  Helgoland  in  the  North  She  wanted  to  establish  a  naval  base.
  3. A treaty between  Kabaka Mwanga  and  Karl    In  Jan  1890, Kabaka Mwanga  signed  a  treaty  of  protectorate  with  Karl  Peters  that  placed  Buganda  in  the  hands  of  the  Germans. By  then, Britain  had  already  colonized  Egypt, Britain did  not  want  the  source  of River  Nile  to  be  under  other  powers. This led  to  Anglo – German  agreement  1890.
  4. Britain wanted the  Sultan  to  cede  to  the  Germans  the  10  miles  coasted


  1. The Sultan  agreed  to  cede  the  coastal  strips  to  the  Germans  for  the equivalent  of  two  hundred  thousand
  2. German agreed  to  abandon  all  claims  of  Witu  island ( North  of  Britain  sphere)
  3. Tanganyika mainland, Uhutu  and  Utusi  become  German  sphere  of  influence
  4. Zanzibar, Pemba, Kenya and  Uganda  become  British  sphere  of


  1. Dar es Salaam  and  Mombasa  become  important  main  ports  linked  by  railways
  2. From 1890  and  1894  Zanzibar  and  Uganda  were  under  British  control
  3. Tanganyika was  under  German  rule  by  1900
  4. German bought  the  coastal  strip  from  the  Zanzibar
  5. These treaties culminated  colonialism  in  East


  • Congo Free State (Belgian Congo) Now is called or known as Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
  • Ruanda (Rwanda) and Urundi (Burundi) since 1922 – 1962.


  2. French West Africa.
  • Mauritanian (b) Senegal (c) Gambia ( 1681 – 1857) (d) French Sudan ( Mali) (e) French  Guinea ( Guinea) (f) Cot  d’ Ivory ( Ivory  coast) (g) Niger (h) French  upper  Volta  ( Burkina  Faso) (i)French  Dahomey ( Benin) (j)French  Togoland( Togo)
  1. French Equatorial Africa
  • Gabon (b) French Cameroon (1922- 1960) (c) French Congo (Republic of Congo) (d) Oubangi – Chari (Central African Republic) (e) Chad
  • French North Africa
  • French Algeria (b) French  Protectorate  of  Tunisia (c) French  Morocco
  1. French East  Africa
  • Madagascar (b) Comoro (c) Re-Union Island (d) Seychelles.
  • German Kameron (Cameroon) (b) German East Africa (Ruanda, Burundi and Tanganyika from1885 – 1919) (c) German South  – Western  Africa  ( 1884 – 1915) (d) German  Togoland ( Togo  1884 – 1915).
  • Portuguese West Africa  ( Anglo) (b) Portuguese  East  Africa ( Mozambique) (c) Portuguese  Guinea ( Guinea – Bissau) (d) Cape  Verde (e) Sao  Tome  principle
  • Egypt, Anglo – Egyptian Sudan (Sudan) (b) British East Africa (Kenya colony, Uganda and Zanzibar Protectorate (1920) (c) Bechuanaland ( Botswana) (d) Southern  Rhodesia ( Zimbabwe) (e) Northern  Rhodesia ( Zambia) (f) British  South  Africa (g) South – Western  Africa ( Namibia – 1915) (h) Sierra  Leone (i)British  West  Africa(Nigeria and British  Gold  Coast ( Ghana) (j) Cameroon ( 1922 – 1960) (k) Nyasaland ( Malawi) (l) Basutoland ( Lesotho) (m) Swaziland.



Refers  to  the   situation  whereby  one  powerful  nation  extend  its  influence  over  the  weaker  nation politically, economically  and  socially.


Refers to  the  situation  whereby  one  nation  dominate  another  country politically, economically, socially  and  ideologically.


Refers to the administration system which was established by colonialists in Africa soon after the establishment of colonial rule.

It    is an administration by colonialists in Africa colonies after the Berlin conference in 1886.

Soon after the Berlin conference, European powers struggled to establish their rule (administration) in their spheres    of influence.

The establishment of colonial rule was aimed at creating total colonial control in African colonies so as to safe guard the colonial interests.


In Africa colonial rule passed into two phases which were as follows:

  1. Chartered Company Administration
  2. Colonial Government/ State


Refers to an association formed by investors or stake holders for the purpose of doing trade, exploration and colonizing colonies.

Historically chartered companies were  formed  by  investors  who  gave  this task  to  the  traders  and  explorers  in  Africa  to  operate  trade  and  commerce  for  profit  maximization.

After being formed, they were granted/ given charter/ legal identification by their mother countries that identified them as official companies which were to represent the interests of the metropolitan. This is why they became known as Chartered Companies.

Before establishing colonial government, European powers  gave  chartered  companies  the  task  of  establishing  an  administration  with  the  purpose  of  seizing, colonizing  and  administering  the  virgin  African  territories.

Also  they  were  to  safeguard  the  interests  of  the  metropolitan. These  companies operated  in  those  areas  where  their  mother  nations  had  economic  interest.


After the Berlin conference, East Africa came under control of two European powers, these were Germany and Britain. Therefore, the companies, which were operating in those colonies, come from those countries, involved: –

  • Germany East Africa Company (G.E.A.CO)
  • The imperial British East African Company (I.B.E.A.CO)


This was  an  organization  established  at  the  start  of  the  Germany  colonization  of East  Africa. The company  in short, was  responsible for  the  activities  in  the  new colony (German East Africa) such as setting  up  leadership (administration), future  explorations, development  of the  region etc.


It  was  founded  in  1885  after  presentation  of  a  treaty  by  Karl  Peters  in  Berlin  in Feb  1885. It  was  official  identified  in  1887.It  was succeeded  by  the  German  government  in  1891. It  established  Bagamoyo  as  their  colony’s  capital  but  soon  moved  it  to  Dar  es  Salaam.


The founder  was  Karl  Peters  who  was  the  most  significant  figure  in  the  establishment  of  the  company.

The  company  generally, played  a  big  role  in  signing  treaties  with  African  chiefs  in  East Africa. The  company  was  also  involved  in  the  partition  of  East  Africa  where  two  treaties  were  involved  i.e. Delimitation  Treaty ( 1886) and Helgoland Treaty ( 1890). Karl  Peters  also  signed  treaties  with  chiefs  like Chief  of  Usagara, Chief  of  Uzigua, Chief  of  Ukamietc


It was a Commercial association formed so as  to  develop  African  trade  in  the  areas  controlled  by  the  British  Colonial  power  in  East  Africa.

The origin  of  I.B.E.A.CO  can  be  traced  back  to 1856  when  William  Mackinnon  formed  a  steam  ship  service  in Indian  Ocean. In  1862, it was  renamed  as  the  British  Indian  Steam  Navigation  where  in  1886, it  was  given  an  imperial  charter, and  thus  it  became  known  as  I.B.E.A.CO

In  1888, Sir  William  Mackinnon  and  I.B.E.A.CO  were  authorized  to  serve  as  administrator  of  East  Africa  Protectorate ( Kenya) which  was  the  area of  influence  of  British  East  Africa. Generally the  company  represented  and  defended  the  British  interest  in  East  Africa.


In West Africa  there  were  various  chartered  companies  that were  operating  for the  interests  of  their  mother  countries  in  Europe.

These companies were as follows:-


This  was  a  British  Mercantile  Company  that  involved  in  Commercial  activities  in  West  Africa  in  the  19th  c  for  the  interest  of  Britain. It  was  formed  by  George  Goldie  in  1879  as  the  United  African  Company  and  it  was  renamed  as  the  National  African  Company ( NAC) in  1881.

The  company  became  known  as  Royal  Niger  Company (RNC)  in  1886  July  when  the  British  government  granted  it  a  charter  and  Lord  Aberdare  became  governor  while  George  Goldie  became  Vice – governor.

The  Company  dealt  with  trade, negotiating  treaties  with  African  Chiefs  and  defending  the  British  interests  which  were  in  jeopardy  from  the  Germans  and  French. The  Company  existed  for  a  comparatively  short  time (1879 – 1900) but  was  instrumental  in  the  formation  of  Colonial  Nigeria.


This was  a  German  Chartered  Company  formed  so  as to  safeguard the  interests  of  German  and  represents  the  interests  of  German  in  West  Africa. The company was established in 1885 and given a charter to represent Germany interest in West Africa.

The company operated in Cameroon and Togoland and it influenced Germany to colonize the two countries in West Africa.


The companies that were operating in this region were as follows:


This was the British chartered company formed by Cecil Rhodes in order to represent Britain in Southern Africa. The company was formed in 1884 and given a charter to operate in Southern Africa.

The company operated in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Malawi and Zambia and generally influenced Britain to colonize those areas.


Qn. Discuss the roles played by chartered companies towards total colonization in Africa.

Qn. In which ways the chartered companies influenced colonialism in Africa.

Qn. Why European colonial powers transferred the task of establishing colonial administration to their chartered companies?

Signing of treaties

The company had a task to sign different treaties that would enable their nations to colonize areas in Africa. For examples, a treaty between BSACO and King Lobengula of Matebelele and on 3rd October 1888. Also a treaty between GEACO and Chief Magungo of Msovero in 1884.

Suppressing African Resistances

It was a duty of the companies to suppress all resistances in Africa which were against colonial rule. For examples, GEACO suppressed Hehe Resistance in Tanganyika, IBEACO suppressed Nandi Resistance in Kenya etc.

Abolition of Slave Trade

The Chartered Companies also involved  much  in  the  abolition  of  Slave  trade  in  They  abolished  Slave  trade  in order  to establish  a  new  trade  called  Legitimate  trade  which  emphasized  an  exchange  of  goods  and  not  slaves.

Exploitation of African Resources

The companies carried  out  import  and  export  activities  in order  to  exploit  the  African  resources  particularly  minerals  for  the  industries  in  the  metro  For  example  the  B.S.A.CO  ensured  the  exploitation  of  minerals  in  South Africa, Botswana  and  Zimbabwe

Establishment of Chartered  Companies  also  played  a  big  role  in  establishing  and developing  economic  infrastructures  such  as  roads  , railways  and  ports  so  as  to  ensure  inports  and  export. For  example, G.E.A.CO  established  the  Central  Railway  Line  in  Tanganyika  which  was  constructed  from  1893 to 1905 – 1914, I.B.E.A.CO started  the  construction  of  a  railway  line  from Uganda   to  Kisumu in 1896.

 Protecting the Boundaries of Colonies

Chartered Companies  also  protected  the  boundaries  of  their  colonies  by  preventing  other  rival  powers  from  occupying  For  example: In  East  Africa  G.E.A.CO ( Germany)  signed  the  agreement  of  1886  to  resolve  boundaries  conflict  between  the  two powers.

Exploring the Hinterland of Africa

The companies  were  responsible  for  exploring  the  interior  of Africa  and  the  resources  The information  brought  by  those  companies  fueled  the  process of  colonization  of  Africa. For example the Royal Niger Company (RNC) explored Nigeria, Niger and Ghana for the future colonization by the British.

Generating Funds

Chartered Companies  also  were  responsible  in  generating  fund  through  commercial  activities  so  as  to  finance  their  administrative  activities  and  For  example, the  Mozambique  Company  by  the  Portuguese  in  Mozambique  formed  a  private  bank ( Banco  de  Beira) in  Beira  in  order  to run  different  colonial  projects.



Qn. Examine the factors behind the decline of Chartered Company rule in Africa.

Qn. Why Chartered Company administration in Africa did not live longer.

Company rule did not meet their responsibilities, they achieved very few objectives contrary to what was expected by their mother countries. In 1900’s many Companies did not  continue  with  their  administration  and  therefore  they  transferred  all  their  political  administrative  rights  to  the  governments  in their  mother  countries.


There  were  several  reasons  which  led  to  the  failure  of  the  Chartered Companies  in  Africa as follows:

  1. Financial problems. Many of the Chartered Companies later on ran bankrupt. The bankrupt was  due  to  the  fact  that home  government  did not  support  much  the  /company  Also  the  Companies  had  many  responsibilities  to  fulfill, for  example  Suppressing  resistances  and  construction  of  infrastructures. Generally, this led to failure of these Companies.
  2. African resistances. The Companies also faced many resistances from the natives. This was  due  to  the fact  that, Africans  were  not  happy  with  the  presence  of  the  For  example  G.E.A.CO  faced  a Stiff resistance  from  the  Coastal  people  led  by  Abushiri  and  Bwana Heri  in  1888 – 1889. Also  I.B.E.A.CO  faced  stiff resistance  from  the  Nandi  in  Kenya. This contributed to the failure of the companies.
  3. Lack of Experienced and skilled administrators. The companies recruited most of the staff outside East  Africa  without  much  regard  of  their  experience  and  Also,  much of  the  Company  officials  and  traders  were  less  competent  in  their  responsibilities  hence  failure  of  Company  rule.
  4. Presence of tropical diseases. This limited the penetration of the company officials to reach the interior. For example Malaria killed  many  E.A.CO  and  I.B.E.CO  officials  something  which  resulted  into shortage  of  officials  hence failure  of  the  companies.
  5. Language problem (barrier). There was language barrier between Africans and the Company Officials. It was difficult  to  communicate  between  the  two  groups( Africans  and  Europeans) as  each  group  found  the  language  of  other  being  Hence, decline of Company rule.
  6. Lack of transport and communication facilities. This was  another  problem  that  faced  Chartered  Company  administration  to  the  interior  was  not  easy  as  some  area  lacked  good  and  variable  transport  This made  the exploitation  of  resources  and  administration  in  general  to  become  difficult. Hence, decline of Company rule.
  7. Harsh Climatic Condition (Bad climatic condition). The climatic  condition  of  various  parts  of  Africa  was  not conductive  to  Europeans. For example in  East  Africa  the  climate  was  not  friendly and favarable to  Company Officials  hence  failure  of  Company’s
  8. Insufficient knowledge about Africa. Most of  the  Company  Officials  lacked  sufficient  knowledge  about  the  areas  where  the  companies  were  For instance, the  I.B.E.A.CO  Officials  were  not  sure  on  the  navigability  of  some  rivers  such  as  River  Tana  and  Juba
  9. Maltreatment of the natives. In some areas, the company rule over exploited and harassed badly the indigenous. The maltreatment of  the  companies  created  hostility  with  Africans, something  which  led  to  stiff  For  example Karl Peters (G.E.A.CO)  was  nicknamed  as “Mikono ya Damu” by  the  natives  in  East  Africa  due  to  his  brutality. He  therefore  faced  a lot  of  resistances  and  dislike  until  his  dismissal.


The  colonial  powers  used  various  methods  or  tactics  in  imposing  their  colonial  rule  in  Africa. Those  methods  depended  on  nature  of  the  Africans in  a  particular  area  and  the  response  from  the  Africans. There  were  different  factors  which  determined  the  method  to  be  used  in  imposing  colonial  rule.


There  were  different  factors  that  determined  the  type  of  method  which  was  to  be  used  by  colonialists  in  imposing  their  colonial  rule in  Africa. Some of  these  factors  are  as  follows

Centralized states with strong leaders.

Some  areas  in  Africa  had  centralized  political  system  with  strong  leaders  who  were  not  ready  to  accept  colonial  rule. In  those  areas, colonialists  employed  military  force  and  conquest. For examples King  Jaja  of  Opobo  in  Nigeria, Mkwawa  of  Uhehe  Chiefdom, King  Lobengula  of  Matebele land etc.

Traditional conflicts between Africans.

Some  African societies  had  tribal  conflicts  with  each  others. This  made  colonialists  to  employ  collaboration method  where  they  sided  with one  of  the  societies  in conflict  in order  to  defeat  the  other  society. For  example: The  Germans  collaborated  with  the  Bena  and  Sangu  against  the  Hehe, The  British  collaborated  with  King  Lenana  of  Maasai  against  his  brother  Sendeyo, Chief  Lewanika  of  Rwozi  Kingdom  collaborated  with  the  British  against  other  parts  of  Central  Africa  which  were  a  threat  to  him etc.

Weaker societies.

In areas with  weaker  societies, colonialists  used  treaties  of protection  and  claimed  to  make  friendship  between  them  and  African  chiefs. A good example, By 1885, Kari Peters  had  already  made  twelve  treaties  with  Chief  of Usagara, Uzigua etc.

Society problems.

Some  societies  had  various  problems  like  diseases, drought  and  shortage  of food. Colonialists  decided  to  use  diplomacy  and  collaboration as  a  method  to  impose  their  colonial rule.A  good  example  was  the  Maasai  under  Lenana  who  collaborated  with  the  colonialists  due  to  rinder  pests and  drought.

The Nature of African Society.

Some  societies  in  Africa  were  very  reluctant and  did  not  easily  want  to  be  under  colonialists. This  made  colonialists  to apply  the  use  of  force  and  gun  boat  diplomacy  to  intimidate  them. For  example, The  British  applied  gun – boat  diplomacy  against  King  Jaja  of  Opobo, The  British  also  applied  this  method  in  Kenya  to  conquer  the  Nandi.


Treaty Making (Diplomacy).

Through  this  method, African  chiefs  signed bogus treaties  with  Colonial  agents  deliberately. African  chiefs  did  not  understand  the  details  of  those  treaties  something  which  led  to colonial  rule.

Military force (Conquest).

This  method  was  used  in  those  societies  that  attempted  to  oppose  colonial  rule. Many  African  societies  were not  ready  to  be  under  colonial  rule  therefore, they  were  conquered  by  the  colonialists  by  using  military  methods. A good example were the  Mandika, Hehe, Yao and  the  Nyamwezi

Divide and rule technique.

It  was  a  method  used  by  colonialists  to divide  the  Africans  and  weakening  their  unity. The  colonialists  used  the  existing  conflicts  between Africans  so  as  to magnify  the  differences. The  weak  societies  were  supported  by  colonialists  against  their  rivals, for  example, The  British  instigated  disunity  between  the  Buganda  and  Bunyoro  people, The  French  created  and  magnified  disunity  between  Mandika  people  and  Toklar  people etc.

Gun boat diplomacy.

It  was  a  method  aimed  at  creating  a  sense  of  fear ( intimidation)  among  Africans. Colonialists  exposed  their  military  weapons  publically  so  as  to  create  psychological  fear  among  Africans  and  making  them  withdraw  their  intention  of  resisting  colonial rule.This  was  used  to  conquer  Jaja  of  Opobo  and  the  Nandi  by  the  British.

Through  this  method, European  allied  or  collaborated  with  a  group  of  Africans  which could  defend  their  interest  against  another  group.In  most  case, they  allied  with  weaker  society  so  as  to  occupy  the  strong  society. For  example, this  was  applied  by  the  British  who  collaborated  with  Semei Kakunguru  so  as  to  conquer  Eastern  Uganda.


African  societies  did  not  keep  silent  at   time  of  imposition  of  Colonial  rule. Africans reacted  differently  and vigorous  to  the  imposition  of  colonial  rule. There  were  three  forms  of  African  reactions ( responses)  towards  imposition  of  colonial  rule.


African Resistance

Resistance  refers  to  an  opposition  or  disagreement  of  a  certain  matter. African  resistances  refers to  different  oppositions of reactions  that  were  taken  by  African  Society  towards  the  imposition  of  colonial  rule  in their  localities. Many  African  resistances  historically  occurred during  the establishment  of colonial  rule  after  the  Berlin  Conference. But  these  resistances ( reactions) took place  in  three  forms:

  1. Active Resistance
  2. Passive Resistance
  3. Adaptation (Collaboration)


This was a response where the Africans resisted actively by showing of military opposition. In this form, Africans took their weapons  to  fight  against  colonial  encroachment  in  their  localities. However, active  resistances  were  divided  into  two  groups

  1. Small – Scale Resistance
  2. Large – Scale Resistance


This refer  to  the  resistance  whereby  the  local  community  armies  or  traditional  leaders  of a  certain  ethnic  group resisted  against  colonial  rule. In  other  words, it  was  an  active  resistance  that  covered  a  small  area  involving one  tribe  or  two. A  good  example of  Small  Scale  Resistance  included Nyamwezi  Resistance, Hehe Resistance, Samore Toure  Resistance, Yao  Resistance, Nandi  Resistance  etc.


It was  a resistance  which  involved  more  than  one  ethnic  group ( tribe). This  is  where  ethnic  groups  joined  together  to  fight  against  Colonial  rule. A  good  example was Majimaji resistance  in  Tangayika, Nama and  Herero  resistance  in  Namibia, Shona  and Ndebdele ( Chimurenga Uprising)  in  Zimbabwe etc.

Sometimes, this type  of  resistance  is named  as  Secondary  resistance. This  type  of  active  resistance  was   common  among  societies  which  accommodated  colonialism  at  the  beginning  but  later  decide  to resist  after  being  subjected  to  colonial  exploitation  and  oppression.


This  was  the  type  of  resistance  where  Africans  did not  involve  the  use  of  arms  to  fight  and  did  not  cooperate  with  the  colonizers. In  other  words, Africans  did  not  do  anything ( to  resist  or  cooperate) with  the  colonizers. What  these  Africans  did, was  to  resist  to  participate  in  the  colonial  activities  and payment  of  taxes  but  not  imposition of  Colonial  rule  in  their  areas.

This  was  done  by  most  of  the  smaller  societies  in  Africa  which  could  not  unite  and  oppose  the Encroachment  of  colonial  rule.


In this  type  or  response, since  African  chiefs  welcomed  the  Europeans, assisted  them  to  consolidate their  colonial  rule and  sometimes  they  allied  with  the  colonizers  to  conquer  the  neighboring  societies. A  good  example  of  African  Chiefs  who  collaborated  with  the  Colonizers  includes: Chief  Lewanika  of  Rwozi  Kingdom, Chief  Mareale  of Kilimanjaro, Mumia  of  Kenya, SemeiKakunguru  in  Uganda, ApoloKagwa  in  Uganda etc.


There  were  various  reasons  why  some  Africans  Chiefs  and  Individuals  collaborated  with  the  colonizers  during  the  imposition  of  colonialism. Some  of  those  reasons  were  as  follows:

Expectations of Africans.

Some Africans were ignorant  of  the  colonizers  ambitions. They  hoped  to  be  protected  by  the  colonialists  against  their  rivals  to  revenge  against  their enemies. This  made  them  collaborate  with  colonizers. For  example, The  Sangu  collaborated  with  the  Germans  against  the  Hehe  who  were  attacking  them  everyday

Physical Factors.

Factors  like  diseases, drought  and  shortage  of  food  made  some  societies  to  collaborate  with  the  colonizers For  example, the Maasai  by  the  time  of  Colonial  intrusion  were  seriously  affected  by  Cholera, rinderpest  which  killed  their  cattle  and  weak  economy. This  made  them  to  collaborate. Also  the  Haya , Ankole  and  Ha  were  seriously  affected  by  jiggers  something  which  made  them  not  to  react  militarily, instead  they  decided  to  collaborate.

Individual interests.

Some  Africans  Chiefs  wanted  to defend  their  economic  and  political  positions. Therefore  they  decided  to  collaborate  with  colonizers  fearing  that  the  whites  would  remove  them  from powers.

The role played by Missionaries.

The  penetration  of  missionaries  and  their  preaching  made  the  Africans  to  refrain  from  resisting  and  decided  to  collaborate. Fighting  was  regarded  as  a  sign  of  backwardness  according  to  the  missionaries. Also  fighting  was  considered  to  be  against  Christians  beliefs.

Presence of Traditional conflicts.

Some  African  Societies  had  internal  conflicts  with  each  other’s  whish  were  traditionally. Therefore  Africans  tended  to  welcome  Europeans  as  allies  against  their  rivals  for  political  domination. A  good  example  Chief  Lenana  of  Maasai  against  his  brother  Sendeyo.

The Desire of wealth.

Africans  also collaborated  with  colonialists  as  they  hoped  to  gain  more  wealth  from. This  was  due  to  the  fact  that  Europeans  had many  luxurious  goods  which  attracted  many  Africans. A  good  example  was  Apollo  Kagwa  in  Uganda.

The need to participate in colonial government.

African  Chiefs also collaborated  with  the  colonizer  because  they hoped  that  colonialists  would  include  them  in  their colonial  governments. A good  example  was  Semei Kakunguru  In  Uganda


There  were  several  reasons  why  Africans  resisted  against  the  imposition  of  colonial  rule  In  their areas. Africans  reacted  against  the  imposition  of  colonial  rule  due  to  the  following  reasons.

The desire to protect their culture.

Some  societies  in  Africa  resisted  because they  wanted  to  preserve  their  religion  and culture.In  some parts  of  Africa, Islamic  culture  was  deeply  rooted  and  was  accepted  as  a  society  religion.For  instance the  Coastal people  in  Tanganyika  resisted  against  the   Germans  in  East  Africa  due   to  religious  motives.Germans  who  were  Christians  seemed  to  jeopardize  the  interests  of the  Muslims.Therefore  Abushiri  and  Bwana  Heri  led  the  Coastal  people  in  resisting  against  the  Germans  for  this  reason.

They wanted to protect their land.

Some  African  societies resisted  because  they  wanted to  protect  their  economic  interests  such  as  land.For  instance: the Nandi, Shona  and  Ndebele  and  the  MajiMaji  uprisings  were  waged  so  as  to  protect  the  economic  interests  of  the  people  in  those  areas.

They wanted to defend Social and Political Sovereignty.

Some  African chiefs  resisted  against  colonial  rule  because  they  realized  that, their  power  and  position  would  be  destroyed  after  the  arrival  of colonizers.For  exampleSamoreToure  of  the Mandika  empire, Mkwawa  of Hehe, Kabarega  of  Bunyoro  etc.

They wanted to prove their strongest in political and military.

Other  societies  fought  because  they  believed  to  be  politically and  militarily  strong. Worse enough, they  were  ignorant  of the  European  military  capability.They  had  an  experience  of  war  in  their  localities, which made  them  to  be  confident  for any  fight.A  good  example  were: SamoreToure  of  Mandika  Empire, believed that  his  forces  could  defeat  the French, The  Nandi in  Kenya  believed  to  be  strong  enough  to  defeat I.B.E.A.CO  forces etc.

They wanted to preserve their trade monopolies.

In other areas  the  chiefs  mobilized  their  people  to resist  so as  to  preserve  their  trade  monopolies. Some  societies  had  a  big  monopoly  on  trade  that  was  conducted  in  their  areas for  example, The  Yao  and  the  Nyamwezi  had  a  strong  hold  to  the  East  African  Long  distance  trade, therefore  they  resisted  the Germans  due  to  this  reason, King  Jaja  of  Opobo and  Asante  people  of  West  Africa  fought  against  the  British  for  the  purpose  of  safeguarding  their  economic  interests( trade) etc.

They resisted because of their ideology (belief).

Other societies fought because  of  their  belief  that  cultivate ( instilled) the  sense  of unity  and  confidence  to  them. For  example, the  MajiMaji  was  fueled  by  the use  of  the  magic  water  in  which  the  people  built  confidence  that  it  could  enable  them  to  win  the  war. This  was  due  to  the  people  beliefs  that  once  the  whites  attempted  to  shoot  them, the  bullets  would  turn  into water. This  made  them  to  have confidence  and  resist the  Germans.

They resisted because of Colonial exploitation and oppression.

Africans united to  resist  against  the  foreigners due  to  Colonial  exploitation and  oppression. Africans  were  not  happy  with  taxation, forced labor, land  alienation  and  cattle  confiscation. For  example, the  MajiMaji  resistance in  Tanganyika  and  the  Nama  and  Herero  resistance  in  Namibia  were  both  fueled  by  colonial  exploitation  and  oppression.



It  was  a  resistance  waged  by  the  Coastal  people in  Tanganyika  against the  Germans. The  coastal  people  were  led  by  Abushiri  and  Bwana  Hery, it  was  the  earliest  resistance  in Tanganyika. Abushiri  bin Salim  had  his  headquarters  at  Pangani. The  trouble  started  on  August  8th  1888  when  the  Germans  arrived  to establish  themselves  along  the  Coast. The  Coastal  people  under  Abushiri  rioted  and  refused/ protested  the  existence  of  the  German  flag in  their  area.

The  war  later  on  spread  to  Bagamoyo, Tanga, Mikindani and  Kilwa  and  it  also  reached  Pangani. Bwana Heri, the  ruler  of  the  Zigua  joined  his  force  together  in  that  war. The  Germans  sent  Von  Weismann to  suppress  the  resistance. The  Germans  recruited  mercenaries  to  assist them  in  suppressing  the  resistance. These  involved  the  Zulu, Turkish, Nubians  and  Somalis.

Von Weismann captured  Pangani  and  other  Coastal  towns  in 1889. Abushiri  was  defeated  and  escaped  , but  he  was  captured  by  the  Germans  after  being  betrayed  by  JumbeMagaya  of  Usagara. He  was  hanged  at  Bagamoyo  on  December  15th  1889.

Also  the  people  of  Kilwa  organized  the  resistance  in  1894. They  were  led  by  Hassan  bin  Makunganya  who  led  the  people  of  Kilwa  to  fight  against  the Germans.

The  resistance  did  not  last  longer  as  Makunganya  was  captured  and  hanged  on  November  15  1895  on  a  mango  tree ( MwembeKunyonga)


This  was  a  resistance  that  was  waged  by  the  Hehe  under  Chief  Mkwawa (Mkwanyika) to  fight  against  the  Germans  at  Uhehe. The  Hehe  Resistance  was  a  remarkable  war  in  the  German  history  as  far  as  the  colonization  of  Tanganyika  is  concern. This  is  because  the  war  took  a  long  time  than  other  resistances  that  faced  Germany  in  Africa.

Mkwawa  fought  the  Germans  in order  to  safeguard  his  political  and  economic  interests. This  was  due  to the  fact  that, the  German  traders  interfered  the  trade   in  his  area.

Mkwawa  decided  to  block  the  trade  caravans  which  were  passing  in  his  area. This  tendency  provoked  the  Germans  who decided  to  react  against  Mkwawa. At  the  beginning, Mkwawa  wanted  to make  compromise  with  the  Germans  as  he  sent  delegates  to meet  the  Germans  Officials  who  were  at  the, however  the German  killed  those  delegates.

This  made  Mkwawa  to  respond  in  the  same  way  where  in  1891, he  killed  German  Commander  Emily Von  Zelewiksy  and  hi  soldiers. Therefore  the  Germans  were  seriously  defeated  in  the  first  attack.

The  Germans  reorganized  for  another attack  where  in  1894  they  attacked  Uhehe  and  managed  to  capture  Kalenga, which  was  Mkwawa’s  capital.The  war  continued  for  four  years  until  1898  when  the  Hehe  succumbed  to  the  German  colonial  rule.

However, Mkwawa  could  not  accept  the  same  of  surrendering,  he  shot  himself. The  German  soldier  found  Mkwawa  already  dead  and  decided  to  cut  off  his  head  and  took  it  to  Germany.


It  was  a  small – scale  resistance  waged  by  the  Nyamwezi  in Western  Tanganyika. The  resistance  took  place  between  1891  and  1893.The  Nyamwezi  people  were  led  by  Isike  to  fight  against  the  German  colonial  rule. Isike  led  the  Nyamwezi  people  to  defend  his political  sovereignty  and  economic  interests.

The  Germans  threatened  his  position, as  they  wanted  to  control  the  Long  distance  which  was  the  backbone  of  Isike’s  economy. The  Nyamwezi  fought  bravely  and  managed  to  resist  the  German’s  attacks. However  in  1893  the  Nyamwezi  were  defeated  and  Isike  decided  to  shoot  himself  rather  than  being  captured  by  the  Germans.

THE YAO RESISTANCE (1890 – 1899)

This  was  a  resistance  undertaken  by  the  Yao  under  the  leader, Machemba  to  fight  against  the  Germans. This  occurred  after  introduction of hut  tax  by  the  Germans  but  the  Yao  refused  to  pay  the hut  tax.

The  Germans  decided  to  attack  them  but  at  the  initial  stage, Machemba  won  the  Germans  attempts. In  1899, the Germans  sent  an  ultimatum  which  forced  him  to  surrender  out  Machemba  refused  and  continued  to  resist  the  German  Colonial   rule.

Therefore  in July  1889, the  Germans  decided  to  apply  their  Military  force  and  as  a  result  they  occupied  Machemba’ s  fort  and  imprisoned  his  followers. Machemba  himself  had  no  any  other  choice  rather  than  escaping  to  Mozambique.

NANDI RESISTANCE (1895) – 1905)

Refer  to  the  resistance  that  was  waged  by  the  Nandi  people  in  Kenya  against  the  I.B.E.A.CO ( The  British  Colonial  rule). The  Nandi  resisted  the  British  intrusion  under  their  leader  Koitalel Arap Samoei. The  title  of  the  Nandi  leader  was  called “ Orkoiyot” Traditionally, the  Nandi  were  pastoralists.

During the  19th  c  the Nandi  became  superior  as  they  managed  to  win  different  battles  with  their  neighboring  societies  such  as  the  Maasai. The  Nandi  grew  more  powerful  as  the  Maasai  power  declined. Therefore, during  the  advent  of  British  Colonial  rule, the  Nandi  resisted  strongly  against  the  British penetration. They  did  not  allow  Europeans  even  to  cross  their  territory. In  1895, they  killed a  British  trader  named  West  as  he  attempted  to  pass  through  their  land. This  awakened  the  British  to  start  fighting  the  Nandi.


The Construction of railway.

The I.B.E.A.CO  started  to construct  the  railway  line  which  was  to  pass  through the  Nandi’s  land. This  railway  line  made  the  Nandi  to  start  resisting  because  the  railway  interfered  their  daily  activities  and  culture.

Land problem.

The  construction  of  the  railway  had  impact  on the  Nandi  people. The  Nandi  were  removed  from  their  land  as  the  British  wanted  to  create  vacant  land  for  whites  settlement. This  made  the  Nandi  not  to  continue  with  pastoral  activities  hence  resistance  against  the  British.

The Nandi resistance.

The  Nandi  believed  that  they  were  superior  as  they  had  experienced  different  wars  with  their  neighbors  and  won  them. They  believed  that  their  culture  was  superior  and  they  did  not  want  their  culture  to  be  interfered  by  anybody. This  made  them  to  resist  the  British.

Kimnyole’s prophecy.

Kimnyole  was  an  Ex – Orkoiyot. During his  reign, he  had  prophesized  that  Nandi  land  would  one  day  be  ruled  by  the  foreigners. Also  he  added  that  one  day  there  would  come  a long  and  big  snake  from Indian  Ocean  belching  smoke  and  fire. The snake turned to be  the  railway, and  when  the  Nandi  saw  the  construction  of  the  railway  they  started  to  resist  against  the  British.

The need to protect their political freedom.

Koitale Arap Samoei organized the Nandi to resist against the British in order to restore and protect their political freedom. This is due to the fact that, the Nandi did not want to under British Colonial  rule. Although the Nandi resisted heavily the British colonial rule  for  about  10  years , but  they  were  at  last  defeated. It was in  1905  that  the  Nandi  were  defeated  by  the  British.


The British managed to defeat them after killing their leader Koitalel Arap Samoei (Orkoiyot). The  British  Commander, Colonel  Meinertzhagen  visited  the  Nandi  leaders  as  Orkoiyot  came  out  to  greet  his  visitors  he  was  shot  dead  together  with  other  leaders, From  that  moment, the  Nandi  were  removed  to  the  reserves


Massive loss of life.

The Council  of  Elders, the  Orkoiyot  and  the  army  warriors  were  both  killed

Destruction of the Nandi properties.

The  Nandi  villages  and  farms  were  set  on  fire  by  the  British. The  British  also confiscated  a lot  of  cattle  which  belonged  to  the  Nandi.

The Nandi became squatters.

The  Nandi  became  squatters  on  the  white  farms. They  were  employed  as  cheap  laborers

Africans were pushed into reserves and others were left 

Those  who  were  pushed  into the  reserves, were  turned  into  squatters  and  employed  as  cheap  laborers.

Completion of the railway line.

The  defeat  of  the  Nandi  made  the  British  to  continue  with  the  construction  of  the  railway  line  which  in  turn  facilitated  transportation  in  Kenya  and  Uganda  respectively.

British Colonialism.

The  defeat  of  the  Nandi  made  the  British  to  colonize  the  Nandi  country. The  Nandi lost  their  sovereignty.

MAJI MAJI WAR (1905 – 1907)

Refers to  the  war  which  was  waged  by  Southern  Tanganyika  tribes  against  the  German Colonial  rule. It was  the  large – scale  resistance  which  covered  South  – Eastern  part  of  Tanganyika. The  war  involved  several  tribes  including  the  Zaramo, Ngindo,Luguru, Makonde, Matumbi, Mbunga  and  Ngoni  just  to  mention  the  few. This  ethnic groups  joined  together  to  fight  against  Germans  under  the  leadership of  Kinjekitile Ngware  at  the  area  near  Ngalambe  river.

MajiMaji  war  got  its  name  for  the  Swahili  word “ Maji” which  was  used  to  refer  to  magic  water that  was  used  by  KinjekitileNgware  from  Rufiji  River.

He  told  the people  that  after  drinking  and being  washed  by  that  water, the  bullets  of  the  Germans  could  not  harm  anyone, The  German  bullets  could  be  changed  into  water. The  magic  water  gave  the  fighter( Southern  tribes) the  confidence  of  fighting  against  the  Germans.


Africans wanted to defend their political sovereignty.

The Germans invasion interfered the traditional political structures of Southern Tanganyika societies  and  replaced  them  with rulers  such  as  Akidas  and Jumbes. The  Matumbi  for  instance, hated  the  Arab  Akidas  who  the  Germans  gave  power  to rule  on their  behalf. The  Akidas  and  Jumbes  were  very  brutal  hence  MajiMaji  war.

The Introduction of Taxation.

The natives were forced to pay  tax  to  the  colonial government. The  Jumbes  and  Akidas  enforced  the  collection  of taxes  by  using  excessive  force. This  created  a lot  of  embarrassment  to  the  Africans  such  as  beating  men  in front  of  their  wives  and  children. This as  a  result  led  to the  outbreak  of MajiMaji  war

Introduction of Cash crops production.

In 1902 the German governor in  Tanganyika  Julius  Von  Sodden, ordered  that  every  Akida  must  establish  a  cotton  plot  where  the  people  would  come  to  work. The  Africans  faced  hardship  as  they  worked  for  long  time  and  were  low  wages. This eventually led to  MajiMaji  uprising.

Land alienation.

The cotton program was introduced in  African  areas  where  Africans  were  dispossessed  of  their  land  and  in turn  were  made  landless. This situation made Africans  to wage  the  MajiMaji war  so  as  to  restore  their  land.

The character and conduct of Germans.

The  Germans  were  very  harsh, brutal  and  lacked  moral  consideration  and  respect. For  instance, the  Ngindo  complained  on the  German  mercenaries  and  others  on  their  sexual  harassment  and  misbehaving  with  their  wives. This eventually led  to the  MajiMaji  uprising.

Cultural interference.

The  Germans  imposed  the  policy of  destroying  African customs. The African culture  was  disgraced. The  Missionaries  condemned  the  initiation  ceremonies  and  circumcision  and  worse  enough  they  introduced  Christianity  religion. This  as  a  result  led  to  the  MajiMaji  war  so  as  to  restore  the  African  culture.

Good Leadership of Kinjekitile.

KinjekitileNgware  managed  to  join  and  mobilize  several  ethnic  group  magic  water  which  created  unity  among  the  Africans  and  finally  made  them  confident  to  wage  the  MajiMaji  war.


Famine and starvation.

Large famine and starvation broke out among the Africans. This  was  due  to  the  fact  that, the Germans  attacked  the  farms  and grain  stores. It  is  estimated  that  50,000  people  died  due  to famine  caused  by  the  war.

Large scale migration.

Many  Africans  migrated  from  the  areas  which  were  affected  by  the  war. They  were  looking  for  asylum  for  their  survival.

Provided a lesson to the Germans.

The  sacrifice  of  thousands  of  Tanganyikans  killed in  a  war  was an  important  lesson  to  colonizers  that  Africans  were  ready  to  die for  their  country’s  independence.

Provided a foundation for anti – colonial struggles.

MajiMaji  war  acted  as  a  foundation  for  the later  anti – colonial  struggles  in  the  1940’s  and  1950’s.

It inspired other nationalist’s fighters.

MajiMaji  war  inspired    other  nationalists like  MwalimuNyerere  to  unite  all  Tanganyikan  people just  like  what  Kinjekitile  did  in  order  to  fight  for  independence  later  in  1950’s.

Provided a lesson to other Africans.

Other Africans outside Tanganyika were inspired by  Maji Maji  to  unite  together  as  a  way  to  fight  independence. For instance the Kenyans  used  Mau Mau  movements  against  the  British  Colonial  government  in  order to demand  their  independence.

The Germans changed their system of ruling.

The German Colonial government decided to change their system  of  ruling  by  adopting  peaceful  approaches  rather  than  coercive  approaches.


In Central Africa there  were  also various  African  reaction) resistances) against  the  establishment  of  Colonial  rule  in  different  parts  of  the  region. In this region, Africans  also  reacted  in different  ways  against  the  arrival  of  the  colonizers  in  their  localities. Some of  these  were as  follows:


Mashona  and  Matebele  resistance ( Chimurenga  war)  refers  to  the  resistances  which  took  place  in  the  present  day  Zimbabwe  against  the  establishment  of  Colonial  rule.It was  a  reaction  organized  by  the  Mashona  and Matebele  people  against  British  Colonial  rule   in  Zimbabwe ( Southern  Rhodesia) which was  represented by  B.S.A.CO

The  origin  of  Chimurenga  uprising  can be  traced  back  in  1890, where  at  first  the  Whites ( British) who were  under  B.S.A.CO  arrived  in  Mashona    land. The  Shona  people  decided  to  collaborate  with  the  British  as  they  hoped  that, the  British  would  protect  them  against  their  traditional  rivals, the  Ndebele.

But  the  matter  was  not  so. The  Shona  later  on  in  1893  came  to  realize  that  their  interests  were  in  jeopardy  because  the  B.S.A.CO  started  to  monopolize  trade  and  land  in  Masholand. Therefore, in the  same  year  1893, the Shona  decide  to  react  militarily  against  the  British. But  this  was  fruitless  as  the  Shona  were  very  weak  militarily  compared  to  the whites.

Three  years  later, In  April  1896, the  Shona  decided  to join  with  their  traditional  rivals, the  Ndebele  to  make a  joint  uprising  which  came  to  be known   as  Chimurenga  uprising.


Land alienation (Expropriation).

 The B.S.A.CO expropriated the Shona  land  without  consulting  the  local  chiefs. Nearly all the fertile  land  in  Mashona  was  taken  away  and  given  to  the  whites. In other  hand  the  Ndebele  were  turned  to be  squatters  on  European  farms. They  were  required  to  pay  rent  of  labor  for the  use  of  land. This as a result led to  the  outbreak  of  Chimurenga  uprising.

Forced labor.

The B.S.A.CO established policies  which forced/ compelled  Africans  in both  Matebele land  and  Mashonaland  to  supply  labor  in  whites  and  mining. Labor  was recruited  by  armed  forces  or  by  police  forces  something  which  provoked  anger  to  Africans  hence  Chimurenga  Uprising.

Trade monopoly.

 The Chimurenga Uprising was also due to the British South African Company (B.S.A.CO) which interfered and  monopolized  the  trade  patterns  of  the  Shona  and  Ndebele. The  Shona for long  time  had  established  a  mutual  trade  relationship  with the  Portuguese  in  which  they  obtained  arms  and  a  variety  of  goods  at  low  price. The  B.S.A.CO  attempted  to  stop  that  trade  something  which  angered  the  Africans. Also  the  Ndebele  were forced  by  the  Company  to  dispossess  the  gold  mining  and  buying  and  selling  from  South  Africa. This  also  added  to  the  inevitability of  the  Chimurenga  Uprising.

Cattle confiscation.

 The  Mashona  and  Matebele  depended  much  en – cattle  rearing. The  B.S.A.CO  interfered  with  the  native  Germany  as  they  started  to confiscate  the  cattle and  give  to  the whites. Meanwhile, the  Ndebele  were  only  permitted  to  keep  at least  40,00  cattle. Therefore, for  those  with  above  the  permitted  number, their  cattle  were  offered  to  the  volunteers  or  to the  B.S.A.CO. Other  exceeding  cattle  were  dispatched to the  South  Africa. This  as  a  result  led  to  the  Chimurenga  Uprising  because  Africans  were  discontent  with  Cattle confiscation.

The outbreak of rinderpest diseases.

 In  1895, there  was  outbreak  of  rinderpest  disease  which  killed  many  cattle  in  both  Matebele  and  Mashona  land. The  outbreak  of  this  epidemics  was  associated  with  the  presence  of  Europeans ( White men)  in  the  region. Traditional leaders  said  that  the Rinderpest  occurred  due to  the  presence  of  the white  men, and  therefore  it was  a  punishment  or  curse  from  the  ancestral  spirits. In  other hand, the B.S.A.CO  in  the  process  of  combating  the  epidemics, ordered the  people  to kill  their  cattle. The  decision  of  the  British  provoked  the  Africans  who  started organizing  the  war  against  the British  hence  Chimurenga  war.

Harsh treatment.

 Chimurenga uprising also  was  influenced  by  harsh  treatment  which  was  practiced  by  the British  officials, the B.S.A.CO  administrators  and  also  the  Native  commissioners.Frequent  brutal  and  corporal  punishment  were  exercised by  the  B.S.A.CO  administrators  and  the  native  commissioners  who  used  the  “ Sjambok” a  kind  of whip  to  punish  the  Africans. The  elderly  people were flagged and  killed  in  public, and the  conditions  in  the  mines  were  deplorable.

Transportation policies.

The  British  introduced  different  taxes in  Matebele  and  Mashona  land  and  the  collection  of  tax  usually  took  the  form  of  cash  payment  or  grabbing  cattle, goats  and  grains from  the  people  who  could  manage  to  pay  taxes. In  1894, Hut  tax  was  introduced. The  Shona  and  Ndebele  Chiefs  regarded  this  measure  as  a  threat  as  the  British  government did  not  consult  them  hence  Chimurenga  war.

Payment of low wages.

Chimurenga  uprising  was  also  resulted  from  payment  of low  wages  to  the  Africans  by  the  British  in  both  Matebele  and  Mashona  land.Africans  were  lowly  paid  in  the  mines  and  farms  compared  to  the  work  they  were  performing. Also  the  environment  of  works  and  working  hours  were  exploitative  and  harmful  hence  Ndebele  and  Shona  Resistance.

Abolition of the Indunas.

The  British  abolished  the  Indunas  age  regiments  among the  Matebele. Military  towns  were  outlawed  and  the  Ndunas  were  deprived  their  power, importance  and  position. Above  all  it  was  embarrassing  for  the  British  to  nominate  the  Shona  policemen  to  enforce  laws  and  order  in  Matebele  land. This  angered  much  the  Ndebele  hence  they  joined  with  Shona  to  resist  the  British.

Cultural interference.

The British Missionaries disregarded the traditions and customs of the Shona and Ndebele people. The Missionaries wanted Africans to abandon their culture, especially ignoring their traditional religion which was based on Mwari cult. This eventually resulted into the outbreak of Chimurenga Uprising.

The desire to restore the lost independence.

The British interference and colonialism in Matebele land and Mashona land created hostility and Africans day to day were discontent with the situation.


By 1897, the whites with their new and modern weapons and tactics defeated the Ndebele and finally the Shona. There was a cup of effects of the Chimurenga war as follows:

  1. Death of people. The Chimurenga  warriors  were  taught  a  bitter lesson and  many  of  them  died  during  the  Many  people died  and  many  other  were  put  on  trial  for murder  and  hanged.
  2. The Indunas ( retired  soldiers) in  Matebele  were  recognized  and  given  some  leadership  in  the  new  system  and  paid
  3. The Ndebele  were    redistributed  new  lands  in  the  lowlands  where  they  lived  happily  without being
  4. The S.A.CO  administration  incorporated  and  expropriated  more  fertile  land  and  cattle  as  war  compensation. This  made  many  Africans  to  lose  fertile  land  and  their  cattle.
  5. The Ndebele  received  favors  from  the  whites  because  they  ceased  the  fighting against  the  But  the  Shona  in  other  hand  did  not  cease  fire  during  the  uprising  and  continued  the  war. That  is  why they  were  not  favored  by  the  B.S.A.CO  administration.
  6. Many Africans  adopted  Christianity  due  to the  inability  of  Mwari  cult  and  Mhimo  cult  to  defeat  the white men. This  eventually  resulted  into  stagnation  of  African
  7. The company  administration  was  blamed  for  brutal  administration  and
  8. The defeat  of  Chimurenga  war  resulted  into  total  Colonial occupation  by  the  British  in  both  Mashona  and  Matebele land. The two regions became a single country which was named Southern Rhodesia by the British  and  the  Shona  and  Ndebele  were  subjected  into  divide  and  rule
  9. Divide and rule policy. After defeating the Shona and  Ndebele, the  British  introduced  a  policy  of  administration  called “ Divide  and  Rule  Policy” in  Southern  This  was  aimed  at  disuniting  the  Shona  and  Ndebele  so  as  to  weakening  the  Africans  and  avoid  another  uprising.


In South  Africa  especially  South  Western  Africa  there  was  another  African  reaction  against  the  establishment.


This  was  an  African  resistance  which  was  waged  by  the  Nama  and  Herero people  in  present  day  Namibia  from  January  1904 – 1907.Originally, three  main  ethnic  groups  occupied  Namibia, these  were : The  Ambo, the  Herero  and  the  Nama. The  Ambo  and  the  Herero  consisted  of  Bantu  group  and  engaged  in  animal  husbandry  and  crop  cultivation. The  Nama  were the  Hottentots  who  were  traditionally  the  pastoralists. Both  of  them  valued  land  for  crop  cultivation  and animal  husbandry.

The  settlement  of  the  Bantu  (The  Ambo  and  Herero) in  Namibia  triggered  traditional  conflicts  between  them  and  the  Hottentots’(Nama). This  was  due  to  the  fact  that  both  of  them  valued  land  for  economic  activities, The  Bantu  for  Cultivation  while  the  Hottentots’ for  livestock keeping. The  hostility  went  on  until  the  arrival  of  the  Europeans, who  also  manipulated  this  rivalry  for  their  benefit.

The  Herero  received  warmly  the  Germans  as  the  Herero  hoped  that  the  whites  would  assist  them  against  their  rivals, Nama. Soon  after  their  arrival  in  Herero land, the  Germans  declared  a  protectorate  over  Namibia  and  established  their  administration. Worse enough, the  Germans  set  up  a  military  base  at  Windhoek  and  launched  various  attacks  on  the  Nama  between  1884 and  1904.The  Germans  created  various  economic  and  political  policies  that  provoked  the  outbreak  of  the  resistance.  For  example  in  1903, they  inaugurated  the  Settler  Policy  that  demanded  Africans(Both  Nama  and  the  Herero) to  move  out  their  land  and  give  to  white  settlers. In  January 1904, there w as  a massive  Herero  revolt  against  the  Germans. The Nama joined the  war  in  October  in  the  same  year. The Nama were under Hendrick Witbooi while the Herero were under Chief Samuel Maherero.


Both  the  Nama  and  Herero  had  political, social  and  economic  discontent  as  follows:-

Land alienation.

 The  German  settlers  alienated  and  occupied  fertile  land  of  the  Africans  and  pushed them  into  unproductive  land. This  created  hostility  between  Africans  and  German  government  something  that  led  to  the  resistance .

Cattle confiscation.

 The  Nama  and  Herero depended  much  on  cattle   for  their survival. The  Germans  seized  their cattle  in order to  compel  them  to  work  in  German  farms  and  mines. This  angered  them  very  much hence  Nama  and  Herero  resistance.

Introduction to forced labor.

 In 1896, the Germans  introduced  forced  labor  as  they  demanded  laborers  in  their  economic sectors. The  Nama  and  Herero  were  forced  to  work  in  railway  construction, public  buildings, plantation  and  mines. Worse  enough  they  were  paid  lowly. This  resulted  into  Nama  and  Herero  resistance.

The outbreak of rinderpest disease.

 In  1903, there  was  outbreak  of  rinderpest, the  epidemic  that  swept  away  many  Nama  and  Herero  cattle. The  Native  leaders  and  other  spiritual  leaders  expounded  this  epidemics  as  a  curse  from  the  ancestors  who  were  unhappy  with  the  presence  of  the  white men  ion  the  country. Therefore, this  made  the  Nama and  Herero  to  wage a  resistance  against  the  Germans.

Creation of reserves.

 In  1903, the  colonial  administration  created  area  of  reserves  for  the  Herero  and  Nama. That  means, the  Nama  and  Herero  were forced  to  go  and live  in  the  reserves  near  the  Kalahari  desert. These  reserves  were  barren  and  infected  with  tsetse  flies. This  as  a  result  led  to  the  resistance.

Payment of debts.

 Soon after  the  arrival  of  the  Germans  in Herero  land, they  established  commercial  relationship  with  Africans  where  Africans (Herero) borrowed  money  from  the  Germans. But  later on, the  Africans  failed  to pay  their  debts  then  the  Germans  started  to  force  them  to  repay. Worse  enough, the  Germans  demanded  from  the  Africans  high  interest, that  they  were  unable  to pay  and  found  themselves  in  debt  trap. In  1903, the  Colonial  government  introduced  a  Credit  Ordinance  which  stated  that  all  German money  lenders  were mandated to  accumulated/ collect  their  debts  from Africans  for  the  duration of  one year. After  that period, the  debt  would  be  invalid. With  this  permission, the  Germans  seized  African  cattle  and  land  and  sold  them  in order  to  regain  their  money.  This angered  Chief  Maherero  and  his  Africans  something  which  led  to  the  resistance.

German administration.

 Both the Nama and Herero were disgusted by the German  administration  that  never  paid  attention  to  the  traditional  authority. The  tradition  of  chiefs  were  not  consulted  in  policy  making  something  which affected  their  leadership  position. This led  to  Nama  and Herero  so as  to  regain  their  political  independence.

Cultural interference.

The Nama and Herero were not happy with the new culture introduced by the Germans especially the new religion, Christianity. Therefore, Africans resisted because they wanted to maintain their culture.


  1. Depopulation – Many people lost their lives while others got severe sufferings. This as a result led to depopulation in Namibia.
  2. Land alienation – The natives in Namibia lost their land after the war. The Nama and Herero were thrown out of their fertile land and taken to reserve areas near the Kalahari Desert where many of them died.
  3. Cattle confiscation – The Nama and Herero lost all their cattle after the war. The German government deprived all their cattle.
  4. Creation of concentration camps – The Germany government introduced the concentration camps where thousands of women and children were grouped there and many of them died of hunger.
  5. Total colonialism – The defeat of the Nama and Herero paved way for total colonialism in Namibia where the Germans established their colonial government.


In West Africa, there were also various resistances from Africans against colonial rule. Some of the reactions in West Africa were such as Samore Toure Resistance (Mandika Resistance), Asante Resistance etc.


This was a resistance organized by the Mandika people of Mandika Empire under Samore Toure in present day Guinea. Historically, Samore Toure was the leader of the Mandika people who occupied the area of present day Guinea. He was a soldier and a successful trader. During his reign, he conquered different tribes and states which were against Islamic culture that dominated the Mandika Empire. He managed to establish a strong military state and wanted to create strong new Mali Empire under Mandika tribe.

In previous time, he involved himself in legitimate trade with European traders. The profit acquired from selling gold and kola nuts he used to strengthen his military force. He was a very brilliant tactician and a military strategist something which enabled him to offer the longest resistance in the history of colonialism in Africa.


(Why Samore Toure resistance took so long)

There were several reasons why Samore Toure resistance took a long period of time (almost 16 years). Some of those reasons were as follows:

  1. Strong army – SamoreToure had a strong organized army which all the time was full armed and ready to fight. This led to a long resistance.
  2. Scorched Earth method – Toure used this method in fighting the French. It was a technique of destroying crops and food stores in the place where the French marched. This was done purposely in order to make the French starve when reaching the areas. This also added to a long resistance.
  3. Presence of wealthy – Samore Toure had enough wealthy obtained from gold trade. He used this wealthy to strengthen his army something which led to a strong resistance.
  4. Production of weapons – Samore Toure had ability to produce his own weapons. This led to availability of enough weapons which added to a long resistance of Toure.
  5. Islamic religion – Samore Toure used Islamic religion to unite the Mandika people to resist the French who were Christians. This led to a strong and long resistance of Samore Toure.
  6. The use of Guerilla Toure used guerilla war technique to fight the French. The use of guerilla tactic made the Mandika people under Toure to resist for a long period of time because the French had no experience with guerilla fighting.
  7. Intelligence system – Toure had a strong security system through which enemies were often known before doing anything. Therefore, before any attack, Toure had plans to encounter it. This also added to a long resistance.
  8. Fighting experience – Toure and his soldiers had a fighting experience from fighting with different societies and enemies. This also contributed to a long resistance of Samore Toure.


(Reasons for the defeat of Samore Toure)

  1. Internal weakness – Other people in Mandika Empire were against Islamic religion due to the fact that Toure used force to make people follow the religion. This contributed to weakness hence the defeat.
  2. French military – The French used strong weapons which were more modernized than of Toure. This is the reason why Toure could not face the French in an open battle. Therefore, the defeat of SamoreToure was inevitable.
  3. Betray from his people – At the end Toure was betrayed by his subjects who saw it difficult to win the war. Others were tired of resisting against the French who had strong weapons.
  4. Natural disasters – There was serious food shortage to the people, long period of drought, and outbreak of diseases as the war continued. This also added to the defeat of Toure.
  5. Divide and rule – The French took advantage of presence of enmity between Mandika Empire and other neighboring empires. They made different collaboration with neighboring societies as a way to defeat Toure. For examples, in 1881 they collaborated with King of Futa Djalon and also in 1887 they collaborated with Ahmedu Seku of Toklar Empire. This added to the defeat of Samore Toure.
  6. Dispossession of caravan routes – The French captured the trade caravan routes and controlled gold production zones which were sources of income to Samore Toure. This led to failure of Samore Toure to accumulate Wealthy and therefore he became unable to finance his military hence the defeat.



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