Expansion and Dismantlement of the British Empire in Africa 1870-1980”

2018 Words9 Pages
“The role of individuals was the most important factor in the expansion and dismantlement of the British Empire in Africa 1870-1980” There are many different factors that caused the expansion and dismantlement of the British Empire in Africa during 1870-1980. As a result of British New Imperialism and the creation of Germany in 1871, Africa became a hotly contested area for expansion for European states. Although the role of individuals were vital in securing a governing body in many African countries - such as Nigeria - it was the economic prosperity that opened an opportunity for expansion, coupled with the strategic factors that became increasingly important. The dismantlement of the empire in Africa was mainly due to World War II. The subsequent economic crisis and changing attitudes in colonial countries were the two main issues that caused decolonisation. Some individuals were instrumental in politicising and creating a sweeping sense of nationalism in their respective countries e.g. Nkrumah in Ghana. However, they were merely a product of WWII and the resulting consequences that came about. The occupation of Egypt was carried out for economic and strategic reasons; however individuals were important in the timing of annexation. In 1881, Colonel Arabi, head of the nationalist movement in Egypt overthrew Turkish rule with a nationalist uprising. Britain was concerned that Arabi might close the canal to Britain, blocking the route to India and ceasing trade in Egyptian cotton which was highly sought. Therefore, then Prime Minister Gladstone decided there was no alternative option but to invade in order to protect these interests. In 1882 at the battle of Tel El Kabir British victory saw the Khedive re-installed as puppet leader under British control. Gladstone only invaded to protect financial investments and trade with Egypt which was vital for the British
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