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Unit 4: Nationalism, Industrialism, and Imperialism

Lesson C: European Division of the African Continent

Review and Assessment


The Europeans took control of Africa in the mid 19th century. Their desire for natural resources and increased power led to a scramble for Africa. Many African countries fought the Europeans to maintain their independence, but this was not successful. Excluding Liberia and Ethiopia, all of Africa was forced to become part of different European empires. In some places, native Africans were treated well, but in many places, the desire for wealth led to the abuse of some Africans. European imperialism in Africa led to many changes in political, social, and economic aspects of African lives.

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European division of and ultimate control of Africa changed the geography, politics, culture, economics, and society of Africa. Geographic borders were drawn to reflect European and economic concerns, but did not respect ethnic and tribal boundaries. Traditional political and economic systems were destroyed while cultural and social norms were challenged and altered. Altogether, the years of European political and economic control of the peoples of Africa led to long-lasting changes, which continue to challenge the people, politics, and economy of African countries today. Think about these examples as you complete the BCR below.

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Brief Constructed Response - Imperialism in Africa

How did European imperialism in Africa lead to fundamental changes for the people and countries of Africa as a whole?

  • Describe two major changes that occurred throughout Africa as a result of European control.
  • Analyze how these changes affected the people and countries of Africa.
  • Include details and examples to support your answer.

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