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Berlin Conference facts for kids

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The conference of Berlin

The Berlin Conference (or "Congo Conference") of 1884–85 made rules for European colonization and trade in Africa. It was called for by Portugal and organized by Otto von Bismarck. The conference met during the Scramble for Africa, a time with more colonial activity by European powers. Africans were not invited. It ended most existing forms of African autonomy and self-governance, assuring that the European powers would not have to fight among themselves for dominance.

General Act

The General Act fixed the following points:


  • Portugal - Britain The colonies of Angola and Mozambique were brought together by the land in between (land that later became Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi.) The United Kingdom did not support this plan. In 1890, the British government told the Portuguese to leave the area.
  • France - Britain A line running from Say in Niger to Baroua, on the north-east coast of Lake Chad marked what part belonged to whom. France would own territory to the north of this line, and the United Kingdom would own territory to the south of it. The Nile Basin would be British, with the French taking the basin of Lake Chad.
  • France - Germany The area to the north of a line formed by the intersection of the 14th meridian and Miltou was French, that to the south was German.
  • Britain - Germany The separation came in the form of a line passing through Yola, on the Benoué, Dikoa, going up to the extremity of Lake Chad.
  • France - Italy Italy was to own what was north of a line from the intersection of the Tropic of Cancer and the 17th meridian to the intersection of the 15th parallel and 21st meridian.

By 1902, 90% of all the land that makes up Africa was under European control.

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