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Ikenga Shrines and Iron Horses

A Reader's Guide to Chinua Achebe's THINGS FALL APART

Cathy Kroll, Author

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The Berlin Conference of 1884-85

It's important first to note that, some twenty to fifty years before the Berlin Conference in 1884-85 in which major European powers met to partition the continent of Africa, Christian missionaries from Europe had already been active in their religious conversion work in West Africa. Historians tell us that the motivation behind the "scramble for Africa" and its partitioning was not immediately the imperial divide and rule strategy. By the late 1880s in Britain, for example, the country already had troubles in its ruling of India and, according to many historians, did not necessarily want to acquire another colonial territory. Britain's motivation to stake its claim on African soil was primarily the result of a power struggle with France, who had just constructed the Suez Canal (Robertson on imperial mind).

Present around the table at the Berlin Conference were representatives from Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, and Portugal.
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