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North Africa - Egypt

Economic Factors:

  • Increased interest during the 1860's at the time of the American Civil war as it was seen as an alternative supplier of cotton which was found along the banks of the River Nile.
  • British Fianciers also began investing in Egypt eg. public works projects.
  • 1875 -  Disraeli purchased 44% suez canal shares for £4million- a joint anglo-french alliance which posed as an important trading route.
  • 1878 - Anglo-french dual control of Egyptian Fiances agreed.
  • 1882- British formal occupation of Egypt, Gladstone (reluctant imperialist) forced to send troops- protection of canal and British Investments were vital. 

Strategic:

  • Egypt seen as an important trade route to India prior to the Suez canal which was built inb 1869
  • was very important in the growth of the Indian empire in the 18th and 19th century
  • Egypt had been a much quicker route to India instead of sailing around the initial route of the  cape colony. Vital for quicker trade with India and the rest of the empire in the East.
  • Also vital for maintaining communications with India - importance recognised during periods of rebellion in India as it was quicker to send troops. 
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North Africa - Egypt

Peripheral Threats:

  •  1882- Arabi Revolt led by colonel Arabi - an Egyptian nationalist who wanted to get rid of all foreign interference in Egypt.         
  • Riots in June 1882 saw nationalist attacking European businesses – 50 Europeans and 250 Egyptians killed.
  •  British bombarded Alexandria forcing Egyptians to withdraw.
  •    1882 – The British forces defeated “Urabi’s army at the battle of Tel el-Kebir. Urabi was captured and eventually exiled to Ceylon (Sri Lanka)

International Rivalry:

  • Britain wanted to maintaint eh status quo in Europe, this meant supporting the ottoman empire mainly as a counter weight against Russian influence in eastern europe.
  • Egypt was part of the ottoman empire it was important for it to remain so and also did not want Egypt falling into the hands of the French.
  • Egypt not a formal colony but they controlled the finances and armed forces. The french had felt threatened by this and were angry that they allowed Britiain to gain so much power.
  • 1904 - Entente cordiale, france promiced not to obstruct the British actions in Egypt, in turn British had allowed the French to provide assistance and preserve order in Morocco.
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North Africa - Egypt

Views at Home

  • Widespread support for Disraeli to purchase the suez canal shares - Britian said to have the 'Lion's share' 
  • Improved prestige and perception of Empire.
  • However, Liberal opposition leader Gladstone critisised Disraeli of undermiming the British constitution by buying shares without consulting parliament.
  • Gladstone was a reluctant imperialist but intervened in 1882 in order to protect British economic interests such as investments and trade routes, this ties in with the strategic importance of the suez canal. Preserving the status quo in Europe and ensuring that the Ottoman Empire did not form alliances eith other european nations, especially france.
  • In 1882 the house of Commons voted in favour of increased intervention in Egypt to suppress revolts - shows support for further involvment.
  • The canal was seen to be the 'crown jewl' of the empire
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North Africa - Sudan

Economic:

  • 1870's/1880's: There was economic potential in the sudan in the form of new markets for trade had emerged. If Britain eradicate the slave trade and establish legitimate trade then they could gain more influence in Sudan and more profit economically.
  • Sudan had also had the Nile running through it which was an important factor for the british particularly from the 1890's

Strategic:

  • Sudan important in relation to Egypt and the Nile valley - important that instability in the sudan did not spill over into Egypt as Egypt had been considered to be very important to the British from the 1880's.
  • Nile valley was important due to the production of cotton and other economic developments.
  • Sudan important in maintaining British influence in the whole region including East Africa - especially important in the 1890's with the belief in Britain's 'cape to cairo vision' expansion.
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North Africa- Sudan

Civilising/Christianity

  • Britain wanted to eradicate the slave trade in the sudan as there was the victorian belief that slave trade still existed because of backward Muslims
  • spreading christianity would lead to civilising the sudanese.
  • often used as a justification for intervention to highlight the morality and altruism of the British.

Peripheral Threats:

  • The rise of the Mahdi as a result of British attempts to eradicate the slave trade. they aimed to overthrow egyptian rule and get rid foreigners.
  • 1881: conflict between the mahdist forces and egyptian troops led by Colonel William Hicks - victory for the mahdi - annihilation of an army of over 10,000 men - the British government had ordered evacuation of all British teritory they held.
  • Gladstone had sent Charles Chinese Gordon to sudan with the orders to evacuate khartoum, he arrived in 1884 - Gordon chose to defend Khartoum however khartoum was captured in 1885 and Gordon was killed.
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North Africa- Sudan

Men-on-the-spot:

  • Gordon - Govenor General of sudan 1877-79 - had aimed to eradicate slavery which brought resentment among the sudanese. He was sent back to sudan in 1884 and ignored to evacuate Khartoum. He was supported by the British public and media - pressure was placed on Gladstone to sed=nd a relief force but had been too late, which was a criticism of Gladstone.
  • Kitchener - 1896 began expedition into the Sudan ordered by the government, he constructed a railway as they went.
  • 1898 Battle of Omdurman - massacre of sudanese dervishes using maxim guns - Anglo-Egyptian administration of sudan established.

International Rivalry:

  • Disputes between france and britain over control of the Nile Valley. France wanted to extend west to east, Britain wanted to extend North and South.
  • Fashoda Incident - 1898: A French expedition to Fashoda on the white Nile river sought to gain control of the upper Nile region and thereby exclude Britain from Sudan.
  • The two armies met on friendly terms but back in europe it became a war scarce. The British held firm as Britain an France were on the verge of war. Under pressure the Frenh withdrew securing Anglo-Egyptian control over the area.
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North Africa- Sudan

Views at Home:

  • 1884-5: Gladstone under pressure to act in order to save foreigners in Sudan from the Mahdist Forces- sends Gordon who was a popular hero.
  • Gladstone did not want military intervention in sudan- ordered Gordon to just evacuate Khartoum.
  • 1885: Gordon under seige from Mahdist forces- Gladstone under pressure from meadia and politicians to send a relief force however arrives too late which results in heavy critisism of his actions.
  • Wide spread support of Kitchener's Intervention in Sudan from 1896 avenging Gordon's death.
  • Battle of Omdurman 1898 sparked debate about kitchener's tactics- some believed it was too brutal and unnecessary.
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West Africa

Economic:

  • Abolition of slave trade and desire for legitimate trade led to increasing British involvement in the 19th century.
  • Importance of palm oil trade - £1 Billon made in exports of palm oil per year by 1840.
  • National African Company set up and negotiated treaties to protect trade routes with local tribes-Goldie then negotiated treaties with French companies and amalgamated them into NAC.
  • Charter given to Royal Niger Company - British Monopoly in this region.
  • In 1897 the trade of the four British colonies was worth about £24 million, compared with about £14 million for the seven French territories.

The Berlin West Africa Conference 1884-85:

  • Agreed that there should be free trade in the congo basin and recognised British interests along the River Niger.
  • Effective occupation was agreed- a power could acquire rights over African territory to govern it, with a police force to keep order.
  • Other European powers had to be notified if another power wished to seek influence in a territory.
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West Africa

Formal Colonisation:

  • The Gold coast had existed since 1867- Britain steadily expanded its influence through the expasion of local Kingdoms eg. Asanti
  • British action to keep the French (and also the Germans from Togo and from the Cameroons) out of the Hinterlands of the Gold Coast, Lagos and the Niger Delta.
  • Asante submitted to an ultimatum in 1896 (the real war of conquest delayed until 1900-1901,when the British had to suppress a widespread rebellion agaisnt their authority) and a British protectorate was extended northwards to the limits of Asante Influence.
  • 1897- Rnc given permission to develop military quickly came to bbe seen as a mistake to allow the company to compete withe the French Government.British government tookl over responsibiity for conquest of new territory. January 1900 the Royal Niger company transfered its territories to the British government for the sum of £865,000. The ceded territory together with the the small Niger coast protectorate, already under imperial control, was formed into the two protectorates of Northen and Southern Nigeria.
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West Africa

International Rivalry:

  • Threats to informal economic influence when other European nations bean to show interest in the region.
  • French watd to expand from Senagul to devolp a new west African empire dominating inland trade - threatended important trade along the niger River
  • 1885:Belgians established Congo free state to exploit rubber trade
  • 1884: Germany seized togo land and the cameroons.

Men on the spot

  • Worked tirelessly to convince the British government to grant him a charter.
  • the first step was to combine all British comercial interests in the Niger and this he had accompished in 1879 when the united African Company was formed.
  • Frechmen were bought out in 1884 so that at the Berlin Conference on West Africa in 1885, Goldie, present as an expert on matters relating to the River, was able to announce that on the lower Niger the British flag alone flew.
  • Over 400 political treaties drawn up by Goldie were made with cheifs of the lower Niger and the Hausa states. The Scruple of the British government being overcome, a charter was at length granted (July 1886), the national African Company becoming the Royal Niger Company.
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