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To What Extent Were Economic Motives the Most Important Reason for Britain Obtaining Influence and Possessions in Africa from 1868 – 1902?

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Submitted By Rockero931
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To what extent were economic motives the most important reason for Britain obtaining influence and possessions in Africa from 1868 – 1902?

There are many factors involved which allowed Britain to obtain influence and possessions in Africa during the scramble. The main factors are Strategic, The individuals in the field, humanitarian issues and properly the most important factor; economics. Economics could be described as the main reason for British interests in Africa to begin with but also remaining an important factor throughout this period.
The British involvement in Africa was down to economic reasons; this is clear throughout the time period as most events which take place in Africa can be linked back to economy. One of the most important ecological was the purchase of 44% of the shares in the Suez Canal, these became available when the leader of Egypt; Khedvie Ismali became bankrupt and had to be bailed out. Disraeli bought the Egyptian shares in the canal for £3,976,582 in 1875. The purchasing of these shares was important as it gave Britain influence over this area, but also it opened a direct trade route with India. Due to British and French influence in the area, Britain and France assume dual control of Egypt’s finances. Although they manage to control debt levels, this is done at the expense of the Egyptian public and army. This interference led to an anti - European uprising in 1882 led by Arabi Pasha. On the 13th of September 1882 Sir Garnett Wolseley defeated the Egyptian army, however finding that the Egyptian government was in chaos the British armed forces occupied Egypt to restore stability. This gave Britain a lot of influence over this region which was important as the Suez Canal and therefore trade with India was now secure. Another example of economic factors helping Britain to gain influence was the trade in the west; on the river Niger...

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