For years after the Berlin Conference, various European powers raced to occupy and colonize land in Africa. It was a time of growth for Europe, but what was it for Africa? Africa’s fate was being decided for it by the European invaders. Not all AFricans just stood by and watcher, however. There was a wide range of actions and reactions to the Scramble for Africa from the Africans themselves, from giving in peacefully to attempting to fighting back with all of their might.
Many Africans were afraid of European power, so they just gave in to the Scramble without a fight. In 1886, the British government commissioned the Royal Niger Company to administer and develop the Niger River delta. Many African rulers just signed their land away [doc. 1]. This document is official and provides no personal repost, so it is possible that the rulers did not give in entirely peacefully, all we know is that they gave in. A personal record of the Niger River delta dealing would help immensely to tell how easily the rulers signed.
Ashanti leader Prempeh turned down a British offer of protectorate status, but he said that the Ashanti would always remain friendly with all white men [doc. 2]. Ndansi Kumalo, an African veteran of the Ndebele Rebellion tells how at first his people surrendered to the British and tried to continue living their lives as they always had [doc. 4]. Samuel Maharero, a Herero leader, wrote to another African leader about how the Herero people were trying to be obedient and patient with the Germans [doc. 7].
Many people in Africa just gave i to the changes occurring all around them. Not everywhere the Europeans went did they encounter this obedience and complacency. Many places people fought the invaders. The emperor of Ethiopia, Menelik II, wrote a letter to Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Russia in 1891 telling them he would not just sit by and watch if they continues parcelling off Africa [doc. 3]. Ndansi Kumalo tells how, after trying to live normally, his people could not stand the Europeans any more and they took up arms against the Europeans and rebelled [doc. ]. An Ethiopian painting of the Battle of Adowa shows the Ethiopians greatly overpowering the Italians and clearly winning the battle while suffering a very few casualties [doc. 5].
This is an Ethiopian painting so the artist probably depicted the battle to make the Ethiopians look as good as possible. A document from the Italians about this battle would make it easier to pass judgement on it. The Ashanti queen mother, Yaa Asantena spoke to the Ashanti chiefs in 1900 telling them that if they would not fight the Europeans the Ashanti women would [doc. 6].
Samuel Maherero said in his letter to another African leader that they should fight the Germans as it is better to die fighting for freedom than to die from maltreatment, imprisonment, or something similar [doc. 7]. A German military officer said about the 1905 Maji Maji REbellion that the chiefs told their people that they had a medicine thst would make them invincible so they could fight the Europeans for as long as necessary [doc 8].
An African chief, Mojimba, described a battle in 1899 on the Congo River, saying that the battle just kept going and going that many, many Africans were killer [doc. ]. He also said that white men are very wicked. As an African who fought the Europeans and saw them kill many of his kin, Mojimba naturally thinks that the Europeans are wicker. This account of the battle was also given 30 years after the battle so it might not be entirely accurate. A European account would help to see this battle more clearly. The Scramble for Africa was a difficult time for Africans, some Africans fought for a chance at their freedom and others accepted their fate and peacefully gave into the Europeans ways.