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In 1837 Britain passed laws to abolish slavery throughout the British Empire. This left Britain with two problems: firstly, how to end the transportation of Africans to America, Asia and the Caribbean and secondly, how to use the trading ports that it had established along the coast of Africa to develop legitimate forms of trade. From the dawn of civilization, Africa’s continent consisted of highly diverse and sophisticated social and political structures ranging from communities that were hunter-gatherers all the way up to rural villages, city-states and large empirical civilizations.

Up until 1833, Africa’s inland interior had been practically unexplored by Europeans. From the 1840s, Britain along with the Portuguese, Dutch, French and Italians began various expeditions to establish trade with indigenous tribes. This led to Europeans creating treaties which took land away from the indigenous population once gold and diamonds had been discovered. This claim for the right to establish land territories across the African continent created many disputes between European nations; mainly Britain and Portugal. To address the issue of territorial rights to Africa a conference was organised in Berlin in 1884 attended by all Western nations and overseen by the German Chancellor Otto von Bismark. From this point on Africa was never the same again…

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