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SUBSAHARAN AFRICA

Berlin Conference of 1884

In 1884, fourteen European nations met in Berlin, Germany to make decisions about dividing Africa. And guess who was not invited to the meeting-- the African people. There was no political leader, no delegate, nor ambassador from Africa at the Berlin Conference. It was not even considered. The dipute over land was between European countries and the African people did not seem to matter.

Tensions had mounted over competing claims to certain lands and Africa's vast natural resources. Boundaries were finalized at the Berlin Conference with virtually no understanding of the people living there. Often, lines were drawn right through the middle of African communities that had existed for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years. Many of these lines still exist today in the form of country borders. The placement of these lines continues to add to conflict in Africa since individual countries contain so many different groups of people. The effects of the Berlin Conference are still being felt today in Africa.

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