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Scramble for Africa Author and copyright Matthew SaulHow significant were economic factors as causes of the Scramble for Africa The Scramble for Africa was the most striking manifestation of the new imperialism which developed towards the end of the 1800s Notable due to an impression that the days of the Empire were decaying and for the speed and vastness of its occurrence There have been many interpretations for its cause some such as JA Hobson believe it to be a natural result of capitalist development in Europe While others such as DK Fieldhouse are able to argue that it was purely a consequence of European nationalism Whatever the interpretation the period is centralised around 1880 and 1900 Seeing Britain claim approximately 5 million square miles of territory with France claiming 35 million square miles and the other participants in the scramble for land Germany Belgium and Italy sharing 25 million The rivalry between Britain and France for Egypt is often considered as the catalyst for the whole scramble It is with this that I shall begin my consideration of the economic factors influencing Britains involvement Egypt at this stage was important to Britain as they wanted to establish trade with the region and they wanted access to the lucrative trade routes which it afforded them Thus it can be seen that economic factors provided Britains main interest in Egypt disregarding minor factors such as missionaries who would have provoked very little interest from the government However there were other factors influencing Britains occupation of Egypt If the Ottoman Empire had not been in a state of decline there would have been no problem Britain had a good relationship with the Ottomans and so were happy for them to have Egypt The prevailing tensions in Europe promoted a fear that Egypt might fall under the control of a rival European power who could exclude the British from the region France being the most prominent cause for
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