How did Science impact the colonisation of Africa?
Standard aim – to explain what impact Science had on the colonisation of Africa
Super aim – to analyse to what extent Science accelerated the colonisation of Africa
What do these pictures have to do with Science and the
colonisation of Africa?
• Read pp. 3-6, 24-29 of Chamberlain and make notes
ready to answer the questions on Monday
– Was it Africa’s fate to be colonised by Europe?
– What was Africa like when it was colonised?
– How did Europeans interpret African history and why was
this the case?
– Were the Europeans right to interpret African history in
this way?
How could we link Science into these
The Age of Enlightenment
Social Darwinism
Card 1: Missionaries and early anthropology
What impact?
Missionaries always had to justify why they
were there and raise funds. This
strengthened racist stereotypes and the
belief that white Europeans should ‘advance’
Africans. They were also early
anthropologists – who studied the local
people, and usually reached biased and racist
conclusions. Some missionaries were not
racist though. Interest in visiting
‘ethnological villages’ led to indigenous
Afircans being captured and displayed, such
as in the Bronx Zoo who showed Congolese
Card 2: The ‘Scientific Approach’ driven by the
What impact?
This heightened curiosity, which included curisoity in
Africa. In 1788 there was an association or the
promoting the interior parts of Afric.a. They wanted
to find Timbuktu and diversify trade.
Did it accelerate it? It led to exploration and the
building of trade links which led to the colonisation of
Did it accelerate it? It accelerated it as it
populised the idea that indigenous Africans
needed to be ‘saved’ by white men and
legitimised colonisation.
Card 4: Malaria
Card 3: Geography
What impact?
The Age of Enlightenment and knowledge about
the human body led intellectuals to consider
continenst as organisms – they wanted to find the
‘veins’ (rivers) and it’s heart. They wanted to solve
it’s supposed ‘riddlement’ with disease. There was
a drive to examine, diagnose and cure Africa. The
Royal Geographic Society was founded to explore
Africa. Sir Roderick Murchison funded much of
the early exploration.
Did it accelerate it? This drive to explore the
geography of Africa, led to the discovery of
resources and trade, and further colonisation.
What impact? 50 Britons died in 1841
trying to explore the Nige, mainly from
malaria. In the early 1850s Quinine
appeared to protest against it. In 1854 Dr
Wiliam Balfour Baikie explored the Niger
funded by the government, and within a
few years British steamers operated on
the river.
Did it accelerate it? It made colonisation
feasibly possible.
Card 5: Discovery
What impact?
Livingstone crossed from Luanda to
the mouth of the Zambezi. Stanley
was funded by King Leopold to
explore the Congo. Explorations were
driven by gathering data on
commercial opportunities, population
groups, resources, states and
societies. Black Africans were part of
the landscape – it didn’t occur to
white Europeans they had discovered
it before them. Explorers carried their
countries flags, like Stanley carrying
the British and American flags. There
was a flurry of discovery.
Did it accelerate it? Discovery became
a self-perpetuating cycle and usually
led to stronger trade links.
To what extent was the colonisation of Africa
driven by economic motivations?
– An introduction
– At least 1 paragraph for each side of the argument
– A conclusion

How did Science impact the colonisation of Africa