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Published: 07/10/2014
KS3 | Cause and consequence
6 pages

What caused the scramble for Africa?

A selection of tasks in which students categorise and organise reasons for the imperial conquest of Africa in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The starter image is courtesy of Britannica image quest and available here as a separate PDF.

Extract from the resource

Background information

Between 1881 and 1914 European countries including Britain, France, Portugal, Italy and Belgium took control of 90% of the land in Africa.  They had many aims and motivations in doing this, including gaining access to natural resources, keeping trade routes open and preventing their European rivals from getting there first.


  1. Your information cards give more detail and examples of how and why this conquest took place.  Read through them carefully and pick out examples of each of the following reasons for the ‘Scramble’:
  • Trade and profit
  • Ideas and exploration
  • Competitions between European countries

Record examples using your Venn diagram.  You may want to use the Word bank below to help you.

  1. Which do you think was the most important reason for the ‘Scramble’?  Discuss your opinion with a partner, and then write a paragraph to explain your answer using examples and at least five words from the Word bank.

Challenge question: How were the factors linked to one another?


See other resources: British Empire

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