The Africans have been ignorant of the bounty so munificently made available to them by nature. They were mostly engaged in hewing the wood and drawing water for their European overlords. The Europeans’ race for exploiting the resources of Africa began seriously in 1870 and it was completed by 1898.
The European settlements were mostly concentrated in those areas where the white men had found the climate favourable and conditions good for raising the crops. The French Africa had an area of about 10.300,000 square km; the British Africa 5,150,000 square km.
The Belgians mainly confined to Congo, ruled over an area of 2,345,410 square km; the Portuguese Africa contained 2,000,000 square km and Spain was content with a moderate 345,000 square km. All that the European nations had to do was to reach any particular territory first of all and each of them claimed it as its own.
There were only about 50 lakh whites to govern this vast continent. Out of this number 25 lakhs were in South Africa, and 16 lakhs were in French North Africa. There were only about a million white Europeans in the rest of Africa.
In 1951, there were only four independent African States. Egypt, Ethiopia. South Africa and Liberia; the last having been formed by American Colonisation Society in 1870 as a home for the repatriated Negro slaves.