Industrialization and Imperialism
Western hunger for greater resources and influence resulted in a power grab across the world. Initially it was predominantly limited to North and South America .
However, by the 1800s Western power had increased and so too had their foreign holdings. By this time Spain and Portugal were in decline and other powers, notably the British, were in the ascendancy.
While initially the Europeans had limited access and control of Africa, by the 1900s the totality of the continent had fallen under Western European hegemony.
Africa was literally carved up by Western European powers. The reality, however, was that these new artificial borders ignored the reality on the ground. African societies, tribes, and kin groups–peoples who had lived there for thousands of years, people with unique cultural contexts–were often forcefully separated from each other, or (and this proved to create all sorts of problems in the future) they were forced to co-exist with other African peoples with whom they had historical rivalries. The consequences of these artificially created European lines have reverberated ever since.