Topic 4: Industrial Capitalism - History Form 2

Topic 4: Industrial Capitalism – History Form 2

History Notes Form Two, Industrial Capitalism Africa And External World, Topic 2: Socio-Economic Development And Production In Pre-Colonial Africa Social Organization - History Form 2, Topic 1: Interaction Among The People Of Africa - History Form 2

Welcome to our website, in this article, are you looking for Topic 4: Industrial Capitalism – History Form 2

The Meaning of Industrial Capitalism

Capitalism is the social, political and economic system based on private ownership of the major means of production. It first developed in Europe during the 15th century when feudalism collapsed.

Under the capitalism system companies and individuals own and direct most of the resources used in production of goods and services. Capitalism underwent different stages before reaching its maturity. These stages included:

1. Commercial or mercantile capitalism

2. Industrial capitalism

3. Monopoly capitalism

1. Commercial or mercantile capitalism: Was the first stage of capitalism where by its economic system was based on trade and commerce. It took place between the year 1500 and 1750. The merchants obtained wealth through trade activities. A lot of wealth was accumulated during this period and therefore increased new demands that resulted into development of another stage of capitalism known as industrial capitalism.

2. Industrial capitalism: This was the period when machines begun to be used for production in industries. The transition to industrial capitalism was the period when mercantile capitalism was giving way to industrial capitalism. This stage of industrial capitalism took place between the 1750s and 1870s.

The transition was manifested by five major events namely:

(i) Political revolution (ii) Agrarian revolution (iii) Demographic revolution (iv) Commercial revolution

(v) Transport revolution


(i) Needs for raw materials, the increasing production due to expansion of industries needed large quantities of raw materials supply. These materials included cotton, coffee, tea, iron ore, palm oil, sisal, sugar cane, tobacco and rubber. The available raw materials could not meet the demand needed by industries. This resulted into the search and control of the sources of raw materials.

(ii) Need for Market, due to the investment of capital in production, industrial goods flooded the European markets. Overproduction and under consumption became a critical problem among the industrial capitalists hence they were forced to look for markets outside Europe.

(iii) Need Areas for investment; due to unreliable markets and high concentration of capital in Europe, profit marginalization occurred. As a solution new areas for investment were needed among other areas, Africa provided the best areas for investment of such capital. In Africa the tropical crops could do better compared to other countries it was also a good source for non-agricultural raw materials such as minerals and forest products.

(iv) Need areas for Cheap labors, due to labor consciousness caused by working class in Europe and Britain in particular, the need to search for cheap labor become important. This was a measure taken to compete in production for profit maximization.

(v) Need area for settlement; also they demanded the area for surplus unemployed personal population in their countries.


(i) Competition in industrial production, European capitalist nations increased the demand for industrial development as a result of competition in industrial production.

(ii) American independence, resulted in the development of the industrial sector. By the beginning of the 1870s, Europe could not easily enter U.S.A since it had introduced protective tariffs to keep out foreign manufactured goods and protect its industries. By the 1860s, markets for manufactured goods and sources of raw materials in Europe had greatly declined.

(iii) Accumulation of wealth, in order to ensure this, they decided to invest the wealth that was being obtained in industries into other areas outside Europe.

(iv) Overpopulation and unemployment, the problem of overpopulation and unemployment was also rising in European countries. Therefore, the solution to those problems was sought outside Europe.

(v) Demands for raw materials, the highly demanded raw materials were cotton, oil, sugar cane, ivory, rubber and iron ore. Most of these raw materials could not be found in Europe in large quantities. In fact, those tropical crops could not grow in Europe. Following this Europe decided to produce such raw materials in Africa, India, New Zealand, Australia and China. In those areas raw materials were produced in large quantity than in Britain and other nations in Europe.


There were about four groups of agents of industrial capitalism in Africa namely:

1. Explorers

2. Missionaries

3. Traders


During the nineteenth century, the major aim of European powers was the exploration of Africa. In east Africa, exploration was done by the prominent explores such as Speke, Burton, Grant, Samuel Baker, Henry M. Stanley and Dr. Livingstone, while in central Africa and parts of Congo the prominent explorers were Dr. Livingstone and later Henry M. Stanley. And in West Africa the prominent explorers included Richard Lander, Dr. Barth Mungo Park, Clapperton, Dr. Baikie, Gaspard Mollien and Cailie.

The journey of exploration was financed and supported by European capitalists. The main aim was to gather information about Africa because they needed a wider knowledge of the continent. They also wanted to know about the raw materials which African had to sell and the location of the main centers of population.

Moreover, they were interested in the knowledge of transport potentialities of African great river systems. For example, the British explorer, Mungo Park in 1780s, followed by Clapperton and Richard Lander explored the Niger and gathered important information about the economy and politics of West Africa.


(i) They reported back about the potentialities of the African resources, Clapperton reported about the river Niger to the British government while Speke reported about the potentiality of Lake Victoria and named it Victoria to honor Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.

(ii) They provided important information about the nature of African societies, they reported about the hostility, calmness and hospitality of the African people. This information played a central role for the European colonialists during the decision making process regarding the colonization of Africa.

(iii) They explored important mountains and researched the geology, climatic conditions, topography, lakes and animal species in Africa. This knowledge later attracted European powers to colonize Africa.

(iv) They provided messages to their government about the evils of slave trade, and the areas where slave trade was still conducted. Dr. Livingstone’s third journey through Tanganyika and Lake Regions of central Africa was targeted for that as a result he informed the English that the Yao’s land was still characterized by slave raids and the effects of slave trade such as sufferings, insecurity.


By the 19th century, missionary activities had started in Africa. The pioneers were the protestant churches of Europe and America. It was only later that Roman arrived especially from France. The domination of missionaries were the London missionary society, the church missionary society, Roman Catholic missionary society and the universities mission to central Africa (UMCA).

Few Christian missionaries were directly active agents of imperialism. They were essential ingredients of the increasingly assertive European access to Africa. However, in most cases European Christian played an important role in promoting and shaping the advent of European capitalism.


(i) They acted as interpreters and propagandists at the time of treaty making, Moffat stayed among the Ndebele for about 30 years serving the British South African company (BSAC) for treaty making between the companies (BSAC) and King Lobengula.

(ii) They acted as advisors to African chiefs, the British missionaries of the church missionary society convinced Kabaka to accept protectorate.

(iii) They introduced Western civilization to the interior through education, this aimed to prepare people of low ranks to serving colonial masters at the time of colonization.

(iv) They softened the minds and the hearts of Africans, their activities were influenced by European imperialists’ interests by preaching and emphasizing the spiritual beliefs such as “give to God what which belongs to God,” and “give to Ceaser what belongs to Ceaser”. In the long run this preaching weakened African opposition and shaped the regions for future colonial administration.

(v) They converted Africans to the new faith, they were easily employed as puppets to extend colonial rule. Typical examples are the converts of Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Ghana who were able to protect the British economic interests and paved the way for future colonization by the British.

(vi) They reduced resistance among African societies; this was done by converting some societies and preaching obedience to administrators.

(vii) They Introduced new crops, Horner grew coffee at Bagamoyo around 1870 the church missionaries society grew cotton in Uganda. This prepared people to acquire the skills, which were important for future cash crop production during the colonial era.

(viii) They helped in the abolition of slave trade; they planned for successful Christianization of the freed slaves as they preached the word of God. They wanted to create the conducive and peaceful environment for the development of legitimate trade which was exploitative in nature and was after capitalists’ interests.

(ix) They had closer links with rulers and interfered even in political matters, they allied European imperialism while they were working in the interior of Africa. This situation provoked the hostility from African rulers. In this case, missionaries appealed strongly for the protection from their home governments, which later led to effective colonization.


Traders were among the first Europeans to visit the interior and coastal areas of Africa. They came under the influence of capitalists who also supported missionaries and explorers.

Their main aim was to exploit the new sources of raw materials, markets and new areas in which industrial capitalists had to invest their capital. Examples of traders are William Mackinnon, James Stevenson, Harry Johnston and Carl Peters.


(i) They opened a new an exploitative system, therefore, Africa became the target for European interests. This resulted in stiff rivalries and competition among European industrial nations.

(ii) They introduced legitimate trade; this involved the importation of European manufactured goods. Thus, the chain of dependence was created and the African local industries and the arts were destroyed.

(iii) They exposed Africa to the world capitalist system of economy, the use of currency, banking and credit facilities began to be witnessed by Africans. This resulted into exploitation of African resources. The fair and quick turns obtained by traders attracted European colonialists to come into Africa.

(iv) They opened communication systems, this laid the foundation for future colonial infrastructure. For example, the road from Lake Nyasa to Tanganyika known as Livingstone road was opened by traders and was used during the colonial administration.


Companies and association were among the most important agents of colonization of Africa. Agents organized themselves into companies and associations. They received finance from their home government so as to operate effectively and differently in those areas, where the governing powers had their economic interests. They aimed at financing the exploration that showed the interest of coming to Africa.

Examples of the association included the Royal British Geographical society, financed by John Speke to explore the river Nile. Another was the African Association of British, which in 1788 financed Mungo Park. Its major aim was to explore and identify the areas suitable for agriculture, which could produce enough materials for export. Another concern of that association was to identify the navigable rivers, mineral deposits and assessing the market available for industrial goods.

In the abolition of slave trade, merchant companies became increasingly involved in the interior of Africa. The major aim of these companies was to establish the so-called “legitimate trade”. This was trade in commodities and other resources that industrial capitalist required as raw materials or as food for the urban working classes. The legitimate trade did not involve the selling and buying human

Several companies in Africa were established at strategic points for the purpose of collecting important commodities for export and supplying manufactured goods from Europe.

In East Africa examples of these companies were the Imperial British East African Company (I.B.E.A.C) founded in 1886 by William Macknnon. It was also known as the British East Africa Association. Another company was the Germany East African Company (G.E.A.C) founded in 1884 by Carl Peters. In West Africa examples of companies formed included the Royal Niger Company (R.N.C) which was formed by George Turban Goldie in 1884.

The association was concerned with commercial activities. King Leopald expected that the company could improve the lives of native as well as civilizing them, exploiting natural resources and abolishing slave trade and slavery in the region.

In central Africa the company prevailed was the Livingstone central Africa Company (L.C.A.C). it was formed by Scottish capitalists James Steven in 1878.

In south Africa there was the British south Africa company (B.S.A.C) formed by Cecil Rhodes as a private company and operated in south and central Africa by the year 1889, the company was given a royal charter that included the full powers to administer the company.


(i) They exploited African resources, these resources were highly needed by the European capitalists in their industries. In all parts of Africa Company played a crucial role of collecting raw materials and carried out trade activities.

(ii) They eliminated local middlemen, this was carried out by the companies which attracted the imperialists powers to control Africa.

(iii) They encouraged their home government to colonise Africa, for example, the Royal Niger Company encouraged the British to colonize Nigeria after gaining the control of the different trading areas in the region.

(iv) They Signed treaties, the company played an important role of signing different treaties with African local chiefs. These treaties helped imperial powers to claim and justify the colonization of particular territories, especially during the Berlin Conference. One example was a treaty signed between Harry Johnston and chief Mandara of Uchaga in 1884 to control thirteen square kilometers of land in Kilimanjaro. In addition, Dr. Carl Peters of the society for German colonization signed treaties with a number of chief between Pangani and Rufiji. These treaties were later used by the German government to control Tanganyika.

(v) They created infrastructures; these included commercial centers, administrative headquarters, roads, railways and waterways. They were allocated in those areas where they operated where by later on were used by the imperial powers to transport administrators to colonize and impose laws on the land.

(vi) They paved the way for colonization of Africa; they suppressed African resistance through a police force used to maintain peace, order and stability within the region. For example, in East Africa, the German East African Company recruited Swahili, Sudanese and Buganda soldier to counter the coastal Arab resistance of 1888-1889.

(vii) They provided important information about economic potentiality of African areas; Africa was exposed to the imperial powers which aimed to colonize the continent.

(viii) They provided rudimentary administration in areas of their operation, some company leaders such as Sir. George Turban Goldie of the Royal Niger Company, Harry Johnston, the representative of Cecil Rhodes of the British South Africa Company, attended the Berlin Conference of 1884-188 5. They also notified the conference about areas where they operate on behalf of their mother countries.

(ix) They played an important role of marking of the administrative boundaries, which were later identified as boundaries of the European spheres of influence. They prevented any other rival European imperial power from taking their territories. This was evidenced in East Africa where the German East Africa Company marked the area of the German in the Anglo-German rivalry and achieved the 1886 agreement. While in South Africa the British South Africa Company managed to map the claims of Britain, thus preventing the Portuguese from interfering in the British sphere of influence.


Refers to the state of ending slave trade. Or was the act of freeing slaves and stopping the use of human being as commodities. Britain was the first nation to Establish abolition of slave trade campaign. In 1833, Britain abolished slavery, in 1865 U.S.A also abolished and the total abolition of slave trade in East Africa took place during the colonial period.



(i) Capitalist production, this involves two classes of societies, which are the capitalists who control the major means of production and the workers who are employed by the capitalists. For the workers to be effectively employed, they must be free and not slaves.

(ii) Need for markets, due to the industrial revolution, there was increased production of industrial products in Europe that lacked enough demand; this forced the British to abolish slave trade so that markets can be created in Africa for their manufactured goods.

(iii) Need for raw materials, due to the industrial revolution, there was increased demand for raw materials in Britain. The existing raw materials were limited to supply due to the mushrooming of industries. This situation necessitated the abolition of the slave trade so that Africans can produce the needed raw materials.

(iv) The use of machines, the industrial revolution was characterized by the use of machines in the production process, these machines replaced human labor. The owners of the machines campaigned for the abolition of the slave trade because slave labor had become redundant.

(v) French and British competition over sugar production, for so long period, the British had a monopoly on sugar in the European market. The sugar was produced by slave labor in the British West Indies. The British was selling their sugar at very high prices thus making huge profits. However, by the end of the 18thC, the French West Indies and re union islands were producing sugar in large quantities and selling at a cheaper price thus making more profits than the British. This situation made slave labor in British West Indies useless thus forcing the British to abolish the slave trade.

(vi) The rise of men with new ideas, Prof. Adam Smith (challenged the economic arguments that were the basis of slave trade when he argued convincingly that hired labor is cheaper and more productive than slave labor, Rousseau spread the idea of personal liberty and equality of all men.

(vii) The ship owners stopped transporting slaves from Africa, and began raw materials directly from Africa and America to Europe, which led to a decline in slave trade.


(i) Religious reasons, the religious bodies contributed to the abolition of the slave trade in Africa. They argued that slave trade was against the will of God because he had created all people equal but slave trade was treating Africans as an inferior class. The Christians denounced slave trade in the name of God and argued that it must be abolished.

(ii) French revolution of 1789, the French revolution of 1789 had a role to play in the abolition of the slave trade. The slogan of the revolution was fraternity, liberty and equality. Philosophers such as Rousseau campaigned for the abolition of slave trade. These philosophers claimed that slave trade was against the ideals of the French revolution thus it had to be stopped.

(iii) Humanitarian movements, the humanitarians such as Granville sharp and Thomas Clarkson played a certain role in the abolition of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. These people argued that slave trade had caused a lot of suffering to the people thus it had to be abolished. These efforts were followed by British declarations of 1807 and 1833 which abolished slave trade and slavery.


Abolitionist and humanitarians used several methods to pressure nations to abolish slave trade in the world. These tactics include the following;

(i) They used campaign meetings, sometimes they asked freed slaves to address the realities and how they were mistreated in slavery.

(ii) Anti-Slavery trade patrol ships from Britain; they patrolled the seas to prevent ships from sailing from Africa with slaves.

(iii) Intellectuals and writers used books, newspapers and magazines to condemn slavery and slave trade.

(iv) Treaties to stop slave trade were signed between nations. Some of the treaties signed between the Sultan of Zanzibar and the British in East Africa were;

  • In 1807, British parliament outlawed slave trade for British subjects.
  • In 1817 British negotiated the “the reciprocal search treaties” with Spain and Portugal.
  • Equipment treaties signed with Spain 1835, Portugal 1842 and America 1862. In east Africa in 1822 Mores by treaty was signed between captain Moresby and sultan Seyyid Said it forbade the shipping of slaves outside the sultan’s territories. British sips were authorized to stop and search suspected Arabs slave carrying dhows.
  • In 1845, Hamerton treaty was signed between Colonel Hamerton and sultan Seyyid Said. It forbade the shipping of slaves outside the sultan’s East Africa territories i.e. beyond to the North.
  • In 1871, the British set up the parliamentary commission of inquiry to investigate and report on slave trade in East Africa.
  • In 1872, sir. Bartle Frere persuaded sultan Barghash to stop slave trade but not much was achieved.
  • On 5th march 1873, the sultan passed a decree prohibiting the export of slaves from mainland and closed of slave market at Zanzibar. Zanzibar slave market was to be closed within 24 hours
  • In 1876, sultan decreed that no slaves were to be transported overland.
  • In 1897, decree left slaves to claim their freedom themselves
  • In 1907, slavery was abolished entirely in Zanzibar and Pemba.
  • In 1927, slavery ended in Tanganyika when British took over from Germany after the Second World War.


(i) Foundation of sierra Leone and Liberia, these areas were established by the Europeans powers as settlements for the freed slaves. They received freed slaves from America. It should be noted that the Trans-Atlantic slave trade uprooted millions of Africans who were supposed to offer labor in America.

(ii) Introduction of legitimate trade, there was introduction of legitimate trade that involved the buying and selling of natural resources, Example palm oil and cocoa. The colonial powers introduced legitimate trade so that it can facilitate the acquisition of raw materials and markets which were crucial in Europe after the industrial revolution.

(iii) Exploitation of hinterland, before the abolition of the slave trade, the colonial powers operated along the coast of West Africa searching for slaves, but after the abolition of slave trade they penetrated the interior searching for raw materials and market where they can sell their manufactured goods.

(iv) Increased spread of Christianity, the European powers increased the spread of Christianity after the abolition of slave trade. Christianity was a way of compensating for the ills committed by slave trade. This religion was also spread to counter the spread of Islam in West Africa.

(v) Increased provision of social services, the colonial powers increased the provision of social services especially education. The main aim of colonial education was to train Africans to become better producers of raw materials that were needed in Europe. Colonial education was also supposed to change the mentality of Africans to prefer European goods thus created a ready market for them.

(vi) Improvement of the agricultural sector, the colonial powers improved the agricultural sector by introducing better methods of farming to increase the production of raw materials. It should be noted that the colonialists discouraged the production of food crops in Africa.

(vii) Linguistic studies, the colonial powers studied native languages so that they can be able to translate the Bible into local languages. This move was to convert many Africans to Christianity. The languages that were studied by the imperialist were Hausa and Fulani.


Britain took control of the cape during the period of Mercantilism in Europe. In 1580 Sir Francis Drake became the first British man to round the Cape of Good Hope.

At the end of 18th century, The British became interested in seizing the cape colony from the Dutch.

The British first occupation of South Africa was in 1795 when they attacked and defeated the Boers at the Cape. There was a peace treaty between the Dutch and the British in 1802 and the Cape was given back to the Dutch in 1803. However, in 1806 the British decided to re-occupy the Cape by defeating the Dutch.


(i) They wanted to protect their ships on the sea route to India.

(ii) They wanted to control the trade route on seawater (India & Asia).

(iii) They wanted to protect themselves against ships of enemies.

(iv) They wanted to get raw materials, market and area for investment.

(v) They wanted to increase colonies.


(i) Introduction of land legislation system, they aimed at discouraging pastoralism among Boers and to encourage sedentary farming since the policy limited the size of an individual’s land. The Dutch thought that the British introduced the land law to take land from the Boers and redistribute it to the landless Khoikhoi so they opposed the land law.

(ii) Abolition of slave trade and slavery in 1807, The British government abolished slave trade in all their colonies and offered compensation for slaves but the money was only paid in London as a result the majority did not get their compensation. However, freeing slaves endangered the economic survival of the Boers as they depended much on slave labor.

(iii) Imposition of the English language as the as the official language, of administering the law and justice and the medium of instruction in schools in 1822. Hence, English language replaced the Dutch as he official language.

(iv) Abolition of internal trade restriction imposed by the Dutch company, officials on the farmers and other settlers at the cape. This created more trade opportunities as they could now trade freely without strictly control from the administration.

(v) Introduction of the pass in 1809, to reduce the exploitation of African labor as the system required African workers to carry passbooks which indicated their residence and employment, and those who did not carry them were regarded as criminals. The pass prevented the Africans from moving from district to district or moving into areas occupied by Europeans.

(vi) Introduction of contract system, through this the Boers were to sign contracts with their workers. In those contracts, they were to mention the wages and other fringe benefits that they gave to their workers. Therefore, the Boers regarded the contract system as British interference in the traditional Boer-Africans relationship of master-servant.

(vii) Introduction of the Black circuit court system in 1811, in order to reduce acts of violence committed by European employers against African employees. The law angered the Boers who considered themselves a superior race and thus natural masters of the Africans.

(viii) Introduction of English law, as the basis of the legal system in South Africa.

(ix) Provision of financial aid to the British settlers by the British government, this encouraged more of its citizens to immigrate to the Cape as a result in 1820 some 300 British settlers arrived in South Africa increasing the total white population by almost 12% within weeks.


A TREK simply means a movement of people from one place to another in large groups.

BOER TREK was the migration of the Boers from the Cape of Good Hope to other interior parts of South Africa in order to find new settlement areas.

The historical background of the Boers movement can be traced back with the arrival of British towards the end of 18th century, who established their administration at the cape colony. With presence of British, everything at the cape changed into negative to Boers. For example, Bores were now treated of equal status with the Africans. The migration took place from 1830s to 1840s where the Boers moved in groups of families at different times to different parts of interior South Africa, in a movement that later became known as the BOERS GREAT TREK.


(i) Introduction of British government, British established their settlements at the Cape of Good Hope early in 19th century. Here, both Boers and natives were under British domination. The Boer did not want to be under the British government, that’s why they decided to move out from the Cape of Good Hope, to interior where they could establish their independent states.

(ii) Abolition of slavery and slave trade, the other fundamental change that British rule brought about was the ending of the slave trade and then the total banning of slavery. The British abolished slavery and slave trade in 1833 which was established by the Boers. Nevertheless, many of the original Dutch settlers were extremely unhappy about the emancipation of slaves.

(iii) Introduction of English language as an official language, the coming of the British led to introduction of English language as an official language in 1822 that was to be spoken by all people at the cape. This made the Boers to become discontent hence Boer Trek.

(iv) Shortage of land at the cape, the coming of the British at the cape led to increase of population. The Cape of Good Hope became overpopulated. This led to shortage of land hence Boers decided to move to interior in search of the new land for agricultural undertakings.

(v) To transform the Composition of the local white population, the British encouraged the immigration of British settlers of South Africa with the aim of transforming the Composition of the local white population.

(vi) British Introduced land privatization, this put limitation on the amount of land that one could own. This violated the Boers practice of owning large farms.


(i) Establishment of Boer Republics, the movement of the Boer from the cape to interior led to the establishment of two Boer Republics which were Transvaal Republic and Orange Free State.

(ii) Occurrence of Afro-Boer Wars, the movement of the Boers to the interior led to conflicts between the Boers and Africans. This was due to the fact that Boers confiscated natives’ lands. A good example of those conflicts was the Zulu war with the Boers in 1837.

(iii) It accelerated mfecane movements on the interior Southern Africa; this is due to the fact that their penetration increased shortage of land in the hinterland.

(iv) The Boers had in the interim developed their own culture and language, in the interior areas where they settled.

(v) Discovery of Minerals, The Boer Trek also led to discovery of minerals in the interior parts of South Africa. The minerals discovered in the interior were: Diamond discovered at Kimberley in 1867 Gold discovered at Witwatersrand in 1880’s.

(vi) The Boers lost touch with their homeland, their movement to the interior of South Africa developed a new language and culture known as Afrikaans and referred to themselves as Afrikaners.

(vii) The British regarded the Boers as rebellious, The British colonial government felt responsible for the cruel treatment to these Boers and hence influenced Boers to move to the interior part of South Africa.

(viii) The Boers forcefully took African resources, such as land and livestock in the interior of South Africa.


1. Explain the meaning of industrial capitalism

2. Explain the demands of industrial capitalism

3. Explain the roles of the agents of industrial capitalism in preparing Africa for colonialism

4. Outline the major causes of the Boer Trek in South Africa.

5. Write shot notes on the effects of the Boer Trek on people of South Africa.

6. What are motives of the British at the Cape?

7. Explain why the Boers managed to defeat the Africans in the interior of South Africa.

8. Mention five tactics used by British to occupy the Cape.