first drawback has almost disappeared, and the building of railways and the

placing of steamers on the rivers and lakes—a work continually progressing

—renders it year by year easier for producer and consumer to come together.

As to the second drawback, while the coast-lands in the tropics will

always remain comparatively unhealthy, improved sanitation and the

destruction of the malarial mosquito have rendered tolerable to Europeans

regions formerly notorious for their deadly climate.

At various periods since the partition of the continent began, united

action has been taken by the powers of Europe in the interests of African

trade. The Berlin conference of 1884-1885 decreed freedom of navigation and

trade on the Congo and the Niger, and the Anglo-Portuguese treaty of 1891

secured like privileges for the Zambezi. The Berlin conference likewise

enacted that over a wide area of Central Africa—the conventional basin of

the Congo—there should be complete freedom of trade, a freedom which later

on was held to be infringed in the Congo State and French Congo by the

granting to various companies proprietary rights in the disposal of the

product of the soil. More important in their effect on the economic

condition of the continent than the steps taken to ensure freedom of trade

were the measures concerted by the powers for the suppression of the slave

trade. The British government had for long borne the greater part of the

burden of combating the slave trade on the east coast of Africa and in the

Indian Ocean, but the changed conditions which resulted from the appearance

of other European powers in Africa induced Lord Salisbury, then foreign

secretary, to address, in the autumn of 1888, an invitation to the king of

the Belgians to take the initiative in inviting a conference of the powers

at Brussels to concert measures for ``the gradual suppression of the

Suppression of the slave trade.

slave trade on the continent of Africa, and the immediate closing of all

the external markets which it still supplies.'' The conference assembled in

November 1889, and on the 2nd of July 1890 a general act was signed subject

to the ratification of the various governments represented, ratification

taking place subsequently at different dates, and in the case of France

with certain reservations. The general act began with a declaration of the

means which the powers were of opinion might be most effectually adopted

for ``putting an end to the crimes and devastations engendered by the

traffic in African slaves, protecting effectively the aboriginal

populations of Africa, and ensuring for that vast continent the benefits of

peace and civilization.'' It proceeded to lay down certain rules and

regulations of a practical character on the lines suggested. The act covers

a wide field, and includes no fewer than a hundred separate articles. It

established a zone ``between the 20th parallel of north latitude, and the

22nd parallel of south latitude, and extending westward to the Atlantic and

eastward to the Indian Ocean and its dependencies, comprising the islands

adjacent to the coast as far as 100 nautical miles from the shore,'' within

which the importation of firearms and ammunition was forbidden except in

certain specified cases, and within which also the powers undertook either

to prohibit altogether the importation and manufacture of spirituous

liquors, or to impose duties not below an agreed-on minimum.1 An elaborate

series of rules was framed for the prevention of the transit of slaves by

sea, the conditions on which European powers were to grant to natives the

right to fly the flag of the protecting power, and regulating the procedure

connected with the right of search on vessels flying a foreign flag. The

Brussels Act was in effect a joint declaration by the signatory powers of

their joint and several responsibility towards the African native, and

notwithstanding the fact that many of its articles have proved difficult,

if not impossible, of enforcement, the solemn engagement taken by Europe in

the face of the world has undoubtedly exercised a material influence on the

action of several of the powers. Moreover, with the increase of means of

communication and the extension of effective European control, slave-

raiding in the interior was largely checked and inter-tribal wars

prevented, the natives being thus given security in the pursuit of trade

and agriculture.

Other important factors in the economic as well as the social conditions

of Africa are the advance in civilization made by the natives in several

regions and the increase of the areas found suitable for white

colonization. The advance in civilization among the natives, exemplified by

the granting to them of political rights in such countries as Algeria and

Cape Colony, leads directly to increased commercial activity; and commerce

increases in a much greater degree when new countries— e.g. Rhodesia and

British East Africa—become the homes of Europeans. Finally, in reviewing

the chief factors which govern the commercial development of the continent,

note must be taken of the sparsity of the population over the greater part

of Africa, and the efforts made to supplement the insufficient and often

ineffective native labour by the introduction of Asiatic labourers in

various districts—of Indian coolies in Natal and elsewhere, and of Chinese

for the gold mines of the Transvaal.

The resources of Africa may be considered under the head of: (1) jungle

products; (2) cultivated products; (3) animal

Chief economic resources.

products; (4) minerals. Of the first named the most important are india-

rubber and palm-oil. which in tropical Africa supply by far the largest

items in the export list. The rubber-producing plants are found throughout

the whole tropical belt, and the most important are creepers of the order

Apocynaceae, especially various species of Landolphia (with which genus

Vahea is now united). In East Africa Landolphia kirkii (Dyer) supplies the

largest amount, though various other species are known Forms of apparently

wider distribution are L. hendelotii, which is found in the Bahr-el-Ghazal,

and extends right across the continent to Senegambia; and L. (formerly

Vahea) comorensis, which, including its variety L. florida, has the widest

distribution of all the species, occurring in Upper and Lower Guinea, the

whole of Central Africa, the east coast, the Comoro Islands and Madagascar.

In parts of East Africa Clitandra orienitalis is a valuable rubber vine. In

Lagos and elsewhere rubber is produced by the apocynaceous tree, Funtumia

elastica, and in West Africa generally by various species of Ficus, some

species of which are also found in East Africa. The rubber produced is

somewhat inferior to that of South America, but this is largely due to

careless methods of preparation. The great destruction of vines brought

about by native methods of collection much reduced the supply in some

districts, and rendered it necessary to take steps to preserve and

cultivate the rubber-yielding plants. This has been done in many districts

with usually encouraging results. Experiments have been made in the

introduction of South American rubber plants, but opinions differ as to the

prospects of success, as the plants in question seem to demand very

definite conditions of soil and climate. The second product, palm-oil, is

derived from a much more limited area than rubber, for although the oil

palm is found throughout the greater part of West Africa, from 10 deg. N.

to 10 deg. S., the great bulk of the export comes from the coast districts

at the head of the Gulf of Guinea. A larger supply, equal to any market

demand, could easily be obtained. A third valuable product is the timber

supplied by the forest regions, principally in West Africa. It includes

African teak or oak (Oldfieldia africana), excellent for shipbuilding; the

durable odum of the Gold Coast (Chlorophora excelsa); African mahogany

(Khaya senegalensis); ebony (Diospyros ebenum); camwood (Baphia nitida);

and many other ornamental and dye woods. The timber industry on the west

coast was long neglected, but since 1898 there have been large exports to

Europe. In parts of East Africa the Podocarpus milanjianus, a conifer, is

economically important. Valuable timber grows too in South Africa,

including the yellow wood (Podocarpus), stinkwood (Ocotea), sneezewood or

Cape ebony (Euclea) and ironwood.

Other vegetable products of importance are: Gum arabic, obtained from

various species of acacia (especially A. senegal), the chief supplies of

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