Chapter 1, Article IV of the Act of Berlin of 1885- This treaty was signed at the Berlin Conference between representatives of Great Britain, Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Russia, the United States, Portugal, Denmark, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and Turkey. The purpose of the conference was to divide the land of Africa in an orderly manner.

The Berlin Conference: The General Act of Feb. 26, 1885

Chap. I [relating to the Congo River Basin and adjacent territories]

VI. All the powers exercising sovereign [power of governing] rights or influence in the aforesaid [previously mentioned] territories bind themselves to watch over the preservation of the native tribes, and to care for the improvement of the conditions of their moral and material well-being and to help in suppressing slavery, and especially the Slave Trade. They shall, without distinction of creed or nation, protect and favor all religious, scientific, or charitable institutions and undertakings created and organized for the above ends, or which aim at instructing the natives and bringing home to them the blessings of civilization. . .

  1. Explain in your own words how the countries that signed the treaty agreed to treat the native tribes.
  2. How did the authors view the people of Africa?
  3. What purpose(s) might the authors and signatories of this document have in mind?
  4. How might Africans have felt if they read this document at the time?
  5. Do you agree or disagree with the goals of Article VI? Why?
  6. Predict whether you think the European powers lived up to the promise of this document.