Then there was the problem that whites failed to thrive there at all except for several locales such as South Africa and parts of East Africa. This was the reverse of the Americas in which locals died out ahead of European arrivals.
After all that, when conditions were right, the sheer scale made taking it over a pipe dream. The map tells it all. All of China and all of India can be absorbed just in the arable lands.
Why did Africa not get taken over by white people like Australia/America did?
- The Middle Eastern empires (mostly the Ottoman Empire) blocked the silk road route to Europeans, as a result, Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch merchants sought new routes around the African continent. Their goal was not to colonise effectively African territory but to reach the rich outposts in India and China.
- Northern Africa, what is known as the Maghreb, was cut off as well. European vessels could not transit freely and were often raided by corsairs. Additionally, trade was cut from this region. Again Spaniards, Italians, etc needed to find other routes to trade with the “Indies”.
- African coastal cities were not rich enough to attract proper commercial relations. Portuguese opened outposts or “factories” to service their merchant ships. If you look at demographic historic data, the population was not considerable. Again, their goal was the far east.
- The Americas proved to be richer in resources and in time a mid point to trade with the far east. The Manila Galleys were effective sea routes between Spain, Veracruz and Acapulco in New Spain (now Mexico) and the Philipines; involved in ceramics, spices and gold/silver trade.
- The Aztecs and Far East civilizations were fully functional economies whose scale was larger than those on the coast of Africa. Plus, the fact that there were existing trade routes, commercial posts, markets, etc., gave Europeans easy access to those markets.
- The Portuguese took the African route around Cape Verde, while the Spaniards took the route to the Far East through the Americas. Both were, again, purely for economic purposes. Spain needed to sustain its Empire and expensive wars; without near and developed economies of scale, African territories (Subsaharan) were not attractive.
- Africa is massive and going inland on foot, horse or cart has been and still is a tricky business. Opposite to that, the Americas, especially where the Spanish conquered, had developed road networks and trade routes and was tiny compared to the scale of the African vastness. - Just check how massive it is !!!!
- From Veracruz to Tenochtitlan (the Aztec’s capital), there are merely 400kms. And about the same distance to the Pacific coast. Perfect for trade.
- Disease was a factor as well. Remember, dengue and malaria are also endemic in the Americas. However, given that there was an extensive number of urban outposts and developed cities, it was less of an issue than in the less inhabited African heartland; same reason why Portuguese did not set big trading posts inland on the Amazon in Brazil.
- With developed civilization in the Americas, the Europeans had access to infrastructure that made it easier for them to move and set up operations.