The scramble for Africa was an interesting time. It was a time in which national prestige and group recognition was the only thing that mattered. It was also a time where Europeans wanted to control everything and social Darwinism ran rampant. It was the very definition of social Darwinism; survival of the fittest was exactly what was going on. I don't think you can pinpoint the cause of the scramble to one major event because several events caused it to come about. The end of slave trade was one major event that contributed to the scramble. When slave trade ended, something was needed to replace the commerce between Europe and Africa. Exploration was another contributing factor. The boom of exploration took place due the curiosity of wealthy Englishmen who wanted to "find.....the course of the Niger River" (africanhistory). That area of the Niger River ended up being a free for all due the Berlin Conference of 1884-85. This act stated that in order to control a region the colonizer must prove occupancy of said region AND "develop a 'sphere of influence' which is a term used to "denote an area in which a foreign power or powers exerts significant military, cultural, or economic influence" (ushistory).