Why did the largest colonial empires in Africa begin to be created no earlier than the second half of the 19th century?

Africa (especially the territory south of the Sahara) until the XIX century. attracted little Europeans: ‘phonical forests and scarce soils, difficult climate, dangerous diseases. European merchants created small strongholds on the coast, it was not necessary to move inland. Only in the second half of the 19th century the frantic race of European countries for the colonies began and the “battle for Africa” began.

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