The European race for the colonies led Germany to launch its own expeditions, which frightened British and French statesmen. Hoping to quickly trigger the simmering conflict, Belgian King Leopold II convinced France and Germany that joint trade in Africa was in the best interests of the three countries. With the support of the British and the initiative of Portugal, German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck called on representatives of 13 nations of Europe and the United States to participate in the Berlin Conference in 1884 in order to develop a common policy on the African continent. Ahead of the conference, European diplomats approached governments in Africa in the same way as in the Western Hemisphere by connecting to local trade networks. In the early 1800s, European demand for ivory, which was then often used in the production of luxury goods, led many European merchants to the domestic markets of Africa.  European spheres of power and influence were limited to the African coast at that time, as Europeans had only established trading posts until then.  Explain why Europeans were interested in land preservation in Africa Other historians discuss the historical legal implications in international law. The emphasis on the principle of efficiency and spheres of influence meant that the Berlin Conference was not an important development of international law and imperialism.  Some argued that the conference was rather a failure and blamed Germany for Scramble for Africa.  At the Berlin Conference, the scope of the principle of effective occupation between Germany and France was fiercely contested. The Germans, who were new to the continent, essentially believed that in terms of expanding power in Africa, no colonial power should have a legal right to a territory unless the state exercised strong and effective political control, and if so, only for a limited period of time, essentially a single occupying power. However, Britain believed that Germany was a latecomer on the continent and was unlikely to obtain any new possessions, with the exception of the already occupied territories, which soon proved more valuable than those occupied by Britain. This logic led Britain and France to generally assume that Germany had an interest in embarrassing the other European powers on the continent and forcing them to give up their possessions if they could not muster a strong political presence.
On the other hand, Britain had large territorial possessions there and wanted to keep them while minimizing its administrative responsibilities and costs. In the end, the British point of view prevailed. The conference was convened on Saturday, November 15, 1884 at Bismarck`s official residence in Wilhelmstraße. The main dominant powers in the conference were France, Germany, Britain and Portugal. They reframed Africa without taking into account the already established cultural and linguistic boundaries. By the end of the conference, Africa was divided into 50 colonies. Supervisors determined who had control over each of these new departments. They also planned, without commitment, to put an end to the slave trade in Africa.
The conference opened on 15 Nov. 1884 and continued until its closing on 26 Feb. 1885.  The number of plenipotentiaries varied from nation to nation, but these 14 countries sent representatives to attend the Berlin Conference and sign the Berlin Law that followed: Having witnessed political and economic rivalries between European empires in the last quarter of the 19th century, the formal division of Africa prevented European countries from fighting against each other for the territory.. .