The Berlin act, which was signed in 1885, defined the rules for the partition of Africa.

1. Any power which wants to claim any territory should notify the other powers who signed, in order to allow them to make their own claims if they so desired.

2. After annexing a territory the country must provide an effective occupation of that territory.

3. If a treaty is made with an African ruler it can be considered a valid title to sovereignty.

4. Every imperial power is free to extend its coastal occupations into the interior to establish spheres of influence. Additionally the Congo and Niger rivers were free for all to use.