Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > World History Forum > Middle Eastern and African History
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

Middle Eastern and African History Middle Eastern and African History Forum - Egypt, Syria, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and all nations of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old April 4th, 2015, 11:26 PM   #1
Joined: Jul 2012
From: U.S
Posts: 105
Was there a lack of an Arms race in early modern East Africa and why?

So East Africa was connected and of course participated in the key trade routes and was able to keep up with the rest of the world for some time. We have threads on here dedicated to the infrastructure suggesting that the East Africans ( and West ) seemed to make it to medieval period.

However in the modern era, what happened to the connection? There's things like castles, but why can't I find evidence of modern weapons being used in places like Great Zimbabwe or throughout Horn of Africa ( not counting Abyssinia)

I hear of these Eastern Coast nations being great traders and super rich, but with all that money was no one interested in constantly upgrading their military?
MrM is offline  
Remove Ads
Old April 5th, 2015, 11:07 AM   #2

jehosafats's Avatar
Joined: Nov 2010
From: ...
Posts: 2,088
Blog Entries: 5

The issue might stem from the terrain itself. Thorton noted how the Portuguese explorers and soldiers, who ventured into West African warfare, had gradually adopted their weapons and tactics, seeing how their own, they discovered, were less effective. Terrain couldn't explain the apparent lack of an "arm's race" in every respect. But it does show how it was pretty nuanced.
jehosafats is offline  
Old April 5th, 2015, 12:38 PM   #3

Ichon's Avatar
Joined: Mar 2013
From: .
Posts: 3,285

Africa did keep up militarily relative to other non European or non Asian powers until colonization which for most of Africa was during industrial age where Africa did not have manufacturing base to support modern arms industry. Africa was seen as a source of mostly raw materials which for thousands of years was enough to compete with everyone else but that changed rapidly in under a century and any chance Africa had of catching up was delayed by colonization which top down hierarchy with little true interest in improving Africans ability to compete with European imports.

For east Africa particularly there was wealth but mostly for small part of the population who choose to import modern arms and very limited attempts to build arms in east Africa though there were some. The scale of wealth was simply less as well where traders had enough wealth to pay low cost labor to make some things but without manufacturing base machine tools and specialists with technical knowledge all had to be imported and for most it was cheaper and higher quality to import finished product.

Last edited by Ichon; April 5th, 2015 at 12:46 PM.
Ichon is offline  
Old April 5th, 2015, 02:22 PM   #4

jehosafats's Avatar
Joined: Nov 2010
From: ...
Posts: 2,088
Blog Entries: 5

Well they did begin to compete in the closing periods of colonization. For instance, Benin was manufcaturing their own firearms.

Many states began making their own goods, but for whatever reason, mainly their rulers, they continued importing cheap/knockoff European goods.
jehosafats is offline  
Old April 6th, 2015, 06:09 AM   #5

AlpinLuke's Avatar
Joined: Oct 2011
From: Lago Maggiore, Italy
Posts: 22,674
Blog Entries: 19

The Axumite empire had some possibility to become a center of civilization like the Mediterranean, Islam, India, China ... the main problem was that it wasn't able to expand its sphere of influence beyond the Erythraean Sea. And the absence of a coast on the other side made the geopolitical context of that kingdom quite close.

If we think that the colonial power of reference of the African Horn was Italy ... we can understand the low level that a so promising land reached after centuries and centuries of competition by external powers [overall Islamic] and the influence of the Portuguese with their requests [like to one to submit the Emperor, the "Negus", to the power of the Roman Church ...].
AlpinLuke is offline  

  Historum > World History Forum > Middle Eastern and African History

africa, arms, early, east, lack, military, modern, race, war

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Ancient Chinese Warfare-Far ahead of its time? When did they loose the arms race? Mrbsct Asian History 287 May 6th, 2016 10:04 PM
The Reasons for a Lack of a Holocaust in North Africa? Futurist Middle Eastern and African History 41 March 25th, 2015 10:51 PM
The Arms Race to 1914: main powers military expenditure Frank81 European History 6 March 18th, 2014 06:27 PM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.