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Old November 26th, 2016, 11:01 AM   #131

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Originally Posted by peccavi View Post
Even with Black Africa, it is necessary to consider area by area.

West Africa was rightly acknowledged as the "White Mans grave". Disease was rampant. Its only wealth was slaves.
It is true that west Africa in general, and the coast and places nearer to the coast especially, were considered "the white man's graveyard" in earlier times because of the climate and disease. I would agree with that.

However, the notion that "its only wealth was slaves" distorts the whole history of trans-Saharan trade between West Africa and North Africa. The king of medieval Ghana was not called "the richest king on the face of the earth" by medieval Arab writers because of some supposed wealth in slaves, but because of wealth derived from something quite different. In fact, this view of west Africa's only wealth being slaves ignores even the importance of products like ivory and palm oil in west Africa's trade history.


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However with the success of the anti-slavery movement from 1808 onwards the Royal Navy was tasked with suppressing this trade. Generally this was successful but inevitably led to occupation of the seaboard enforce compliance. With the exception of Ghana (the Gold Coast), there was negligible movement into the interior.

The same was true of the East Coast, where again the Royal Navy suppressed the Slave Trade, in this case Arab slavers (based on the slaving Island of Zanzibar).
I would agree with the notion that many (though not all) of the coastal acquisitions of territory by the British in west Africa were an outgrowth of the anti-slavery movement, but since this is hardly the case when talking about the interior (which formed the bulk of the territory acquired by Britain), and when there are even cases of the British already signing anti-slavery treaties with peoples of the interior, but later colonizing those peoples anyway, I would just note that we should realize that the anti-slavery movement alone could not explain the extent of the British empire in west Africa. The circumstances under which the Asante state (which was by the coast, and covered most of present day Ghana and beyond) was incorporated into the British empire were not even due to some anti-slavery drive, despite what one might assume given that state's history. A lively account of the circumstances leading up to the downfall of the Asante state is given by Robert Edgerton's book The Fall of the Asante Empire: The Hundred-Year War For Africa's Gold Coast (2002).


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Only in 1885 was the interior of Nigeria, occupied in the modern sense and then only because the French were threatening from modern Niger to effect a take-over, the great and very late European, Scramble for Africa - for the prestige of owning a bit of the territory irrespective of whether it could pay its way. In most cases it could not.
The interior of Nigeria was not occupied in 1885. This is not a correct account of the timeline of events.

And there hasn't been some concrete analysis of whether most of the colonies "paid their way" or not - at least none that has been presented by anyone in this discussion so far based on any sort of concrete facts. But I will say that if colonial extraction in British west Africa was similar to its French counterpart, it seems entirely plausible that the colonies would have "paid their way" just on that basis.

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With the notable exception of South Africa where firstly there was a critical strategic requirement of ownership and latterly there was real wealth, Gold, virtually all the rest of Africa was not profitable.
Looking at things in a long term perspective (rather than focusing on just one or two centuries), gold was probably a bigger factor in west African history than in southern African history.

Even today, gold mining in west Africa has overtaken gold mining in southern Africa, and the gold mining in west Africa is focused basically in those areas in which gold was so important to West African economies several centuries ago:

West Africa is the continent?s gold mining hub - Mineweb


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So the reasons for colonising were in the first place altruistic - suppression of the slave trade, then a succession of explorers and those, such as Livingstone, who saw it their mission to convert the natives to a Christian God, introduce "civilisation" and develop education. It is surprising how many African Independence Leader were educated in Mission Schools.
Sure, but as I mentioned above the extent of the British empire in west Africa couldn't be explained by altruistic motives alone. I referenced just one state earlier (Asante), but there other examples such as the conquest and annexation of Sokoto to the British empire that were not motivated purely or even mostly by altruism.


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Finally and disastrously for Africa - the Scramble, an extension of the inter - European rivalry, with such crazy ambitions to paint the continent Red from Cape to Cairo or French Blue from Dakar to Djibouti - and the Fashoda Incident when France and Britain came close to War. Actually De Gaulle mentions this in his Memoires and makes it clear that he would have pressed French claims even if it meant War.

Far more complex reasons and so simplistic to even talk in terms of conquest or "only" interested in robbing the territories for wealth.
I can certainly agree with the notion that the many motives behind it were complex and cannot be reduced to only some desire to rob and exploit.


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Again with the exception of South Africa, the great natural wealth of Black Africa in raw materials, from oil to diamonds is only now evident and the new Neo-colonists, the Chinese are moving in.
This is really not correct. It was already understood in the past that far more than just southern Africa contained great natural wealth.

In fact, both medieval Arabs and also medieval Portuguese explorers - who ushered in what is usually called the European "Age of Exploration" - were very desirous to find out as much as they could about the so-called "Island of Gold" or "River of Gold" of West Africa.

As for the Chinese being "neo-colonists", a far better case could be made for France than for China in that regard. The signs of neo-colonialism that people usually point to when making that claim about France's interaction with Africa mostly aren't there in the case of China.

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Old November 26th, 2016, 11:16 AM   #132

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So France is responsible for all the african problems?



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Old November 26th, 2016, 11:18 AM   #133

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Originally Posted by Isleifson View Post
So France is responsible for all the african problems?




The point I have been making is that they are not responsible for some imaginary phenomenal success during colonization (of which no evidence exists, because no such thing took place), that could lead to their former colonies quickly transitioning into developed countries.
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Old November 26th, 2016, 11:45 AM   #134
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Originally Posted by Ighayere View Post
It is true that west Africa in general, and the coast and places nearer to the coast especially, were considered "the white man's graveyard" in earlier times because of the climate and disease. I would agree with that.

However, the notion that "its only wealth was slaves" distorts the whole history of trans-Saharan trade between West Africa and North Africa. The king of medieval Ghana was not called "the richest king on the face of the earth" by medieval Arab writers because of some supposed wealth in slaves, but because of wealth derived from something quite different. In fact, this view of west Africa's only wealth being slaves ignores even the importance of products like ivory and palm oil in west Africa's trade history.


I would agree with the notion that many (though not all) of the coastal acquisitions of territory by the British in west Africa were an outgrowth of the anti-slavery movement, but since this is hardly the case when talking about the interior (which formed the bulk of the territory acquired by Britain), and when there are even cases of the British already signing anti-slavery treaties with peoples of the interior, but later colonizing those peoples anyway, I would just note that we should realize that the anti-slavery movement alone could not explain the extent of the British empire in west Africa. The circumstances under which the Asante state (which was by the coast, and covered most of present day Ghana and beyond) was incorporated into the British empire were not even due to some anti-slavery drive, despite what one might assume given that state's history. A lively account of the circumstances leading up to the downfall of the Asante state is given by Robert Edgerton's book The Fall of the Asante Empire: The Hundred-Year War For Africa's Gold Coast (2002).


The interior of Nigeria was not occupied in 1885. This is not a correct account of the timeline of events.

And there hasn't been some concrete analysis of whether most of the colonies "paid their way" or not - at least none that has been presented by anyone in this discussion so far based on any sort of concrete facts. But I will say that if colonial extraction in British west Africa was similar to its French counterpart, it seems entirely plausible that the colonies would have "paid their way" just on that basis.

Looking at things in a long term perspective (rather than focusing on just one or two centuries), gold was probably a bigger factor in west African history than in southern African history.

Even today, gold mining in west Africa has overtaken gold mining in southern Africa, and the gold mining in west Africa is focused basically in those areas in which gold was so important to West African economies several centuries ago:

West Africa is the continent?s gold mining hub - Mineweb


Sure, but as I mentioned above the extent of the British empire in west Africa couldn't be explained by altruistic motives alone. I referenced just one state earlier (Asante), but there other examples such as the conquest and annexation of Sokoto to the British empire that were not motivated purely or even mostly by altruism.


I can certainly agree with the notion that the many motives behind it were complex and cannot be reduced to only some desire to rob and exploit.


This is really not correct. It was already understood in the past that far more than just southern Africa contained great natural wealth.

In fact, both medieval Arabs and also medieval Portuguese explorers - who ushered in what is usually called the European "Age of Exploration" - were very desirous to find out as much as they could about the so-called "Island of Gold" or "River of Gold" of West Africa.

As for the Chinese being "neo-colonists", a far better case could be made for France than for China in that regard. The signs of neo-colonialism that people usually point to when making that claim about France's interaction with Africa mostly aren't there in the case of China.
Actually don't disagree too much. I put Ghana (Gold Coast) in brackets due to Ashanti War and gold.

Ghana was lined up first for independence due to its wealth (from Cocoa and Gold at that stage) with Majority African participation from 1949 until independence 1957 (from memory).

Nkrumah went and spent that inheritance in a very short time but despite ups and downs it has done relatively well until the curse of oil arrived and corruption set in.

One thing that none has mentioned is the character of the independence leaders. With the notable exception of Kenyatta and Mandela, they were a pretty inept lot.

I agree with you about France - De Gaulle's dirty tricks campaign which I referred to earlier.
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Old November 26th, 2016, 12:11 PM   #135

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One thing that none has mentioned is the character of the independence leaders. With the notable exception of Kenyatta and Mandela, they were a pretty inept lot.
It's a mixed bag.

We should distinguish leaders who were progressive individuals that were actually committed to improving their people's well being like Amilcar Cabral, Agostinho Neto or Patrice Lumumba from people who greatly damaged their countries and were more interested in personal aggrandizement and the accumulation of wealth such as Mobutu Sese Seko or Idi Amin.

Some leaders like Nyerere, Nkrumah and Houphouet-Boigny were more in-between: they had both positives and downsides to their governments, and it's not easy to label their legacies as being simply positive or negative without simply ignoring certain things.

African independence did produce buffoons like Jean-Bedel Bokassa. But it also produced somebody like Thomas Sankara.

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Old November 26th, 2016, 04:37 PM   #136
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Originally Posted by peccavi View Post
Actually don't disagree too much. I put Ghana (Gold Coast) in brackets due to Ashanti War and gold.

Ghana was lined up first for independence due to its wealth (from Cocoa and Gold at that stage) with Majority African participation from 1949 until independence 1957 (from memory).

Nkrumah went and spent that inheritance in a very short time but despite ups and downs it has done relatively well until the curse of oil arrived and corruption set in.

One thing that none has mentioned is the character of the independence leaders. With the notable exception of Kenyatta and Mandela, they were a pretty inept lot.

I agree with you about France - De Gaulle's dirty tricks campaign which I referred to earlier.
These African leaders you call inept took over countries with little literacy and little infrastructure. The colonialists has ensured no room for education of Africans or their political opinion and organization.

The infrastructure that was available was for exploiting resources from interior to the coast then shipping it to Europe. So much for the financial loss of colonization. In settler colonies, the local community or tribe was driven out of its land. Where were they sent? To less productive lands where they were crowded. They were not even allowed in cities. It is a known fact that even movement was restricted by the colonizer.

But by the time they were granting Independence, they had formulated new inevitable means of maintaining control over the colonies. The most important of these being debt.
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Old November 26th, 2016, 04:47 PM   #137
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But from that point of view, what about the buyer, that (supposedly) had the idea of the meaning of civility, and (supposedly) had laws not beeing backwards ?

All it was (and still is) much more complex than a reductive black and white image.
You have to differentiate them in terms of knowledge of what they do. The Africans simply do not have regard towards importance of human life, while the British and the rest of the Westerners who were buying them knew about civility only that they were selective of it.

The Westerners at that moment were not hunting their fellow British or Dutch for purposes of selling as slaves because they were already into civility. The Africans simply were nomads and savages during that time in view of absence of law that prohibits that act that emanated from their culture.

That is so different, the Africans were simply ignorant about civility, the Westerners were selective thus the racism being the result of that ethnocentrism. The West was not backward but opportunists and exploiters, the Africans were ignorant and the common factor of them were they were both brutal and violent.
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Old November 26th, 2016, 05:04 PM   #138
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Wrong, Africans didn't capture their "fellow Africans" to slavery. First of all, there were no "Africans" during that time, neither they defined themselves as such. It was a certain tribe capturing people from another tribe which were their enemies during that time.

So when you describe wars and conflicts that took place in Europe, you describe it as "Europeans" killing their "fellow Europeans"? No, you describe it as Frenchmen killing Englishmen or Protestants killing Catholics. Why do you have to treat Africans as a single monolith?
This discussion is in referral to the continent of these people where they came from. That is the reason I call the events in Europe in unison as the European Christendom despite that they were English, Hispanic or even French historical matter, but, them as people living in Europa and were Christian in view of the existence of the Roman Empire, had that European Christendom phenomenon, and that is also the reason these Tribesmen of Africa are called Africans as they had their history.

Just to obviate your objection regarding the unison, okay, lets call them tribesmen hunting their fellow in the territory that is so large known in modern day as Africa and they hunted their fellow during those days of colonization, making themselves equally guilty of those who bought those human prey, does that change anything? It did not correct? It does not change the fact that these tribesmen hunted their fellow and sold it to the British and other Western colonizers during their time and that makes them equally guilty of the slave trade and lets stop demonizing the West. Everyone was cruel at that time.
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They captured people and sold them into slavery as a way to get rid of their enemies once and for all and actually making money out of it in the process. How's that worse than gassing Jews? I don't understand your rationalisation.

Besides, in Spain and Portugal, the inquisition was also a way in order for Catholics extort money from newly-converted Jews and Muslims - how's that morally better than African slavery?
Come on, there were even tribes in Africa at that time who were cannibals like the Aztecs, and they hunt not to get rid of enemies as you claim but to have human dinner. Lets stop this false Africa was a victim of the West because that is not entirely correct. They were equally brutal and sold their own kind to the Westerners knowing fully well of the consequences of such. I did not even state that it was worse. Where did you get that thought? Don't put words unto my mouth amigo. I stated equally brutal, meaning the same violent people.

Did I state that Catholics were angels? I always state that the Catholic Church was corrupt, but you cannot take away that achievement in world history by the Holy See as the institution that condemned and prohibited slavery amidst the practice of such by the Western powers in 1500's and that is among the fountains of humanization of the Western laws. You cannot change the history that those who change the European Knights in advocating justice of those who like to redress their grievance were most priests turned as lawyers in order to protect the human life to the highest level and abolish and criminalize duel as way to settle disputes. Those are Catholic achievements in Western Civilization. They are not African, Chinese or Aztec achievements but the achievement of the "European Christendom" and not by the Africans or Asians.

Your morally better argument is so irrelevant in this argument and position I am addressing. Lets discuss facts.
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Old November 26th, 2016, 05:08 PM   #139
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I would guess, and I do include myself here, that knowledge about the history of the people in Africa is not taught, at all, in the schools of most of the countries in the world. And I mean zero, not "a bit", but literally zero.
You mean that the African tribesmen hunting their own kind to sell them to the British and other Westerners were not historical events? I learned that from school.

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Old November 26th, 2016, 06:13 PM   #140
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With the horrific ways Europe has treated its own kind, women, children, the poor, the Irish and other groups (I am by no means well-versed on European-on-European oppression) but I do know that Eastern Europeans have had oppression issues, also there is the fact that millions of immigrants had to escape Europe to come to the United States...my point is, Europe was never an authority or never in an position to judge who is civilized, developing, or any type of concerns.

Colonization brought death and destruction, and nothing more. Just like in Europe itself, the colonies were set up in a way that only the dominant, ruling class could fully enjoy and experience the technological advances. Everyone else is constantly under brutal and violent control (ie, racism).

The conditions for oppressed groups in colonies has always been extremely brutal and primitive during colonial rule: no justice, no respect, no value for their human lives.

European invasion only improved the lives of Europeans but destroyed the lives of everyone else, again, including the animals and plants.

The thing white supremacy/Eurocentrism fails to realize is that their way of life is not the way that everyone else wanted and it's the not the way that benefits the entire world. There is nothing greater than living in harmony with nature. Respecting the animal kingdom and respecting their right to exists on the same Earth in similar spaces as you. This is the beautiful way of life for indigenous people.

I cannot express how much the animal kingdom means to certain groups of people.
Then there is the respect of the plants and all the wildlife and green life...using productive techniques to heal and prosper, and eat...all of the essential things t life, rather than destroying the ecology in favor of mass production, factory-driven, greed driven ways to produce the most for the cheapest and in the fastest time. Robbing the Earth of her natural resources, it is devastating and heartbreaking and then, causing many beloved animals to become extinct, that's so tragic and heartbreaking.

Then the mental, physical, spiritual and emotional toil that colonization has caused the world...it's not something that can ever be reversed. Nearly every ill, I did not say every ill, but nearly every ill from the inner city of the United States, to the slums of Brazil, to the coast and inner land of Africa, to the island of Australia, to the wintery land of Canada, to the shores of Mexico and the Carribbean, Central America and so on and so on, MANY ills can be traced back to the brutal effects of invasion (and of course slavery as I mentioned in another thread. However, the slavery and invasion go hand in hand).

No one has a right to wage war, slavery and genocide and steal other people's land and destroy their lives. It's really as simple as that.

No it was not the "white man's burden" to ever step foot on any other part of the earth.
https://public.wsu.edu/~brians/world...2/kipling.html
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Take up the White Man’s burden—

Send forth the best ye breed—

Go send your sons to exile

To serve your captives' need

To wait in heavy harness

On fluttered folk and wild—

Your new-caught, sullen peoples,

Half devil and half child
Life's burdens instead have been made unbearable..

Last edited by Roses2; November 26th, 2016 at 06:16 PM.
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