Colonization of Africa: Why Not Earlier?

Jun 2015
5,730
UK
#31
Sure. The slave trade and the sugar plantations killed off fully half of all whites who worked in the areas, from what I read.

Until they could deal with the terrible diseases whites could not colonize Africa. Quinine helped.

Boats! also. Until Europeans developed larger and better ships, I don't see how they could be expected to do much colonizing. And navigation and sailing techniques.

Until they had better medical and other technology, they couldn't colonize effectively on a large scale. I suppose Europeans had long colonized on a small scale -- the Portuguese-built Great Zimbabwe, the sugar-slaves brought back to work in Spain as early as the 15th century.

I want to include Rome in European colonization of Africa, however. Romans colonized Egypt and Carthage and went WAY south after exotic animals for the colliseum show sports. The elephants, giraffes, lions in plenty, crocodiles, all sorts of animals, show that Rome had a major presence in sub-Saharan Africa, though they may have depended on traders for the animal captures.
These species all existed in North Africa. Lions don't toda, but back then the Barbary Lion was far more plentiful. And when did the Portuguese build Great Zimbabwe?
 

robto

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,148
Lisbon, Portugal
#33
Some time in the 1500s, IIRC. There to collect gold, presumably. Some sort of early trading center.
It didn't happen though. There's no evidence that the Portuguese were ever there. And they wouldn't be capable of reaching the interior of Africa, neither have the logistics to build a large city or a trading center in the middle of Southern Africa.

The Great Zimbabwe was already abandoned in early 15th century, so how the Portuguese went there in the 1500s?
 
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Nov 2014
802
Maryland
#34
It didn't happen though. There's no evidence that the Portuguese were ever there. And they wouldn't be capable of reaching the interior of Africa, neither have the logistics to build a large city or a trading center in the middle of Southern Africa.

The Great Zimbabwe was already abandoned in early 15th century, so how the Portuguese went there in the 1500s?
Well, whenever ---- it can't have been the Africans, they never built anything from then till now. Besides, we know the Spanish and Portuguese were marauding in Africa around then --- look at the Spanish sugar slavery.

If Africans were able to build those buildings (and I never read it's a large CITY, just some stone ruins, no concrete) they'd have built them elsewhere. Nothing is a one-off, culturally. If you find a one-off, it means another culture came in and did it. Consider the Crusaders: their castles litter the Holy Land in quantity to this day, because Crusaders were into castle building. If the only castle you ever found was in, say, Lombardy, I would start looking for Space Aliens, because that's just not how culture works. If there's one, there's more than one, like Gothic churches. Chartres doesn't just show up magically by itself unless some other culture came in and built it for their own purposes.

Like Mexican pyramids. They are STILL finding new ones in the jungle. No space aliens are needed, nor Portuguese gold-traders: we know Mexicans built pyramids because they built lots of them, and they are still there.

So the Great Zimbabwe was built by Europeans, Q.E.D.
 
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robto

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,148
Lisbon, Portugal
#35
Well, whenever ---- it can't have been the Africans, they never built anything from then till now. Besides, we know the Spanish and Portuguese were marauding in Africa around then --- look at the Spanish sugar slavery.

If Africans were able to build those buildings (and I never read it's a large CITY, just some stone ruins, no concrete) they'd have built them elsewhere. Nothing is a one-off, culturally. If you find a one-off, it means another culture came in and did it. Consider the Crusaders: their castles litter the Holy Land in quantity to this day, because Crusaders were into castle building. If the only castle you ever found was in, say, Lombardy, I would start looking for Space Aliens, because that's just not how culture works. If there's one, there's more than one, like Gothic churches. Chartres doesn't just show up magically by itself unless some other culture came in and built it for their own purposes.

Like Mexican pyramids. They are STILL finding new ones in the jungle. No space aliens are needed, nor Portuguese gold-traders: we know Mexicans built pyramids because they built lots of them, and they are still there.

So the Great Zimbabwe was built by Europeans, Q.E.D.
First, don't ever in this context refer to them as just "Africans". Africans are large and heterogenous group that also includes Berbers, Egyptians, Zulus, Mandinkas, etc, etc.

Second, the Great Zombabwe is not a one-off ruin, there are 200 such sites in southern Africa, such as Bumbusi in Zimbabwe and Manyikeni in Mozambique, with monumental, mortarless walls; Great Zimbabwe is the largest.
The Great Zimbabwe was built of the wealth they gained by trading Gold, Ivory and Cattle with the Swahili Kingdoms in the Coast of East Africa.
There is a high probability that they learned how to build stone buildings with the Swahili.

If the Portuguese did that, or other non-African Kingdom they would have written it or you would find their objects or any kind of proof they were there. And you f no nothing of that sort.

There's an academic and archaeological consensus that the Shona people build those buildings, you can't really argue with that.

And finally, by the time the first Europeans (Portuguese) reached the coast of Southern Africa, the Great Zimbabwe was already abandoned. There is a profound chronological inconsistency with your assumption.
 
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R5 plus

Ad Honorem
Apr 2013
3,779
Home of Ringing Rocks
#36
...Built between the 11th and 15th centuries, Great Zimbabwe was home to a cattle-herding people who also became adept at metal-working. The ruins are the largest of their kind on the Zimbabwe Plateau, but they are by no means unique.
Other, smaller sites were ransacked by European treasure-hunters in the 19th century. These smaller ruins are called zimbabwes and can be found as far as Mozambique.
Out of all these, the ruins of Great Zimbabwe are the largest...

...Much about Great Zimbabwe is still a mystery, owing in large measure to frenzied plundering of the site around 1902, but it can be stated with certainty that the Queen of Sheba never drew breath here. Instead, at any given time during Great Zimbabwe's heyday, anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 black Africans did.

By the thirteenth century, they dwelt at the epicenter of an industrious southern African empire, with trading links stretching as far away as India, Persia and China...
Great Zimbabwe
 
Aug 2014
195
United States
#37
Aug 2014
195
United States
#40
You can read the thread I shared, in the first book I shared there is a chapter on European descriptions of African towns that "seemed as extensive as Cape Town" and these towns were still occupied
 

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