Has anyone taken a look at Bruce Gilley's pro-colonialism article?

Feb 2011
6,042
#81
frogsofwar said:
As previously emphasized by myself (and obviously ignored by you), the overall effect of British colonialism was good: building roads, railways, increasing trade, uniting previously at-war native peoples etc... But the famine bit is overplayed by people who insist on letting an ideological opposition to colonialism (which is what you have) override facts.
Because "building roads, railways, increasing trade", are ifs. You are assuming these wouldn't have been done in the absence of colonialism. We don't know that. What we do know is that even on trains the Indians were treated as second-class citizens.

The construction of the Indian Railways is often pointed to by apologists for empire as one of the ways in which British colonialism benefited the subcontinent, ignoring the obvious fact that many countries also built railways without having to go to the trouble and expense of being colonised to do so. But the facts are even more damning.

The railways were first conceived of by the East India Company, like everything else in that firm’s calculations, for its own benefit. Governor General Lord Hardinge argued in 1843 that the railways would be beneficial “to the commerce, government and military control of the country”. In their very conception and construction, the Indian railways were a colonial scam. British shareholders made absurd amounts of money by investing in the railways, where the government guaranteed returns double those of government stocks, paid entirely from Indian, and not British, taxes. It was a splendid racket for Britons, at the expense of the Indian taxpayer.

The railways were intended principally to transport extracted resources – coal, iron ore, cotton and so on – to ports for the British to ship home to use in their factories. The movement of people was incidental, except when it served colonial interests; and the third-class compartments, with their wooden benches and total absence of amenities, into which Indians were herded, attracted horrified comment even at the time. -https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/08/india-britain-empire-railways-myths-gifts

frogsofwar said:
Ghandi himself was an ambitious Indian civil servant under the British system until he suddenly, largely for political reasons, adopted his new identity.
And the irony is, if Gandhi wasn't thrown out of a "white's only" part of the train he was on, then maybe he would have been happy staying as a lawyer. Maybe if Britain didn't treat Indians and other non-whites as second-class citizens, then the empire would have held today.
 
Last edited:
Aug 2018
341
london
#82
I've read the account, yes, when referring to non-Berber speaking groups he just says blacks, but once again, the ambiguity lies in Walata being a black town and also being mostly Berber
Not really, because Berbers weren't black.

At some point some Berber colonies in the Sahel came under the rule of black kingdoms. We know this happened with Timbuktu. What happened in southern Mauritania is more obscure.
 
Likes: Futurist

Ighayere

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
2,469
Benin City, Nigeria
#83
Not really, because Berbers weren't black.

At some point some Berber colonies in the Sahel came under the rule of black kingdoms. We know this happened with Timbuktu. What happened in southern Mauritania is more obscure.
Most Berbers weren't black, but it's not clear that these Berbers weren't black. Walata did not start out as a Berber colony and its location in a part of the original Soninke heartland makes that even less likely.
 
Aug 2018
341
london
#85
Walata did not start out as a Berber colony and its location in a part of the original Soninke heartland makes that even less likely.
It's likely that it did start out as a Berber colony.

The Soninke people originally inhabited the neolithic 'Dhar' settlements.

Berbers turned up in the 1st millenium BC in horse-drawn chariots, bringing metallurgy.

They incorporated the much less developed Soninke, to create an early trans-saharan trade.
 
Likes: Futurist

Ighayere

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
2,469
Benin City, Nigeria
#86
It's likely that it did start out as a Berber colony.

The Soninke people originally inhabited the neolithic 'Dhar' settlements.

Berbers turned up in the 1st millenium BC in horse-drawn chariots, bringing metallurgy.

They incorporated the much less developed Soninke, to create an early trans-saharan trade.
From what I've read about Walata in the work of Timothy Cleaveland (a historian), Walata started as a Soninke (Mande) town called Biru, then some (presumably non-black) Berbers immigrated to the town with the growth of trade, and later over the centuries there was a mixed population. This mixed (black with Berber) population later adopted an Arab identity in the 17th century.

As for "Berbers turned up in the 1st millenium BC etc." that's conjectural, really.
 
May 2018
442
Michigan
#87
Because "building roads, railways, increasing trade", are ifs. You are assuming these wouldn't have been done in the absence of colonialism. We don't know that. What we do know is that even on trains the Indians were treated as second-class citizens.

The construction of the Indian Railways is often pointed to by apologists for empire as one of the ways in which British colonialism benefited the subcontinent, ignoring the obvious fact that many countries also built railways without having to go to the trouble and expense of being colonised to do so. But the facts are even more damning.

The railways were first conceived of by the East India Company, like everything else in that firm’s calculations, for its own benefit. Governor General Lord Hardinge argued in 1843 that the railways would be beneficial “to the commerce, government and military control of the country”. In their very conception and construction, the Indian railways were a colonial scam. British shareholders made absurd amounts of money by investing in the railways, where the government guaranteed returns double those of government stocks, paid entirely from Indian, and not British, taxes. It was a splendid racket for Britons, at the expense of the Indian taxpayer.

The railways were intended principally to transport extracted resources – coal, iron ore, cotton and so on – to ports for the British to ship home to use in their factories. The movement of people was incidental, except when it served colonial interests; and the third-class compartments, with their wooden benches and total absence of amenities, into which Indians were herded, attracted horrified comment even at the time. -https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/08/india-britain-empire-railways-myths-gifts



And the irony is, if Gandhi wasn't thrown out of a "white's only" part of the train he was on, then maybe he would have been happy staying as a lawyer. Maybe if Britain didn't treat Indians and other non-whites as second-class citizens, then the empire would have held today.
Nice try, but Ghandi also hated ‘kafirs’, which was the Indian word for ‘n*ggers.’ Maybe I’d be more sympathetic to racial discrimination if the Indians themselves weren’t horrifically guilty of it too.

And being stuffed into a dirty freight car for a 200 mile trip is a lot better than walking that distance. I recall some nasty Army marches and dismounted patrols where a dirty, nasty freight car would have been preferable.
 
Last edited:
Likes: macon

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
7,973
#88
The famine myth has been debunked: famines regularly occured in India (and occurred long before British power there. Someone posted about it in another thread, I'll see if I can find it.
But the Britihs like most colonizsers dictated argiain polcies that made famines more common. The Indian farmers were moved to cash crops that benfiteed the British rather than growing their own food. This is repeated time and tiem again in colonial situations. The British argicultiral polociy in India was what was best for them., what made them money rather than what was best for the farmers.
 
Feb 2011
6,042
#89
Nice try, but Ghandi also hated ‘kafirs’, which was the Indian word for ‘n*ggers.’ Maybe I’d be more sympathetic to racial discrimination if the Indians themselves weren’t horrifically guilty of it too.

And being stuffed into a dirty freight car for a 200 mile trip is a lot better than walking that distance. I recall some nasty Army marches and dismounted patrols where a dirty, nasty freight car would have been preferable.
How does that justify racial segregation? Because Gandhi was a racist, British racial segregation was justifiable? Nothing about what you said justifies racial segregation.

Remember you were the one who first brought up Gandhi as an example: Ghandi himself was an ambitious Indian civil servant under the British system until he suddenly, largely for political reasons, adopted his new identity.

That's right, Gandhi was a product of the British system. And it was because of the British system that he rebelled against it. He initially said he considered himself "a Briton first, and an Indian second ", and he was also racist. But after being the target of severe discrimination and racial segregation he re-thought his stance about India's role within the British empire.

In their very conception and construction, the Indian railways were a colonial scam. British shareholders made absurd amounts of money by investing in the railways, where the government guaranteed returns double those of government stocks, paid entirely from Indian, and not British, taxes. It was a splendid racket for Britons, at the expense of the Indian taxpayer.

The railways were intended principally to transport extracted resources – coal, iron ore, cotton and so on – to ports for the British to ship home to use in their factories. The movement of people was incidental, except when it served colonial interests; and the third-class compartments, with their wooden benches and total absence of amenities, into which Indians were herded, attracted horrified comment even at the time. -https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/08/india-britain-empire-railways-myths-gifts
 
Last edited:
Nov 2014
1,448
Birmingham, UK
#90
"it's bad for the colonized."

In some cases, such as Belgium, yes. In other cases, such as India, the USA or Canada, obviously no.
.
I'm not clear what you're suggesting here. Are you saying colonialism obviously wasn't bad for the colonised in India USA or Canada?

What good did colonisation do for the colonised in North America?