Most modern/hardest to conquer subsaharan countries after 1849

Dec 2017
176
Regnum Teutonicum
#1
I wondered which subsaharan countries, tribes and peoples resisted colonialism most after 1849? Which were hardest to conquer/vassalize? And which were or were close to a modern state.
Obvious examples are Ethiopia, Ashantiland, Derwish State, Nyamwezi and Madagascar, but which else?
Maybe you can name 10-20 countries/tribes/peoples which were hardest to conquer and 10-20 countries/tribes/peoples which were (or close to) a modern type state.

Please only in subsaharan Africa, no countries of colonial origin like those of the Boers and not before 1849 or after the inter war period.
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
4,572
#2
Well... Dahomey bought rifles, French mgs and Krupp guns, and took a fairly decent sized French colonial army to overcome.

The 1500 riflemen of king Kabarega of Bunyoro clearly was a force created eyeing the encroaching Europeans in the 1880's (mix of UK Snyder and US Joslyn rifles).

The Azande Federation, not that well armed, and very decentralized under the princes of the house of Avongaraa, but it had a population of several millions and was the size of France. It also had the distinction of being able to defend its borders to the extent that slave hunters had no access, and various well-armed European expeditions were forced to simply skirt their territory. The British quite admired the Azande too, recognizing a kind of kindred spirits as far as empire-building was concerned. And they they took pains to make sure to break the Azande Federation into one Anglo-Egyptian, one French and one Belgian bit so that there would be no resurgence...
 

Ighayere

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
2,408
Benin City, Nigeria
#3
You can just say "black African". Constantly using "subsaharan" as a descriptor seems strange to me, when "black African" is clearly what is meant.

I don't think "Ashantiland" is a valid term to describe the precolonial state. The state was referred to primarily and almost exclusively as Asante or Ashanti.
 
Likes: HiddenHistory
May 2015
1,290
Germany
#4
The Toucouleur and Wassoulou empires as well as the warlord Rabih Zubayr had powerful slave armies armed with relatively modern rifles, wiping the floor with the quasi medieval armies of central Sudan and posing quite a problem to the Europeans.
 
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Ighayere

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
2,408
Benin City, Nigeria
#5
Although I would not say that it was necessarily among the 10 hardest to conquer (the disparity in firepower between the British and Sokoto was quite large), the Sokoto caliphate was among the more "modern" (despite some erroneous claims to the contrary in some more recent amateur works of history) African states in certain ways, and it seems that, before its conquest, it was starting to become more modern in the area of warfare (at least this is suggested by Joseph Smaldone in his book Warfare in the Sokoto Caliphate) as well, despite initially being behind some other states in west Africa in this area.

The standard historical overview of the state as a whole is given by the book The Sokoto Caliphate by Murray Last, though there are some other imporant studies of other aspects of the empire that were published later on. After reading that book one should be able to determine how modern it was or was not in their opinion.

As for the actual British military campaign against Sokoto, that is covered fairly well in the book Concerning Brave Captains (1964) by D. J. M. Muffett.
 
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May 2015
1,290
Germany
#6
The armies the Germans faced during the occupation of the Sokoto emirate of Adamawa were virtually 100% medieval though. Masses of infantry and cavalry armed with spears and swords charging against machine guns.
 

Ighayere

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
2,408
Benin City, Nigeria
#7
The armies the Germans faced during the occupation of the Sokoto emirate of Adamawa were virtually 100% medieval though. Masses of infantry and cavalry armed with spears and swords charging against machine guns.
Right. They were late to the firearms game and basically were playing catch-up even when compared to some other states in west Africa, as I alluded to. Part of the reason for that is that they were basically surrounded to the north and east by multiple hostile states that were essentially keeping up an embargo on the sale of firearms to any part of the Sokoto empire. For example Zinder (Damagaram) had a substantial stock of firearms and gunpowder, but that state's relationship to Sokoto was hostile.

Despite the situation in Adamawa, in the more "central" parts of the Sokoto empire, in (what is now) northern Nigeria they did have some firearms though, mostly acquired from further south (such as those they obtained from the Nupe region, which had been incorporated into the Sokoto caliphate in the early 19th century), but not in great quantities apparently. Though the proportion of firearms they were using does seem to have been increasing before they were conquered.
 
Dec 2017
176
Regnum Teutonicum
#9
@Larrey
Isn't Dahomey the country with the female soldier army? Were and how did they get the weapons?

@Ighayere
I don't know a lot about them, I red somewhere Ashanti were the people and Ashantiland the country. So was the country called Asante? Or how is the correct terminology?
I would have written black, when I only wanted to know about those (though I know 98 % or more of those qualifying will be black peoples/tribes/countries). I meant all non-colonial (europeans, americans, arabs and their descendants like Boers and Rashaida) peoples south of the Sahara, so blacks, khoisans and mixed race peoples (like Malagassy).

@Swagganaut
How would those countries keep their slave gunner armies from defecting or trying to get control? Did they have the opportunity of social advance?
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
4,572
#10
@Larrey
Isn't Dahomey the country with the female soldier army? Were and how did they get the weapons?
It is. The army was apparently 15 000 strong + the 4000 Amazon guard.

Several thousand US Winchesters or French Chassepots (sometimes Mannlichers are claimed too), apparently bought from German traders through the port at Whydah. The MGs were 5 (or 4) French Reffyes (+ 400 000 cartridges), and like the Chassepots seem to have been left over stock from the Franco-Prussian war. The origin of the 6 Krupp guns is unclear, including whether they actually managed to be used in combat. The Dahomeyans definitely recognised the need to upgun themselves to confront the Europeans though.
 

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