Whats with all the racism geared twords African history?

Sep 2014
642
Texas
#21
The only reason you know about Africa is because of British explorers such as Thomas Edward Bowdich, Mungo Park, David Livingstone, etc... and British historians like Basil Davidson and Kevin Shillington. You don't know what you are talking about.
Actually I do. And this does not take away from those who got in there and got dirty. But it doesn't change that men like Rhodes were racist bastards who were more interested in railroads then the people building them.
 

kandal

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,321
USA
#22
Whats with all the racism geared twords African history? It seems to trigger people for some reason despite citing my sources in full detail people Get upset and angry that i even dared to say africans have history they even use the worse arguments to dismiss them like saying they don't count because they traded with non africans so and so weren't true africans or that they were arabs or that they weren't completely below the sahara so they aren't black africans, or they didn't build with stone or they don't count because those current countries are poor now they use blantent double standards why do you think that this is the case?
All histories are subject to criticisms here. Why would criticizing African history become racism?
 
Nov 2018
41
West Covina
#23
All histories are subject to criticisms here. Why would criticizing African history become racism?
Its not actually criticism when you make baseless claims like africans have no history it doesn't count or they were arabs because africans having history upsets you
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
4,307
Portugal
#25
The only reason you know about Africa is because of British explorers such as Thomas Edward Bowdich, Mungo Park, David Livingstone, etc... and British historians like Basil Davidson and Kevin Shillington. You don't know what you are talking about.
That is pretty inaccurate and reveals some lack of knowledge about the theme.

Forgetting sources that we have about Africa since Ancient to Medieval times and focusing only in the Modern period, on European Sources, I will talk about what I am more comfortable, and I can say that since the 15th century we have Portuguese sources and history books about Africa.

A story that I already mentioned in this forum about Livingstone is that when he arrived to Alto Zambeze, proud to be the first European to arrive there, he found there the Portuguese Silva Porto, and later in his writings he said that Silva Porto was an half-caste, in a typical racist comment of the period. To today eyes the sentence could be seen as natural, if the comment wasn’t totally false. There were many Portuguese creoles in those regions, many were traders, heirs of the Slave trade, but Silva Porto wasn’t one of those Portuguese that never had seen Portugal, known as “lançados” in the Guinea/West Africa region and as “pombeiros” in the Southern parts of Africa.

Anyway, all those men you mentioned contributed in a way or another to the knowledge that Europe gained about Africa, but if you read the mentioned Basil Davidson you know that your sentence is inaccurate, there were many more than the British. Besides, the Portuguese were the first ones for the modern period, but far from being the only.
 
Jan 2019
12
Norway
#26
It's funny how diffusionism or hyper-diffusionism is only "racist" when it's geared towards non-Europeans. You have pseudo-intellectuals like Martin Bernal claiming that classical Europe owes everything to Egyptians and Phoenicians, who have a lot of support in the academia, and nobody calls out their anti-European racism. But when you start to apply the principles of diffusionism to non-Europeans, it's racist.
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
6,863
#27
That is pretty inaccurate and reveals some lack of knowledge about the theme.

Forgetting sources that we have about Africa since Ancient to Medieval times and focusing only in the Modern period, on European Sources, I will talk about what I am more comfortable, and I can say that since the 15th century we have Portuguese sources and history books about Africa.
There were more explorers than just the British, but in the west, Africa south of the Sahara was largely unknown, at least in the English speaking world, until the travels of the Europeans, primarily British, in the 19th century. The knowledge of the primarily Arab explorers and writers of medieval times were mostly unknown except to a very few scholars, and even the early modern Portuguese sources were unknown except to scholars.

The British explorers made Africa known to the public at large, something the previous explorers did not. The explorations of the British explorers were known by the general public in a way that the efforts of previous explorers were not.

A story that I already mentioned in this forum about Livingstone is that when he arrived to Alto Zambeze, proud to be the first European to arrive there, he found there the Portuguese Silva Porto, and later in his writings he said that Silva Porto was an half-caste, in a typical racist comment of the period. To today eyes the sentence could be seen as natural, if the comment wasn’t totally false.

There were many Portuguese creoles in those regions, many were traders, heirs of the Slave trade, but Silva Porto wasn’t one of those Portuguese that never had seen Portugal, known as “lançados” in the Guinea/West Africa region and as “pombeiros” in the Southern parts of Africa.
Although Porto was born in Portugal, it was still possible that he had some African ancestry. Portuguese had had colonies for centuries, and slaves/former slaves and persons whose mother might have been African did settle in Portugal. The term half caste would be inaccurate, but not necessarily completely false if Porto had had some African ancestry. It would be an easy mistake to make. Or Livingston


Anyway, all those men you mentioned contributed in a way or another to the knowledge that Europe gained about Africa, but if you read the mentioned Basil Davidson you know that your sentence is inaccurate, there were many more than the British. Besides, the Portuguese were the first ones for the modern period, but far from being the only.
To what extent were these other explorers known? In the English speaking world, the exploits of the British explorers were big news, but other non English speaking explorers would have been less well known. Were these other explorers and their travels as well known to the common man in their home countries as the British explorers were in the English speaking world?

And until the British explorers of the 19th century, much of the interior of Africa was still unknown. The source of the Nile was still unknown until the British 19th century explorers found it, for example. The British explorers were front page news, where the other explorers travels front page news? Things might have been different in the non English speaking world, but how much knowledge did the average Indian, Chinese, German know about Africa? If the average Portuguese had much knowledge of Africa, that is likely because Portugal had African colonies for centuries.

Of course, that doesn't mean these British explorers didn't suffer from some bias, and conceit, but their "racism" was no worse than what you could find among many of the educated Chinese and others at the time, and they had greater justification for their conceit, having the largest, most technologically advance empire the world had seen. The West (Europe and the US) had an unprecedented technological lead over the rest of the world in the 19th century, and the British were the leaders among the West, which is why they ended up controlling so much of it
 
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Ighayere

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
2,469
Benin City, Nigeria
#28
It's funny how diffusionism or hyper-diffusionism is only "racist" when it's geared towards non-Europeans. You have pseudo-intellectuals like Martin Bernal claiming that classical Europe owes everything to Egyptians and Phoenicians, who have a lot of support in the academia, and nobody calls out their anti-European racism. But when you start to apply the principles of diffusionism to non-Europeans, it's racist.
There have actually been scholars that have put forward diffusionist arguments about African cultures in modern times (20th - 21st century) without being called racist (for example I don't think Dierk Lange is racist and I haven't seen him labeled as racist by any other writers, but advocating diffusionist or hyper-diffusionist arguments about African cultures is exactly what he has done in his later works). Your assumption that all scholars who put forward diffusionist arguments for the origin or development of African (or other non-European) cultures were automatically labeled racists isn't accurate. Some were labeled racist because, in addition to being diffusionists, they actually did have racist views, which underpinned their support for diffusionist interpretations about certain other cultures. But some others were not automatically just labeled racists for being advocates of hyper-diffusionism.

The case of Leo Frobenius (mentioned earlier in the thread) is complex, and I wouldn't put his advocacy of diffusionism simply down to racism, especially since he also wrote some things about some of the African cultures he studied that could actually be interpreted as anti-racist rather than racist.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
4,307
Portugal
#29
There were more explorers than just the British, but in the west, Africa south of the Sahara was largely unknown, at least in the English speaking world, until the travels of the Europeans, primarily British, in the 19th century.
It is natural that in the English speaking world they know more about the British explorers than about the others. That doesn’t mean that the others didn’t exist. And the European travellers weren’t necessarily primarily British in the 19th century, even if the British had a quite relevant role.

The knowledge of the primarily Arab explorers and writers of medieval times were mostly unknown except to a very few scholars, and even the early modern Portuguese sources were unknown except to scholars.

The British explorers made Africa known to the public at large, something the previous explorers did not. The explorations of the British explorers were known by the general public in a way that the efforts of previous explorers were not.
I can admit that the British explorers made Africa known to the English speaking public at large, again that doesn’t mean that the others didn’t exist. The Portuguese explorers were quite known to the Portuguese public, and even if I am unaware, I can suppose that the other explorers (French, German) were quite know to their public, it is a bit belly centred if we think that the British were the only ones know to the public.

Although Porto was born in Portugal, it was still possible that he had some African ancestry. Portuguese had had colonies for centuries, and slaves/former slaves and persons whose mother might have been African did settle in Portugal. The term half caste would be inaccurate, but not necessarily completely false if Porto had had some African ancestry. It would be an easy mistake to make. Or Livingston
Bart Dale, if you don’t know about the story of Silva Porto it is now necessary to raise question that are already fully answer for more than a century. We all know that there are Black Africans in Portugal since at least the 15th century, both free men and slaves, and that their offspring made many “mulatos”, but in this case Silva Porto was not a “mulato”, an half-caste, even if we all have African Ancestry. Livingstone used that to prove that he was the first European to reach those areas, while Silva Porto was been there for some years. The term in this case, was used in a depreciative way, in the mentality of their time, it was inaccurate, it was false, and worse than that it was used by Livingstone raising a false argument to raise his own status in his writings. They met in the middle of Africa and they talked. This was not a “ups” mistake.

To what extent were these other explorers known? In the English speaking world, the exploits of the British explorers were big news, but other non English speaking explorers would have been less well known. Were these other explorers and their travels as well known to the common man in their home countries as the British explorers were in the English speaking world?
Yes, they were. In the case of Portugal they were seen as national heroes, and their fame was widespread to other countries, including the UK. They talked in conferences, published books (today would be called best sellers) and were public news in the newspapers, although probably in the UK not with the same relevance than the British ones.

For the Portuguese the most know would be Serpa Pinto, Capelo and Ivens, besides the already mentioned Silva Porto. But others would also be known, José Monteiro, António Gamito, Rodrigues Graça, Henrique de Carvalho…

For the other countries I am not that informed but I can mention Werman Wissmann, Carl Peters, Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza…

Besides most of these explorers would know each others, if not personally at least by their name and achievements.

The British Empire was the biggest one, and the USA spoke English, so it is quite natural that the most known ones in the English speaking world would be the British and not the Portuguese, the French or the German.

And until the British explorers of the 19th century, much of the interior of Africa was still unknown. The source of the Nile was still unknown until the British 19th century explorers found it, for example. The British explorers were front page news, where the other explorers travels front page news? Things might have been different in the non English speaking world, but how much knowledge did the average Indian, Chinese, German know about Africa? If the average Portuguese had much knowledge of Africa, that is likely because Portugal had African colonies for centuries.
Bart, reading this again it seems that the British were the only ones. They weren’t. And with this I am not wanting to remove the relevance of the British explorers. And when I am talking about the Portuguese case, I am not talking here about the long history of the Portuguese in Africa, I am talking about the Portuguese explorers in the 19th century, not in the 16th. And again, I am not talking about the Portuguese explorers for nationalistic purposes, saying that they discovered more than A, B or C. I am talking about them because I know their stories better that the ones of the German or French.

Of course, that doesn't mean these British explorers didn't suffer from some bias, and conceit, but their "racism" was no worse than what you could find among many of the educated Chinese and others at the time, and they had greater justification for their conceit, having the largest, most technologically advance empire the world had seen. The West (Europe and the US) had an unprecedented technological lead over the rest of the world in the 19th century, and the British were the leaders among the West, which is why they ended up controlling so much of it
Although I agree with much of you are saying here, I don’t understand your point here or the relevance of the mention to the Chinese.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
4,307
Portugal
#30
Adding some context to my previous post, I will begin with Livingstone’s words:

“On making inquiries to ascertain whether Santuru, the Moloiana, had ever been visited by white men, I could find no vestige of any such visit;* there is no evidence of any of Santuru's people having ever seen a white man before the arrival of Mr. Oswell and myself in 1851. The people have, it is true, no written records; but any remarkable event here is commemorated in names, as was observed by Park to be the case in the countries he traversed. The year of our arrival is dignified by the name of the year when the white men came, or of Sebituane's death; but they prefer the former, as they avoid, if possible, any direct reference to the departed. After my wife's first visit, great numbers of children were named Ma-Robert, or mother of Robert, her eldest child; others were named Gun, Horse, Wagon, Monare, Jesus, etc.; but though our names, and those of the native Portuguese who came in 1853, were adopted, there is not a trace of any thing of the sort having happened previously among the Barotse: the visit of a white man is such a remarkable event, that, had any taken place during the last three hundred years, there must have remained some tradition of it.

* The Barotse call themselves the Baloiana or little Baloi, as if they had been an offset from Loi, or Lui, as it is often spelt. As Lui had been visited by Portuguese, but its position not well ascertained, my inquiries referred to the identity of Naliele with Lui. On asking the head man of the Mambari party, named Porto, whether he had ever heard of Naliele being visited previously, he replied in the negative, and stated that he "had himself attempted to come from Bihe three times, but had always been prevented by the tribe called Ganguellas." He nearly succeeded in 1852, but was driven back. He now (in 1853) attempted to go eastward from Naliele, but came back to the Barotse on being unable to go beyond Kainko's village, which is situated on the Bashukulompo River, and eight days distant. The whole party was anxious to secure a reward believed to be promised by the Portuguese government. Their want of success confirmed my impression that I ought to go westward. Porto kindly offered to aid me, if I would go with him to Bihe; but when I declined, he preceded me to Loanda, and was publishing his Journal when I arrived at that city. Ben Habib told me that Porto had sent letters to Mozambique by the Arab, Ben Chombo, whom I knew; and he has since asserted, in Portugal, that he himself went to Mozambique as well as his letters!

But Santuru was once visited by the Mambari, and a distinct recollection of that visit is retained. They came to purchase slaves, and both Santuru and his head men refused them permission to buy any of the people. The Makololo quoted this precedent when speaking of the Mambari, and said that they, as the present masters of the country, had as good a right to expel them as Santuru. The Mambari reside near Bihe, under an Ambonda chief named Kangombe. They profess to use the slaves for domestic purposes alone.

Some of these Mambari visited us while at Naliele. They are of the Ambonda family, which inhabits the country southeast of Angola, and speak the Bunda dialect, which is of the same family of languages with the Barotse, Bayeiye, etc., or those black tribes comprehended under the general term Makalaka. They plait their hair in three-fold cords, and lay them carefully down around the sides of the head. They are quite as dark as the Barotse, but have among them a number of half-castes, with their peculiar yellow sickly hue. On inquiring why they had fled on my approach to Linyanti, they let me know that they had a vivid idea of the customs of English cruisers on the coast. They showed also their habits in their own country by digging up and eating, even here where large game abounds, the mice and moles which infest the country. The half-castes, or native Portuguese, could all read and write, and the head of the party, if not a real Portuguese, had European hair, and, influenced probably by the letter of recommendation which I held from the Chevalier Duprat, his most faithful majesty's Arbitrator in the British and Portuguese Mixed Commission at Cape Town, was evidently anxious to show me all the kindness in his power. These persons I feel assured were the first individuals of Portuguese blood who ever saw the Zambesi in the centre of the country, and they had reached it two years after our discovery in 1851.”

David Livingstone, Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa, pages 230 and 231, available at: Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa by David Livingstone

Some of the writings of Silva Porto (he was quite prolific) are also available on the Gutenberg project, namely some of the ones he wrote after reading the words of Livingstone, and being shocked with them, and in these writings also telling the names of the Portuguese explorers, some less known, that preceded him:

Silva Porto e Livingstone (in Portuguese).

So, like I said in the previous post it was not an “ups” mistake by Livingstone.

Stating that “there is no evidence of any of Santuru's people having ever seen a white man before the arrival of Mr. Oswell and myself in 1851”,

Calling Silva’s Porto Portuguese expedition a Mambari party;

And mentioning Silva Porto has the head of the Party: “The half-castes, or native Portuguese, could all read and write, and the head of the party, if not a real Portuguese, had European hair…” is more than a huge lie, it was taken as an offense by Silva Porto that was probably so keen of his European roots as Livingstone, and had similar racial prejudices, as usual among the Europeans in that period. Note that in Silva Porto expedition there were Portuguese “mulatos” (half-castes, in Livingstone’s terminology), as Livingstone recognizes (and if I am not mistaken one was even Silva’s Porto son, but here I am talking by memory).

So, pardon me the analogy, but it is like in the dispute between Burton and Speke one calling the other a half-caste. For the 19th century, among white Europeans, it was seen as an insult.

This kind of disputes were quite common in the 19th century (the one between Burton and Speke was quite popularized in the English speaking world, as the ones between Serpa Pinto and Capelo and Ivens were famous in Portugal), but in this kind of dispute between Livingstone and Silva Porto, Liviginstone had the upper hand, not because he was truly, but because with the racial prejudices of the time he downsized Silva Porto, and that served the interests of the British at the time, with the series of events that lead to the 1890 ultimatum, and even to some skirmishes between the forces of the two countries that were, at least in theory, allies.
 

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