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History Of Colonial Africa History Essay

Info: 1069 words (4 pages) Essay
Published: 1st Jan 2015 in History

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Our source, a coloured map of colonial Africa, supplied by Bridgeman Education, was published in 1911 by Charles Lacoste (1870-1959), and printed in lithographic colour inside a school text book. It shows the African continent divided between the colonial powers of; Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Spain and Portugal (Liberia and Abyssinia were Free states) (unit 1, p.29). Also a printed legend with different colours for each of the colonial powers is provided. Map orientation is north, using Mercator’s projection.

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In a block of text underneath the map there are descriptions of the different climates and terrains of Africa, also two sketches are inserted in the map (possibly added to focus children’s attention), one in the top right hand corner and one in the bottom left hand corner; the top sketch shows a felucca on the Nile with an Arab caravan in the foreground, the other sketch shows the rapids in the Congo with elephants and hippo’s in a jungle terrain and also a native canoe shooting the rapids. All the text on the page and map is in French and the inscription Ch. Lacoste del., is shown, bottom right hand corner of map. However, there are problems with the map; the French (presumably) cartographer’s use of England (Angleterre) representing the British Empire. Although this may be explained by (A.J.P. Taylor, Volume XV: English History, 1914-1945, page v) (1965) were he stated ‘England’ was still an all-embracing word. “It meant indiscriminately England and Wales; Great Britain; the United Kingdom; and even the British Empire”.

Also the legend’s colours for the empires does not match up on certain countries; England is denoted by the colour brown, unfortunately on the map, there is a swathe of green, Spain’s (Espagne) colour, on the British possessions; one for instance is South Africa (Afrique Australe Anglaise).The map gives a snapshot in time (1911), of African division as seen by the French, and this was imparted onto its main audience, who appear to be French schoolchildren. However Paris and France are named in the map, so the text book may also have been for French colonial use as well, to show the metropole in relationship to the colonies.

The usefulness of the map as a historical primary source for the historian of empire is thus; There are printing errors (colours), no actual date on the map itself, although it is possible to work out it was probably made in circa 1911, this can be arrived at; because it shows Afrique Equatoriale Francaise, and South Africa which did not exist till 1910. However Tripolitanie is shown as being Italian, this could possibly be explained by France recognizing Italy’s right to Tripolitanie prior to 1912’s formal annexation. So the map is useful to show the division of Africa from the French point of view in 1911, and if compared to a British contemporary map of the same period, could show any differences between the accepted boundaries since the ‘scramble for Africa’ began in 1884-1885 until 1911.

Number of words used 499

Option 1 (B)

Using Fieldhouse’s typology, classify three of the African colonies identified on the map, explaining your reasoning.

D K Fieldhouse’s five main types of colony: mixed; occupation; plantation, enclave, and settlement; have applied to several colonies through evolvement. In assessing three African colonies to answer the question, I will take the countries of Algeria, Sud-Ouest Africain Allemand (German South West Africa) and Afrique Australe Anglaise (South Africa) as the requisite colonies.

Algeria was taken over by France in the period 1830-1847 (A326 date chart) on the excuse of a slight by the Bey of Algiers (the ruler), so its status then, was as an occupied territory. Its status as a mixed settler colony was to come later. One colonist (Paul Blanc) went to Algeria as part of a government-backed scheme to settle unemployed working-class Parisians in Algeria. He stated that about 12,000 emigrants were settled in planned villages inland from the major cities of Algeria (Primary Source 13.11). Writing this in 1876, he says in earlier years (1866) that some colonists had given up, but he and others were prepared to stay on; as proved at the time of decolonisation, when according to the (DVD Resource) 140000 Jews and one million Europeans of French, Spanish and Italian descent, faced an uncertain future. With comments written by him and the determination shown to make a success of the colony, the French government seemed to put more effort into grabbing more land; Niall Ferguson in Empire p.296(2003) made the point that there was “In Algeria … policy of systematic expropriation of native land which made a mockery of Gallic rhetoric about universal citizenship”. The territorial expansion can be seen when comparing this map to (world map 6) (Visual Sources Book).

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German South West Africa was a settler colony; all the conditions were met to give this label to the colony; the indigenous Herero people were dispossessed and eventually through acts of genocide; almost annihilated, these acts mostly happened in the period of 1904, and were the results of the protracted land grab requirements for the expanding settler population. This is very reminiscent of the New England type settlements in North America (Unit 2 p. 54). It is worthwhile noting that this colony also laid claim to the British enclave colony of Walvis Bay, (this can be seen in world map 8, Visual Sources Book) but this was transferred to the Union of South Africa with Cape Colony in 1910. It can be seen over a period of time that circumstances can make dramatic differences; Walvis Bay and South West Africa eventually became Namibia.

South Africa was a settler colony, made up of a mixture of Boer (Dutch) settlers and British colonists, the Dutch had in fact, arrived almost 200 years before. About the time the map was made, the Union of South Africa came into being (1910); consisting of the four provinces of Cape Colony, Natal, Orange Free State and the Transvaal and additionally Walvis Bay, it is interesting to note that the Boers who had first colonized parts of Southern Africa, had themselves been usurped by British settlers.

Number of words used 500


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