Africans and Britons in the Age of Empires, 1660-1980 by Myles Osborne

By Myles Osborne

Africans and Britons within the Age of Empires, 1660-1980 tells the tales of the intertwined lives of African and British peoples over greater than 3 centuries. In seven chapters and an epilogue, Myles Osborne and Susan Kingsley Kent discover the characters that comprised the British presence in Africa: the slave investors and slaves, missionaries and explorers, imperialists and miners, farmers, settlers, attorneys, chiefs, prophets, intellectuals, politicians, and squaddies of all shades.

The authors express that the oft-told narrative of a monolithic imperial energy ruling inexorably over passive African sufferers not stands scrutiny; particularly, at each flip, Africans and Britons interacted with each other in a posh set of relationships that concerned as a lot cooperation and negotiation as resistance and strength, even if through the period of the slave alternate, the realm wars, or the interval of decolonization. The British presence provoked quite a lot of responses, reactions, and adjustments in a number of elements of African existence; yet whilst, the event of empire in Africa – and its final cave in – additionally forced the British to view themselves and their empire in new methods.

Written by way of an Africanist and a historian of imperial Britain and illustrated with maps and pictures, Africans and Britons within the Age of Empires, 1660-1980 provides a uniquely wealthy point of view for realizing either African and British history.

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Throughout this process, many communities in West Africa were drawn into the orbit of the slave trade. But one of the difficulties in popular histories of the period – and indeed some academic works – is that people have viewed it as an example of Europeans simplistically taking advantage of helpless and hapless Africans. This view reached perhaps its most powerful expression in Walter Rodney’s famous How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Drawing on evidence from the Upper Guinea coast, Rodney laid the blame for the slave trade firmly at the feet of Europeans.

A day in port was a day wasted in moving cargo, but extra time also allowed diseases like typhoid or dysentery to spread among captives held at the coast or in the holds of ships. Europeans also had to contend with the kings or rulers of the areas in which The slave trade, abolition, and beyond 21 they wished to trade. When one ship arrived at the mouth of the Benin river in 1778, its captain had to pay the value of 150 slaves simply for the privilege of dropping anchor and gaining permission to negotiate for trade.

At the end of the War of Mlanjeni, the fragile Xhosa political economy had come under further assault by an epidemic of bovine pleuropneumonia, a bacterial disease that swept through the country. From the perspective of senior Xhosa men, the previous 70 years of contact with Europeans had ruined their society. Even British missionaries seemed to be seducing their people away from long-held beliefs. In response more and more of the population came to put their trust in a series of visions Nongqawase claimed she had experienced.

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