Changes and Exchanges in Africa > Southern Africa



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I0. Changes and Exchanges in Africa

A0. Southern Africa

10. Serious drought hit the coastlands of southeastern Africa in the early nineteenth century and led to conflicts over grazing and farming lands. During these conflicts, Shaka used strict military drill and close-combat warfare to build the Zulu kingdom.

20. Some neighboring Africans created their own states (such as Swaziland and Lesotho) to protect themselves against the expansionist Zulu kingdom. Shaka ruled the Zulu kingdom for little more than a decade, but he succeeded in creating a new national identity as well as a new kingdom.

30. The Cape Colony, taken from the Dutch in the Napoleonic wars, was valuable to Britain because of its strategic importance as a supply station on the route to India. In response to British pressure, the descendants of earlier French and Dutch settlers (the Afrikaners) embarked on a “great trek” to found new colonies on the fertile high veld that had been depopulated by the Zulu wars.

40. Southern Africa had long been attractive to European settlers because of its good pastures and farmland and its mineral wealth. The discovery of diamonds at Kimberley in 1868 attracted European prospectors and Africans; it also set off the process by which the British Cape Colony expanded, annexing Kimberley and defeating the Xhosa and the Zulu.

50. Cecil Rhodes used his British South Africa Company to take over land in central Africa, where he created the colonies of Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia.

60. British control over South Africa was consolidated when Britain defeated the Afrikaaners in the South African War (1899–1902). In 1910, the European settlers created the Union of South Africa, in which the Afrikaaners emerged as the ruling element in a government that assigned Africans to reservations and established a system of racial segregation.

B0. West and Equatorial Africa

10. In West Africa, movements to purify Islam led to the construction of new states through the classic Muslim pattern of jihad. The largest of these reform movements occurred in the Hausa states and led to the establishment of the Sokoto Caliphate (1809–1906).

20. The new Muslim states became centers of Islamic learning and reform. Sokoto and other Muslim states both sold slaves and used slaves to raise food, thus making it possible for them to seclude free Muslim women in their homes in accordance with reformed Muslim practice.

30. In West Africa, the French built a railroad from the upper Senegal River to the upper Niger to open the interior to French merchants. In the Congo Basin, King Leopold II of Belgium claimed the area south of the Congo River, while France claimed the area on the northern bank.

C. The Berlin Conference

10. German chancellor Bismarck called the Berlin Conference on Africa in 1884 and 1885 to lay out the framework under which Africa would be occupied by the European nations. In practice, the division and occupation of Africa met with resistance and required many years of effort.

20. In West Africa, the new colonial powers took advantage of and developed the existing trade networks. In equatorial Africa, where there were few inhabitants and little trade, the colonial powers granted concessions to private companies that forced Africans to produce cash crops and to carry them to the nearest navigable river or railroad.

D0. Modernization in Egypt and Ethiopia

10. In Egypt, Muhammad Ali (r. 1805–1848) carried out a series of modernizing reforms for Egypt that combined Western methods with Islamic religious and cultural traditions.

20. Muhammad Ali’s grandson Ismail placed even more emphasis on westernizing Egypt. Ismail’s ambitious construction programs (railroads, the new capital city of Cairo) were funded by borrowing from French and British banks. These projects were financed with high-interest loans from European creditors and Egypt ultimately sold shares of the Suez Canal to Great Britain to lower their debt.

30. French and British bankers lobbied their governments to intervene in Egypt to secure their loans. In 1882, the British sent an army into Egypt and established a system of indirect rule that lasted for seventy years.

40. The British worked to develop Egyptian agriculture, especially cotton production, by building a dam across the Nile at Aswan. The economic development of Egypt only benefited a small group of elite landowners and merchants, and it was accompanied by the introduction of western ways that conflicted with the teachings of Islam.

50. In the mid- to late nineteenth century Ethiopian kings reconquered territory that had been lost since the sixteenth century, purchased modern European weapons, and began to manufacture weapons locally. An attempt to hold British officials captive led to a temporary British occupation in the 1860s, but the British.

E0. Transition from the Slave Trade

10. In 1808, news of slave revolts like that on Saint Domingue and the activities of abolitionists combined to lead Britain and the United States to prohibit their citizens from participating in the slave trade. The British used their navy to stop the slave trade, but the continued demand for slaves in Cuba and Brazil meant that the trade did not end until 1867.

20. As the slave trade declined, Africans expanded their legitimate trade in gold and other goods. The most successful new export was palm oil, which was exported to British manufacturers of soap, candles, and lubricants. The increased export of palm oil altered the social structure of coastal trading communities of the Niger Delta, as is demonstrated in the career of the canoe slave Jaja, who became a wealthy palm oil trader in the 1870s.

30. The suppression of the slave trade also helped to spread Western cultural influences in West Africa. Missionaries converted and founded schools for the recaptives whom the British settled in Sierra Leone, while black Americans brought Western culture to Liberia and to other parts of Africa before and after emancipation in the United States.

F0. Secondary Empire in Eastern Africa

10. When British patrols ended the slave trade on the Atlantic coast, slave traders in the Atlantic trade began to purchase their slaves from the East African markets that had traditionally supplied slaves to North Africa and the Middle East. Zanzibar Island and neighboring territories ruled by the sultan of Oman were important in the slave trade, the ivory trade, and the cultivation of cloves on plantations using slave labor.

II0. India Under British Rule

A. East India Company

10. In the eighteenth century, the Mughal Empire was defeated and its capital sacked by marauding Iranian armies, while internally the Mughal’s deputies (nawabs) had become de facto independent rulers of their states.

20. British, French, and Dutch companies staffed by ambitious young “company men” established trading posts in strategic places and hired Indian troops (sepoys) to defend them. By the early 1800s, the British East India Company had pushed the French out of south India, forced the Mughal Empire to recognize company rule over Bengal, and taken control of large territories that became the core of the Bombay Presidency.

30. The British raj (reign) over India aimed both to introduce administrative and social reform and to maintain the support of Indian allies by respecting Indian social and religious customs.

40. Before 1850, the British created a government that relied on sepoy military power, disarmed the warriors of the Indian states, gave free reign to Christian missionaries, and established a private land ownership system to ease tax collection. At the same time, the British bolstered the traditional power of princes and holy men and invented so-called traditional rituals to celebrate their own rule.

50. British political and economic influence benefited Indian elites and created jobs in some sectors while bringing new oppression to the poor and causing the collapse of the traditional textile industry.

60. Discontent among the needy and particularly among the Indian soldiers led to the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857. The rebellion was suppressed in 1858, but it gave the British a severe shock.

B0. Political Reform and Industrial Impact

10. After the rebellion of 1857–1858, the British eliminated the last traces of Mughal and company rule and installed a new government administered from London. The new government continued to emphasize both tradition and reform, maintained Indian princes in luxury, and staged elaborate ceremonial pageants known as durbars.

20. An efficient bureaucracy, the Indian Civil Service (ICS), now controlled the Indian masses. Recruitment into the ICS was by examinations that were theoretically open to all, but in practice, racist attitudes prevented Indians from gaining access to the upper levels of administration.

30. After 1857, the British government and British enterprises expanded the production and export of agricultural commodities and built irrigation systems, railroads, and telegraph lines. Freer movement of people into the cities caused the spread of cholera, which was brought under control when new sewage and filtered water systems were installed in the major cities in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

C0. Indian Nationalism

10. The failure of the rebellion of 1857 prompted some Indians to argue that the only way for Indians to regain control of their destiny was to reduce their country’s social and ethnic divisions and to promote a Pan-Indian nationalism.

20. In the early nineteenth century, Rammouhan Roy and his Brahmo Samaj movement tried to reconcile Indian religious traditions with western values and to reform traditional abuses of women. After 1857, Indian intellectuals tended to turn toward western secular values and western nationalism as a way of developing a Pan-Indian nationalism that would transcend regional and religious differences.

30. Indian middle-class nationalists convened the first Indian National Congress in 1885. The congress promoted national unity and argued for greater inclusion of Indians in the Civil Service, but it was an elite organization with little support from the masses.

III0. Southeast Asia and the Pacific

10. British defeat of French and Dutch forces in the Napoleonic Wars allowed Britain to expand its control in Southeast Asia.

20. The British established a series of strategic outposts in Southeast Asia. Raffles established the free port of Singapore in 1824, Assam was annexed to India in 1826, and Burma was annexed in 1852. Malaya, Indochina and northern Sumatra followed, falling to the British, French and Dutch respectively.

A0. Australia

10. The development of new ships and shipping networks contributed to the colonization of Australia and New Zealand by British settlers who displaced the indigenous populations.

20. Portuguese mariners sighted Australia in the early seventeenth century, and Captain James Cook surveyed New Zealand and the eastern Australian coast between 1769 and 1778. Unfamiliar diseases brought by new overseas contacts substantially reduced the populations of the hunter-gatherers of Australia and the Maori of New Zealand.

30. Australia received British convicts and, after the discovery of gold in 1851, a flood of free European (and some Chinese) settlers.

B. New Zealand

1. British settlers came more slowly to New Zealand until defeat of the Maori, faster ships, and a short gold rush brought more British immigrants after 1860.

20. The British crown gradually turned governing power over to the British settlers of Australia and New Zealand, but Aborigines and the Maori experienced discrimination.

C0. Hawaii and the Philippines, 1878–1902

10. By the late 1890s, the U.S. economy was in need of export markets and the political mood favored expansionism. The United States annexed the Hawaiian Islands in 1898.

20. In the Philippines, Emilio Aguinaldo led an uprising against the Spanish in 1898. He might very well have succeeded in establishing a republic if the United States had not purchased the Philippines from Spain at the end of the Spanish-American War.

30. In 1899, Aguinaldo rose up against the American occupation. The United States suppressed the insurrection and then tried to soften its rule by introducing public works and economic development projects. After introducing some measures of self-government, the United States announced in 1916 that the Philippines would become independent, though it took until 1946 for that to happen.

IV. Imperialism in Latin America

A0. American Expansionism and the Spanish-American War, 1898

10. The United States had long held interest in Cuba; American businesses had invested in Cuban sugar and tobacco production. When Cubans began a revolution against Spanish rule, the United States ultimately aided the Cubans against Spain.

20. After defeating Spain in the Spanish-American War, the United States took over Puerto Rico, while Cuba became an independent republic subject to intense interference by the United States.

B0. Economic Imperialism

10. The natural resources of the Latin American republics made them targets for a form of economic dependence called free-trade imperialism.

20. British and U.S. entrepreneurs financed and constructed railroads to exploit the agricultural and mineral wealth of Latin America. Latin American elites encouraged foreign companies with generous concessions because this appeared to be the fastest way both to modernize their countries and to enrich the Latin American property-owning class.

C0. Revolution and Civil War in Mexico

10. Upon independence in 1821, Mexican society was deeply divided; a few wealthy families of Spanish origin owned 85 percent of the land, while the majority of Indians and mestizos were poor peasants.

20. Concentration of land ownership increased after independence as wealthy families and American companies used bribery and force to acquire millions of acres of good agricultural land, forcing peasants into wage labor, and debt.

30. In 1910, General Porfirio Diaz (1830–1915) had ruled for thirty-four years. Diaz’s policies had made Mexico City a modernized showplace and brought wealth to a small number of businessmen, but his rule was also characterized by discrimination against the nonwhite majority of Mexicans and a decline in the average Mexican’s standard of living.

40. The Mexican Revolution was a social revolution and not the work of one party with a well-defined ideology; it developed haphazardly, led by a series of ambitious but limited men, each representing a different segment of Mexican society.

50. Francisco I Madero (1873–1913) overthrew Diaz in 1911, only to be overthrown in turn by General Victoriana Huerta in 1913. The Constitutionalists Venustiano Carranza and Alvaro Obregon emerged as leaders of the disaffected middle class and industrial workers, and they organized armies that overthrew Huerta in 1914.

60. Emiliano Zapata (1879–1919) led a peasant revolt in Morelos, south of Mexico City, while Francisco (Pancho) Villa organized an army in northern Mexico. Neither man was able to rise above his regional and peasant origins to lead a national revolution; Zapata was defeated and killed by the Constitutionalists in 1919, and Villa was assassinated in 1923.

70. The Constitutionalists took over Mexico after years of fighting, an estimated 2 million casualties, and tremendous damage. In the process, the Constitutionalists adopted many of their rivals’ agrarian reforms and proposed a number of social programs designed to appeal to workers and the middle class. The Mexican Revolution lost momentum in the 1920s, though, with few of the proposed reforms ever actually enacted.

D0. American Intervention in the Caribbean and Central America, 1901–1914

10. The United States often used military intervention to force the small nations of Central America and the Caribbean to repay loans owed to banks in Europe or the United States. The United States occupied Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Haiti on various occasions during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

20. The United States was particularly forceful in Panama, supporting the Panamanian rebellion against Colombia in 1903 and then building and controlling the Panama Canal.

V. The World Economy and the Global Environment

A0. Expansion of the World Economy

10. The Industrial Revolution greatly expanded the demand for spices, silk, agricultural goods, and raw materials in the industrialized countries. The growing need for these products could not be met by traditional methods of production and transportation, so the imperialists brought their colonies into the mainstream of the world market and introduced new technologies.

2. One dramatic result of colonization was rapid environmental change as farms and plantations replaced forests and traditional agricultural zones.

B0. Free Trade

10. Britain in this period was more interested in trade than in acquiring territory. Most of the new colonies were intended to serve as ports in a global shipping network that the British envisioned in terms of free trade, as opposed to the previous mercantilist trade policy.

20. Whether colonized or not, more lands were being drawn into the commercial networks created by British expansion and industrialization. These areas became exporters of raw materials and agricultural goods and importers of affordable manufactured products.

C0. New Labor Migrations

10. Between 1834 and 1870, large numbers of Indians, Chinese, and Africans went overseas as laborers. British India was the greatest source of migrant laborers, and British colonies (particularly sugar plantations) were the principal destinations of the migrants.

20. With the end of slavery, the demand for cheap labor in the British colonies, Cuba, and Hawaii was filled by Indians, free Africans, Chinese, and Japanese workers. These workers served under contracts of indenture that bound them to work for a specified number of years in return for free passage to their overseas destination; a small salary; and free housing, clothing, and medical care.

30. This new indentured labor trade reflected the economic and industrial dominance of the West, but it was not entirely a one-way street. These migrants were trying to improve their lives, and many of them succeeded.



VI0. Conclusion

  1. What stands out in this period is not just the military and political strength of Europe and the United States, but their domination of global commerce as they moved into Southeast Asia and Africa for a variety of economic reasons.

  2. These colonial exchanges could be mutually beneficial in some ways. Consumers now gained access to cheaper manufactured goods, and African and Asian resources reached the global market. These interactions could also be profoundly disruptive too, as they produced significant environmental change and also undermined local, small-scale manufacturers.

  3. The rest of the world was not simply an appendage to the West though. Local cultures remained vibrant and many in Asia and Latin America retained control of their own destinies.


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