Chapter One
Some Questions on Development

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Brief Guide to Reading

Section 3 of this chapter dealing with African society is a continuation of Chapter 2; and general books cited there are also relevant in this context. More African writers are involved in this recent pre-colonial period, which is of course one aspect of a national struggle. There are also more and better monographs on given areas and subjects. But, the coming of imperialism has not yet been seriously pursued from an African viewpoint, and there is a marked absence of theory linking together the numerous facts that are now well established about events taking place in Africa between 1500 and 1885.

J. Webster and A. Boahen, The Revolutionary Years: West Africa since 1800.

Davidson with J. E. Mhina, The Growth of African Civilisation: East and Central Africa lo the late nineteenth century.

These two should be added to the list of general texts which provide regional surveys over a long period of time. They have the advantage of being coherent interpretations and not just collected essays.

W. Rodney, West Africa and the Atlantic Slave Trade.

E. Alpers, The East African Slave Trade.

I.A. Akinjogbin, Dahomey and its Neighbours.

The first two are short accounts of the impact of slave exports on the African regions concerned. The third is a detailed account by a Nigerian scholar of Dahomey’s involvement with Europeans.

J. Egharevba, A Short History of Benin.

B.A. Ogot, History of the Southern Luo.

I. Kimambo, A Political History of the Pare.

J. Vansina, Kingdoms of the Savannah.

The first three are good examples of scholarship by Africans concerning historical developments starting before contact with Europe. They are characterised by the use of African oral traditions as a basis for interpretation. The fourth (by a European) was a pioneering work which drew heavily on oral traditions in reconstructing Central African history.

J. Ajayi, Christian Missions in Nigeria, 1845-1891.

E.A. Ayandele, The Missionary Impact on Modern Nigeria.

One aspect of the imperialist epoch that has been probed by African historians (and many non-Africans) is that of the Christian missionaries, as evidenced by the above works.


Table of Contents

How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973

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