The Scramble for Africa

✶ The Scramble for Africa Epub ✹ Author Thomas Pakenham – White Man's Conuest of the Dark Continent from 1876 to 1912 White Man's Conuest of the Dark Continent from to .The Scramble for Africa

Antonia Fraser is his sister After graduating from Belvedere College and Magdalen College Oxford in Thomas Pakenham traveled to Ethiopia a trip which is described in his first book The Mountains of Rasselas On returning to Britain he worked on the editorial staff of the Times Educational Supplement and later for iThe Sunday Telegraph and The Observer He divides his time between London and County Westmeath Ireland where he is the chairman of the Irish Tree Society and honorary custodian of Tullynally CastleThomas Pakenham does not The Scramble MOBI :ò use his title and did not use his courtesy title before succeeding his father However he has not disclaimed his British titles under the Peerage Act and the Irish peerages cannot be disclaimed as they are not covered by the Act He is unable to sit in the House of Lords as a hereditary peer as his father had due to the House of Lords Act though his father was created a life peer in addition to his hereditary title in order to be able to retain his seat.

The Scramble for Africa Kindle ð The Scramble  MOBI
  • Paperback
  • 800 pages
  • The Scramble for Africa
  • Thomas Pakenham
  • English
  • 07 August 2015
  • 9780380719990

10 thoughts on “The Scramble for Africa

  1. says:

    Reading this book put me in mind of Heart of Darkness I too was journeying up river dense walls of small print prose on either side of me or was I already at the destination sitting in a hut surrounded by trade goods uite insane waiting for the end? It was hard to be sure perhaps I was bothIt is an inevitable frame of reference in several other ways firstly that pattern of the uest to find a 'lost' white man deep in Africa is repeated several times secondly the contrast between the idealism and cynicism of the mother country with the breakdown improvisation and struggle in Africa itself it also a constant thirdly that for all the technology the conuest of Africa by Europeans is achieved through or on or by or with Africans as manpower or by Europeans piggybacking off African empires and trading networksThis is a book like Tuchman's the Guns of August that aims to sweep the reader along in a grand narrative Pakenham does not have her acid tongue and he is trying to juggle far disperate events over a longer time scale He has the same desire to contain his narrative by forcing it into geographic silos and for me this worked as poorly as it does in Guns of August as different events are happening in different places at the same time the politicians in Europe were dealing with them all at once along with their European political concerns and their personal lives jumping in and out of any one region over simplified the narrative view spoiler I assume Pakenham saw there was a problem with this approach because the book contains a table of parallel events so you can see what was happening in different parts of Africa at the same time hide spoiler

  2. says:

    The Scramble for Africa The White Man's Conuest of the Dark Continent from 1876 to 1912 is a fascinating book on the European division of African territory known as the Scramble for Africa In this competition for territory the United Kingdom France Germany Belgium Italy and Spain all carved territories out of the African continent for various reasons Spreading the three C's Christianity Civilization Commerce was an important motivation for many European explorers General's and Politicians to get involved Overt racism was another Naked competition and greed were also major factors The Scramble got under way for a few reasons First France annexed Tunisia nominally a province of the Ottoman Empire in a bid to extend the security and profitability of their neighbouring colony in Algeria annexed formally in 1834 The British similarly became involved in financial scuffles in Egypt also nominally Ottoman but controlled jointly by French and British financial interests Tunisia was outright annexed to France which ticked off Italy which had many colonists and financial interests in the area Britain decided to covertly submit Egypt to vassalage and jointly flew the British and Egyptian flag over Egypt and Sudan controlled by the Khedive as various provinces The animosity of the annexation of Tunisia between France and Italy and French and German annoyance at Britain's heavy hand in Egypt led to an increasingly rapid scramble for territory all over Africa and increased tensions leading Europe to the brink of war on multiple occasions over pieces of swamp and dessert with little commercial value Public opinion in France and Germany demanded colonial possessions and Italy was game as well Britain however was reluctant for a long while to join the game and only started taking land so it would not fall to its rivals The spoiling factor of this all was King Leopold of Belgium who really wanted an African Empire to rule over and couched his desires in humanitarian language fooling much of Europe into cooperation and bullying or playing off rivals in France Germany and the UK against each other His Machiavellian maneuvers allowed him to annex the Congo now the Democratic Republic of the Congo the literal heart of Africa where the Congo and Nile river deltas spill and a treasure trove of ivory rubber mineral resources and many other valuable goods Leopold would not be satiated with just this however He dreamed of a Nile Empire and came very close to grabbing both modern Uganda and chunks of Sudan to join to the Congo colony by playing off tensions between France and Britain and utilizing Chancellor Bismark of Germany as his patron He used explorers and adventurers like Stanley the British explorer who carved a bloody path through the Congo and narrowly lost taking the entire Congo basin for Belgium Later on Belgian soldiers and politicians created the Free State of the Congo a fantastical state nominally controlled by King Leopold and formally annexed to Belgium at a later date This colony was brutally exploited showing Leopold's overtures to free trade and humanitarianism to be farcical tools for expansion Leopold ran one of the worst colonies the world has ever seen killing millions of his subjects mutilating many and brutally exploiting slave labour stamping out independent Kingdoms and tribes and exploiting resourcesBritain as mentioned was a reluctant colonial regime at first Britain's most profitable colonies were its Dominions first Canada and then Australia and New Zealand These colonies brought profitable trade goods were white and Christian and nominally politically independent Britain gained all of the profits of a colony without the headache of having to pay for garrisons or politicians This led to a dream of Dominion in South Africa Britain controlled the Cape and Natal regions of South Africa early on and soon extended dominion over Zululand after the Zulu Wars Machiavellian politicians also existed in Britain Cecil Rhodes sought to create a diamond and gold Empire in South Africa by painting the map red He dreamed of a corridor from Egypt to South Africa all British He acted on these dreams with brutal political acumen Zululand was conuered and covert wars were started against the Dutch republics in Transvaal and the Orange Free State Rhodesia was annexed from its King and modern Botswana eventually became a British colony Dominion status was achieved eventually but bloody wars incompetent politics and internal disputes made a mess of it Native Africans were brutally exploited and Afrikaans Dutch settlers fought wars of independence and struggle against encroaching British interests which led to some of the most expensive wars in British history Britain also sought to extend its borders in East and West Africa and over the Nile Competition between British trading interests in the Niger region and Cameroon led to conflict with France and Germany and almost to war on multiple occasions France sought to paint West Africa Blue and pushed into the Niger territory nominally claimed by Britain The northern borders of Sierra Leone Ghana and Nigeria were in dispute although eventually worked out politically The French also sought territory in the Nile regions of Eastern Africa French expeditions to Fahsoda and southern Sudan sought to annex territory to France and Uganda was fought over by Germany France and Britain through exploratory expeditions and missionaries Britain lost control over Sudan to the Mahdi revolution which sought an Islamic state in Northern Africa and fought for independence for Sudan from EgyptBritain The Mahdi state expanded into modern Sudan Egypt and Ethiopia but was eventually stamped out by Britain France was beaten back politically though this conflict over Fashoda a swampy wasteland almost led to war between France and Britain Instead detente was achievedThis was because Britain was also in competition with Germany Bismark stealthily annexed Cameroon Togo and Namibia taking Britain and France completely by surprise He also extended dominion over much of East Africa modern mainland Tanzania and came close to grabbing modern Kenya and Uganda as well Bismark disliked the colonial drive but this crafty advocate of Realpolitik sought to use German colonies as bargaining chips for eventual European concessions successfully trading his claims in East Africa for the important naval base in Heligoland with Britain and wishing to use territory to get France to renounce its claims in Alsace Lorraine taken during the Franco Prussian War in 1872 German public opinion was strongly pro colony but Bismark saw them as worthless tracts of land However he joined the scramble with gusto never one to pass up an opportunity to strengthen Germany's position His was a much Euro focused colonial expansion Every move was calculated to play France off against Britain He closely supported Afrikaans independence in southern Africa supported Italian claims in Ethiopia and allowed Leopold in Belgium to make his moves All was done to strengthen the German alliance system in Europe and to try and get either France of Britain to move away from Russian support and to keep France and Britain away from detente His retirement from politics saw this end and eventual French and British detente did come to fruition and directed against the German state France had different motivations They had been humiliated politically in recent years and the state had been in flux ever since to fall of Napoleon and the Franco Prussian war France had lost territory in Europe and sought to extend its prestige by grabbing large tracts of land regardless of its worth They competed early on with Belgium over the Congo and grabbed the northern chunk modern Republic of the Congo They extended the borders of Senegal and gained control over huge swathes of light land in West Africa and the Sahara Dessert Competition with the British was fierce and Anglo phobia strong in French politics and within the public sphere However the danger of Germany proved greater and the German annexation of Togo and Cameroon both nominally in France's West African sphere and bordering her colonies alarmed France to a great extent As competition with Belgium and Britain dried up in the Congo and West AfricaNile region France was able to focus on Germany and eventually joined with Britain in the alliance that has seen it through two World Wars France also coveted much of Northern Africa with historical claims on Egypt Napoleonic era and interests in protecting its valuable Algerian colony Tunisia as mentioned was annexed Morocco joined as a vassal and Germany out competed in the region France also extended deep into the Sahara Dessert with an interest in creating rail links through the region to its little jewel in Senegal never happened France also competed strongly with Italy Italy was miffed about Tunisia and sought to extend its Eritrean colony into the valuable hinterlands of Somalia and Ethiopia In Ethiopia Italy was roundly defeated by the Ethiopia King Menelik supplied with modern weapons and artillery by France Italy was extremely humiliated and furious at the French eventually joining the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria Hungary in retaliation Italy eventually grabbed Libya and Rhodes in Greece from the Ottoman's in 1911 and sought territorial concessions from Britain and France in Somalia in exchange for diplomatic concessions in Europe they betrayed the Triple Alliance in WWI and joined the British Allies France lost most of its claims in Eastern Africa being left with the valuable port of Djibouti and the islands of Madagascar As an aside Spain eventually gained territory in northern Morocco parts of the Sahara coast below Morocco and Euatorial Guinea as political concessions by France and England The Scramble was a blur of names and land grabs Rhodes Salisbury Chamberlain Gordon and Kitchener to name a few sought to paint the map red compete for political influence and resources with Britain's other colonies and end the slave trade in Africa while keeping shipping lanes through the Suez Canal and around the Cape of Good Hope open to British ships France's explorers like Brazza cut deep into the jungles of the Congo and sought to grab as much territory for France as a way to reverse the humiliations of the past Leopold baldly sought money and power in a new African Empire Bismark sought pieces for his European chess game Italy and Spain as smaller powers sought to tag along like Belgium but had difficulty competing with the big powers In a period of less than 50 years every piece of Africa save for a time Ethiopia became portions of small European nations who were after resources power and prestige The scramble often seems like an afterthought and indeed less than a century later these areas would gain independence once again although to this day legacies of colonial abuse lack of resources and unfavourable contracts with Western Nations plagues Africa This has been a long review so far Suffice to say Pakenham has written probably the definitive text on this blistering period of land grabbing The naked greed and racism that came with this Scramble is plain to see and Pakenham does not even attempt to go beyond what actually happened; there is no need to do so No narrative is needed save for the speeches pieces of text and actions of those who conuered an entire continent and to those who were conuered Pakenham does a wonderful job showing the thought processes of both sides Many African Kings and politicians sought modern weapons to extend their own dominions and tried to play sides off against each other often successful for decades King Menelik of Ethiopia was the only one who would succeed and at the cost of tens of thousands of lives and the destruction of much of Ethiopia I could go on and on but I will leave off by saying this book has a well deserved reputation as being one of the best history texts every written It looks at a relatively small period of time where massive world changes occurred and Empires that boggle the mind were carved out willy nilly for reasons varying from promoting trade to protecting sea lanes to just wanting land This was a serious and silly time of exploitation imperialism and opera bouffe which cost the lives of millions of innocent Africans used as European pawns slaves porters and cannon fodder This is truly a wonderful history text and it is easily recommended for anyone interested in this period of time

  3. says:

    This massive book 738 pages plus photos maps offers the reader an interesting and enjoyable account of the European powers race to 'civilize' the African continent The book covers the great explorers the numerous battles and conflicts between the European powers and the natives and between the European powers and many other interesting items during this 'scramble for Africa' I found this book to be a great read very enjoyable and although the size may be daunting it never got boring The author covers the period from 1876 through to 1912 in 37 chapters of interesting reading Whatever happens we have got the Maxium gun and they have not about covers it

  4. says:

    This is the ultimate book on the colonisation read occupation of Africa by mainly European powers in the latter uarter of the 19th century the only country to resist the tsunami and remain independent was Ethiopia Readers unfamiliar with Africa might assume as I did that the conuest of Africa took place at the same time as imperial adventures in the Americas and elsewhere in the world but in fact most of it happened much later in a short but intense burst of European megalomania and kleptomania The book tells this story in all its component parts and as such explains why the map of Africa is what it is today It also explains many other aspects of present day Africa which after being the battleground for a devastating proxy war during the Cold War is still being looted of its natural and human resources by outside interests today if anything with even greater efficiency and ruthlessness The author has taken a comprehensive and extremely thorough approach to his vast subject matter The book is also very readable and hard to put down

  5. says:

    A comprehensive look at how Africa became colonized The surprising part is how late in the 19th Century it actually happened Another is how Belgium created as a buffer state between France and Germany and ruled by one of Victoria's favorite uncles became a major player The events in this book lead to actions and reactions that are still being played out on the continent of AfricaAs I progress it is all too easy to see the results of artificial boundaries set by Europeans for their own purposes natural resources primarily has set the stage for the present conflicts and unrest in AfricaAs I begin the section on the Belgian Congo and the Rubber Trade I can already see the seeds for the present chaos and despair the the DRCWhen finally finished I see the Domino Effect the result of this Scramble for Resources in the late 19th and early 20th century affecting the lives of millions of Africans today Artificial borders artificial 'democracies' and neo colonialism continue to keep Africans in poverty disenfranchised and helpless in the face of commerce If there is any reason for Europe to be particularly ashamed it is for what it allowed in the Congo at the beginning of the 20th Century and what it allowed to continue right through the 'independence' movement Belgium has much to pay for yet

  6. says:

    Thomas Pakenham has neither the flair nor the predilection for writing about sex the way that his famous sister Antonia Fraser does Somehow Pakenham manages to devote 200 pages of his “Scramble to Africa” to King Leopold II of Belgium without once mentioning his taste for underage prostitutes The closest Pakenham comes is to acknowledge that Leopold’s second wife Christine Lacroix was indeed working in the sex trade and a mere 16 years old when Leopold had his first encounter with her In contrast Adam Hochschild in “King Leopold’s Ghost” discusses Leopold’s practice of preying on teenage girls in great depth Similarly Pakenham does not attempt to uantify the number of lives lost through the forced labour system deployed by Leopold in his Congo rubber plantations Hochschild puts forward the rather fanciful number of 10 million The 1904 Casement report commissioned by the British parliament put the number at 3 million which was not cited by Pakenham Pakenham simply concedes that there were atrocities and that the Bishop of Brussels was uite right to order his priests not to administer extreme unction to Leopold on his death bed In brief Pakenham presents a balanced and restrained account of one the most shameful episodes in European history The events however were so extraordinary that his book reads like an adventure novelPakenham’s “Scramble for Africa” would have seemed at least 30 years out of date when it was published in 1990 He makes no mention of any of the psychological or historical analyses of colonialism that had been taught at universities since the 1960 In his introduction he mentions the theory of John Hobson which appeared in his 1902 book “Imperialism” and which was subseuently adopted by Lenin in “Imperialism The Highest Stage of Capitalism” but only to sneer at it Pakenham spends 700 pages scrupulously documenting one atrocity after another while resolutely refusing to attribute them to any historical sociological or economic model The European governments simply lacked the will power to compel their citizens and agents to act in an honorable and humane fashion in AfricaElected politicians throughout Europe were consistently opposed to empire building in Africa Right wing politicians were opposed because it was irrational; that is to say the revenues to be derived from the trade in ivory and other tropical goods would never be enough to pay for the costs of administering and defending the colonies Left wing politicians were opposed because the empires could only be acuired through dishonest diplomacy and massacres of the local populationsEvents however were driven by the ambitious industrialists missionaries discoverers administrators and military men in the field who ignored the directives of their metropolitan governments They explored preached and invaded without authorization presenting the politicians with faits accomplis that reuired the institution of formal colonies Built of the shakiest of foundations the African empires of the European powers evaporated in less then 20 years following the end of WWII Pakenham’s book which most certainly seemed passé when it first appeared is aging well It is indeed Eurocentric but in fact Africa was dominated by Europeans during the Scramble This is much easier to acknowledge in 2020 when Africa has been ruled by Africans for the preceding 60 years than in 1990 when the memories of the colonial regimes were very fresh Similarly the Marxist sociological and psychological analyses of colonialism have not stood up well to the recent criticism Thomas Pakenham’s “Scramble for Africa” is a wonderful book and well worth the considerable effort reuired to read it

  7. says:

    This is the only book on my read shelf that i actually never finished i got about two thirds or so into it and gave upDon't get me wrong this is a great work it's just so insanely detailed that a person can't hope to retain enough info to make the read worthwhileAfter hours of reading about literally hundreds of personalities here's what i retained Livingston was a good man who unintentionally hastened colonization Stanley was a newspaper reporter made himself famous by attaching himself to Livingston King Leopold was insane Europeans really screwed up Africa and perhaps fought a proxy WWI in the process Braza should have a movie made about him i don't remember who he is exactly but do recall enjoying his particular adventure storyPut this one on the shelf next to your atlas and dictionary as a work of reference

  8. says:

    The White ueen and the Black Kings“Shall we play a game?” Whether you caught my allusion to the computer AI protagonist in the movie War Games or not I imagine you are uestioning my choice of chess game metaphor as a suitable comparison for the Scramble for Africa which was much than a two sided game Pakenham is a uniuely descriptive writer and uses much expression and euphemism himself throughout this colossal work It may not be as big in word count nor page count as some of the other books I’ve read but this scholarly work was definitely a huge burden for my reading list The reasons are not so easy to explain The subject matter of this book is a burden mentally and emotionally There is absolutely no way you can read it without feeling a range of emotions in every reading session At times I felt repulsed by everything I don’t normally feel this way to such a degree from a book But it is even disturbing than reading Conway’s Heart of Darkness In order to keep reading such an account I found it easier to spread it out generously and intersperse it with things that were well less gut wrenching Pakenham is British He attempts to write from the British perspective But he also goes a long way toward total honesty He does not flinch at pointing fingers in every direction Some of the views may leave you wondering at first if he is trying to defend the protagonists But before too far into the book his own opinions bleed through But his goal seems to be for you to see what the characters were thinking In this one book Pakenham lays out the journey of Europe as the individual countries attempt to paint the map of the African continent in their own colors It is written like a train ride with various stops and starts along the path from ‘door opening’ to ‘door closing’ The author moves lithely across the landscape somehow tying it all in chronologically I don’t think the reader can possibly feel confused about the timeline But this journey is filled with actual photos and political cartoons of the day that will enlighten the reader regardless of your experience with the subject matter I found myself asking from the beginning ‘Could the book have been shorter?’ By the end I concluded that Pakenham could have made it bigger He writes with conciseness and often leaves the reader with a desire to know even than he has covered Perhaps the most striking political cartoon included in the book is the skeleton figured Lady Britannia walking among the mismatched rows and rows of graves upon which the British Empire was built Each Headstone reads in Latin ‘Here lies’ followed by names representing the various British colonies and territories of the worldPakenham covers hundreds of important historical people of the era as well as the many colonizing countries and colonies themselves As an American with little background in British history I found myself looking up almost every figure in Wikipedia to get a toehold on the mountain of information and follow along with the action Then there are the fascinating bits of new tech; like the Maxim gun The account certainly begs to be read with the utmost attention to details And there is ample info at the end to provide closure while giving you a glimpse of what came next even at the distant date of writing By the time I finished the book I wanted to do research to see how the financial shape of each former colony today lines up with their history Maybe I can do that soon I began reading this book as my stop in Lesotho which was county #39 on my Journey Around the World in 80 Books for 2019 As you can see I was derailed by this book But not this book only I started reading it mid September But I had some surgeries last year that slowed me down uite a bit as well By year’s end November and December were a wash as far as reading was concerned That’s ok We do what we need to pick up where we fall short It was very important to me to finish this book because it is such essential reading for anyone interested in Africa or the world as it is today So this means that even if you read it slowly with lighter material interspersed you could still easily finish it in 4 months Do not think my time to completion is any indication of how long the book will takeI recommend this book highly for the student of Africa It is textbook uality It is also difficult to obtain I got my hardback on cheaply enough but I suspect that it was stolen from the Ealing Central Library in London by unscrupulous third party sellers Go figure I found myself thinking that one event after another was THE most remarkable in the book But then there was the next So rather than trying to summarize key events in a book of too many to summarize I will leave you with a few uotes from this tremendous book And where to from here? I plan to finish last year’s Journey Around the World in 2019 2020 My next read is in South Africa and will be a much faster book So hold on to your seats as the train departs the station for the rest of the journeyuotes Troublemakers were distributed as rations'Appetite comes with eating'”The Bismarckian system which he had made famous was exclusively concerned with Europe ‘Here is Russia and here is France’ he later told a startled German explorer ‘with Germany in the middle That is my map of Africa’””The 'door closing panic' Torschlusspanik that seized the German electorate in the Spring of 1884 and began to make the scramble a reality””On 25 May in a paroxysm of rage he had ordered all Christian ‘readers’ at court to be seized Some were castrated; others hacked to death their bodies left to the vultures On 3 June one large group – eleven Protestants and thirteen Catholics – was taken and burnt on a funeral pyre at Namgongo What was most astonishing about these terrible events astonishing even to the executioners was that the young boys died singing and praising the white man’s God””They would keep the Khedive dancing to their tune that strange dance of the 'veiled' protectorate in which a flimsy piece of Khedival silk concealed naked English power”Menelik had no compunction in dividing Tigre with the Italians By the Treaty of Wichale signed by Menelik on 2 May 1889 the new Emperor agreed to give Italy a small slice of the Christian high plateau – as far south as Asmara – and also the Muslim lowlands of Bogos to the north In return the Italians promised to feed if not satisfy Menelik's hunger for modern rifles Already a shipment of 5000 rifles had reached Addis Ababa with ammunition carefully chosen not to fit them More was to follow bought by a two million lire loan guaranteed by the Italian government”By the end of the 19th century European powers had carved up almost all of Africa after the Berlin Conference; only Ethiopia the Republic of Liberia and the Dervish State still maintained their independence Though not the first African nation to resist European conuest it became a pre eminent symbol of the pan Africanism and secured Ethiopia's sovereignty for another forty years”Lobengula rode away to the north protected by the remnants of his Impis His last bitter speech to his people has been preserved 'You have said that it is me that is killing you now here are your masters coming You will have to pull and shove wagons; but under me you never did this kind of thing Now you be joyful because here are your future rulers the white people are coming now I didn't want to fight with them O I am remembering the words of Lotsche ' At least Lobengula was spared the humiliation of being hunted down like Cetshwayo He died like a king taking poison with his chief counsellor when he heard that the last of his Impis had surrendered His servants buried him sitting in a cave wrapped in the skin of a black ox his chief counsellor buried at his feet along with his remaining possessionsThe crippled army of the Emir withdrew as the city caught fire Goldie had lost eight dead and nine wounded In due course he signed a treaty with the Markum The Emir was deposed and the Markum succeeded him Goldie was still too weak to impose direct administration but he initiated a form of indirect rule that would later become the pattern for northern Nigeria The new Emir would govern Nupe but 'conform to such directions as the representatives of the Company may give him from time to time'But he saw nothing to recommend a war over Fashoda Apart from the fact that France would lose his task was to unite a nation that had lost its government and was being torn in half by the Dreyfus Affair Fashoda would only add to those wounds France unlike Britain could not agree that to defend a swamp in Central Africa was a vital national interest On the contrary the country was as divided on Fashoda and on similar lines as on the Affair The Left condemned imperialism as roundly as it supported Dreyfus”Chamberlain hoped to create a new British dominion by uniting the two British colonies Cape Colony and Natal in a federation with the two Boer republics To unite all South Africa under the British flag would be Britain's crowning achievement in the Scramble the culmination of the twenty year struggle for mastery from Cairo to the Cape”The independence of a Boer republic bursting with gold and bristling with imported rifles threatened Britain's status as 'paramount' power British para mountcy alias supremacy was not a concept in international law But most of the British thought it made practical sense government in South Africa Boer independence seemed worse than absurd; it was dangerous for world peace””When children are being treated in this way and dying it is simply ranging the deepest passions of the human heart against British rule in South Africa it will always be remembered that this is the way British rule started here the method by which it was brought about”Famine killed than ten times the number that had ever taken up arms against the Germans 250000 300000 according to the leading African historian of the revolt The worst suffering was in the Highlands where the famine persisted longest Perhaps half the Vidunda than half the Matumbi and three uarters of the Pangwa died in the rebellion or its aftermath When the famine ended the survivors returned to a country which was almost unrecognizable Miambo forests had begun to take over the maize fields and cotton plots and soon these forests gave sanctuary to rhino buffalo and elephant In due course the hills of Ungindo once teeming with people became the largest game park in the worldAnd let’s not leave out this ironical statement by young Winston Churchill”the chronic bloodshed which stains the West African season is odious and disuieting Moreover the whole enterprise is liable to be misrepresented by persons unacuainted with imperial terminology as the murdering of natives and the stealing of their lands” Minute by Winston Churchill as Under Secretary for the Colonies 23 January 1906

  9. says:

    I must say I really enjoyed Pakenhams handling of substantial material and complicated subject matter into an enjoyable easy to read narrative The story contains multiple number of characters where the most attention gets the Belgian King Leopold His actions are costumed in virtuous humanitarianism showing that he is the catalyst for the motivation on the exploitation of Africa Pakenham describes him as Leopold was a Coburg millionaire a constitutional monarch malgre lui a throwback from the age of absolutism with the brain of a Wall Street financier and the hide of an African rhinoceros He who saw a big chance in making a fortune in the name of 3 Cs Christianity Commerce and CivilizationNow don't get me wrong many 21st cynics would think that the intervention in Africa is stimulated by the rapacious capitalists and that's fine However in depth Pakenham insists that the aspiration in helping the continent with the enlightenment of the first C Christianity was predominant component in decision for scramble Having that said commerce was also a big entice Singularly the beginning years of the Scramble seemed as a stock market sparkle persuading investors to joinThe book is well written and although it is long it never gets boring especially for people who enjoy history It is in chronological order between the actions of the Great Britain France and Germany and Minor Powers mostly Belgium in different parts of the continent One of the favourite things i had about the book is the usage of maps Customarily history chronicles need an atlas by the hand This one doesn't

  10. says:

    This was my third attempt to read The Scramble for Africa by Thomas Pakenham and turns out third time really is the charm Based on the stellar reviews I had high hopes for this book but for me it has been a frustrating experience For the most part my unhappiness stems from the fact I wanted this to be a comprehensive history of Africa and how the colonisation shaped the continent However this is a book about Europeans realpolitik ‘great’ white explorers and ‘brave’ military men from the west The problems of alterity and robbing the native Africans of their voice however become even exasperating owing to the writer’s prejudice against anyone who wasn’t British The book is written from the perspective of different European men and often than not overly simplifies their characters depending on their country of birth Brits are all noble but sometime they bungle despite their honourable intentions The French are overtaken with the fever for imperialism and would go to any lengths to expand their imperial interests The Germans are conceited and will do anything to protect their financial interestsThe Italians are misguided and don’t know what’s good for them The Ottomans are only ever mentioned indirectly as highly inconseuential despite the fact that many African regions were under ottoman control no matter how precarious The Muslims are barbaric slave traders There is no room for what the Africans made of this ‘scramble’ But weirdly enough the writer claims to know what different people were thinking or feeling How a respected academic could make such wild claims is beyond me These are some of the issues I had with this book but I cannot deny the tremendous research that must have gone into writing a book of this scope It might not teach you that much about Africa but you’ll surely have a much deeper understanding of the complex politics and diplomacy of the European imperial powers

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