Study Questions and Answers
1. Discuss the origins and organization of the Atlantic slave trade?
i. Began in late 1400’s European colonies were the world’s main supplier of Sugar cane, cotton and tobacco.
ii. However, there were not enough workers or servants to cultivate the land. American natives were enslaved but many died from new diseases and some resisted so to meet the massive demand for labour they went to Africa.
iii. When they got to Africa, they saw that slavery had long existed as people had servants and slaves and some slave owners gave the slaves the ability to possibly but their freedom.
iv. When the Europeans got there, they realized that they could trade manufactured products such as guns, rum and tobacco for slaves and they basically made it a business transaction
v. The Africans justified selling slaves by viewing them not as fellow Africans but as criminals and non-desirables or prisoners of war.
vi. By selling slaves kings enriched their realms and strengthened their kingdoms against tribal enemies.
vii. Because slave trade became a business, the traders insured their products their products as some of the slaves resisted or died during transportation due to diseases brought on by sanitation issues and all they had to show for insurance claims were the ears of the slaves.
viii. Because the traders realized that they could still get paid, they would cut off the ears of the slaves and abuse the slaves especially the women and children and when they got infections or died they’d just throw them over board and still get paid from the insurance companies.
ix. Many able-bodied Africans in west Africa where the slave trade began died.
2. Assess the African contribution to the ending of the slave trade
i. Africans started to resist after realizing that the slave trader would come, take slaves away who were never seen again, but kept returning for more.
ii. They viewed them as cannibals and began to be cautious about continuing slave trade with these Europeans.
iii. Slaves resisted their masters and refused to work or would commit suicide with the mindset that their souls would return back home in death.
3. Indicate new economic conditions, which emerged in the nineteenth century that paved the way for the abolishment of slavery.
During the 19th century the second industrial revolution took place which meant that slaves were no longer needed to perform certain tasks and massive urbanization and much higher levels of productivity, profit and prosperity took place. It also paved the way for colonization of many areas around the world.
4. Why did slavery remain so widespread in central Africa until at least the 1880’s?
i. Africans were very important to the Merchant Capitalist system because slaves were used as bartering objects in exchange for plantation crops, sugar, guns etc.
ii. Profits from the triangular trade was a major factor as to why several European port cities became so wealthy as they had access to multiple slave trade organizations.
5. Why did the Dutch East India Company set up a trading post at the Cape?
To what extent were their original aims fulfilled?
Why did the white settlement expand so quickly between 1770 and 1803
i. They set up the trading post initially to be a refreshing station for dutch merchants who lost their Lisbon trading station for spices. This was a major part of the Dutch economy but due to the Spanish inquisition of Portugal they had to find another way to be able to get access to the spices which came from Asia which was in the east. (Build their own trading network - Dutch East India Company was formed, funded by Netherlands and given vast power. Had their own army and Navy so they could intimidate the Asia’s to do business.)
ii. Basically, what would happen is the traders would leave the Netherlands go half way through their journey stop at the Cape to recuperate and then go on to Asia to be able to trade for spices etc. in Asia. They had to do it this way because several ships that were sent out to see sank and they needed to find a better solution
iii. Their original aim was fulfilled however Over the course of a century and a half, the Boers would slowly encroach upon the lands of the Khoi and San. In some cases, the settlers intermarried with these Khoi and San people.
6. Describe and account for the strength of the Algerian resistance to the French occupation of their country in the nineteenth century
i. In 1830, the French monarchy, seeking to distract its discontented subjects, decided to invade Algeria. Abd al-Qadir, Sufi political leader, became a symbol of Algerian independence, as he organized an effective resistance that lasted until 1847.
ii. Under French rule, local Algerian economies were disrupted, and everything Islamic was dismantled by the French government as part of a “civilizing” mission. In fact to become full French citizens, Algerian Muslims had to renounce Islam and live under the French civil code.
iii. Consequently, during the early twentieth century, Algerian nationalism began to spread, and by 1945, the political environment had become sharply polarized, with increasing calls for the formation of an independent Arab and Islamic state.
iv. The failure of political negotiations with the French led to the Algerian War of Independence in 1954, a brutal, eight-year conflict with massacres, terrorism, and torture. In March 1962, the French government accepted a cease-fire, and in July 1962 the Algerian people voted for independence. Within months, 1.4 million Europeans left Algeria.
7. How do you account for the rise of European influence in Egypt and the Sudan before 1880?
i. Britain's main interest was in stabilizing the region, so the government tended to support the Ottoman Empire (theoretically sovereign over Egypt) against all challengers, while British merchants tried to find business opportunities in the Nile Valley and Suez.
ii. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 complicated the British position in Egypt.
iii. The government had opposed the construction of the Suez Canal from the beginning, but only managed to force the Egyptian government into a partnership with the French to build the canal.
iv. British canal opponents feared that British shipping would gravitate towards the canal and become dependent on it, making it vulnerable to interruptions during war time.
v. Arguing that Egypt was descending into "anarchy" which threatened the Suez Canal (located about 180 miles to the east), the British government sought international support for an invasion of Egypt.
vi. Neither the Ottoman sultan nor any European governments joined in, so in August 1882, Britain acted alone. Within two months, they captured the canal and defeated the Egyptian army at Tel-el-Kebir.
vii. Although British prime minister Gladstone tried to withdraw the British forces immediately, there was no Egyptian government left to maintain order, and even worse, the British invasion ignited a revolution by fundamentalist Muslim forces in the Sudan on the Upper Nile River under the leadership of a man known as the Mahdi.
viii. Under British pressure, Tewfik withdrew the remaining Egyptian forces (and their British advisors) from the Upper Nile, but not before General Gordon, a British officer employed by Egypt, was killed at Khartoum in January 1885.
8. Discuss the impact of pre-colonial Christian missionaries in Africa. Why did some Africans welcome the new religion and others reject it?
I. In the late 15th and early 16th catholic missionaries were sent to Africa to convert a number of African rulers, in attempt to create useful allies of the Portuguese.
II. African rulers were interested in trading, technical assistance and firearms but they did not want new ideas which threatened to undermine the traditional religious basis of their authority.
III. The evangelical movement contained strong military purpose, their goal was to spread the faith to the world.
IV. They preached a strict moral code which condemned much of essential fabric of African society (dancing, drinking...).
V. Christianity offered a sense of spiritual salvation and social purpose to those who had lost faith in the security and comforts of traditional African beliefs.
VI. The spread of Christianity also meant the spread of basic education of literacy.
9. YOU KNOW THE ANSWER
10. Discuss the impact of pre-colonial Christian missionaries in Africa. Why did some Africans welcome the new religion and others reject it?
By 1870, W. Europe's factories were producing so many cheap goods that they were running out of people to sell them to.
Since their home markets were saturated, they turned to Africa
As rivals such as Germany and France began to pick up the pace of their production, Britain shifted from a free trade policy to a more nationalist policy
Germany and France seeing this move knew the best way to beat Britain was to establish colonies or protected areas in Africa where trading with Britain could be done without being heavily taxed.
Europeans started to realize the amount of natural resources that were going un-tapped in Africa
Products such as oil and ivory had already been exploited to some extent in W. Africa however rubber from tropical forests had not yet been tapped.
Discovery of huge quantities of diamonds and gold in S. Africa in 1870-1880 heightened Europe's expectations of Africa.
The anticipation of quick profits and safeguard markets for the future induced other less prominent European countries to seek a stake in Africa
There was a need to invest surplus capital that was being generated by the capitalist system of production
The interests pursued in exporting capital also give an impetus to the conquest of colonies for in the colonial market, it is easier to employ monopoly methods to eliminate competition to ensure supplies, to secure the necessary connections etc
The most important of the social forces encouraging the scramble was the exaggerated spirit of nationalism in Europe following the unification of both Germany and Italy in the late 19th C.
With the emergence of a strong national consciousness, nations began to think not only of their power and progress but also of prestige, greatness and security.
In Europe, in the late 19th C., prestige was measured in the number of overseas colonies a nation possessed
WAS IT A LOGICAL PROGRESSION?
Yes. Once capitalism started to explode in Europe, the impetus to trade also grew
Natural resources were needed to fuel the expanding capitalist economy and Africa was so rich in natural wealth that it was logical for Europeans to start there to extract the wealth
11. Why did Africa fall so quickly to European control in the final quarter of the nineteenth-century?
EXPLOITATION OF RIVALRIES
I. Although some African leaders saw the need for alliances, most rulers failed to form any such alliances
II. This allowed Europeans to pit one group against the other
III. Colonists were able to exploit traditional and longstanding rivalries between African states
IV. African rulers therefore accepted European alliance or treaties of "protection" which they believed would protect them from their longstanding African enemies.
V. Once these enemies were conquered, real nature and extent of European protection became clear
ADVANTAGE IN MILITARY TECHNOLOGY
VI. In earlier centuries, Africans were able to fairly compete with Europeans
VII. 1880's, African armies were rapidly overtaken by advances in European weaponry - first the breech-loading repeater rifle, then the Maxim gun - the world's first highly mobile modern machine-gun.
VIII. Guns were being sold to Africans for years, however after the invention of these two new superior weapons, their sale was restrictions were placed on their sale to Africans.
IX. Also, African armies were numerically inferior
X. No African state was strong enough economically to have sustained any protracted warfare against any of the imperial powers - the defeat of any of them was just a matter of time.
12. Compare and contrast African resistance to European control in any two of the regions referred to in your readings. Was there any way in which the threat of European colonization might have been dealt with more effectively?
I. In 1821, the British Government took control of the British trading forts. In 1844, Fanti chiefs on the Gold Coast (as Ghana was then known) signed an agreement with the British that led to the colonial status for the coastal area.
II. In 1902, the British succeeded in establishing firm control over the Ashanti region and making the northern territories a protectorate.
III. In May 1956, Kwame Nkrumah's Gold Coast government issued a white paper with proposals for Gold Coast's independence.
IV. On 3 August 1956, the Gold Coast Assembly adopted Kwame Nkrumah's resolution demanding independence from Britain.
V. The British Government stated it would agree to a firm date for independence if a reasonable majority for such a step were obtained in the Gold Coast Legislative Assembly after a general election.
VI. The 1956 election returned the Convention People's Party (CPP) to power with 71 of the 104 seats in the Legislative Assembly.
VII. Ghana became an independent state on March 6, 1957, when Britain relinquished its control over the Gold Coast and Ashanti, the Northern Territories Protectorate, and British Togoland.
VIII. After a long period of colonial rule, the newly elected Assembly of Ghana, passed a motion directing the government to demand independence from Britain.
IX. As the opposition party was not part of the debate, the motion was passed with unanimous vote.
X. The motion was also accepted by the British Government as representing the majority of the Assembly. In 1957 Ghana became the first African country to gain independence.
13. Discuss the European use of concessionary companies in the early period of colonial rule in Africa. What do you imagine might have been European arguments in favour of the system? What arguments might Africans have used against the system?
I. In many parts of Africa, European governments used concessionary companies to colonize their new-found empires.
II. This system involved European companies being granted African territory to exploit and colonize at their own expense in the name of the European Country.
III. It was an attempt by Europe to colonize on the cheap.
IV. Company would open up the territory, set up rudimentary administration, invest in railways, and introduce Africans to the cash crop economy.
V. This would eventually build up markets for European manufactured goods though in practice it did not result in this as Europeans were concerned mainly with short-term profit and concentrated on violent exploitation of the people and their natural resources.
VI. Persistent African resistance ensured that early high-profits could not be sustained and many companies went bankrupt.
· Europeans may have argued for the system by promising the development of infrastructure for Africans to enjoy.
· Also, they may have stressed the economic benefit Africans may receive from it in the form of employment and the introduction of a money-based economy.
· Also they may have suggested that Africans could benefit from the training offered by their companies.
· Africans could have argued that the system was an encroachment on their traditional political and social systems.
14. Discuss the social and economic impact of the mineral revolution in southern Africa in the 1870’s and 1880’s. To what extent did these events make the conflict in the region more likely?
I. When the mineral revolution happened (when gold and diamond were found in the southern African region) many countries came into the area to try to exploit the people and make a profit of off their minerals.
II. The economy of south Africa skyrocketed. This is because they were exporting the minerals and were importing agricultural resources. This created an economic cycle of growth. Marketing companies were made to stabilize crop production, but more pay was given to white farmers than black farmers which created several issues.
III. Due to droughts crop production suffered but white farmers were given more government protection than black farmers.
IV. These among many other reasons increased tension between the black and white farmers, because many jobs and many opportunities favoured the whites as opposed to the blacks
V. Black land ownership was restricted to 13 percent of the country
15. DON’T DO
16. Discuss the impact of the First World War in Africa. Why do you suppose so many Africans fought in apparent support their ‘colonial masters’?
An increasing number of Africans reasoned that a war in which Europeans slaughtered fellow Europeans, meant that colonial regimes had little right to lecture African leaders and people about how to conduct their affairs.