After a bit of comparing and contrasting French colonialism with the British type, Dave tells us about the French Foreign Legion; Then we’re on to a key piece in France’s Scramble for Africa, the theft of Tunis from the Bey, Muhammad Sadok. In the process, the French colonizers insisted they were saving Sadok Bey from a threat from local tribes. He insisted he didn’t need the help, but in the end, Tunisia became a French protectorate.
We talked about France’s colonization of Algeria back in Civilizations Episode 15 (in August 2020). We revisit it now, as France’s entry point into the Scramble for Africa. Algeria was France’s template for colonizing Africa and many of the dynamics of France’s African colonial crimes can be seen developing in Algeria. We end up focusing quite a bit on Abd el Kader’s Resistance to colonization. And the depopulation of Algeria under colonialism: between 1830-1872, the country’s population went from 3 milion to 2.125 million, by one estimate.
Using Dan Hicks’s 2020 book The Brutish Museums: The Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence and Cultural Restitution, Justin tells the story of how the British destroyed Benin, stole their stuff, and put it in museums. It’s part of the story of the British Scramble for West Africa, but we give it its own episode to show you Hicks’s research.
We start this episode with a few minutes of reading reviews – from fans and not-fans! Perhaps this will inspire you to review us too. Then we’re on to the British Scrambling for West Africa. Some of the Africans who fought back, of course, notably Bai Bureh and Yaa Asentewaa. Lord Lugard’s ideas of the Dual Mandate and the debate on indirect rule. The trickery and wars that led to the consolidation of Nigeria into a British colony. Some tales near the end of the incredible missing imperial records — too many to be coincidental.
At the first Zionist Congress in 1897, delegates agreed to pursue the colonization of Palestine. But at the Sixth Zionist Congress in 1903, Theodor Herzl presented a proposal for a colony in East Africa – he presented it as a mere stepping stone to Zion, but it caused bitter divisions among the delegates. We tell the little-known story of the British negotiations with the Zionist movement for a colony in Africa, centering on the founder himself, Theodore Herzl (not to be confused with a contemporary Viennese colonialist utopian named Theodore Hertzka, whose novel also became the basis for a failed African colonization scheme…). Our last stop in the British Scramble for East Africa (West Africa’s next).
From the Imperial British East Africa Company to the British East Africa Protectorate, we trace the missionary mischief that led to the British taking Uganda and the many wars (called “expeditions”) that led to the British taking Kenya. In the process you’ll meet Mwanga of Buganda, Kabarega of Bunyoro, and the treacherously assassinated Arap Samoei of the Nandi.
Our fifth and concluding episode on the Scramble in South Africa is on the (Second) Boer War from 1899-1902. We talk about how it started and why, the military details, the concentration camps, the struggle to keep it a “White Man’s War” for fear of a Lincoln showing up, and the implications (it’s clear who won the war, but who won the peace?) As for who lost the peace, the answer is clear – the Africans. How it all happened, in this episode.
The Scramble for Africa cannot be encapsulated in the career of any single imperialist, but if it could, that imperialist would be Cecil Rhodes. From the Rhodes Scholarship to the falling statues, Rhodes’s impact is still ubiquitous today. We look at the words and deeds of the exemplar of the Scramble, from his beginnings to the Jameson Raid which made the Boer War inevitable.
Continuing the history of the Scramble for South Africa, we talk about the Boers, the Dutch settlers and their attacks on the Africans and then on the British conflicts with them, up to the discovery of diamonds at Kimberley that might just be the event that set off the entire scramble. South Africa’s unbelievable mineral wealth and what it did to British imperial minds; who’s responsible for apartheid; and more, in this episode.
Part 2 of our series on the Scramble in South Africa takes us back to the Zulu modernizer, Shaka, in the early 19th century, all the way to the end of the Anglo-Zulu War between the British imperialists and the Zulus ruled by Cetshwayo. The land theft and swindling you’ve come to expect from the Scramble for Africa combine here with some sharpening of white supremacist ideology, a lot of which it turns out was developed specifically to find a theory of how and why the British Empire should settle and rule South Africa.