Africans and Britons in the Age of Empires, 1660-1980 by Myles Osborne

By Myles Osborne

Africans and Britons within the Age of Empires, 1660-1980 tells the tales of the intertwined lives of African and British peoples over greater than 3 centuries. In seven chapters and an epilogue, Myles Osborne and Susan Kingsley Kent discover the characters that comprised the British presence in Africa: the slave investors and slaves, missionaries and explorers, imperialists and miners, farmers, settlers, legal professionals, chiefs, prophets, intellectuals, politicians, and infantrymen of all colours.

The authors express that the oft-told narrative of a monolithic imperial energy ruling inexorably over passive African sufferers not stands scrutiny; relatively, at each flip, Africans and Britons interacted with each other in a posh set of relationships that concerned as a lot cooperation and negotiation as resistance and strength, no matter if through the period of the slave alternate, the realm wars, or the interval of decolonization. The British presence provoked quite a lot of responses, reactions, and ameliorations in a number of elements of African lifestyles; yet even as, the event of empire in Africa – and its final cave in – additionally pressured the British to view themselves and their empire in new methods.

Written through an Africanist and a historian of imperial Britain and illustrated with maps and pictures, Africans and Britons within the Age of Empires, 1660-1980 provides a uniquely wealthy point of view for realizing either African and British history.

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9 Hannah More, Slavery, A Poem (London: T. Cadell, 1788), 8. 10 Quoted in Howard Temperley, White Dreams, Black Africa: The Antislavery Expedition to the Niger, 1841–1842 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1991), 15. 11 Quoted in Temperley, White Dreams, Black Africa, 157, 162. 12 Quoted in Patrick Brantlinger, Rule of Darkness: British Literature and Imperialism, 1830–1914 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1988), 178. The slave trade, abolition, and beyond 39 13 Quoted in Leonard Thompson, A History of South Africa, 4th edn.

But Grey chose to believe in the plot. He refused to stop the killing when he had opportunities to do so and rejected the entreaties of Xhosa chiefs who pleaded with him in 1857 for food as thousands of their people starved. Grey’s inaction resulted from a specific agenda. He believed that the entire region of British Kaffraria would be a better place without Xhosa living in it and that white settlers should inhabit the whole area. As the Xhosa collapsed he set about implementing his vision for the land.

Not only had the trade in slaves not been abolished, but the settlers charged with establishing alternative forms of commerce had apparently resorted to slavery themselves. As The Times put it scathingly upon hearing the accounts of Webb and others, “the Niger ANTI-Slavery Expedition has . . ”11 The slave trade, abolition, and beyond 29 The disaster of the Niger expedition, combined with other developments, helped transform British racial thought after 1850. ” “Between the civilized European and the barbarous African,” he insisted, “there is a great gulf set.

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