Ch 15 Colonial Expansion

CH.15-COLONIAL EXPANSION

Hits: 1846

CHAPTER XV: COLONIAL EXPANSION

SECTION 4: TROPICAL AND SOUTH AFRICA

 

THE SLAVE TRADE IN THE 18th CENTURY WAS PROFITABLE, BUT ITS SUPPRESSION IN THE 19th CENTURY WAS EVEN MORE PROFITABLE.

SLAVES HAD BEEN THE ONLY EXPORT FROM WEST AFRICA, BUT NO ATTEMPT HAD BEEN MADE TO VENTURE INLAND.

COASTAL TRIBES WERE GIVEN THAT TASK, WHICH LED TO NO END OF TRIBAL WARS.

IT IS PROBABLY TO THESE WARS THAT THE ELEMENTS OF BRUTALITY, FEAR AND SUPERSTITION IN AFRICAN CULTURE, OF WHICH SO MUCH HAS BEEN HEARD, ARE MAINLY ATTRIBUTABLE.

WHILE EIGHT MILLION AFRICAN SLAVES WERE SOLD INTO AMERICA, IT IS ESTIMATED THAT 40 MILLION WERE KILLED IN WARS OR RAIDS, OR DIED EN ROUTE.

SLAVERY WAS ABOLISHED IN 1807 BY THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT, BUT NOT UNTIL 1834 THROUGHOUT THE EMPIRE.

PLANTERS RECEIVED £20 MILLION IN COMPENSATION FOR THE LOSS OF SLAVES IN THE SUGAR PLANTATIONS OF AMERICA, BUT, IN CUBA AND BRAZIL, PLANTATIONS INCREASED AND DEVELOPED RAPIDLY, WHICH CREATED A NEW DEMAND FOR LABOUR.

FOR A GENERATION, THE BRITISH NAVY ACTIVELY PATROLLED THE WEST AFRICAN COAST, HUNTING DOWN SLAVERS. IN DOING SO, THE FOUNDATION OF BRITISH POWER WAS LAID.

THE AREA COULD PRODUCE PALM OIL, COCOA, OTHER FOODSTUFFS AND RAW MATERIALS, AND EXTENSIVE TRADE GREW UP, WITH SPIRITS AND FIREARMS BEING BARTERED.

THE ASHANTI COUNTRY - THE GOLD COAST COLONY - WAS FOUND TO BE RICH IN GOLD AND WAS CONQUERED IN WARS CONTINUING UP TO THE 20th CENTURY.

TO THE EAST, THE IMPORTANT COLONY OF NIGERIA WAS LEFT TO THE ROYAL NIGER COMPANY, FOUNDED IN LAGOS IN 1862 TO SUPPRESS SLAVERY.

THIS WAS THE FAVOURED INSTRUMENT FOR BRITISH EXPANSION: SETTING UP A COMPANY WITH BRITISH DIRECTORS AND DOING THINGS IN A WAY A GOVERNMENT WOULD HAVE FOUND NO OPPOSITION TO.

THE CLIMATE WAS UNSUITABLE FOR PLANTATION. SO INDIRECT EXPLOITATION EVOLVED, WITH NATIVE PEASANT CULTIVATORS SELLING THEIR PRODUCE CHEAPLY TO BRITISH COMPANIES, INCLUDING THE LEVER COMBINE (PALM OIL IS USED IN SOAP AND MARGARINE.)

IN RETURN, THEY CHARGED HIGH PRICES FOR COTTON CLOTH AND OTHER ARTICLES SOLD TO THE NATIVES.

THE ADVANCES IN TROPICAL MEDICINES MADE WEST AFRICA SAFER FOR EUROPEAN SETTLERS, AND MORE DIRECT EXPLOITATION FOLLOWED BY ESTABLISHING FACTORIES AND FARMS.

THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY HAD IMPORTANT RESULTS IN SOUTH AFRICA, WHICH, AT THE CLOSE OF THE NAPOLEONIC WARS, SAW BRITAIN AS THE RULER OF THE DUTCH FARMERS.

FOR BRITAIN, THE CAPE COLONY WAS ONLY IMPORTANT AS A CALLING POINT ON THE WAY TO INDIA, AND THE BOERS COMPLAINED OF BRITISH NEGLECT AND MISGOVERNMENT.

WHEN SLAVERY WAS ABOLISHED IN 1834, THE BOERS FELT CHEATED OUT OF THEIR COMPENSATION, AND 2,000 BEGAN THE ‘GREAT TREK’ NORTHWARDS TO FORM AN INDEPENDENT REPUBLIC OUTSIDE BRITISH CLAIMS.

THE SITUATION BECAME MORE COMPLICATED WHEN WELL ORGANISED KAFFIR AND ZULU TRIBES MOVED SOUTH DRIVING OUT THE HOTTENTOTS.

FOR MANY YEARS, THE BRITISH WERE THUS DRAWN INTO THE INTERIOR IN CONFLICTS WITH THE KAFFIR.

IN 1879, THE ZULU WARS MADE CONFRONATION MORE CERTAIN, AND THE BOER TRANSVAAL REPUBLIC REMAINED UNDER BRITISH RULE UNTIL THE VICTORY OF MAJUBA HILL IN 1881.


NEXT CAME CECIL RHODES AND HIS PLAN TO MAKE THE AFRICAN MAP ‘ALL RED’ FROM CAIRO TO THE CAPE.

THE BRITISH SOUTH AFRICAN COMPANY FORMED IN 1889 DEVELOPED RHODESIA, NYASALAND AND THE SHORES OF TANGANYIKA.

AT THE SAME TIME, KITCHENER WAS PRESSING SOUTH THROUGH SUDAN, AND RHODES’S PLAN OF A NORTH/SOUTH RAILWAY SEEMED POSSIBLE.

HOWEVER, THE LINE COULD NEVER BE REGARDED AS SECURE WHILE THE BOER REPUBLIC, THE TRANSVAAL AND ‘ORANGE’ FREE STATE REMAINED.

HOLDING ON TO RHODESIA WAS A PROBLEM, AS IT COULD EASILY BE REACHED FROM THE SOUTH.

THIS IS ONE HALF OF THE STATEGY FOR THE DEVELOPING BOER WAR.

THE OTHER WAS THE DISCOVERY OF DIAMONDS AND GOLD FAR GREATER THAN IN ANY OTHER PART OF THE WORLD.

BY 1887, RHODES WAS HEAD OF THE DE BEERS MINING COMPANY, WHICH MONOPOLISED THE WHOLE INDUSTRY WITH BARNATO AND BEIT.

RHODES BECAME PRIME MINISTER OF THE CAPE COLONY, AND HIS POWER WAS UNBOUNDED.

MINERS, SPECULATORS AND ADVENTURERS POURED IN, ALIENATING THE CONSERVATIVE BOER FARMERS.

EVENTS FOLLOWED QUICKLY. TO CONTAIN THE BOERS UPRISING IN 1895, AN INVASION WAS STAGED BY DR JAMESON. IT FAILED, BUT THE BOERS REALISED THAT WAR WAS INEVITABLE AND BEGAN TO ARM.

IN 1899, THE REFUSAL OF THE UITLANDERS’ DEMAND FOR A FRANCHISE WAS SEIZED ON AS INTERFERENCE, AND THE WAR BEGAN IN OCTOBER 1899.

THE BOERS WERE SKILLED, IF UNDISCIPLINED, BUT THEIR HORSES MERELY MADE A LARGER TARGET IN GUERRILLA RAIDS.

IN ATTACK, THEY WERE WEAK. LADYSMITH, KIMBERLEY AND MAFEKING WERE UNSUCCESSFUL SEIGES.

THE BRITISH, BADLY LEAD, BADLY EQUIPPED AND BADLY PREPARED FOR THIS KIND OF FIGHTING, SUFFERED HEAVY LOSSES, BUT THE BOERS FAILED TO PRESS HOME ADVANTAGES AND ADVANCE INTO THE CAPE, WHERE MANY DUTCH FARMERS WOULD HAVE JOINED THEM.

SO THE BRITISH WERE ABLE TO CUT THEM OFF AND CAPTURED THE ARMIES AT PRETORIA, BLOMFONTEIN AND PAARDEBERG.

IRREGULAR WAR CONTINUED. BOER LEADERS, BOTHA, DE WET AND DELAREY OUTWITTED THE SLOW MOVING BRITISH, WHO HAD SET UP CONCENTRATION CAMPS AFTER DESTROYING SETTLEMENTS. THEY HERDED WOMEN AND CHILDREN UNTIL THEY DIED OF DISEASE AND THE BOER RESISTANCE WAS BROKEN DOWN.

EVEN SO, THE BOERS WERE ABLE TO MAKE PEACE IN MAY 1902 ON FAVOURABLE TERMS.

THE BOERS AND BRITISH TOGETHER WERE A SMALL MINORITY.

ONCE THE SUPREMACY OF BRITISH IMPERIALISM HAD BEEN ESTABLISHED, IT WAS NECESSARY TO CONCILIATE THE DEFEATED.

THE BOERS RECEIVED DOMINION HOME RULE IN 1906. IN 1909, THE UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA WAS CONSTITUTED, AND THE GREAT BULK OF THE WHITE POPULATION WAS UNITED AS A RULING RACE THAT EXPLOITED A SUBJECT COLOURED POPULATION.

TREATMENT WAS HARSH BY BOTH BOERS AND BRITISH.

PEOPLE WERE OVERTAXED, UNDERPAID, HERDED INTO RESERVES AND KEPT IN A STATE NOT FAR REMOVED FROM ACTUAL SLAVERY.

THE CONQUEST OF BRITISH EAST AFRICA FOLLOWED WITH THE OCCUPATION OF A NUMBER OF SMALL ARAB STATES. AN EXTENSIVE TRADE WAS CARRIED OUT WITH THE FERTILE AND WELL POPULATED NEGRO HINTERLAND.

IN 1886, BRITAIN AND GERMANY PARTIONED THE AREA, BUT BRITISH TROOPS SUPPORTED THE PIONEERING BRITISH EAST AFRICA COMPANY. ON THE EXCUSE SLAVERY WAS BEING CARRIED OUT BY THE ARABS, BY ‘ACCIDENT’ THE WHOLE AREA CAME UNDER BRITISH CONTROL.

THE NEXT STEP WAS UGANDA, THE RICHEST AND MOST CIVILISED PART OF THE INTERIOR AND A PLACE IN WHICH MISSIONARIES HAD BEEN ACTIVE.

WHEN UGANDA REFUSED TO PAY FOR THE RAILWAY, THE BRITISH TOOK OVER BOTH UGANDA AND KENYA.

THE LAST STAGE OF RHODES’S PLAN WAS NOT ACHIEVED UNTIL AFTER THE WORLD WAR. BRITAIN THEN SECURED ALL RIGHTS OVER GERMAN EAST AFRICA - TANGANYIKA TERRITORY.

IN THIS WAY, RHODES’S SCHEME FOR A CONTINUOUS BELT FROM NORTH TO SOUTH WAS AT LAST IMPLEMENTED, BUT TODAY THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE CAPE-CAIRO RAILWAY IS STILL FAR FROM COMPLETE.

KENYA PROVED WELL SUITED FOR WHITE SETTLEMENT DUE TO ITS HIGHER LAND. THE BEST LAND WAS GIVEN OR SOLD TO EUROPEAN PLANTERS, WITH NATIVES BEING HERDED INTO CROWDED, INFERTILE RESERVES.

ONLY IN UGANDA WERE THEY ALLOWED TO RETAIN LEGAL OWNERSHIP, BUT THE NATIVE RESERVES WERE LATER ANNEXED TOO, WHEN MINERALS WERE DISCOVERED. THEY THEN BECAME VALUABLE TO THE EUROPEANS.

PLANATIONS ARE USELESS WITHOUT A SUPPLY OF CHEAP LABOUR, SO THE NATIVES WERE FORCED OUT OF THEIR RESERVES AS WAGE EARNERS. DIRECT TAXES WERE IMPOSED TO ACHIEVE THIS MIGRATION.

TAXATION WAS REGARDED AS THE ONLY POSSIBLE METHOD OF COMPELLING NATIVES TO LEAVE THEIR RESERVES FOR THE PURPOSE OF SEEKING WORK.

WHEN THIS METHOD FAILED TO PRODUCE ENOUGH LABOURERS, IT WAS SUPPLEMENTED BY FORCED LABOUR.

EAST AFRICA NOW EXPORTS CONSIDERABLE QUANTITIES OF COFFEE, COTTON, WHEAT, MAIZE AND RUBBER, AND, LIKE MOST OTHER COLONIAL POSSESSIONS, IT PROVIDES A GOOD MARKET FOR THE PRODUCTS OF HEAVY INDUSTRY.

NEXT- CHAPTER XVI - ORIGINS OF WORLD WAR

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