This book has been published. For ordering information, please click here.
Southern Africa and the Dutch 1700-1800
South West Africa 1806-1950
Southern Africa and Rhodes 1835-1902
Zulus and Sotho 1800-75
British and Boers in South Africa 1800-42
British and Boers in South Africa 1842-75
South Africa and Imperial Wars 1875-1902
Gandhi in South Africa
South Africa and Segregation 1902-50
ANC and Dissent in South Africa 1912-50
Anthropologists tell us that the human species evolved on the continent of Africa, and archaeologists have discovered the most ancient civilizations in the Mideast and Egypt, which is actually in Africa and the Mideast. The energetic humans who moved north into Europe were apparently selected for lighter skin because less sunlight caused a vitamin-D deficiency and rickets. The civilizations that developed on the Greek and Italian peninsulas were influenced by the Mideast and North Africa. Beginning in the 7th century CE, the religion of Islam spread from Arabia throughout the Mideast, North Africa, and to the Spanish peninsula where Arabic translations of Greek and Latin classics eventually stimulated the rebirth of learning in Europe known as the Renaissance. The industrious civilization in Europe developed education, technology, and commerce that gave them advantages when they ventured to Africa in the era of exploration that began in the 15th century. The old institution of slavery, usually based on captives taken in wars, was exploited by the Europeans, who began capturing and purchasing African slaves to ship across the Atlantic Ocean to their American colonies.
By 1700 the Ottoman empire, which was centered on the southern bridge between Asia and Europe, had expanded in the last two centuries into Eastern Europe, the Mideast, and North Africa. The Ottoman empire was about to decline as over-extended imperialistic cultures eventually do. In the 18th century about six million African slaves were transported from Africa to America, but, led by the British in the 19th century, civilization turned against the horrendous crime of slavery and made it illegal. Yet during this century the British, French, Portuguese, Dutch, Belgians, Germans, and Italians turned to the exploitation of resources and cheap human labor through colonialism in Africa and the Mideast.
The Ottoman empire fought many wars against other empires and nations and finally was defeated in the 1914-18 war (called the Great War) when it allied with Germany. Led by Ataturk, Turkey was born as a nation and became a republic. The Persian empire was also reduced and became the nation of Iran, whose oil was exploited by the British. Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine were part of the Ottoman empire until the Great War. Arabia became a monarchy under Ibn Saud while the others were put under mandates by the League of Nations. The British were put in charge of Iraq and Palestine while Syria and Lebanon were handed over to the French. Naturally movements for independence and self-government developed in all these nations as increasingly educated populations demanded democracy. Zionism, which developed as a response to the persecution of Jews in Europe, led to migration to Palestine and the establishment of Israel after World War II.
Egypt was invaded by Napoleon in 1798 but threw off the French and became more autonomous within the Ottoman empire under Muhammad Ali. However, extravagant spending by the monarchy led to a debt crisis and the British taking control of Egypt from 1882 to 1922. Egypt also took control of Sudan in 1820 and held it with help from the British. Tripoli and others on the “Barbary Coast” irritated Europeans with their piracy. The French invaded Algeria in 1830 and made it a colony. In 1881 they also took over Tunisia, and the French began invading Morocco in 1907. Italy invaded Tripoli in 1911, but they were defeated in 1943. While colonial settlers exploited these countries, indigenous organizations grew into independence movements.
Sub-Saharan Africa was much less developed, and social and economic progress had to try to catch up under the exploitation of colonialism. The Europeans arrived in sailing ships with cannons and used guns to dominate the peoples they encountered. While Islam was spreading, the French and British came to dominate most of West Africa. The Germans came late to Africa but lost their colonies in the Great War. The British let Sierra Leone become an experiment for ex-slaves, and Americans sponsored the republic of Liberia.
Ethiopia was one African country that managed to maintain its independence and its Christian religion. Italian Fascists invaded in 1935 but were ejected by the Allies in World War II. Somalia, however, was dominated by the Ottomans, Egypt, and Zanzibar before being divided up by Italy, France, and Britain. The British sent missionaries into East Africa, but later they became colonies. The Portuguese were the first European explorers to reach Africa, and they managed to hold on to Angola and Mozambique as colonies. King Leopold II of Belgium tried to establish a private colony in the Congo which was a disaster of cruel exploitation before it became a Belgian colony in 1908. The French also colonized the islands of Madagascar, Mauritius and Bourbon.
The Dutch East India Company came early to southern Africa, and the Afrikaners (Boers) became racist exploiters who with the British made southern Africa segregated by racial prejudice. The British in Rhodesia and South Africa exploited diamonds and gold and subdued the Boers. Gandhi experimented with nonviolent action in South Africa in order to gain human rights for the Indians without harming other people. In all these colonies groups like the African National Congress (ANC) sprang up and organized themselves to work for their liberation and independence as nations. By 1950 much progress had been made, but most African nations would become independent in the 1960s.