BECK index

Congo, Angola, and Mozambique 1700-1950

by Sanderson Beck

Kongo, Angola, and the Portuguese 1700-1875
Stanley, Leopold, and the Congo 1875-1908
French Congo and Equatorial Africa 1839-1950
Belgian Congo and Rwanda 1908-50
Angola under the Portuguese 1875-1950
Mozambique 1700-1884
Mozambique under Portugal 1884-1950
Madagascar 1700-1950

This chapter has been published in the book Mideast & Africa 1700-1950.
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Kongo, Angola, and the Portuguese 1700-1875

East and Central Africa to 1700
Southern Africa to 1700

In 1701 Soyo’s Prince Antonio III wrote to the Pope, asking him to over-rule the Angola bishop and allow them to sell slaves to anyone. The war resumed. An old woman named Mafuto had a vision of the Virgin and claimed that Jesus was angry at the people of Kibangu and Pedro IV for not restoring the city. In August 1704 20-year-old Beatriz Kimpa Vita fell sick and then claimed that she had been taken over by the saint Antonio (Anthony). She criticized the greed and jealousy of the Capuchin priest Bernardo de Gallo and protested that Pedro did not occupy Sao Salvador and end the war. She preached that God cares more about intention than rituals such as baptism, and her following grew and sent out other Antonios. She modified Catholic teachings to support African saints and a nationalist movement. Although she taught chastity, Beatriz had two abortions and then a son. On July 2, 1706 she and her son were burned to death by order of the royal council; even her bones were burned so that no relics would remain. The wars and slave trade continued, and many of the slaves exported were Antonians. In the next decade British traders exported more than 65,000 slaves from this region. The Kongo kingdom broke up into local chiefdoms until the Kimbangu defeated Joao Manuel II and put Pedro IV on the Mbanza Kongo throne at Sao Salvador in 1709. In 1716 Joao II reclaimed the Kongo throne.

The Portuguese began trading for ivory from the interior as far west as Zambia when they founded a market at Zumbo in 1714. Feira was established across the Dwangwa River in 1732. Portugal granted prazos (estates) to settlers to encourage colonization, and these prazeros assumed the power to wage war, impose tribute, and exploit the labor of the Makua, Manganja, Sena, Kalanga, Tonga, Tawara, Nsenga, and the Tumbuka. About 1740 they began mining gold north of Zambezia in the kingdom of Undi, who had conquered the Nsenga. As the gold and ivory trade declined, the Portuguese turned more to the slave trade, which dominated the Kilwa market after 1770. In 1798 Francis de Lacerda organized the opening of a trade route from the Zambezi to the chief Kazembe with the goal of reaching Angola, but he died of malaria along the way. The chaplain Pinto replaced him, and Kazembe persuaded them to leave their gifts with him and turn back. Fear of an invasion by the French or English prevented another expedition for several years.

In 1765 the Holo signed a treaty recognizing the sovereignty of the Portuguese, agreeing to allow freedom of religion, access to missionaries, and not to fight against Matamba. During the 18th century the Portuguese exported between 5,000 and 10,000 slaves per year from Luanda. Independent slave trading by people in Ovimbundu through the kingdom of Sela provoked the Portuguese to wage war against Ovimbundu for three years starting in 1774; but the Ovimbundu’s Mambari caravans continued to prosper as they used their military skills to raid for slaves and cattle. In the second half of the 18th century an estimated 50,000 guns were imported into this region.

Joao V (r. 1706-50) had reigned over the Portuguese empire in relative peace, but changes in Portugal under King José (r. 1750-77) stimulated Angola to favor large Lisbon companies. The dictatorial Sebastiao José de Carvalho e Mello wanted to combine the power of the Inquisition with secular control as in England. The Jesuits in Brazil opposed slavery, and in 1758 he expelled the Jesuits from the Portuguese empire, affecting Angola, the Zambezi, and Mozambique. They had done much good work educating Bantu tribes and were missed. Tribes in the Inhambe fields revolted and massacred a town.

Francisco Inocencio de Sousa Coutinho (r. 1764-72) encouraged commerce with Portugal and Brazil and tried to diversify Angola’s economy with an iron industry, cotton production, a soap factory, and salt pans. He favored paying both whites and blacks fair wages. Lencastere became governor in 1772 and implemented Carvalho’s order to make sure all education was in Portuguese and Latin and to destroy all religious materials in the natives’ own language. Finally in 1777 Carvalho was removed from office, and the Angola chronicle recorded it as a time of redemption and joy. The new bishop resumed the teaching of the Kimbundu language in 1784. Although the Portuguese banned the hunting of slaves by Africans or Europeans, African prisoners of war and convicted criminals could be sold as slaves. At the end of the century the slave trade with Brazil still accounted for 88% of Angola’s revenues, while ivory exported to Portugal provided less than five percent.

From 1780 to 1830 Portuguese Angola exported between 15,000 and 20,000 slaves annually, mostly to Brazil, but the slave trade declined rapidly in the 1850s. When Rodrigues Graça informed Lunda chiefs that Portugal had outlawed the slave trade, they noted that Portugal was still sending convicts to Angola and asked why they could not transport convicts to Portugal. About a third of the slaves exported from Luanda and Benguela in the past century had been from Lunda territories. Most of the 2,000 Europeans in Luanda were deported criminals, and its military garrison was mostly African convicts. The rest of Luanda consisted of a few hundred mulattoes and free Africans and about 3,000 slaves. In 1830 the Anglo-Portuguese Treaty banned the slave trade, and Portugal officially abolished Atlantic slave trading from Angola in 1836. From 1741 to 1828 Portuguese and Brazilians had bought and exported 399,267 slaves from the southern port of Benguela, and most of those slaves had been purchased from the Ovimbundu. Some rulers kept taking slaves to export them illegally to Cuba and Brazil.

In the 1840s the highlands of the region that became Angola had twenty-two kingdoms speaking Umbundu. The Mbailundu had about 450,000 people spread over 85,000 square kilometers, which is about the size of Portugal with its 3,500,000 people. After the Portuguese royal monopoly on ivory was abolished in 1834, Chokwe hunters used their skill with guns to develop this trade. As the elephants diminished, the Chokwe hunted them in Lunda territory, giving half the ivory to the Lunda. The Chokwe traded their ivory for women and increased their population. In the 1840s wax from Chokwe increased this trade from Benguela and Luanda thirty-fold. The Viye had only 150,000 people, but they had an army of 20,000 men who enforced taxes by raiding caravans. Viye and Ngalangi rulers became vassals of the Portuguese crown, and Dom Pedro Dumba of the Ngalangi even converted to Catholicism and was called “Colonel of the Portuguese Auxiliaries.” Agriculture spread, and by the 1850s the upper Kasai was running out of cultivable farmland. Mbailundu rulers agreed to let the Portuguese trader Silva Porto use a route through their kingdom.

Lunda mwant yav Naweji ya Ditende (c. 1821-53) of the Kalagne dynasty increased his power and began using firearms from Angola. After a few years of conflict mwant yav Muteba ya Chikombe (c. 1857-73) welcomed the great caravans and ruled in peace. The Kasanje in the central plateau found their Imbangala territory bypassed by new commercial routes, and in 1850 disputes led to a war with the Portuguese. By the 1870s the relationship between the Kasanje plain and Angola had been reduced to a few Portuguese cattle ranchers and sugar planters. The Portuguese established a garrison at the English settlement of Ambriz in 1855.

In 1840 Luanda founded a trading port at Mossamedes for the highland ivory market, and settlers began arriving in 1849. The Portuguese colonial power suffered military defeats at Cassanga in 1862 and in the Dembo country a decade later. In the 1860s Mossamedes developed a fishing industry with the Portuguese using slave labor that could no longer be legally exported. In the 1860s the Portuguese were concentrated in Luanda and the southern towns of Benguela and Mossamedes. Luanda began to increase its export of agricultural products such as cotton, coffee, beeswax, and palm oil, and in the late 1860s the Chokwe began to produce rubber. The Mbailundu led the Ovimbundu in seasonal attacks. In 1870 Wambu led an army of 30,000 Ovimbundu soldiers against Luso-Brazilian plantations by the coast at Mossamedes. The Ovimbundu used Kesila codes to resolve conflicts with judgments and fines or slavery but no imprisonment. The rulers also imposed taxes.

In the 1850s the Nyamwezi developed commerce as caravan operators, and they bought ivory and Katanga copper from the Kazembe. The Sumbwa Nyamwezi began trading for copper directly from the Katanga and became known as the Yeke. Msiri was a Nyamwezi and founded the kingdom of Yeke southwest of Lake Tanganyika in 1856. He traded copper and ivory for guns and formed a militia. He sent his nephew Molenga west to trade with the Ovimbundu and the Portuguese in Angola. He took over the west coast trade from the Luba. Msiri used firearms to dominate his neighbors, taking captives to carry ivory and copper to Unyamwezi, which between 1861 and 1875 was dominated by Swahili-Arabs. Yet Ntemi Mkasiwa retained political control in Unyanyembe, and the Arabs supported the war against the expelled ntemi Mnywasele. Tutsis migrated and served in the Nyamwezi army. The Yeke campaigned against the Luba, and by 1870 Msiri was challenging the power of Kazembe. Through links with the Lovale he was able to trade ivory, slaves, rubber, and wax with Ovimbundu in southern Angola. Msiri controlled the region south of that dominated by Tippu Tip. These two formed an alliance in 1870, and they killed Mwata Kazembe VIII, who had been visited by Livingstone in 1867. Msiri took more than five hundred wives, and his favorite was the Portuguese-Angolan Maria de Fonseca, sister of his trading partner, Coimbra.

Stanley, Leopold, and the Congo 1875-1908

King Leopold II began ruling Belgium after his father died in December 1865. After trying to obtain a colony in Fiji, the Philippines, Vietnam, and the Transvaal, in August 1875 he announced his interest in the travels of explorers in central Africa. Verney Lovett Cameron became the first person known to travel across the continent from east to west when he arrived at Benguela in Angola in November 1875. At Ujiji in February 1874 he learned that David Livingstone had been dead for a year, and on December 28 he proclaimed a British protectorate over the Congo basin. Cameron submitted treaties to the British Foreign Office; but they repudiated his claim when they acknowledged Portugal’s prior claims in exchange for free trade and access by their anti-slave ships. Leopold announced that he would support the effort to suppress the slave trade and enlighten Africa.

In September 1876 Leopold hosted the Geographical Conference of Brussels at his royal palace for 13 Belgians and 24 others. He suggested, and they established the International African Association to finance, construct, staff, and manage a chain of stations from the Congo basin to the lakes Nyasa, Tanganyika, and Victoria. National committees were started in Belgium, Switzerland, Holland, France, Spain, Germany, Austria, and the United States, but the British kept their anti-slavery program under the government.

Since November 1874 the explorer Henry Morton Stanley had been traveling from Dar es Salaam going west. He encircled Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika and went down the Congo River to the Atlantic Coast, covering 11,000 kilometers in 999 days while three Europeans and 173 Africans died. In January 1878 he was welcomed back to England as a hero and wrote his two-volume Through the Dark Continent. Disappointed by the lack of British support for future endeavors, Stanley met with Leopold II in June, and in December he signed a five-year contract with the King of Belgium for 25,000 francs a year while in Europe and 50,000 a year while in Africa. He returned to the mouth of the Congo in May 1879. His expedition marched nearly 200 kilometers up the river to Vivi, where fourteen Europeans supervised 240 Africans in building a trading station that was completed in January 1880. One year later the second station at Isangila was finished, and by then Stanley had lost six Europeans and 22 Africans to disease.

Stanley used dynamite to build a road over mountains in seven weeks and established the Manyanga station by June 1881. He moved on to the Malebo Pool that was named Stanley Pool, and after finding the French on the northern bank he established Leopoldville (Kinshasa) on the southern bank. He negotiated with the powerful Chief Ngalyema, who controlled access to the Upper Congo and had a thousand warriors with muskets. Stanley became very ill with malaria and nearly died as his weight was reduced to 100 pounds. On July 15 Stanley sailed from Luanda for Europe, where he tried to discredit Brazza’s treaty with Makoko. In October the French parliament reacted to the feud by ratifying the treaty. Leopold persuaded Stanley to make treaties that “must grant us everything,” and he went back to the Congo in November.

Leopold II dissolved the previous Association and founded the Association Internationale du Congo (AIC) as a private company with himself as sole owner. He offered France the first option on the AIC territories if he divested, and they signed a treaty. Leopold called it the Etat indépendant du Congo (Congo Free State) and kept it separate from the kingdom of Belgium. Stanley made treaties that gave the Association vast powers and required the Africans to provide labor. He had three stations built on the Upper Congo, where he discovered that Arabs had destroyed villages, killing the men and capturing the women and children. The farthest station was nearly 2,000 kilometers from Stanley Pool and was named Stanleyville (Kisangani). On June 8, 1884 Stanley left Col. Francis de Winton at Vivi as administrator-general and sailed for Europe.

In May 1884 the Portuguese proposed an international conference on the Congo, and Germany’s Chancellor Otto von Bismarck checked with the French and offered Berlin. Germany recognized the AIC on November 8, and one week later the West Africa conference began in Berlin, attended by thirteen European nations and the United States. Based on the Brazza Treaty, France was claiming both sides of the Stanley Pool, and Portugal claimed the Congo estuary and coasts. On December 16 the British gave in to a threat by Germany and accepted the AIC in a treaty. Bismarck also persuaded the Portuguese to give up their claim to the estuary in exchange for the Cabinda enclave north of the river. The AIC was granted the Congo-Zambezi watershed which included Katanga. Though Leopold did not attend the conference, the Berlin Act signed on February 25, 1885 recognized his Congo Free State that included 900,000 square miles. In April the Belgian parliament passed a resolution allowing Leopold to be sovereign over two independent states at the same time, and King-Sovereign Leopold decreed the new state in May. By 1885 he had spent about 11,500,000 francs (£460,000) on the Congo, and the slave trade had been replaced by trading ivory, dye-woods, and rubber.

In 1886 a Department of Justice was started to provide courts for the Lower Congo with a court of appeal at Boma and the final decisions made at Brussels. Leopold made all the major decisions in his state and dismissed any advisor who did not agree with him. The Force Publique was organized in 1888 as an army for the new state which grew to 19,000 men, using more than half the budget. He raised the money to build a railway between Matadi and Leopoldville that was begun in 1889 and was completed in March 1898. The railway transported five 100-ton steamships to the upper river. In November 1889 Leopold hosted the anti-Slavery Conference which included Turkey, where slavery was legal. The Conference approved his plans to fortify posts, build roads, and even levy import duties.

In 1884 Msiri invited the Scottish missionary, Frederick Stanley Arnot, to his capital at Bunkeya. Arnot arrived two years later and was the first European to settle in Katanga. In 1889 he went back to England and brought more missionaries. They advised him to have treaties translated, and Msiri decided to reject treaties proposed by the British South Africa Company.

In April 1891 Paul Le Marinel led a Belgian expedition with 350 men to Katanga, and a few months later Msiri rejected the Delcommune Expedition that also wanted him to recognize Leopold’s sovereignty. On December 19 about 400 troops from the Congo Free State led by the British mercenary, Captain W. G. Stairs, claimed Katanga and began negotiating with Msiri, who wanted gunpowder. Msiri rejected an ultimatum and fortified the village of Munema near Bunkeya. The next day Msiri was shot dead by the Belgian Lt. Omer Bodson, though one account by the Garanganze people recounted that Msiri killed Bodson with a spear and then was shot by his men. Then the askari (soldiers) of the expedition killed many of the Garanganzes.

In July 1890 the African-American George Washington Williams wrote an “Open Letter” to Leopold II charging that many atrocities were occurring in the Congo Free State by Stanley and others. Stanley tricked and deceived African chiefs into signing away their land and rights. The military posts caused death and destruction because the soldiers were expected to feed themselves and their white officers, and they often stole from the villagers. Prisoners were put in chains that cut into their necks. Leopold was not providing schools or hospitals as he claimed. White traders and officials used African women as concubines. White officers shot villagers to take their women and to intimidate others, and some even killed them for sport. Finally the King’s claim that he was fighting the slave trade was hypocrisy because his Government “buys and sells and steals slaves.” Three months after writing the “Open Letter,” Williams sent a report to United States President Benjamin Harrison. Williams called for the Congo to be under international and local rule rather than European and national.

Prior to the coming of Europeans, the Africans killed elephants for the meat and had little use for the ivory. Leopold ordered all the ivory collected. Officials and African auxiliaries went through the country on ivory raids, shooting elephants and buying or confiscating the tusks. Then the ivory was exported to Europe and sold to be used for decorative art, piano keys, billiard balls, etc. The magistrate Stanislas Lefranc discovered that they used a chicotte (whip) made of hippopotamus skin to lash victims that left permanent scars. Joseph Conrad came to the Congo in 1890 to be a steamboat captain, but he became ill and went back to Europe. He wrote about his experience there in his famous novella, Heart of Darkness, that was first published in 1899.

Leopold was spending £100,000 a year, and in 1890 he borrowed £1,000,000 from Belgium spread over ten years. Conflict with the Swahili-Arab traders coming from the Indian Ocean west and the Belgians in central Africa began in 1892 and raged for two years, killing tens of thousands of people. Col. L. N. Chaltin reoccupied the Uele and then in 1897 led an expedition to the Nile that defeated the Mahdist forces and captured the Lado enclave. In 1890 the Congo exported only 100 tons of rubber, but this increased to 2,000 tons in 1898 and 6,000 in 1901. In ten years the annual rubber revenue increased from £60,000 to £720,000. In 1901 Leopold started the Fondation de la Couronne, granting it 250,000 square kilometers of land. The Foundation financed public building projects in Belgium worth more than £2,400,000. Edouard Michelin’s patent for the pneumatic tire in 1891 helped bicycles first and then motor cars, making rubber extremely valuable. The first pneumatic car tire was produced in 1895.

Tippu Tip was a very wealthy slave trader in East Africa, and by the 1880s he ruled over Kasai, Kivu, and Orientale in the eastern Congo. He had accompanied Stanley partway down the Congo River, and after the founding of the Congo Free State, Stanley invited Tippu to govern with his armed men at Stanley Falls and to end slavery there. In 1886 while Tippu was in Zanzibar, his men attacked another Free State station. Its British commander, Walter Deane, was accused of taking a slave woman from an Arab officer; but Deane claimed she had been beaten and would not return. Deane was besieged and barely escaped. Tippu strengthened his forces at Stanleyville that were joined by his son Sefu. Leopold bought several thousand of his slaves from Tippu on the condition that they enlist in the Force Publique for seven years.

The Force Publique had twelve European officers commanding about 3,000 African soldiers, but during the war against the Arabs this was increased to 8,000 men the next year. By October 1892 Sefu was in command of more than 10,000 armed men. The Belgian Commandant Francis Dhanis led the Congo Free State army, and he allowed his men to take along their wives or a slave or a servant. Most of the Africans fighting for the Arabs carried the old muzzle-loading muskets while the Congo army had modern breech-loading rifles and some machine guns. After six weeks of an artillery siege the Free State forces drove the Arabs out of Nyangwe. They killed more than a thousand Arabs and then smoked and ate them. Next Dhanis and his army captured Kasongo, a walled town of 60,000 with luxuries that were exploited by the invaders. Tippu Tip was suffering from a fever and remained at Bagamoyo on the east coast. In the last major battle east of Lake Tanganyika on October 20, 1893 Sefu was killed. By January 1894 the fighting was over, and the Free State controlled the eastern Congo.

The Batetela tribe led by Gongo Lutete was allied with the Arabs and had been defeated by the Congo army; they were pardoned and joined them. In June 1893 Lutete was court martialled as a traitor and executed. This led to the first major mutiny on July 4, 1895 by the Batetela at Luluabourg in Kasai, where the commander Mathieu Pelzer routinely had soldiers give people 125 lashes with the chicotte. When Sergeant Kandolo stopped a whipping, the mutiny began. Pelzer and several officers were killed, and the rebels controlled most of the Kasai region for more than half a year. A year later more than four hundred rebels were still at large. In 1897 in the northeast three thousand men mutinied and killed several white officers under Major Dhanis, and they fought the Force Publique for three years. In 1900 two thousand rebels crossed into German East Africa and gave up their weapons in exchange for the right to settle there. The French priest Auguste Achte visited them, and they told him that the Belgian officers did not pay them and treated them like animals, flogging them often. One officer shot sixty soldiers in one day because they refused to work on a Sunday.

The Anglo-Belgian India Rubber (ABIR) Company was organized at Antwerp in 1892 and was given about 125,000 square kilometers next to the IAC land. Local people were to collect the rubber instead of paying taxes. The Company was given police powers and the right to detain people. The Congo Free State was given 50% of the ABIR Company, and by 1900 they had posts throughout their concession. Each man had to deliver four kilos of dry rubber each fortnight. Armed sentries lived in luxury in the villages and enforced the collection quotas. Villagers who failed to comply were flogged, imprisoned, or shot. Sentries who failed were punished or fired. Agents had two-year contracts and no incentive to consider the future. Trees were stripped of their bark, and vines were killed. Production was increased by adding villages and by forcing women and children to work. In 1903 ABIR exported its peak of nearly 1,000 tons of rubber, and by 1906 they had 47,000 rubber-gatherers. However, by then the concession’s rubber had been wiped out. The number of military posts in the Congo Free State increased from 183 in 1900 to 313 in 1908.

A gold rush was expected at Katanga, and so in 1891 the Compagnie du Katanga was formed to occupy the area and keep the British out with a 99-year lease. In 1899 Robert Williams for the Tanganyika Concessions Ltd. (TCL) came from Northern Rhodesia. Then the Congo State and the Compagnie du Katanga organized the Comité Spécial du Katanga (CSK) to exploit the gold, and they had their own police force. The CSK and the TCL created the mining company, Union Miniere du Haut Katanga (UMHK) in 1906, and a plant near Kolwezi processed copper. Forminiere was given a 99-year lease on mineral rights for half the Congo not granted to these companies. In 1908 Katanga was still the only area of the Congo using money.

Leopold was alerted about the human rights abuses, but his order to punish cruelty, coming from Europe, was not enforced in Africa. Edmund Morel was a clerk with a Liverpool shipping firm, and he noticed that the value of the exports coming from the Congo was five times that of the items shipped back for Africans. Since money was not used in most of the Congo, he concluded that the Africans must be working as slaves. He went public with his information and angered Leopold. Morel was influenced by Mary Kingsley’s Travels in West Africa, and in his magazine, West African Mail, he published the names of the killed sent to him by missionaries. After his allies in the English Parliament passed a resolution of protest in May 1903, the Foreign Office sent a telegram ordering the consul Roger Casement to send a report. He came back and talked to Morel, who a few weeks later founded the Congo Reform Association (CRA) to collect evidence and ask for international condemnation and sanctions. The first meeting of the CRA at Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall was attended by more than a thousand people on March 23, 1904.

The missionary Ellsworth Faris had recorded in his diary how the official Simon Roi told him that the corporal was given cartridges and was told that when collecting rubber for every cartridge used he had to bring back a right hand and that soldiers killed children with the butt of the rifle. Africans suffered from diseases, and in 1901 alone about a half million Congolese died of sleeping sickness. In 1909 Arthur Conan Doyle took up the cause and spoke with Morel before thousands of people in Edinburgh, Plymouth, and Liverpool, and he wrote an introduction to Morel’s book, Great Britain and the Congo: The Pillage of the Congo Basin. Before the rubber concessions were made, the population of the Congo was more than twenty million. An official census in 1911 found that only 8,500,000 people remained. The concessions employed nearly 20,000 soldiers and thousands of irregulars. The annual importation of cartridges reached 40,000 a year for one concession. Soldiers cut off the hands of those they shot to show the commissaire how many they had killed. The Congo Free State had replaced the slave trade with forced labor.

In 1906 vocational schools were started at Boma, Leopoldville, and Stanleyville. A Concordat called for each Catholic mission order to set up the next year a training school for teachers and office workers. By 1908 about 30,000 Congolese were literate. The Fondation de la Couronne was suppressed in March 1908, and finally on November 15 King Leopold yielded to public opinion and let Belgium annex the territory of the Congo Free State for which he received £2 million. He claimed he never profited himself, but his secret trust was found later in Germany with £1.8 million. Leopold passed on assets worth 110,000,000 francs but debts and liabilities amounting to 246,500,000 francs. The Belgian government gave him 45.5 million francs to complete his building projects and 50 million in “gratitude for his great sacrifices made for the Congo.”1

French Congo and Equatorial Africa 1839-1950

The French became a protector of the Gabonese by signing treaties with chiefs in 1839 and 1841. American missionaries from New England established a settlement at Baraka in 1842, and in 1849 the French released slaves from a captured ship there and renamed it Libreville. In 1874 Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza began exploring the Gabon River, and Gabon became a French colony in 1878. The French National Committee sent an expedition led by Brazza who tried to find the source of the Ogowe River and followed it to the Congo River in 1880. He negotiated with chiefs and offered French protection to the paramount Chief Makoko of the Batekes, and they signed a trade treaty. French tariffs kept the British away. Brazza founded a French settlement on the northern bank of the Malebo Pool at Mfoa that later was called Brazzaville. He left and put in charge the Senegalese sergeant Malamine, who persuaded the local chiefs not to sell any food to Stanley’s expedition.

In 1886 Brazza was appointed governor-general of the French Congo, and journalists noted the fairer wages and better conditions on the French side of the river than in the Congo Free State of King Leopold II. They began experimenting with a poll tax in 1894, and it was widely used by 1900. Africans did not like the tax and avoided it by passive resistance or emigration. In 1894 Brazza granted Daumas-Béraud a large concession in east Gabon, and the Société du Haut Ogooué paid 11,000,000 hectares for a monopoly of trade and the power to tax until 1897. The French took over the upper Ubangi from the Belgians in 1895, and French forces met at Lake Chad for the battle of Kousseri in 1900. Brazza was removed in 1897 because of his financial negligence. Fang’s Chief Emane-Tole on the middle Ogonwe led a revolt in 1901-02 by closing down the river in retaliation against the high prices of the Société.

France began administering Gabon in 1903. Companies failed and declared bankruptcy in 1904. After Gaud and Toqué abused the natives, Brazza returned for his last mission in 1904-05 to make a report on violations. After his death the colonial minister Etienne Clementel attempted to get reforms implemented in 1906. The French made Oubangui-Chari (Ubangi-Shari) a colony in 1903 and combined it with Chad in 1906. Then in 1910 these were combined with the French Congo (Moyen-Congo) and Gabon to form the federation of Afrique Equatoriale Française (AEF). After treaties were made, the French made the colony a protectorate in 1909. In 1911 part of it was traded to Germany’s Cameroons for a portion of Morocco, but after the Great War the League of Nations gave it back to France as a mandate. Prosper-Philippe Augouard of the Holy Ghost Fathers was the apostolic vicar at Brazzaville from 1890 to 1919. Most of the companies went out of business during the First World War.

From 1918 to 1930 a branch of the French League for the Defense of the Rights of Man was active in Libreville, and allied Young Gabon began in 1920. Abuses also occurred in the French Congo, and they were exposed to public opinion in the books Batouala by René Maran in 1921 and Voyage au Congo by André Gide in 1927. The French began building a railway from Pointe Noire and Brazzaville in 1924; but it made the abuses worse as more than 15,000 died in the construction camps. André Matswa of the Balali people become an officer during the war and while living in Paris in 1926 founded the Association of Natives of French Equatorial Africa. He led an early nationalist movement for Lari people using passive resistance and was often imprisoned. In 1929 he was arrested again, and riots occurred during his trial that resulted in his being deported to Chad where he died in 1942. His followers, calling themselves Friends, considered Matswa a messiah of the anti-colonial movement.

During World War II in French Equatorial Africa the first African governor of Chad, Félix Eboué, supported General Charles de Gaulle and the Free French. High Commissioner Brunot in Cameroun was wavering when Col. Leclerc from Nigeria staged a coup d’état. Ernest Louveau went to Dakar and tried to persuade Boisson to go over to de Gaulle, but he imprisoned Louveau. On September 23, 1940 de Gaulle sent emissaries to Boisson; but he arrested some, and the others escaped. For the next two days the British and the Free French bombarded Dakar. Mayor Alfred Goux and some other officials of Dakar were interned and deported, and at least five Africans were shot for treason. The French Congo came over to de Gaulle, and in 1941 Eboué became governor-general of French Equatorial Africa at Brazzaville. He gave educated Africans positions, but he died in 1944. After the war the Fonds d’Investissement et de Développement Economique et Sociale (FIDES) promoted investment and economic activity that benefited health and education. The Fourth Republic of the French Union created federal and territorial assemblies in the AEF, and Africans were elected.

Belgian Congo and Rwanda 1908-50

King Leopold II died on December 17, 1909 and was succeeded by his younger brother, Albert I (r. 1909-34). He had visited the Congo before he became king and favored major reforms. The Congo’s budget each year had to be approved by Belgium’s parliament. The Colonial Charter of 1908 required the Congo to service its own debt, and they had to take on the obligations of the previous Congo Free State which had spent millions on public works in Belgium. The capital was at Boma until 1929 when it moved to Leopoldville (Kinshasa). In 1909 the army defeated the Tetela rebels east of Lake Kisale. In 1910 a poll tax was imposed on the Africans with extra for the polygynists. Four years later non-payment could be punished by imprisonment or seizure of property. In 1911 the Ecole Coloniale was started in Belgium to train civilian administrators. That year Lever Brothers was given 750,000 hectares for palm plantations and established the Huileries du Congo Belge.

In 1910 Belgium curtailed the Comité Spécial du Katanga, but its army of 1,500 men was put under the police. In 1911 copper extraction in Katanga cost twice as much as the selling price. Mining conditions in Katanga were so bad that 5,000 workers died between 1911 and 1918, and the mortality rate in 1917 was 10%. In 1912 Africans were prohibited from buying European liquor. The world price for rubber fell sharply in 1913, and that year diamonds from Kasai came on the market. Also in 1913 armed bands had to be suppressed near the Angola border. Minister for the Colonies Jules Renkin (1908-18) did not change the land policy that gave most of it as concessions to private companies.

During the 1914-18 war 100,000 men were conscripted into the army, and by the end there were about 100,000 wage earners. During the war 565 kilometers were added to the railway system. In 1916 resistance in Kivu was quelled, and the next year Luba’s Chief Kasongo Nyembo was captured and deported. By 1917 the colonial army (Force Publique) had more than 20,000 men, but in 1920 it was reduced to 16,000. European officers tried to prevent pillaging because the soldiers were paid less than laborers. The influenza pandemic killed thousands from 1918-20. The Colonial University in Antwerp was founded in 1920. Between 1917 and 1924 taxes went up 400%, and many peasants were forced to cultivate cotton.

The converted Baptist, Simon Kimbangu, had a healing mission in the Lower Congo and preached salvation, but officials and Catholic missionaries were afraid he was fomenting revolution. He was arrested for sedition on September 12, 1921, and he was convicted and sentenced to death. King Albert commuted this to 120 lashes and life imprisonment. He was a symbol of Congolese nationalism, and his movement spread. About 37,000 people were evicted from Bas-Congo, but they continued to recruit others. Kimbangu died in prison on October 12, 1951. The Kitawala Watchtower movement was active in southern Katanga by 1926, and in 1931 they organized the boycott at Elisabethville (Lumumbashi).

Governor-General Maurice Lippens (1921-23) was a financier and raised 600 million gold francs on the Belgian stock market for public works. When the Matadi-Leopoldville railway was rebuilt with a wider gauge between 1921 and 1931, more workers died than during the construction in the 1890s; but by 1930 the railway network was extended to 30,000 kilometers. Workers for private companies increased from 125,000 in 1920 to 422,000 in 1926. By 1928 the Société Générale had taken over several companies and controlled nearly half of the Belgian Congo’s economy. Annual petrol consumption increased from 500 tons in 1920 to 24,000 tons in 1930. By 1930 the portion of the state’s revenues from income tax and investments had risen to 37%. The UMHK company began mining cobalt and uranium in 1923, and it became the largest producer of copper in the world. The Belgian Congo also became the largest producer of industrial diamonds and uranium. The number of Europeans increased in the decade from 7,000 to 25,000, and 70% in 1930 were Belgian. Efforts were made to standardize the Kongo, Luba, Swahili, and Lingala languages.

Governor-General Martin Rutten (1923-27) spent most of his time in the colony, but Auguste Tilkens (1927-34) was often in Brussels and was less responsive. The Depression had a delayed effect on the Belgian Congo, but by 1932 copper exports were one-seventh of what they had been in 1930. All exports had fallen by 55% and imports by 70%. Africans were compelled to work for maintenance and in growing crops. In 1931 peasants rose up in the Kwango area, and in the quick suppression 400 Pende were killed. Settlers in Katanga asked for the right to debate the budget in the provincial council, and the next year they demanded a large public works program. In 1933 the vice-governors-general were made provincial commissioners with less power. All four resigned in protest, and Gaston Heenen considered secession that had been proposed by de Hemptinne and settlers.

In 1934 the former district commissioner, A. Verbeken, founded the newspaper Ngonga at Elisabethville for educated Africans; but the Government and the Catholic Church objected, and it was shut down within a year for lack of funds. Employers controlled the lives of workers in their compounds, and the Government used spies to stop subversion. By 1935 crop prices were half of what they had been in 1929. Taxes were not reduced enough, absorbed more than half the cash earned in rural areas, and sometimes were paid by labor. In Katanga from 1935 to 1937 miners and others often went on strike.

Governor-General Pierre Ryckmans (1937-46) lowered import duties and raised export duties to balance the budget, and the economy improved. In 1937 the Catholic Church was given 118,000 hectares in land concessions and Protestant missions less than 5,000. The next year Catholic schools had 222,500 subsidized students and a half million not subsidized. Protestant schools taught 300,000, but public schools had only 6,000 students. By 1939 only 8,000 students were in post-primary schools. Less than thirty Africans completed higher education, and they all became Catholic priests. In 1938 censuses showed that the population of the Belgian Congo was 10,200,000, and Ruanda-Urundi had 3,800,000 people. The number of European doctors doubled in the 1930s, and the number of sick people treated in hospitals and clinics tripled.

When Germans invaded Belgium in May 1940, the Government fled to England and by fall was functioning in London. By then supporters of the exiled Government were victorious in the Congo. The maximum forced labor allowed was increased from 60 to 120 days a year. In December 1941 several thousand tin and copper miners went on strike in Katanga, and troops fired on demonstrators and killed at least sixty people. During World War I Katanga had produced 85,000 tons of copper, but from 1940 to 1944 they turned out 800,000 tons. In February 1944 the Kananga garrison at Luluabourg mutinied, and that year peasants rose up in the Masisi region of Kivu in a religious protest. Most of the uranium used in the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki came from the Shinkolobwe mine in the Congo.

In 1500 Rwanda was a small state in a larger federation. They had a series of kings. Yuhi Gahindiro (r. 1797-1830) appointed governors in the frontiers and suppressed Ndorwa revolts. Mutara Rwogera (r. 1830-60) annexed Gisaka, where a series of independent Tutsi states developed. Kigeri Rwabugiri (r. 1860-95) expanded his power and built his capital at Gisaka. He made forced labor (corvée) an institution in 1885 and eliminated hereditary succession among the Tutsis. Rutarindwa was assassinated in 1896 and was succeeded by his brother Yuhi Musinga (r. 1897-1931). In 1898 Germany began establishing military posts in Rwanda, which became part of German East Africa the next year as missionaries from the White Fathers began arriving. In 1906 Hutu at Bugarura refused to pay royal tribute, and Musinga sent a military expedition that defeated them. In 1908 German officials opened Rwanda to commerce. On May 14, 1910 Germans, English, and Belgians at the Conference of Brussels set the boundaries of Rwanda, which lost Bufumbira to Uganda. Musinga extended Tutsi power in the north by using German forces.

German and Belgian forces began fighting each other in Rwanda on September 23, 1914, and in the spring of 1916 Belgian forces occupied Ruanda-Urundi. In 1917 High Commissioner Malfeyt initiated the first head tax. In 1919 the League of Nations gave Belgium the mandate to administer Ruanda-Urundi, though the Belgian parliament did not approve the mandate until 1924. Roads and bridges were constructed. A famine in 1928-29 took 300,000 lives, and the corvée was reduced from 146 days to 52 days per year for each Hutu family and to 13 days for each man.

On May 28, 1930 Charles Voisin began governing Ruanda-Urundi, and the next year he started extending coffee cultivation. On November 12, 1931 Musinga was deposed and replaced by his son, Charles Rudahigwa Mutara (r. 1931-59). Tax revolts by Hutu in the north were crushed in 1932 and 1935. In 1937 the League of Nations noted that taxes on Africans were increasing faster than those on Europeans. Tin production increased from 164 tons in 1930 to 2,267 tons in 1949, but the export of coffee still provided more foreign exchange. In the fall of 1940 the Anglo-Belgian agreement boosted the production of tin and rubber. In the famine of 1942-44 another 300,000 died or migrated. In 1944 obligatory labor was increased from 60 to 120 days per year. The number of European agricultural settlements went from 42 in 1940 to 137 in 1947. On April 25, 1947 Belgium ratified the United Nations Trusteeship Agreement for Ruanda and Urundi.

Angola under the Portuguese 1875-1950

In the 1880s even porters in Angola could set themselves up as a pombeiro chief, and this eroded the authority of the ruling families. Accusations of witchcraft became more common. Ocimbandas sold charms to protect traders, and they used herbs and potions to maintain health. Often rulers were no longer able to collect tribute. The olosomas were believed to have supernatural powers. The Chokwe still captured slaves and hunted for ivory; but they were decreasing and being replaced by collecting wild rubber and beeswax. In the hinterland of Luanda they grew coffee and peanuts for export. Kongo chiefs in the north collected taxes in ivory, rubber, and palm products which they could export.

In 1885 the Berlin Conference decided that African territories should belong to those European nations that establish “effective occupation,” and they rejected Portugal’s claim to control the mouth of the Congo River. Henrique de Carvalho was sent to the Lunda region of Angola, and he made treaties with chiefs and the Lunda king. In the south Artur de Paiva made treaties with the Ngangela, the Ovimbundu, and others.

The Ovimbundu rulers became vassals of the Portuguese, and by 1884 Viye’s ruler Njambajamina was trading with them and promising to obey them. Mbailundu’s Ekwikwi had been respected for resisting the Portuguese, but in 1886 he sent a letter acknowledging his allegiance to the Portuguese king. He asked for supplies, teachers, and priests. That year the bankrupted slave trader, Silva Porto, was appointed capitao-mor of the Viye and Mbailundu, and two Catholic priests opened missions in the kingdoms. The Viye experienced conflicts between the traditionalists and traders who wanted to develop the new contacts. Njambajamina was overthrown in 1886, but his rival, Kapoko of Chisamba, had slave origins and lacked ties to the electors. Ciyoka (r. 1886-88) was a nephew of a former olosoma, but he also traded with the Portuguese and was assassinated in 1888.The Portuguese invaded Viye in 1890 to end Ovimbundu independence and bring their kingdoms into the Angola colony.

Ndunduma became olosoma in Viye for the next two years, but his anti-Portuguese policy and opposition to social mobility alienated the free born and slaves. He authorized raids, expelled Protestant missionaries, and humiliated Silva Porto. He thus alienated the Portuguese and Ekwikwi. In January 1890 Ndunduma expelled the Portuguese expeditionary force that had come to fight the British, and he did not accept Silva Porto’s replacement, Martin Teixeira da Silva. Ndunduma was supported by the anti-Portuguese Wambu and Ciyaka. After Silva Porto wrapped himself in a Portuguese flag and blew himself up in March, the Portuguese were aroused and invaded Viye. Artur de Paiva led the expedition of more than a thousand men and was ordered to occupy the region and replace the ruler. Ndunduma had two thousand soldiers, but they were easily overcome by artillery and machine guns. He fled to Ngangela, but the leaders left in Viye gathered a thousand men with 800 rifles to bring him back to the Portuguese, who deported him to the island of Sao Tomé where he died in 1903. The power shifted to Silva Porto’s old residence at Belmont with a new capitao-mor of Bié, the Portuguese name for Viye. In the next dozen years the Portuguese increased their influence at Bié and Bailundu (Mbailundu).

Portuguese went to suppress a rebellion among the Kimbundu-speaking peoples south of the Cuenza River in 1893, and it took two years. In 1898 an epidemic of rinderpest provoked a rebellion in the Humbe cattle region. Coffee prices started falling in 1896, and in ten years the world price was only a quarter of what it had been. Sugar cane was distilled to make aguardente, which was prohibited in 1901. At the turn of the century northern Angola suffered from an epidemic of the sleeping sickness. Though slavery was illegal, workers often went unpaid. Many laborers were sent to the island of Sao Tomé, which was the only Portuguese colony with a large and steady surplus. From 1885 to 1903 Angola sent 56,189 serviçaes to Sao Tomé. In this era farming in Angola was left to the women.

The price of wild rubber fell sharply in 1902. That year Mbailundu rebelled against the Portuguese, and they were joined by the Ovimbundu kingdoms of Wambu, Soque, Civulu, Civanda, Ngalangi, Cipeyo, and Sambu with about 40,000 men. The Portuguese had more than 600 metropolitan troops, thousands of porters, and the latest mountain guns. The Portuguese fort at Bailundu was besieged, but trading collaborators and missionaries helped them get food. Some of the Ovimbundu, who did not want Mutu-ya-Kavela to be olosoma, betrayed his guerrilla base, and Portuguese Captain Paes Brandao led an attack that captured and killed him. In the south the Ovambo kingdoms acquired modern rifles, and in 1904 the Mbadya killed more than 300 Portuguese in an ambush. Three campaigns were needed before the Portuguese defeated the Mbadya in 1907, but the Kwanyama kingdom remained independent.

The hut tax was imposed on the Kongo in the northwest, and they resisted violently for five years. The Dembo in the northern hinterland suffered from sleeping-sickness and were pacified between 1907 and 1910. The Portuguese lost men and treasure before they subdued the Ndembu region in 1908. The white settlers in Angola were able to get large sums for wasteful projects such as the Mossamedes Railway. The hut tax was first imposed on the Ovimbundu in 1906. Men had to pay a tax on every hut they owned, including for each wife. Sobas and sekulus had their own hut exempt but had to pay for their dependents. Authorities were concerned about rumors that the Ovimbundu were planning a revolt because they were believed to have 150,000 guns.

In 1910 Portugal’s monarchy was changed into a republic that lasted until 1926. The Republic abolished slavery in 1910 but replaced it with corvée labor. Governor-General M. M. Coelho helped local whites by suspending the recruiting of laborers for the cocoa islands for three years. Military rule was extended in the interior to Mahungo and Kasanje along the Kwango River. In 1911 rum production was outlawed because of the wine trade from Lisbon. Africans were not allowed to own land, and thus little wealth was passed from one generation to another. In 1912 Coelho resigned in protest of the continuing labor abuses. The Governor of Mossamedes also criticized them and was removed by settlers and traders.

Governor-General José Norton de Matos (1912-15) wanted to replace forced labor with free labor, but he found it difficult to implement during the declining rubber trade and the droughts that afflicted the south. Remote Moxico had been set up as a convict settlement in 1895, and in 1912 they resisted the imposition of a tax. Portugal took control of most new appointments to the civil service, and in 1912 a civilizado group started the Liga Angolana to work for employment opportunities, civil rights, and access to education. Norton de Matos shut down the press in 1913 and the next year exiled the Liga leader A. J. Miranda. Norton created the Department of Native Affairs to facilitate racial segregation. In the former Kongo kingdom the Catholic chief Alvaro Buta led a revolt against forced labor that removed the Kongo king and burned down the old capital at Sao Salvador in 1913. Buta was captured two years later, but resistance went on in the east until 1918.

During the Great War in 1915 the Portuguese launched a campaign to the south of Angola against the Germans in Southwest Africa and the Kwanyama. They recruited Ovimbundu as mercenaries and conscripted 5,000 more to use as porters. When Protestant Sekulu Jerry of Chileso refused to send 110 villagers to serve as porters for the visiting Governor of Benguela because they were in a church service, the Governor had them all sent off to do forced labor. In 1916 the Defense of the Realm Act was used to ban the newspaper Ndaka. In 1917 more than 2,000 Ovimbundu served as auxiliaries for the colony in the brutal Nsele-Amboin campaign which established Portuguese sovereignty in southern Angola. Between 1917 and 1920 the Portuguese finally occupied the Lunda region east of the Kwango River. Diamonds had been found in 1912, and in 1920 the Diamang company took power and gave the Government 5% of the shares and was exempted on taxes and duties on imported equipment. Diamang soon recruited 10,000 workers.

Governor-General Norton de Matos returned to serve in 1921, and he invested £13,000,000 mostly for ports, railways, and white colonization. He worked on disarmament, paying state employees, recruiting paid workers for private companies, recruiting soldiers, developing agriculture and commerce, and collecting the hut tax. He prohibited printing in African languages and teaching in any European language except Portuguese, and he banned some European organizations. Military administrators became civilian chefes, who gave orders to the local sobas and sekulus. Taxes were increased four times before 1926. However, in the 1920s only about one in six males actually paid them. In 1921 a decree outlawed forced labor, but it continued in the highlands. Railway construction began in 1902 at the Benguela-Lobito port and reached Huambo in 1911, crossed Bié by 1926 and made it to the Northern Rhodesia/Katanga border in 1929 using corvée labor. Norton de Matos resigned in June 1924 because of a financial crisis and labor issues.

Transportation was improved by bicycles, motorcycles, cars, trucks, and trains which prevented the Ovimbundu from competing economically. During the drought of 1925 missionaries reported that many people could not pay taxes unless they sold their seeds or their children, but the chefes still required them to pay. Men often left their families for long periods of time to earn money for taxes. Many of the Ovimbundu became slaves working for the state. By 1925 the 42 European Catholic priests had ordained only two Ovimbundu priests and forty catechists. Yet they served about 60,000 Ovimbundu and European settlers and taught 40,000 children in 300 rural schools. Protestants were more successful. In 1914 High Commissioner Norton de Matos approved the sale of 9,000 acres in Dondi for the Currie Institute for boys and the Means School for girls. The Umbundu language was used to bring together as Ovimbundus the kingdoms of the Bienos, Bailundus, Ndulus, and Kamundungos. By 1925 there were 132 British, Canadian, and American Protestants managing 26 mission stations and 215 rural schools. They made thousands of converts including 27,000 in Bailundu. Between 1924 and 1929 the only exports in Angola that increased were corn (maize) and diamonds.

On May 28, 1926 the army in a coup took over the government of Portugal. In 1928 the fascist Dr. Antonio de Oliveira Salazar became Finance Minister of Portugal. Angola’s debt was up to £5,600,000, but more than half of it was owed to Portugal. Their policy was to exploit the colonies more efficiently to increase the prosperity of Portugal, and their regime would last until 1960. Laws for the colonies were revised in 1926 and by the Colonial Act in 1930. Salazar became Prime Minister in 1932. The next year a new constitution increased his power greatly, and he proclaimed the Estado Novo (New State). He formally recognized the Catholic Church as an arm of Portuguese colonization. They planned to replace the health care system managed by Protestants with a state-financed health service run by Catholics for Africans. Most Angolan-born Portuguese, creoles, and assimilados were replaced by pro-Salazar officials born in Portugal. Angola had a history of chronic deficits in the budget and the balance of trade as well as hyper-inflation. The Overseas Minister took over the fiscal management of the colony. The new currency, the angolar was valued at 80% of the old escudo which had to be exchanged one for one. Colonial spending was restricted, and imports decreased by half in five years. In the first twenty years the state transferred more than three million hectares of land to Portuguese businesses for plantations. In 1930 taxes on Africans were doubled.

Angolan society was stratified by race, civil status, and class with Europeans on top and Africans on the bottom. Those of mixed ancestry and Africans considered assimilated were recognized by civil law as “civilized.” In the 1930s 15,991 Ovimbundu, mostly Protestants, were recognized to have enough education to be assimilados. By 1932 Catholics claimed they had 225,000 Ovimbundu converts. In 1933 the Director of Native Affairs, Manuel Vincente de Almeida de Neves, wrote that Africans had to work for Europeans in order to become civilized. That year a marketing board was set up for corn, and in 1938 an organization facilitated cereal exports. Coffee production increased from a few tons in the 1930s to 58,860 tons in 1950. In 1935 Protestants formed the Pan-Angolan Evangelical Alliance, and they reported abuses to the League of Nations, the International Labor Organization (ILO), and the Anti-Slavery and Aborigines Protection Society. A statute in 1941 put Catholic missions in charge of most of the schools for Africans. In 1945 the Alliance coordinator John Tucker met with Colonial Minister Marcelo Caetano and tried to persuade him to change the repressive laws.

The tax on African men in 1945 was equal to five months’ wages. Men not finding work could be conscripted to work for the Government or a private employer. In 1948 native taxes provided 65% of the colony’s revenue. That year more than 60% of all Portuguese settlers or 7,284 people were working as military or civil servants. Many were poorly paid and accepted bribes from recruiters of workers. Contract laborers from the highlands worked sixteen hours a day in the fisheries. Those who could not keep up were flogged, and some died of overwork. Ovimbundu men made up most of the 300,000 Angolans who annually migrated to Northern Rhodesia during World War II. In cities local statutes made it illegal for Africans to engage in retail trade. In Angola 97% of the people were illiterate in 1950.

Mozambique 1700-1884

East and Central Africa to 1700
Southern Africa to 1700

In the 18th century the Portuguese believed that the Malawi kalonga had diminished influence also. In 1750 Sena’s Governor Francisco de Melo e Castro praised the peace and security of the kingdom ruled by the changamire. That year cassava was brought from Brazil to Mozambique and gradually spread. A Portuguese governor remained at Mozambique and in 1756 sent spies to Mombasa and Muscat. Portuguese conflicts with the Makua disturbed Mozambique, which was competing with Swahili and Arab merchants.

Mozambique’s Captain-General Baltasar Pereira do Lago (1765-77) supported missions and hospitals but had to build a fort at Mossuril to respond to Makua raids. He said that the changamire treated the inhabitants of Zumbo with the “most civilized justice.” Pereira had been exiled to Africa by Carvalho and was ordered to double the duties on ships going from Mozambique to Delagoa Bay, enabling foreign ships to undersell the Portuguese. Carvalho gave extensive instructions but little practical support. Arabs and Banyans were prohibited from entering Mozambique from India. As the gold and ivory trade declined, the Portuguese turned more to the slave trade, which dominated the Kilwa market after 1770. During the Napoleonic Wars some islands were attacked, and after the revolution in Portugal in 1820 some political refugees formed Masonic lodges on Mozambique Island.

While the slave trade from West Africa was being greatly reduced in the first half of the 19th century, the Portuguese exported about 25,000 captives a year from Mozambique. For centuries the coast had been dominated by Swahili sultanates, and Portuguese settlements came later to Mozambique. The Yao carried Islam west to the Shire highlands and Lake Malawi, incorporating the Nyanja, Lomwe, and Makua peoples. In 1821 the Ngoni fled from the Zulus, and the former Zulu general Soshangane led them from Natal north, pushing other Ngoni north. In 1833 Shaka’s brother Dingane ordered a Zulu force to attack Lourenço Marques, and they killed the Portuguese governor. The Zulus held on to the south shore of Delagoa Bay until their last great chief Cetshwayo was defeated in 1879. Soshangane founded the Gaza kingdom that dominated between the Zambezi and the Incomati rivers. The Ngoni intermarried with the conquered Rhonga, Tonga, and Chopi. In the north the Ngoni raided the Luangwa, Shire, and Rovuma river valleys. Soshangane died about 1858. His son Muzila gained arms and support from the Portuguese at Lourenço Marques, and he expelled his brother Umzila in November 1861.

In 1836 Portugal banned the slave trade, and in 1842 they made a treaty allowing the British to board Portuguese vessels to look for slaves; but through the 1880s the Ngoni captured slaves for Yao traders and others. In 1840 the Pereiras of Macanga began the Zambezi wars, and they were challenged by Joaquim da Cruz. The Pereiras joined with the Macombe of the Barwe and besieged da Cruz at Massangano in 1853, but they were defeated. The first governor of Tete arrived with 200 European soldiers to help, and the death of da Cruz and Chissaka Pereira stopped the feud in 1855. The Portuguese sent four expeditions in the late 1860s against Massangano, and fighting went on until Bonga da Cruz finally signed a peace treaty in 1875.

The Makololo first came to Mozambique as carriers for David Livingstone in 1856, and they settled along the Shire River. They developed a military and raided the lands of the Massingire, who asked the Portuguese for protection. In 1869 O Progresso became the province’s first private newspaper. In 1875 France’s President MacMahon arbitrated a border dispute between Transvaal and Portugal, awarding Delagoa Bay to the latter.

Mussa Quanto until his death in 1877 controlled the coast from Mozambique Island south to the Licungo River. A succession struggle was won by Farelay, who formed an alliance with Makua chiefs and Muslims and fought the Portuguese until they were finally defeated by a large army in 1910.

Manuel Antonio de Sousa, known as Gouveia, came from Goa and was a strong ally of Portuguese expansion. He became the largest land owner in Mozambique and built a stronghold in Gorongosa to fight the Ngoni raiders from the Gaza kingdom. He was appointed capitao-mor of Manica in 1874. When the Macombe of Barwe died in 1880, Gouveia acted as regent. On the Shire River the Massingire rebelled in 1884 against Portuguese taxation. Gouveia led an army of 4,000 men and crushed the rebellion in six months.

Mozambique under Portugal 1884-1950

Muzila ruled Gazaland until his natural death in August 1884. His son Gungunhana was called the “Lion of Gaza” and dominated the area south of the Zambezi River. He tried to conquer Chief Mutassa of Manica but was repulsed. The Portuguese trader José Rodrigues persuaded Gungunhana to send two indunas to Lisbon, where they signed a vassalage treaty on October 12, 1885. Gungunhana was made a colonel in the Army, but he refused to give the Portuguese a concession to mine minerals in Manica, dismissing treaties as “fishing for lands.” Gungunhana was said to practice human sacrifice at an annual celebration.

In 1889 Gungunhana moved his royal kraal and about 50,000 Shangana (Ngoni) people three hundred miles southeast to the Limpopo Valley, dislocating other groups. In April 1891 he sent two indunas to England to ask for British protection, but on June 11 the British and Portuguese partitioned his kingdom. During a visit by Paiva de Almeida on November 19, 1893 Gungunhana swore he would respect the Mozambique Company’s administration north of the Save River, and he would receive half the hut tax for his help in collecting the taxes and maintaining order. The next month eight hundred of the thousand rifles given them by an agent of Rhodes were destroyed in a hut fire.

By 1885 the Portuguese were in Lourenço Marques, Inhambane, Sofala, Quelimane, Mozambique Island, and Ibo. In 1886 Portugal made treaties with Germany and France, and they both promised not to interfere with Portuguese Mozambique south of the Rovuma River. To make treaties Portugal sent Major Joaquim Carlos Paiva d’Andrade to Mashonaland, and Antonio Cardoso and Major Alexandre Serpa Pinto went to the Shire highlands. The British had already declared the latter under their protection and objected, but Pinto pursued his goal of “effective control.”

In 1886 Gouveia gained control over many chiefs, but his campaign against the Mtoko south of the Mazoe headwaters failed. Gouveia was supported by Paiva de Andrada, and they decided to attack Joaquim da Cruz of Massangano, Mtoko’s ally, but this allowed the British South African Company to take over much of Mashonaland. Governor-General Augusto da Castilho led the army, and in the siege of the Massangano stockade they killed about 6,000 people. The mestiço Alfredo de Aguiar published Clamor Africano in Lourenço Marques from 1886 to 1894, criticizing slavery, forced labor, and the lack of opportunities in education and employment for Africans.

Mozambique had exported slaves, gold, and ivory, but they were all diminishing rapidly. In August 1890 Portugal made a treaty with the British giving them a 20-mile zone north of the Zambezi with transit and telegraph rights between Angola and Mozambique, but the Portuguese Cortes refused to ratify this treaty. Portugal delayed and lost a little territory, but in June 1891 a treaty established the territory of Angola and Mozambique. Cecil Rhodes wanted a strip giving Rhodesia access to the sea, but that was denied. In the fall of 1890 the British South African Company captured Gouveia in the Manica mountains, causing his empire to erupt. Barwe princes claimed the throne, and Gaza became paramount in the Limpopo Valley. Also in 1890 British Prime Minister Salisbury warned Lisbon to stop operating on the Shire and in Mashonaland, and he sent British warships to Mozambique Island. The Portuguese withdrew from Mashonaland below the Shire.

The Mozambique Company was chartered in 1891 for fifty years and operated in the chaos. Portugal granted the company control over mining, fishing, public works, taxing Africans, and communications and promised them no taxes for 25 years in exchange for 10% of the shares and 7.5% of the profits. The same year the British-owned Niassa Company was given a similar charter for 35 years for the territory north of the Lurio River; but this land lacked minerals, and high taxes caused Africans to leave. The lands were transferred back to Portugal at the end of the charter periods. The Zambezia Company was founded in 1892 without a charter and became the largest of the three, though Africans also fled from their high taxes.

Portugal suffered a depression in the late 1890s, and Mozambique was denied funds except for essential public services. In 1894 the Ronga chiefs Mahazul and Matibejana of Zixaxa led a rebellion against the Portuguese at Lourenço Marques because of an increase in the hut tax and unpaid labor. Royal Commissioner Antonio Enes led the Portuguese and Angolan troops imported to suppress the revolt. Mahazul and Matibejana fled to Gazaland, where Gungunhana gave them refuge and refused to surrender them. Enes ordered an attack on the powerful Chief, and the large army using machine guns took his capital and captured Gungunhana by the end of 1895. He was taken to Lisbon and exiled in the Azores Islands where he died. The Portuguese occupied the territories north of the Sabu River that he had dominated. Governor-General Mousinho de Albuquerque intended to defeat the other independent tribes, and he imposed a hut tax on the Swahili and Makua peoples on the northern coast. Gungunhana’s general Maguiguana led the resistance in 1897, and he was defeated and killed at Macontene. The Portuguese had to leave to put down another revolt in Gazaland.

Only the southern half of Mozambique was “effectively occupied,” and Lourenço Marques was named the capital. Because of the fall of the Portuguese currency, in 1898 colonial governors were told to stop all offensive campaigns. In 1899 Commissioner Enes promulgated a law decreeing that Africans had a “moral and legal” obligation to work. In 1900 Clemente Nunes de Carvalho e Silva led a group in Lourenço Marques that started five newspapers, but the last one was shut down in 1906. A law in 1901 allowed Africans who had occupied or worked land could acquire it after twenty years. Flogging was common, and black police on tax-collecting missions often molested women.

By 1900 the railways connected Lourenço Marques to the Witwatersrand and Beira to Southern Rhodesia. In 1901 the Witwatersrand Native Labour Association was granted a monopoly on recruiting in exchange for a capitation fee and a share of the Rand railway traffic. To counter the growing influence of Protestant missionaries, the Portuguese promoted the French Holy Ghost Fathers. In 1902 the first Institute of Tropical Medicine was established in Lisbon. South of the Zambezi the prazero Manuel Antonio de Souza had collected tribute from the Makombe. Nchanga had Souza assassinated and challenged the chief Shupatura. When the latter submitted to the Portuguese in 1900, Nchanga led a revolt. In 1902 Azevedo Coutinho led a force to the Gorongoza region that suppressed the rebels, and the Portuguese used Ngoni mercenaries to subdue the Pereira enclave of Macanga. By 1905 about 59,000 men from Mozambique were employed in the gold and coal mines of the Transvaal. In 1906 the Portuguese defeated Chief Matave of the Namarral, but other Swahili and Makua groups along the coast were not subdued until 1910.

In an 1893 report Enes had recommended replacing military with civilian administrators as soon as pacification was completed, and the reorganization began in 1907. The administrator of each post worked through an African chief called a régulo for each group of villages. A department of native administration was organized to recruit labor, conscript police, and supervise chiefs. The Niassa Company was reorganized in 1909 to conquer the interior and cut off the arms supplies of opponents by enlisting support from Africans who had suffered from slavery. In 1910 the British-owned Sena Sugar Estates was formed and absorbed sugar companies in Mozambique, making sugar a quarter of the colony’s exports. In 1912 Indian sepoys helped them defeat the rebellion led by Yao’s Chief Mataka as the Portuguese took over the Makua forts.

Mozambique did not have many settlers demanding concessions, and thus their large surpluses were sent to help other Portuguese colonies. The Constitution of the Republic in 1911 allowed more freedom of the press and associations. The semi-weekly O Africano was published from 1911 in Portuguese and in Shangana until it was banned for criticizing the Government in 1920. In 1918 Grémio Africano began publishing O Brado Africano to fight against discrimination, forced labor, and inequality. When this newspaper was suppressed at the end of 1932 for two months, the editor José Albasini printed under the name of Aguiar’s Clamor Africano.

In 1916 a Portuguese army invaded German East Africa; but the Germans led by Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck were being pushed south by the British, and he led 2,000 men across the Rovuma River in November 1917, forcing the Portuguese to flee. The German army crossed the Rovuma back into Tanganyika in September 1918. The Peace Treaty signed at Versailles gave Portugal the Quionga triangle between the mouth of the Rovuma and Cape Delgado. Mozambique conscripted 25,000 men for the war; but only one-fifth of them survived because of disease and starvation, and there were uprisings. The biggest rebellion began in Barwe in March 1917, and it spread into Gorongosa and northwest. Their prince Nongwe-Nongwe was competing to be Macombe and called for rebellion. The Portuguese with Ngoni auxiliaries eventually defeated the rebellion, and about 100,000 people took refuge in Rhodesia, Zambia, and Malawi. Migrant labor enabled Africans to pay the hut tax, which was twice as high south of the Sabi. More than 100,000 northern Mozambicans settled in Nyasaland. Dock workers in Lourenço Marques went on strike in 1918 and six more times in the next three years. Africans grew peanuts, and their exports increased fourfold from 1914 to 1928.

In 1920 the colonies were granted financial autonomy, but High Commissioner Manuel de Brito Camacho (1921-23) found the currency unstable and could not stop high inflation. Most employers got laborers at low wages from local authorities. Camacho himself agreed to supply 3,000 workers from the Quelimane district for the Sena Sugar Estates. In 1921 a decree banned using African languages in schools. That year the Partido Nacional Africano was organized and supported the pan-Africanism of Marcus Garvey, and they sent representatives to the International Labor Organization of the League of Nations. Liga Africana participated in the Pan-African Congress of W. E. B. Du Bois. In 1925 the African Education Committee noted that two-thirds of the schools were in southern Mozambique, where only 10% of the people lived. The newspaper, The Emancipator, published leftist views in 1925 until October 1926, but it and O Radical were suppressed by the new regime. Between 1921 and 1931 more than 100,000 Yao and Makua found refuge in Nyasaland while thousands of Makonde fled to Tanganyika. Wages in South Africa and Rhodesia were about three times higher than in Mozambique.

The indebted Republic of Portugal was overthrown by the military in 1926. In 1928 the Government abolished unpaid labor but not low wages. In 1931 Mozambique had 210 state schools and 254 run by missionaries with a total of 53,394 students. By 1932 the Fascist Finance Minister Salazar had become Prime Minister. Censorship began in 1926, and by 1935 every edition of newspapers and journals was checked by the censor before printing. In the 1930s the leadership of the Instituto Negrofilo was purged, and it was renamed the Centro Associativo dos Negros de Moçambique. When low wharf wages were cut up to 30% in 1933, workers at Quinhenta went on strike; but promises made were broken. In 1938 the Government set up the Cotton Export Board, and cotton production increased from 2,300 tons in 1935 to 19,000 tons in 1940. By then 27,000 whites lived in Mozambique with about an equal number of Indians, Chinese, and mestiços.

During World War II Mozambique only had to send two battalions to reinforce the colony’s defenses. Governor-General José Tristao de Bettencourt (1940-47) clarified the labor obligations of African young men in 1942. They could work for Europeans in the state or in private business; they could migrate to Rhodesia or South Africa to work; and a very few could herd cattle or farm rice or cotton. In 1945 about 380,000 people had left the colony. In 1948 Henrique Galvao made his report on native problems to the National Assembly, criticizing the health services and labor practices that caused workers to flee to other territories. He referred to the forced cultivation of cotton as “slave cotton” that caused malnutrition and famine. In 1949 some secondary students organized the Nucleo dos Estudantes Africanos Secundarios de Moçambique, and after the elections that year the police uncovered a movement of European liberals, mestiços, and Africans. In Mozambique 98% of the people were illiterate in 1950.

Madagascar 1700-1950

In the 18th century Madagascar supplied thousands of slaves to the French plantations on Mauritius and Bourbon (Réunion). In the central Imerina region Romboasalama overthrew his uncle Ambohimanga about 1785 and proclaimed himself King Andrianampoinimerina. By 1792 he had eliminated two other local kings and moved his capital to Antananarivo. By 1807 the French had 49,000 slaves on the island of Mauritius.

About 1800 Andrianampoinimerina began expanding his Imerina kingdom on Madagascar. His successor Radama I (r. 1810-28) subdued Bezanozano rebels and gained access to the sea at Tamatave in 1812. Radama signed two treaties with the British in 1817, accepting money and arms in exchange for outlawing the slave trade in Madagascar. In 1820 the British refused to pay the subsidies, but James Hastie persuaded Radama to renew the treaty and allow British missionaries. By 1829 the London Missionary Society (LMS) had built 23 schools for 2,300 students in Madagascar. They put the Malagasy language in written form by using the Latin alphabet and translated the Bible. Radama recruited an army of 15,000, modernized with English guns and cannons. In 1822 this force defeated the Menabe in the west. The Sakalava continued to resist, though Boina was invaded and submitted. Most of the island was under Merina control by the time Radama died from a licentious life-style at the age of 36.

He was succeeded by his cousin and first wife Ranavalona I (r. 1828-61), who was advised by two clan leaders Rainiharo and Rainijohary. In December 1828 her Government informed the British that the treaty was cancelled. Trade between Madagascar and the islands of Mauritius and Bourbon was banned. The next year the French bombarded and invaded Tintingue and Tamatave. In 1832 Queen Ranavalona prohibited baptism, and three years later preaching Christianity was prohibited. This persecution killed many Christians, but the faith spread.

In the early 1840s the French acquired the islands of Nossi-bé and Mayotta. Despite agreements banning the slave trade, in 1843 they introduced the “free labor emigration system” in which they purchased slaves from Arab traders, usually at Kilwa, then formally set them free so they could “emigrate” to the island plantations. After the revolution of 1848 the French changed the name of the island Bourbon to Réunion.

By 1841 the Sakalava chiefs had fled to nearby islands, and the French were supporting their claims to western Madagascar. In 1844 foreigners were made subject to Malagasy law. Fearing they could be enslaved, the next year a French and British squadron bombarded and invaded Tamatave, but those captured in this failure were beheaded. Queen Ranavolana expelled foreign traders and suspended overseas commerce except with the United States. Modernization continued though as de Lastelle helped establish sugar plantations and a factory to produce sugar and rum. The Queen got Jean Laborde to build an industrial complex at Mantasoa that employed 20,000 workers to produce guns, cannon, glass, soap, etc. After Mauritius and Réunion paid Ranavolana $15,000 compensation, the trade ban was lifted in 1853. Foreigners were allowed back to Madagascar, and in 1857 Joseph Lambert plotted a coup d’état with Laborde, de Lastelle, the Rainiharo clan, and Christians.

Queen Ranavolana went into isolation and designated her son Rakoto Radama as her successor. When she died in 1861, King Radama II immediately opened Madagascar to foreign traders, investors, and missionaries. The next year he signed treaties with the French and the British that exempted them from import and export duties and gave them other privileges. When Radama II tried to remove the leaders of the two prominent clans, he was strangled to death. The oligarchs made his cousin and wife, Queen Rasoherina, agree to renounce alcohol and follow the advice of the pro-European majority in her council. In 1864 the army commander Rainilaiarivony took the place of the Prime Minister. He married the Queen and her successor as well. In 1865 the British agreed to pay 10% duties on imports and exports. The French insisted Madagascar pay an indemnity of 1,200,000 francs, but in 1868 they agreed to a treaty forbidding the French from buying land in Madagascar. A code of 101 articles was promulgated, and more were added later. By then there were 153,000 Christians in Madagascar, and Queen Ranavalona II converted in 1869 to the Protestant faith of the British. In 1872 Rainilaiarivony modernized the Malagasy army by employing a British instructor. The next year an expedition brought Bara under control.

In 1877 Madagascar freed the slaves who were from Africa. The next year they began reorganizing the army and made military service obligatory for men eighteen or older. They discharged 6,500 old soldiers and paid them to be registrars for the state. In March 1881 a new Code of 305 Articles was promulgated for Imerina. Corporal punishment was almost completely abolished, and fines could be paid in cattle or money. Prime Minister Rainilaiarivony established eight ministries of Interior, Foreign Affairs, War, Justice, Law, Trade and Industry, Finance, and Education. The state had 21 top officials, 215 administrators, and 243 clerks. The London Missionary Society (LMS) had many churches and schools and three high schools for theology, education, and medicine.

Rainilaiarivony claimed that all of Madagascar belonged to the Queen; but France’s government led by Jules Ferry wanted the northern portion of the island, and on June 11, 1883 the French navy bombarded and occupied Tamatave. When Queen Ranavalona II died on July 13, 55-year-old Rainilaiarivony chose a 22-year-old princess as his wife and to be Queen Ranavalona III. The war continued, and the French occupied Diego Suarez. In 1885 the Ferry administration fell, and a treaty was signed on December 17. France took over all of Madagascar’s external relations and promised not to interfere in its internal affairs. Madagascar was to pay an indemnity of ten million francs. Le Myre de Vilers became the first French resident and came into conflict with Rainilaiarivony. French residents also moved into Tamatave, Majunga, Fianarantsoa, and later Tulear. Everything was to be done in the name of the Queen, but the Prime Minister made the decisions. In the south some chiefs took French merchants for ransom, and Prince Ramahatra seized Tulear for the French in 1890. Madagascar’s army was poorly equipped, and only Merina soldiers were reliable.

On October 17, 1894 Le Myre de Vilers demanded that the French have the right to maintain as many troops as they wanted on the island for security and public works. Ten days later he left Tananarive and ordered the French to go with him. French forces occupied Tamatave on December 12 and Majunga on January 15, 1895. They marched toward the capital during the rainy season, and 6,000 of their 15,000 men died of fever. During the French bombardment of her palace on September 30, the Queen raised a white flag. The next day General Duchesne signed a treaty as the Queen accepted a protectorate. The Resident-General became responsible for internal affairs, and Rainilaiarivony was exiled to Algiers.

In the country the rebellion continued, and on November 22 about 2,000 men captured Arivonimamo near the capital and killed Merina’s governor. The experienced General Joseph Simon Gallieni was sent, and on August 6, 1896 a law proclaimed Madagascar a French colony. The French Chamber of Deputies abolished slavery. Gallieni arrived on September 28 and became governor-general. On October 15 Prince Ratsimamanga and Minister Rainandriamampandry were shot as rebels. Ranavalona was reduced to Queen of Imerina, and then on February 27, 1897 she was exiled to Réunion and then to Algiers. The minister Rasanjy had remained loyal to France and was appointed Governor of Imerina.

Rebel bands were driven back in 1897, and the insurrection among the northern Sakalava was crushed at the end of 1898. A rebellion among the Tanala broke out in 1899 and lasted two years in the forest. Gallieni established a head tax and compulsory labor up to 50 days a year, but the labor was abolished in 1901 and replaced by a tax to pay for public works. He worked on economic development, and imports doubled in two years. In 1900 the pacification was turned over to the Southern High Command under Col. Lyautey. Mahafaly kings surrendered; pacification was completed; and in 1902 the Southern High Command was abolished. In 1904 Corporal Kotavy led a revolt in northern Antandroy, and he was captured in September 1905. When Gallieni left that year, Madagascar had 343 public schools and 178 mission schools with three high schools to teach administrative and commercial skills.

Governor-General Victor Augagneur (1905-09) was a militant Mason and tried to limit the influence of the Christian missions, boosting the Tranozozoro who wanted a “free church in a free country.” About 41,000 men from Madagascar served in Europe during World War I, and 4,000 were killed. Governor-General Hubert Garbit (1914-17 and 1920-23) promoted railway construction and public works. Peasants rose up in February 1915 by the Menarandra River, and the bands of the Sadiavahe movement attacked villages and stole cattle until 1917. In 1919 the influenza pandemic took more than 100,000 lives. The Délégations Economique et Financieres became a consulting assembly in 1924 for settlers who tried to limit the cost of government while benefiting from laws on land and labor. Governor-General Marcel Olivier (1924-29) continued to mobilize labor, and starting in 1926 forced labor was used for public works. That year a decree declared that the state owned all vacant and undeveloped land without owners. Roads for motor cars were extended from 1,300 kilometers in 1925 to 14,500 in 1933.

Jean Ralaimongo was a Protestant teacher who served in France and stayed to meet with socialists. In Madagascar in 1923 he founded a French-language newspaper because political discussion in Malagasy was prohibited. Starting in 1927 like-minded people began publishing L’Opinion in Diego Suarez and L’Aurore Malgache in Antananarivo. On May 19, 1929 Ralaimongo gave a speech and led 3,000 protestors to the Governor’s office in Tananarive. He and Joseph Ravoahangy were put under house arrest, and others went to prison; they were not released until 1936. Ravoahangy called for a “free and independent nation” on July 20, 1934. Governor-General Leon Cayla (1930-39 and 1940-41) suppressed political activity with arbitrary arrests and banned anti-government newspapers. He also helped settlers by getting bonuses added to export prices. The Popular Front government in France got the political prisoners released in 1936 and enabled trade unions to form in 1937.

Governor-General Armant Annet (1941-42) suppressed opposition, restricted Malagasy, and abolished the Délégations. Because Annet supported the Vichy collaboration, the British navy blockaded the island in May 1942, forced Annet to surrender in November, and established the Free French government in January 1943. Farmers were forced to sell all their crops to the Government in 1944 at a low price and had to buy back rice for food at a higher price. The Merina leaders Ravoahangy and Joseph Raseta were elected to the first Constituent Assembly of the Fourth French Republic, but all the French parties opposed Malagasy autonomy. Jacques Rabemananjar was also elected in 1946, and the three formed the Mouvement Démocratique de la Rénovation Malgache (MDRM) and introduced an independence bill. On October 25 Madagascar was divided into five provinces with their own assemblies and budgets, thus isolating Merina.

On March 29, 1947 some radicals attacked the Manakara garrison successfully, but assaults on other posts were disastrous failures. In the fighting rebels killed 28 Europeans and many more Malagasy. The rebellion was brutally suppressed, and the Government claimed that 11,000 people died; but the French Communist Party published there were 90,000 deaths. Governor-General Marcel de Coppet (1946-48) blamed the three deputies and the MDRM for the rebellion. He banned the party, and the three men were sentenced to life imprisonment. His successor, High Commissioner Pierre de Chevigne (1948-50), had dissidents spied on, arbitrarily arrested, and imprisoned without trials on a large scale.


1. Quoted in The Troubled Heart of Africa by Robert B. Edgerton, p. 155 from E. Morel Contre Léopold II: L’Histoire du Congo, 1876-1900, Vol. 2.

Copyright © 2010 by Sanderson Beck

This chapter has been published in the book Mideast & Africa 1700-1950.
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Ottoman Empire 1600-1907
Ottoman Fall and Turkey 1908-1950
Persia (Iran) and Afghanistan 1600-1950
Arabia, Yemen, and Iraq 1600-1950
Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan 1600-1950
Palestine and Zionism 1600-1950
Egypt, Sudan, and Libya 1600-1950
Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco 1600-1950
West Africa and the French 1600-1950
West Africa and the British 1600-1950
Ethiopia and Somaliland 1600-1950
East Africa 1600-1950
Congo, Angola, and Mozambique 1600-1950
Southern Africa 1700-1950
Summary and Evaluation



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