For hundreds of years the ancient city of Kano in Northern Nigeria was a market city and starting point for caravans conveying goods and slaves to North Africa and the Middle East. It is still a center of handicraft and dyed cloth, and you can visit the indigo dyeing pits in the city today. Kano... Continue Reading →
Would Africa have industrialized if the colonialists did not show up?
Were African kingdoms and polities on the road to industrialization before the Europeans came by to disrupt their progress? Were the colonial powers stifling all attempts at industrialization by Africans under their control? These are questions that far too many people imagine have straightforward unimpeachable answers. The countries that colonized Africa were industrialized nation states.... Continue Reading →
THE OTHER SIDE OF COLONIALISM part 3
A few decades ago, I fell ill with the killer disease malaria for the first time in my life. At the time, I was a teen back in Nigeria about to take WAEC, the West African Examinations Council series of tests for West African secondary school leavers. It was three days to the first exam... Continue Reading →
THE OTHER SIDE OF COLONIALISM part 2 (continued)
Another odious practice outlawed by colonialism is slavery. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, there is amnesia among Africans about indigenous African slavery. Some West Africans don’t know much about this slavery, and, like many North Americans, imagine that the only form that existed is Atlantic slavery where whites enslaved Africans and worked... Continue Reading →
THE OTHER SIDE OF COLONIALISM part 2
According to family history, my Uncle Justin and his twin Aunt Monica were the first twins in my ancestral home of Eke in South East Nigeria to survive birth. They were born just after the British colonial authorities stamped out the practice of twin infanticide in that part the country. There was a time when... Continue Reading →
THE OTHER SIDE OF COLONIALISM part 1
Ask an educated African today whether colonialism did anything good for Africa, and you are likely to get the answer, “Absolutely not!” Most—especially those Africans living and educated abroad—will give you a litany of evils that colonialism allegedly brought to the continent. However, at the great risk of being roundly abused for telling obvious truths,... Continue Reading →
HOW TO DEFEAT COLONIALISM IN TWO EASY LESSONS part 2
In the last post, we looked at how the Japanese found ways to resist the predatory behavior of Europe. In this post, we examine how the Soviet Era Russians and their satellite territories found ways to defeat a 20th century effort at colonization and enslavement. RUSSIA The European War of 1939 to 1945—known as the... Continue Reading →
HOW TO DEFEAT COLONIALISM in two easy lessons
Is there anything Africans could have done to forestall or stop colonization? Many of the educated Africans I meet think not. They feel that the countries of Europe were just too powerful militarily. There is some truth to this. But there are questions that could be asked about the behavior of the African kingdoms and... Continue Reading →
CATASTROPHIC COLONIAL CONQUEST: How did Africans prepare for it?
Despite 400 years of contact with Europe, most African kingdoms and chiefdoms—even those on the coast—had no idea what the European nations were up to in the late 19th century. Africans had no idea that Europeans had shared African territory among themselves at a conference in Berlin and were planning to take over the continent.... Continue Reading →
THE SCRAMBLE FOR….WHAT?
Why did the Europeans colonize Africa? The answer is not as simple as many people think. In university, I was certain—as is often the case, without having done any research or read anything that supported my view—that they were driven by a need to control the resources of the continent. A history professor of British... Continue Reading →