Archives of Empire: Volume 2. The Scramble for Africa
A rich collection of primary materials, the multivolume Archives of Empire provides a documentary history of nineteenth-century British imperialism from the Indian subcontinent to the Suez Canal to southernmost Africa. Barbara Harlow and Mia Carter have carefully selected a diverse range of texts that track the debates over imperialism in the ranks of the military, the corridors of political power, the lobbies of missionary organizations, the halls of royal geographic and ethnographic societies, the boardrooms of trading companies, the editorial offices of major newspapers, and far-flung parts of the empire itself. Focusing on a particular region and historical period, each volume in Archives of Empire is organized into sections preceded by brief introductions. Documents including mercantile company charters, parliamentary records, explorers’ accounts, and political cartoons are complemented by timelines, maps, and bibligraphies. Unique resources for teachers and students, these volumes reveal the complexities of nineteenth-century colonialism and emphasize its enduring relevance to the “global markets” of the twenty-first century.
While focusing on the expansion of the British Empire, The Scramble for Africa illuminates the intense nineteenth-century contest among European nations over Africa’s land, people, and resources. Highlighting the 1885 Berlin Conference in which Britain, France, Germany, Portugal, and Italy partitioned Africa among themselves, this collection follows British conflicts with other nations over different regions as well as its eventual challenge to Leopold of Belgium’s rule of the Congo. The reports, speeches, treatises, proclamations, letters, and cartoons assembled here include works by Henry M. Stanley, David Livingstone, Joseph Conrad, G. W. F. Hegel, Winston Churchill, Charles Darwin, and Arthur Conan Doyle. A number of pieces highlight the proliferation of companies chartered to pursue Africa’s gold, diamonds, and oil—particularly Cecil J. Rhodes’s British South Africa Company and Frederick Lugard’s Royal Niger Company. Other documents describe debacles on the continent—such as the defeat of General Gordon in Khartoum and the Anglo-Boer War—and the criticism of imperial maneuvers by proto-human rights activists including George Washington Williams, Mark Twain, Olive Schreiner, and E.D. Morel.
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