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History 1700. Introduction Justifications for 19 th century European Imperialism Africans disorderly by nature, endemic warfare, could not govern themselves.

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Presentation on theme: "History 1700. Introduction Justifications for 19 th century European Imperialism Africans disorderly by nature, endemic warfare, could not govern themselves."— Presentation transcript:

1 History 1700

2 Introduction Justifications for 19 th century European Imperialism Africans disorderly by nature, endemic warfare, could not govern themselves. Africans welcomed Europeans and intervention, provided opportunity to prosper. End of colonialism, revision of disorder concept. Violence and wars fabricated by explorers, missionaries, and early colonial officials. Mere justifications. “Merrie Africa” – Golden Age of harmonious village life. East and East/Central Africa – changes as a result of contact between African societies and Arab/European mercantile capitalism. Impact of trade when it intersects with local factors long before Europeans politically/military take over Africa. Force inherent in trade powerful for change and dislocation.

3 East African Interior c. 1600 No homogenous/egalitarian villages Existence of interior trade networks Ecological niches – agricultural/pastoral/natural resources Trade bound societies of the area together economically into a mosaic of small, complementary economies Element of differentiation into the regional economy as a whole, with some societies more prosperous than others

4 The Emergence of “Big Men” Existence of complex pattern of regional trade helped fuel and sustain socio-economic differentiation. Emergence of Bwana Mkubwa, or “Big Man.” Person who had access to and control over the most valuable item in African economies, human labor power. More labor power mobilized, more of a commodity he could produce for trade. With trade, “Big Man” could reward clients High quality salt – Uvinza (Tanzania) – traded from Lake Tanganyika to southern tip of Lake Victoria, from eastern Zaire to the Ruaha Valley in the east along trade routes. “Big Man” controlling trade enormously powerful, large clientage. Cross-roads of trade routes –Tabora, where north-south and east- west trade routes crossed, spoke language of Nyamwezi. Well- positioned to take advantage of trade and tribute.

5 Tabora: Crossroad of Trade

6 The Swahili Coast and Long-Distance Trade Swahili Coast after 1500 Emergence of a class-based society, differentiated by role in Indian Ocean trade, with class often associated with cultural markers, as opposed to exclusive racial differences. Shirazi – Urban based in Swahili city-states, Muslim, associated directly/indirectly with trade, origin-myth to Persia (i.e. non-African). Interior relations based upon trade – expand and intensify by the eighteenth century.


8 The Swahili Coast and Long-Distance Trade Long Distance Trade to the Indian Ocean – existed for centuries – small amounts of ivory to supply European and Asian markets, higher quality. 18 th /19 th Centuries – spike in demand for ivory 18 th Century popularity for chinoiserie – craze in European high society for Chinese rugs, paintings, and especially statues, many carved from ivory Industrial Revolution and bourgeois class Leisure time – billiard balls and piano keys Elephants are mobile – trade moves north and deeper into interior – depleted herds near coast – fast moving ivory frontier sweeping across Africa from east to west.

9 The Swahili Coast and Long-Distance Trade Sharp increase in demand for slaves – Three Sources 1807 – large numbers of slaves shipped from the coastal entrepot ports of Mombasa, Lamu, Zanzibar, Kilwa, Angoche, and Quelimane, among others. Most sent to New World to around 1850 or so, esp. Brazil – exceptionally profitable – 85 pounds purchase price, obtained from Mozambique coast for as little as 4 or 6 pounds. 1830 – Arab planters opened clove plantations on islands of Zanzibar and Pemba 1850s – Britain shut down Brazilian trade – shifts to islands of Reunion, Madagascar, the Comoros – French planters Slave trading frontier emerges – moving from east to west, similar to ivory frontier.

10 Political Control of Swahili Coast and Long-Distance Trade Global Politics and the Swahili Coast Portuguese – 16 th century dominate coast and sea lanes of the Indian Ocean Basin. 1498 Vasco da Gama arrives in Mombasa, town is sacked two years later, built Fort Jesus in 1593 in an attempt to colonize, and in 1638 became a formal Portuguese colony, subordinated to Goa. Portuguese also in the Arabian Peninsula – occupied Muscat for nearly 140 years, from 1508-1648, built an outpost to protect their trading-post empire and sea lanes, somewhat similar to Fort Jesus. Rise of the Omani Empire mid-late 17 th century – drive out Portuguese, and push down the East African coast Saif bin Sultan, imam of Oman, takes Mombasa in 1698 after a two-year seige.


12 The Swahili Coast under Omani Rule By early 18 th century – Omanis take over Zanzibar, rest of Portuguese-controlled coast falls to north of Mozambique. Zanzibar – highly lucrative in global slave market – main entrepot for the East African coast. Sultan of Oman, Sa’id ibn Sultan moves capital of empire from Muscat to Zanzibar in 1837. Introduced cloves, sugar, and indigo – Zanzibar becomes world’s largest clove producer in 19 th century. Some 50 plantations on Zanzibar, approximately 50,000 slaves. Death in 1856 – Omani political power begins to wane, British initial advances into the region. Still dominant in Indian Ocean trade. Omani influence reinforces pre-existing Sharazi claims to superior cultural status, as Middle-Eastern origins reinforced by material prosperity of the period.

13 The Coast and the Interior Importance of long-distance trade grew – whole area of east central Africa knit together in first half of 19 th century – acceleration of socio-economic differentiation. New type of regional economic system, characterized by a complex and symbiotic set of trade routes and banking facilities, including checking services and bills of exchange. Oriented and based upon East African coastal ports of Quelimane, Mozambique Island, Kilwa, Zanzibar, Bagamoyo, and Mombasa. Networks dominated by Arab capital/political control in northern sector, or Portuguese/Brazilian capital in less- profitable southern sector.

14 Intersection: Economic and Military Changes Military transformations - Heightened and accelerated of overall pace and importance of economic changes. Partly due to arrival of militarized refugees from South Africa, fleeing from political instablity. Ndebele under leader, Mzilikazi, eventually settled in today’s Zimbabwe; Gaza, under Soshangane, settled in today’s southern Mozambique; Kololo, under Sebitwane, settled in today’s western Zambia. Most striking of all – included the Ngoni, under two different leaders, Maseko and Zwangendaba. Ngoni traveled great distances, as far as Lake Victoria – only in 1850 settled down – intrusion over long period profound impact on east central Africa. Came with new military techniques from South Africa Intrusion coincided with rapid spread of ivory and slave frontiers from east to west, and sharp increase in competition for resources

15 Mfecane Refugee Migrations

16 Chemical Metaphor of Change The reaction was profound between local, lineage- based agricultural societies, representatives of mercantile capital (traders) seeking slaves and ivory, and presence of new military techniques derived from refugees from South Africa. Nature of Mercantile Capitalists – too weak to dominate area on their own, nor do they want to. Must have local partners in the interior – much like European traders in East Asia (16 th -18 th centuries) who used local Indonesian, Chinese, or Indian notables as intermediaries – Marxist parlance, compradores.

17 Emergence of Frontier of Violence Very similar in East Africa – outside traders sought out local “Big Men” – precipitated social/political changes that affected chemistry of region “Big Men” – to fulfill role as trading partners – adopted new military strategies from refugees – bands of young mercenaries – armed their retainers with weapons obtained from the traders “Ruga-Ruga” in Tanzania, “Chikunda” in Mozambique – young men with no prior loyalties, unmarried, and loyal to the “big man” or patron. Development of third frontier – Frontier of Violence – Growing insecurity and need for increased protection by locals, “big men’s” power enhanced, and political arrangements and residence patters in region changed rapidly Old bonds of kinship within lineage transcended regularly (though not abolished) by new bonds between clients and patrons to protect them. Very hierarchical society – matters of power and distribution of goods Lineage being supplanted by what might be called chiefdom; consequence of mercantile relations/militarization – state-building.

18 Nyamwezi of Central Tanzania Tabora area of central Tanzania – importance at crossroad of network of regional trade routes. Area of the Nyamwezi. Slave and Ivory trade reach central Tanzania – early 19 th century – “big men” respond to new opportunities Organize caravans to the coast – number of porters immense – as many as 100,000 for ivory. Similar large caravans with slaves Increased stratification of Nyamwezi society – slave/ivory commodities easily controlled by relatively small number of people having access to labor power/credit. Power used to tax local people in form of ivory, or slaves. Process unfolded of consolidation of upper levels of Nyamwezi society from “big men” to chiefs, some extremely powerful.

19 Tabora: Crossroad of Trade

20 Nyamwezi of Central Tanzania Similar process of differentiation further down social ladder Young men hired themselves out as porters – good wages – but arduous and away for long periods. Began to purchase slaves to work on fields while away at coast; lower levels of society became differentiated in interior between slaves and slave-holders. At this time of rapid change of Nyamwezi society into hierarchies that military impact of mfecane came in, with Nywamwezi chiefs organizing own bands of mercenary ruga- ruga Mirambo – typifying process throughout entire region of east central Africa – sort of East African Shaka

21 Mirambo and East Central Africa 1860 – Became chief of Uyowa, small area on western edge of Unyanyembe, created his own band of ruga-ruga, and used it to annex neighboring chiefdoms. Expansion over 25 year period considerable – controlled the dominant trade route to the coast through Tabora to Ujiji, on the shores of Lake Tanganika. Arab traders – unhappy with Mirambo’s control, and levying of tolls, but too weak to control areas, forced to capitulate and pay. Mirambo united Nyamwezi-speakers for first time into a coherent state, based upon military force and patron-client relations. Dependence upon modern weapons – Sultan of Zanzibar and British curtail interior shipments by late 19 th century Created a state without staying power. Gun-powder state dependent upon weapons controlled by others Based on military strength, failure to establish bureaucracy Mirambo’s death in 1884 – state rapidly fell apart, various army leaders scrambling for control - pattern of inner instability quite typical of the sort of state-building in the region resulting from growth of trade and militarization

22 Conclusion Emergence of Arab control on the coast reinforced and stimulated pre-existing global trade patterns, expanded demand for slaves from interior with plantation slavery. Swahili Coast geographically distinct, also culturally distinct with Omani Empire reinforcing existing Shirazi hegemony, and creating patterns of political and economic claim-making, distinct from “Africans,” that extended into the colonial period. Basic patterns of aggregation of power occurred over an immense area of east central Africa as a result of the combined influences of long-distance slave/ivory trade and increased militarization that spread from mfecane. Dissolution of these gun-powder states – like that of the Nyamwezi – and the conflict that ensued offered justification for colonial incursions to come, but did not reflect what Africans were like as a whole, as reported by early European observers.

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