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Colonial History

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Africa's land was divided by major powers such as Britain, France, Belgian, Spain, and Germany. The invasions were extremely resistant. Davidson emphasizes the countless deaths that would come during each raid of the African peoples land. With this emphasis was a question that came to mind; Davidson did not focus on the How? How could the countries invade the huge area land when export of soldiers had to be much too expensive especially in countries deep within the interior of Africa? To answer this you must look into the military mindset of Europe officials. They would take advantage of the "African manpower", utilizing the dislocation of decades of local rivalries and the leverage and skills of its own people. The Asante Nation was one example of the extent that Britain would reach to gain power. Defeat, control, and humiliation were the keys to the British success. The pacification of land method or "hammering" was widely used, and with the advantage of technology like the Maxim gun many tribes like the Asante had no chance. There were critics to this tactic of control, but because of the already placed mindset of the "Inferior Species" many never were heard. We focused heavily on this truth with readings such as Kipling's "The White Mans Burden".

The film "The Magnificent African Cake" by Basil Davidson showed many different aspects of colonial rule and the consequences to the African people that shortly followed. In this movie Davidson painted a vivid picture of powerful European nations drive for conquest and control and the methods used to justify forced labor, cash crops, and extremely high taxes on the native people. The purpose of the title "The Magnificent African Cake" defines Africa as a open land cake which would be sliced and given to any country with the most effective means to govern over the land weather by direct or indirect rule, assimilation or association, economic, or pure force. Europe's powerful foreign policy would trump the pain that was endured by native Africans during colonial period.

The scramble for Africa was the first point focused in the film by Davidson. He places the audience near old trading posts along the coastline emphasizing the end of the slave trade and the beginning of a new wave of industrialization and commerce. This change sparked 1884 Belgian Congress meeting and the divisions of the land and people of Africa, as quoted "Any power that could occupy African Soil can claim it". The film did a great job of describing the viewpoint of colonial officials and their justification of the approach of gaining their space on African soil. Opinions of the native people were truly nonexistent viewing Africans as quoted "helpless children, lazy savages that Christian Europe could justify taking their country from them". Also learned in class Richard Reid also cements this understanding



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