Tag: Colonialism

Why Did Britain Change its Stance on Slavery?

Reading time: 7 minutes
By the 1730s, Britain was the largest slave-trading Empire in the world. It is estimated that between 1640 and 1800, private British citizens across the Empire transported 3.1 million Africans as slaves.
Yet less than seven years later, the British parliament officially abolished slavery. And they didn’t stop there. The British government then proceeded to pressure allies and other European nations such as Portugal, Spain and France to also abolish slavery, and devoted significant Royal Navy resources to intercept and arrest slaving ships off the coast of Africa.

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500 years after Ferdinand Magellan landed in Patagonia, there’s nothing to celebrate for its indigenous peoples

Reading time: 5 minutes
Five hundred years ago, on March 31 1520, the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan began a sojourn in a part of South America that has been known as Patagonia ever since. Magellan’s five-month long overwinter in a natural harbour that has become known as Puerto San Julián was part of the first circumnavigation of the globe.

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How They Fought: Indigenous Tactics and Weaponry of Australia’s Frontier Wars – Book Review

Reading time: 3 minutes
This is an excellent and much needed book. It examines the military aspects of the Australian Frontier Wars from an Aboriginal perspective, detailing the tactics, strategy, logistics and weapons Aboriginal people employed to resist European encroachment on their land. Covering several campaigns across different areas and time periods, it details both successes and failures of the Aboriginal military forces. Some of its most interesting conclusions reflect the extent to which Aboriginal resistance slowed and impeded the encroachment of European settlement across Australia.

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The dark history of slavery and racism in Indonesia during the Dutch colonial period

Reading time: 7 minutes
The region near Medan is famous for its Deli tobacco, and colonial planters researched how to boost tobacco production. Behind the golden age and success of Dutch research, I found enormous human casualties that built plantations in North Sumatra. Widespread racism and slavery occurred in plantations managed by colonial companies.

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Slavers in the family: what a castle in Accra reveals about Ghana’s history

Reading time: 6 minutes
The Castle is situated on the West African coast, formerly and notoriously known as the “White Man’s Grave”. The castle’s origins can be traced to a lodge built by Swedes in 1652. Nine years later, the Danish built a fort on the site and called it Fort Christiansborg (“Christian’s Fortress”), named after the King of Denmark, Christian IV.

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Returning looted artefacts will finally restore heritage to the brilliant cultures that made them

Reading time: 6 minutes
European museums are under mounting pressure to return the irreplaceable artefacts plundered during colonial times. As an archaeologist who works in Africa, this debate has a very real impact on my research. I benefit from the convenience of access provided by Western museums, while being struck by the ethical quandary of how they were taken there by illegal means, and by guilt that my colleagues throughout Africa may not have the resources to see material from their own country, which is kept thousands of miles away.

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How whiteness was invented and fashioned in Britain’s colonial age of expansion

Reading time: 6 minutes
Fashion is political — today as in the past. As Britain’s Empire dramatically expanded, people of all ranks lived with clothing and everyday objects in startlingly different ways than generations before.

The years between 1660 and 1820 saw the expansion of the British empire and commercial capitalism. The social politics of Britain’s cotton trade mirrored profound global transformations bound up with technological and industrial revolutions, social modernization, colonialism and slavery.

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Sino-Vietnamese War

Reading time: 5 minutes
The Sino-Vietnamese war was a short, nasty conflict fought between China and Vietnam in early 1979. Largely forgotten by almost everybody including the belligerents, it was a side plot of the Sino-Soviet split, itself a sideshow to the Cold War. Let’s go over the events before, during and after the war to see what it was all about.

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Jamaica’s Morant Bay Rebellion and it’s brutal repression

Reading time: 11 minutes
On 12 October 1865, John Davidson, a magistrate in the east of Jamaica, wrote to the island’s Governor, Edward John Eyre:
‘The people at Morant Bay [on the island’s southeast coast, St. Thomas-in-the-East parish] have risen, burnt down the Court-house, released all the prisoners, murdered several white people.’

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The colonial origins of scientific forestry in Britain

Reading time: 27 minutes
Around 1850 Britain had no forestry service and there was no formal training of foresters. Forestry was still practised in the context of estates mainly owned by the aristocracy and managed by foresters who had learned the traditional management techniques under an apprentice system from their predecessors. British forestry was fragmented, not formalised, and far from centralised during the entire 19th century.

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The R1 – South African Bush Rifle

Reading time: 9 minutes
In the wake of the rise of the Soviet Union’s AK-47 and the USA’s litany of rifles during the Cold War, South Africa needed a modern automatic service rifle. After trialling several different guns, the South African government settled on the Belgian FN FAL battle rifle. As a result, the “Rifle R1” was born – the bush gun of Southern Africa.

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Five myths about the partition of British India – and what really happened

Reading time: 6 minutes
This August marks 75 years since the partition of the Indian subcontinent. British withdrawal from the region prompted the creation of two new states, India and Pakistan.
The process of transferring power grossly simplified diverse societies to make it seem like dividing social groups and drawing new borders was logical and even possible. This decision unleashed one of the biggest human migrations of the 20th century when more than ten million people fled across borders seeking safe refuge.

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