BECK index

Summary and Evaluation of Mideast & Africa 1700-1950

by Sanderson Beck

Ottoman Empire and Turkey 1700-1950
Persia, Arabia, and Iraq 1700-1950
Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine 1700-1950
North Africa 1700-1950
West Africa 1700-1950
East Africa 1700-1950
Southern Africa 1700-1050
Evaluating the Mideast and Africa 1700-1950

This chapter has been published in the book Mideast & Africa 1700-1950.
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Ottoman Empire and Turkey 1700-1950

Ancient Near East
Muslim Mideast 610-1700

The Ottoman empire lost territory to the Hapsburg empire in 1699 and 1718 but gained Morea from Venice. The “tulip era” of Sultan Ahmed III (r. 1703-30) was influenced by European culture. The Janissaries made Mahmud I (r. 1730-54) sultan of the Ottoman empire, and he went to war with Russia and the Habsburgs, regaining territory. After adopting western military methods, Mustafa III (r. 1757-74) declared war on Russia, but he had to recognize Russia’s right to protect Christians in Ottoman Europe. Abdul Hamid (r. 1774-89) had little money and avoided war until late in his reign. Selim III (r. 1789-1807) sponsored military education, land and tax reforms, and a government monopoly on grain. After the French invaded Egypt in 1798, he made an alliance with Russia and England. By 1806 the Ottoman empire was at war with Russia over Moldavia and Wallachia and allied again with France. Janissaries mutinied and deposed Selim; but Albanian troops made his brother Mahmud II (r. 1808-39) sultan. A Greek revival broke into revolt in 1821, and they struggled to form a constitutional government.

After Mahmud II rejected a treaty, European navies destroyed the fleets of the Turks and Egyptians in 1827. Russia invaded the Ottoman empire and made a treaty with Mahmud in 1829. Mahmud had abolished the Janissaries in 1826 and began instituting reforms. Egypt invaded Syria in 1833, but the British forced them to withdraw in 1839. Abdul Mejid (r. 1839-61) announced reorganization (Tanzimat), and a revised law code was promulgated in 1851. Diplomacy failed to prevent the Crimean War against Russia, but the British and French helped defend the Ottoman empire. The 1856 treaty at Paris called for more reforms in the Ottoman empire that benefited European commerce. The Turks began modernizing their schools.

Abdul Aziz (r. 1861-76) was autocratic and resisted reforms while many provinces began demanding more autonomy. Young Turks such as Namik Kemal (1840-88) called for liberty and constitutional government while maintaining Islamic law. His and other plays dramatized patriotic and romantic themes. After 1871 Abdul Mejid reverted to his irresponsible ways and ran up a debt of £200,000,000. Insurrections were crushed. The Ottoman empire suffered from the economic mercantilism and capitalist advantages imposed by European powers.

In May 1876 Bulgarians in Serbia rebelled against the Ottoman empire, and Abdul Aziz committed suicide. Serbia declared war on July 2. War costs depreciated Ottoman money, and men fighting caused famine. Abdulhamid II became sultan and accepted a new constitution in December. Russia declared war; Istanbul was besieged; and the Ottomans accepted an armistice and signed a treaty in March 1878, giving up two-fifths of their territory. The Chamber of Deputies was dissolved and did not meet for thirty years. Writers were banned, and censorship limited publications. The Ottoman debt was restructured at £106,000,000. European bondholders influenced much of the economy, and Abdulhamid promoted Pan-Islamism.

Armenians revolted in 1893, and the Ottoman government killed about 150,000 and more by 1896. Young Turks worked for a democratic revolution. Crete revolted in 1897 and became autonomous. A new poll tax in 1905 provoked demonstrations, and Young Turks formed the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP).

In 1908 CUP started a revolution and demanded constitutional government. Sultan Abdulhamid called elections, and political prisoners were released. The Armenian Revolutionary Federation demanded free movement. Bulgaria became independent. CUP dominated the provinces, and their Action Army occupied Istanbul in April 1909. The National Assembly replaced Sultan Abdulhamid with Mehmet V. In 1912 CUP used intimidation and bribery to win all but six seats. Albania became independent.

Italy invaded Tripoli on October 4, 1911 and took over the coast. One year later the Balkan states declared war. CUP formed a military government, and in wars the Ottoman empire lost most of its European territory. Ziya Gokalp advocated Turkish nationalism. On August 2, 1914 Enver, Talat, and Grand Vizier Said Halim agreed to an alliance with Germany. Russia, Britain, and France declared war on the Ottoman empire. Armenians were disarmed and put to work while others deserted to the Russians. The Turks relocated Armenians and killed about a million of them. In the war Russians killed more than a million Muslims. The Ottomans surrendered, and CUP leaders fled. The Ottoman empire retained little more than Anatolia, and their cities were occupied.

Mustafa Kemal began organizing Turkish soldiers in Anatolia. He resigned from the army and worked for Turkish independence. A National Congress at Sivas elected Kemal president in September 1919. The nationalists won seats in an election. Kemal moved the Representative Committee to Ankara and started a newspaper. The Chamber of Deputies was dissolved, and Allied forces put Istanbul under martial law.

In March 1920 Kemal called a national election, and the elected National Assembly at Ankara made him president. In August the Ottoman government made a treaty with the Allies. During the civil war the Assembly gave Turkey a constitution in 1921. Kemal was given dictatorial power, and his army defeated the Greeks near Ankara. In August 1922 the Turkish army of 208,000 defeated 225,000 Greeks at Dumlupinar. The Greeks left Istanbul and agreed to an armistice in October. The National Assembly abolished the sultanate, and the Grand Vizier’s cabinet resigned. Kemal founded the People’s Party, and Turkey was made a republic. On July 24, 1923 Turkey signed a treaty with Greece, Britain, France, and Italy. About 380,000 Muslims moved to Turkey, and more than a million Greek Orthodox migrated to Greece. About 2.5 million Anatolian Muslims had died in the wars. Turkey became 98% Muslim.

The Republic of Turkey established a more secular state and provided public education for all children. A constitution was adopted in April 1924. Dissidents led by Hüseyin Rauf founded the Progressive Republican Party (PRP), and the People’s Party became the Republican People’s Party (RPP). Kurds were about a fifth of the population and were suppressed over the years. In 1925 Kemal re-appointed Ismet (Inonü) prime minister, and they passed the Maintenance of Order Law to ban organizations and periodicals. The PRP was dissolved. In 1926 Turkey adopted the European calendar and time, the Swiss civil code, the Italian penal code, and German commercial laws. Turkey also adopted the Roman alphabet. In 1931 the RPP congress declared Turkey a one-party state with the principles of republicanism, secularism, nationalism, populism, statism, and revolutionism. Turkey joined the League of Nations and the International Court of Justice at The Hague. In 1934 everyone in Turkey had to choose a family name, and Mustafa Kemal was named Ataturk. Women gained the vote and were elected.

Ataturk died in November 1938, and Ismet Inonü was elected president. Turkey was neutral in the war until 1945 when it joined the United Nations. The Democratic Party was founded, and Inonü made elections more democratic. The United States gave aid to Turkey. In 1950 the Democratic Party won the election, and Celal Bayar became president.

Persia, Arabia, and Iraq 1700-1950

Ancient Near East
Muslim Mideast 610-1700

Persian government and army deteriorated in the 17th century. Intolerant Shi’i clerics persecuted all other religions. Afghans revolted, and in 1722 Mir Mahmud captured Isfahan. Ottomans and Russians grabbed western territory as Ashraf took over for the Sunni Afghans; but Nadir Quli Beg led the Persian army to victory over the Afghans in 1729.

Nadir Shah (r. 1736-47) moved the Persian capital to Mashhad, and in 1739 he plundered Delhi. Back in Persia and Iraq, the war expenses of his conquering army caused hardships. After Nadir was assassinated, chiefs put young Shahrukh on the throne. Ahmad Shah Durrani (r. 1747-73) in Qandahar protected Khurasan. Karim Khan fought his way to power to establish the brief Zand dynasty in 1757 but ruled justly until 1779. Then a struggle for power lasted fifteen years until Agha Muhammad Khan founded the Qajar dynasty in 1794.

Fath ‘Ali Khan (r. 1797-1834) consolidated his power in Tehran. In treaties Persia ceded territory to Russia in 1813 and protected England’s route to India the next year. Iran lost more fertile land to the Russians in 1828. Muhammad Shah (r. 1834-48) suppressed rebellions and allowed the Persian treasury to be depleted. Nasir al-Din Shah (r. 1848-96) gave up claims to Afghanistan in 1857 and relied on governors to raise money by taxing the people. He gave concessions to the British. Jamal al-Din al-Afghani challenged this policy in his writings and was deported in 1891. A nationwide boycott forced the Government to cancel the tobacco concession in 1892. Discontent increased, and the Shah was assassinated on May 1, 1896. Persia borrowed £3,000,000 from Russia. Educational, revolutionary, and secret societies were organized.

A general strike in Tehran led in 1906 to an elected Assembly that passed fundamental laws providing equal rights and free expression. In 1908 Muhammad ‘Ali Shah declared martial law and closed the Assembly. A revolution led to the parliament replacing him in July 1909 with Ahmad Shah. The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company was formed, and Iran was neutral during the Great War. In February 1921 Reza Khan used force to replace the pro-British regime in Tehran. He was supported by moderate reformers and shut down radical newspapers. In October 1923 Ahmad Shah appointed Reza Khan prime minister.

Two years later the Assembly deposed the Shah and made Reza Pahlavi the Shah of Iran in December 1925. He used the military to suppress rebellions and executed or banished tribal leaders. He had dictatorial control and became wealthy, but Iran began using the Italian Penal Code and the French Civil Code. Socialist parties and trade unions were banned, and strikers were punished. Education became nationalistic. Capitulations to Europeans were abrogated. Women were given more freedom, and the veil was banned in 1936. The Government took over all religious property in 1939. Taxes were shifted to peasants. Iran was neutral in the war but had close relations with Germany.

In August 1941 the British and Soviet armies occupied Iran and replaced Reza Shah with his son Muhammad Reza. The United States began sending aid. In 1945 Azerbaijan became independent. British and American troops left, but Soviets stayed until May 1946. The Tuda Party formed unions and gained reforms. Prime Minister Qavam started the Democrat Party and turned against the Communists. The US increased military aid. The Shah revived the Senate and appointed half of them. After he was wounded, the Tuda Party was banned and martial law was declared in 1949. Mossadeq led a movement for fair elections, and then Prime Minister Razmara began favoring the Soviet Union.

In 1844 the Bab proclaimed his spiritual mission at Shiraz. His idea of a new era offended Muslims. He was executed in 1850, and hundreds of Babis were killed after an attempted assassination of Nasir al-Din in 1852. Bahá’u’lláh came to Baghdad in 1856 and advised Babis not to use violent resistance against the persecution. Bahá’u’lláh wrote mystical books, and in 1863 he founded an ecumenical religion called Bahá’í. He was imprisoned by the Turks that year until his death in 1892. He sent letters in 1867 to the rulers of France, Russia, England, Germany, Austria, Persia, America, and the Ottoman empire, asking them to make peace. His son ‘Abdu’l-Bahá carried on his teaching and was freed from captivity in 1908. He spoke in Europe and America from 1911 to 1913 about the unity of humanity.

Afghanistan ended its second war with the British with a treaty in 1880, and they made a treaty with Russia in 1887. Abdur Rahman governed Afghanistan autocratically 1880-1901. His son Habibullah (r. 1901-19) governed with more tolerance, and Afghanistan was neutral during the Great War. Amanullah took power, fought British India, and made a treaty in 1919. He tried to modernize Afghanistan. A revolt against taxes led to King Amanullah abdicating in January 1929. Habibullah Ghazi took power but was overthrown by Nadir Khan in October. Nadir confirmed Islamic law, and in 1931 a new constitution was promulgated. Nadir was assassinated in 1933, and his son Muhammad Zahir Shah became king. Afghanistan was neutral again during World War II.

Al-Wahhab (1703-92) in Arabia taught puritanical reforms, and at al-Diriya in 1744 he made an alliance with Muhammad ibn Saud. The Wahhabis raided neighbors and in 1773 took over Riyadh. They invaded Oman and Karbala of Iraq in 1802. The Wahhabis captured Mecca, and in 1805 they stopped Ottoman pilgrimages. Although they tried to help the poor, revolts were frequent; most of the declining revenue went to the soldiers and the Saudi and Wahhabi families. The Egyptian army invaded the Hijaz for the Ottoman empire in 1811, took over Mecca in 1813, and by 1818 had destroyed al-Diriya. Abdallah ibn Saud’s son Turki drove the Egyptians out of Arabia in 1824 and governed until he was assassinated in 1834. Egypt invaded again, but in 1840 the British persuaded Muhammad ‘Ali to withdraw his troops. Turki’s son Faisal escaped from Egypt in 1843 and returned to rule the Saudi kingdom until 1865. For the next ten years his sons fought over the kingdom.

After a series of tribal wars Abdul Aziz ibn Saud became head of the Saudi family and ruled Arabia 1902-53. He revived Wahhabi religion and doubled Saudi territory. Ibn Saud made an agreement with the British in December 1915. In July 1916 Sharif Hussein began a revolt against the Ottoman empire, capturing Mecca and Jeddah. T. E. Lawrence got weapons and money for the revolt from the British, and they captured Aqaba. British and Arab forces then took Jerusalem and Damascus. British subsidies for Arab leaders ended in 1924, and diplomacy settled Arabia’s borders by 1925. Hussein left the Hijaz, and Ibn Saud took it over in 1926. Stopping corruption increased the pilgrims coming to Mecca. Ibn Saud bought guns from the British and defeated the Ikhwan at Sabillah on March 30, 1929. Najd and Hijaz were merged into Saudi Arabia in 1932. Ibn Saud began leasing oil-drilling rights to American companies in 1933, enabling him to pay his debts by 1939. When World War II started, he declared neutrality. Saudi Arabia made millions on oil but in 1946 spent only $750,000 on schools.

Yemen freed itself from the Ottoman empire in 1630. Egyptians invaded in 1837, but the British forced them out. Yemen came under the Turks again but signed a treaty with Britain in 1886. The British forced the Turks out in 1918, and Idrisi rulers accepted Saudi sovereignty in 1926. Imam Yahya was a strong leader from 1904 until he was assassinated in 1948.

Oman was independent after 1744, and it was ruled by Imam Saud be Sultan 1804-56 and by Sultan Said ben Taimur 1932-70. Bahrain was under the Persian empire 1601-1783 before becoming independent.

Iraq’s provinces of Mosul, Baghdad, and Basra paid tribute to the Ottoman empire from 1534 until the British invaded during the 1914-18 war. Mahmud Barzinji governed Lower Kurdistan for the British. In April 1920 the Peace Conference gave the mandate for Iraq to the British. Armed rebellion began in June and was mostly defeated by October when Percy Cox arrived in Baghdad as the first high commissioner. Administrators from the Ottoman administration were restored. A British conference at Cairo decided to install the Hashemite Faisal as king of Iraq in August. Shi‘a opposition parties formed and were encouraged by Faisal. In 1922 Turks invaded Mosul and Kurdish areas, but British and Iraqi forces drove them out in 1924. An Assembly began meeting, and elections were held in 1925. Oil concessions led to four western companies owning 95% of the Iraq Petroleum Company. In March 1931 two parties merged into the Patriotic Brotherhood Party but were not allowed to assemble and began a general strike in Baghdad. Kurds rebelled in the north. The Iraqi government guaranteed rights of minorities on May 30, 1932, and the League of Nations admitted Iraq on October 3.

Elections were held in February 1933, and King Faisal died on September 8 and was succeeded by his son Ghazi. Uprisings began in January 1935 but were put down. Arab nationalists led by Hikmat Sulaiman took power and made military training compulsory, but he resigned in 1937. Officers won the election. Ghazi died in a car accident on April 4, 1939, and Prince ‘Abd al-Ilah became regent for 3-year-old Faisal II and governed until 1953. The army took control of Baghdad in 1941 as the Regent fled to Basra. British troops invaded in April and took over Baghdad. Nuri al-Sa‘id became prime minister for the third of eight times. In January 1943 Iraq declared war on Germany, Italy, and Japan. Iraq’s prime ministers changed frequently, and Communists were arrested. In 1948 Iraq sent 18,000 soldiers to Palestine.

Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine 1700-1950

Ancient Near East
Muslim Mideast 610-1700

Syria and Lebanon were part of the Ottoman empire after 1516. France began trading with Syria and Lebanon in 1535 when it gained capitulations which were renewed in 1740. Egyptians took over Syria and Lebanon from 1832 to 1840. In Lebanon conflicts between Druze and Maronite Christians led to a civil war in 1860. As education increased, secret societies such as al-Fatat formed in 1911 to work on liberation from Ottoman domination. In 1918 Arabs in Damascus led by Faisal declared independence. The French occupied Syria, and on March 7, 1920 Faisal was proclaimed king. In April the League of Nations gave the mandate for Syria to France. Faisal led Syrians against the French, but he was expelled in August. Leading rebels were imprisoned. Druze and other rebels fought the French in 1925 and 1926.

In Syria’s 1928 elections the Nationalists did well, but High Commissioner Ponsot and the moderates kept Taj al-Din al-Hasani as prime minister. Ponsot decreed a new constitution in May 1930. The Government list won the elections in January 1932, and the National Bloc organized demonstrations and some terror in Aleppo. In Lebanon the French suspended the constitution and dissolved the Chamber of Deputies to keep Muslim Muhammad al-Jisr from being elected president. The Nationalists boycotted the Parliament in Damascus. Radicals founded the League of National Action in August 1933. High Commissioner Martel asked Taj to form a government and suspended the Parliament indefinitely. The National Bloc organized a national strike that lasted six weeks in early 1936. The Socialist Leon Blum won in France, and in November the Syrians elected the National Bloc. Lebanon elected the Maronite Eddé president, and he chose a Sunni as prime minister. The National Bloc in Syria became divided. In July 1939 High Commissioner Puaux suspended the Syrian constitution and dissolved the Parliament.

In August 1940 the French governments in Syria and Lebanon became pro-German. The British invaded in June 1941, and independence was proclaimed in the fall. De Gaulle urged elections, and in July 1943 leftists won in Syria. In Lebanon the French Delegate-General Helleu arrested the elected leaders and dissolved the Assembly, but the British intervened to restore them. The French used armed force, and the British restrained them. In March 1945 Syria and Lebanon helped create the Arab League. French troops withdrew from Syria and Lebanon in 1946. Lebanon became independent of Syria, which spent more on education. On March 30, 1949 Col. Husni az-Za‘im took over the government of Syria, and he banned political parties. In August Col. Sami Hinnawi captured and executed Za‘im. Elections were held with women voting for the first time. On December 19 Col. Adib Shishakli arrested Hinnawi, and Syria’s Assembly adopted a liberal constitution on September 5, 1950. Bishara al-Khuri was president of Lebanon 1943-52.

Kahlil Gibran was born in Lebanon in 1883. He wrote and illustrated spiritual stories that challenge authorities. The Maronite Christians excommunicated him, and he advocated the independence of Lebanon and Syria. Gibran moved to Boston in 1910 and spent his last twenty years in New York City before his death in 1931. He wrote in Arabic but began publishing in English in 1918. In 1920 he and Mikhail Naimy founded the Pen League for Lebanese-American authors. His best and most famous book The Prophet was first published in English in 1923. The Prophet has inspiring discourses on love, marriage, children, giving, work, joy and sorrow, buying and selling, laws, freedom, reason and passion, self-knowledge, teaching, friendship, good and evil, prayer, pleasure, beauty, religion, and death. He emphasized freedom and the centrality of love.

Trans-Jordan was part of the Ottoman empire until 1917, and then Faisal ruled it as part of Syria until July 1920. The British made his brother ‘Abdullah emir of Trans-Jordan in April 1921. The first election for the Legislative Council was in February 1929. Trans-Jordan declared war on Germany in September 1939, and British subsidies increased. On May 25, 1946 the parliament proclaimed ‘Abdullah king of Jordan. After Israel declared its independence and fought for territory, Jordan annexed the West Bank of the Jordan River in December 1948. The April 1950 elections brought Palestinian Arabs into Jordan’s legislature.

Muslim Turks persecuted Jews and Christians in Palestine, but the region was exempt from military service until 1862. The Jews in Palestine doubled in less than ten years to 26,000 in 1880. In January 1916 Mark Sykes and Georges-Picot secretly agreed that Palestine was to be governed by the French, Russians, and British. The British invaded with Egyptians and captured Jerusalem on December 9, 1917. The Ottomans surrendered in October 1918, and the English and French promised self-determination. In February 1919 the Muslim-Christian Association in Palestine opposed Jewish immigration. Authorities calculated there were 551,000 Muslims, 65,300 Jews, and 62,500 Christians. Arabs in Jerusalem demanded autonomy for Palestine within Syria.

In the late 19th century the Zionist movement to establish a home for Jews in Palestine was financed by Edmund de Rothschild. In 1896 Theodor Herzl published The Jewish State in Vienna, arguing that a Jewish state was needed because of anti-Semitism. In 1897 he organized a conference in Basle that created the World Zionist Organization with himself as president. Hebrew was made the language of the Zionist movement. About 30,000 Jews came to Palestine between 1905 and 1914, many from Russia. Funds were raised to make buying land easy. Tel Aviv and the first kibbutz Degania were founded in 1909. During the Great War the Jews in Palestine were forced to work and were persecuted. On November 2, 1917 the Balfour Declaration expressed British support for Palestine as a national home for Jews. In January 1919 Weizmann persuaded Emir Faisal to agree to guarantee Jewish immigration into Palestine.

In July 1920 the British appointed the Zionist Herbert Samuel to head a civilian government in Jerusalem, and two years later the League of Nations approved the British mandate over Palestine. Chaim Weizmann was elected president of the Zionist Organization, and he raised $20 million. Jerusalem became the capital, and Hebrew University was founded in 1925. In 1927 delegates formed the United Kibbutz, and in 1928 the Knesset Israel began representing Jews in Palestine. Hitler’s polices caused German Jews to emigrate to Palestine, and in three years the Jewish population in Palestine doubled to 370,000 in 1935 while the Muslim population grew to 960,000. Jabotinsky led radical Jews in the Revisionist Party, and Muslims founded the National Defense Party in December 1934. Partition of Palestine was debated in 1937. By then the Jewish Self-Defense Corps (Haganah) had 10,000 trained soldiers. Ben-Gurion led the militant Jews.

During World War II the Jews supported the Allies while some Arab leaders turned toward Germany; but some radical Jews (Lech’i) used terror against the British occupation. After the British refused to allow more concentration camp survivors to immigrate, these attacks increased. The British intercepted 58 of the 63 refugee ships and interned 51,700 on Cyprus. During the Zionist Congress at Basle in December 1946 Ben-Gurion won over the moderates, and Weizmann was replaced as president. In 1947 the United Nations appointed a Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP), but Arabs opposed the report and the partition plan.

The British planned to leave Palestine on May 14, 1948. They left Haifa in April, and the Jews took it over as Arabs fled. Jews captured Jaffa on May 14, and 70,000 Arab civilians departed. On that day David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the independence of Israel on the radio, and two hours later US President Truman recognized Israel, followed by the Soviet Union two days later. Twice as many Arabs lived in Palestine as Jews. Each side had about 30,000 soldiers with most of the Arabs attacking from Egypt, Iraq, and Syria. Egyptians occupied the Negev Desert, and Jordanians captured Jerusalem. During a one-month truce Arabs increased their forces to 45,000, but Israel’s army grew to 60,000 and was well armed. A second truce was soon accepted. In September a Palestinian government was established in Gaza. Israel’s air force bombed the Sinai, and Egyptians withdrew from the Negev Desert; but Israel withdrew from the Sinai to avoid a confrontation with the British. Egyptians remained in Gaza in the armistice agreement. In 1949 Ralph Bunche mediated agreements between Israel and Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria.

Israel held its first elections on January 25, 1949. Weizmann was elected president, but Ben-Gurion governed as prime minister. Israel was admitted into the United Nations in May. On January 1, 1950 Israel moved its government to Jerusalem, which was divided into two zones under Israel and Jordan. In 1950 about 600,000 Palestinian refugees found new homes. Jordan annexed the Palestinian territory on the West Bank of the Jordan River which had 420,000 refugees.

North Africa 1700-1950

Africa to 1700

The Ottomans Turks conquered Egypt in 1517. Turkish officers collected taxes called “protection charges” and came into conflict with Arab shaykhs. A vendetta between the Fiqari and Qasimi families caused instability. ‘Ali Bey deposed the viceroy in 1768 and attacked the Ottomans in Syria; but he was imprisoned in Egypt and died. Peasants refusing to pay high taxes left their farms, causing a famine and economic collapse. In 1786 the Ottomans sent troops to Egypt. Scholars from al-Azhar led the uprising of 1795 against high taxes. In 1798 Napoleon led the French invasion of Egypt, overcoming Ottoman and Egyptian resistance by killing thousands. A British force pushed the French out in 1801, and French researchers published the 20-volume Description de l’Egypte. The British withdrew two years later.

Albanian officer Muhammad ‘Ali distributed grain and became viceroy in 1805. His forces attacked the Mamluks and collected taxes, and they repelled a British invasion in 1807. Muhammad ‘Ali massacred Mamluks and tripled revenues by exporting grain from Upper Egypt. His son Ibrahim led the army that helped the Ottomans defeat the Wahhabi revolt in Arabia in 1818. The Egyptian government manufactured armaments and wove cotton, jute, and silk as the Viceroy monopolized staple foods and used corvée labor on canals. His son Isma‘il Pasha captured 20,000 slaves from Sudan for the army. Muhammad ‘Ali used half his budget to pay his army of 130,000. His son Ibrahim Pasha led troops aiding the Ottoman fight against the Greeks and in 1831 invaded Syria, occupying Konya and threatening Istanbul; but Muhammad ‘Ali stopped him, and the Egyptian army withdrew. Ibrahim led another invasion of Syria in 1839, but Europeans persuaded Egypt to accept the Balta Liman treaty banning monopolies and limiting its army. Wealthy private estates increased.

Muhammad ‘Ali’s son Muhammad Sa’id (r. 1854-63) and Isma‘il Pasha (r. 1863-1879) borrowed money for construction, and the Suez Canal opened in 1869. Egypt spent money on railways, Nile canals, telegraph lines, and sugar mills, and their debt went from £7 million to £98 million. Egypt sold the Suez Canal to Britain. English and French agents influenced Egypt to liquidate assets to pay debts. British forces took over Alexandria and Cairo in 1882. Consul-General Evelyn Baring governed Egypt and became Lord Cromer in 1892 before resigning in 1907. ‘Abduh became Grand Mufti in 1899 and worked for reforms. Kitchener commanded the Egyptian army which took over Sudan in 1899. Foreigners dominated Egyptian government while the Egyptian population nearly doubled in thirty years. In 1914 the British went to war against the Ottoman empire and declared Egypt a protectorate. In November 1918 the Egyptian Delegation demanded independence, and in 1919 Zaghlul founded the Wafd Party. The British deported Zaghlul three times.

In 1922 the British declared Egypt independent, and King Fu’ad promulgated a constitution in April 1923, ending martial law in July. In January 1924 Zaghlul’s Wafd Party won the elections. British troops remained in Egypt until 1929 and after that stayed at the Suez Canal. In 1930 King Fu’ad replaced Prime Minister Nahhas with Isma’il Sidqi, and Parliament was dissolved. Fu’ad died in April 1936 and was succeeded by his son Faruq. In May the Wafd Party won the elections, and Prime Minister Nahhas made a treaty with the British. Faruq supported the British in World War II and declared martial law. He was forced to appoint Nahhas, who allowed corruption. After the war Egypt joined the United Nations and asked the British for full independence. King Faruq appointed Sidqi again, and he allowed demonstrations. The British left Cairo in March 1948, and in May Egyptians invaded Palestine and occupied the Gaza strip.

Funj kings ruled Islamic Sudan in the 17th and 18th centuries. Egypt conquered Sudan in 1820. In 1874 Viceroy Isma’il tried to end slavery in Sudan and sent Charles Gordon, but he resigned in 1879. In 1881 Ahmad ibn ‘Abdallah as the Mahdi led a rebellion, and in January 1885 they killed General Gordon at Khartoum. The Mahdi died of illness, and his successor (Khalifa) ‘Abdallahi sent his army against the Abyssinians in a costly victory in March 1889. That August the Mahdist army was defeated by an Anglo-Egyptian army at Tushki. Kitchener’s Anglo-Egyptian army defeated another large Mahdist army in April and September 1898, and the Khalifa was killed in November 1899. British and Egyptians agreed to govern Sudan together. Darfur became a province in 1916. Nationalists organized and revolted in 1927. The Anglo-Egyptian treaty of 1936 let Egyptians return to Sudan, causing resentment. The radical Azhari won elections in 1943 and formed the Ashiqqa (Brothers) party.

In Tripoli cavalry chief Ahmad Qaramanli overthrew the Ottoman governor by massacring 300 Janissary officers in 1711. His Qaramanli dynasty governed for the Ottomans and exploited privateering while making commercial treaties with Britain and France. Their navy extorted money, and a war with Americans was settled in 1805. The British made them give up piracy in 1816. Al-Sanusi founded the Sufi Sanusiyya Order that became a political movement and spread.

Italians occupied Tripoli on October 4, 1911. A year later a treaty granted Libya independence. A Sanusi state fought with Tripoli against an Italian invasion in 1913. A Sanusi invasion of Egypt was defeated by the British in January 1916. Al-Baruni called a Tripolitania conference, which formed a republic on November 16, 1918. Sanusis won the elections in Cyrenaica in 1920, but feuds led to civil war. Mussolini’s Fascists conquered Libya by 1923. Interior tribes fought a guerrilla war against the Italians, and in 1932 the Fascists put tribes in concentration camps. After Rommel’s German victories, the Allies drove the Germans out of Libya in 1943. In June 1949 Sayyid Idris proclaimed Cyrenaica independent, and the constitution was promulgated on October.

Turkish Janissaries governed Algiers and monopolized privateering, acquiring 25,000 Christian captives. Algeria became a military republic in 1671, but fourteen of the thirty deys elected in the next century and a half were removed by assassination. Military officers used the privileged makhzan tribes to collect taxes. As privateering profits decreased and taxes increased, Algerians complained about exporting wheat. The Darqawiyya Tariqa rebelled in the west from 1783 to 1805. In 1816 the British fleet forced Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli to prohibit piracy. Economic collapse was worsened by famine, epidemics, and smuggling food to Algeria. A dispute over a French debt for Algerian wheat provoked French, British, and Russian warships to destroy the Algerian and Tunisian fleets in 1827.

Three years later France invaded Algiers and began colonization. Emir ‘Abdul-Qadir led a rebellion in the countryside, but in 1843 he fled to Morocco and got them involved. Franco-Muslim courts were established in 1854. A Kabyla revolt led by al-Muqrani in 1871 that ruined the economy was crushed, and the French imposed a war indemnity to pay for colonization. Muslims paid taxes but had few votes on the council. In 1898 anti-Semitism caused persecution of Jews. In 1912 Algerians owned only 38% of the land. The Young Algerians worked for reform. More than 206,000 Algerians fought for France in the Great War.

European colonists made seven times as much money as the Algerians, owned most of the land, and had most of the public funds spent on their schools even though the Muslims were the vast majority of the population. Various organizations worked for Algerian independence, withdrawal of the French army, and better treatment for Muslims. The Algerian Muslim Congress was formed in 1936 and adopted a Charter of Demands. As World War II was ending, Algerians began fighting for independence, and many were killed or arrested. In 1947 all Algerians were declared citizens of France, but 510,000 Europeans and assimilated Muslims had the same representation as 1,500,000 Muslims. Algerians continued to fight against the colonial oppression.

Tunisia was under the Ottoman Empire from 1574. The Muradists profited from trade with Europe and monopolized agriculture. After a 20-year civil war, cavalry commander Husain ibn ‘Ali gained power and was recognized as pasha by the Ottomans in 1711. After another civil war over Tunisian succession, ‘Ali Bey II (r. 1759-82) and Hamuda Bey (r. 1782-1814) eliminated government price fixing, reduced taxes and expenditures, and improved army discipline, allowing prosperity. Ahmad Bey (r. 1837-55) governed Tunisia independently and banned slavery in 1846, but his extravagance enriched European merchants and depleted the currency. In 1862 vizier Khaznadar began borrowing money for Tunisia in fraudulent transactions. In 1873 Khayr al-Din replaced the corrupt Khaznadar and reduced taxes.

In 1881 French forces invaded Tunisia, and they set up French courts. In 1896 Italians were allowed to have their own schools, clubs, and newspapers. Europeans took over land from the tribes. In 1907 Hamba organized the Young Tunisians. France conscripted about 70,000 Tunisians for the Great War. After the war a party working for a constitution was called Dustur. The CGTT labor union organized strikes, and leaders were arrested in February 1925. The Neo-Dustur party began in 1934, and hundreds became political prisoners. German forces occupied Tunisia in 1942 but had to surrender to the Allies in May 1943. By 1950 Neo-Dustur had 210,000 members.

In Morocco Mawlay Isma‘il (r. 1672-1727) claimed religious authority as a sharif. He recruited black Africans into his army of 150,000 and by 1691 had consolidated his kingdom. Mawlay ‘Abdulla became sultan in 1729 but was deposed four times. Mawlay Muhammad ibn ‘Abdulla (r. 1757-90) overcame Wadaya resentment at Fez in 1760 and suppressed Sanhaja revolts; but lack of security and a plague reduced the population of Morocco by two million. Morocco’s Sultan Mawlay Sulayman (r. 1792-1822) promoted trade at first but later banned exports and collected 50% duty on imports. Mawlay ‘Abdul-Rahman (r. 1822-59) intervened briefly on behalf of Algerians against the French in 1844 but was defeated, and the French navy bombarded Tangier and Mogador. In 1856 he made a treaty with the British and reduced import duties to ten percent. After Spanish forces defeated Anjara warriors in 1860, Morocco’s Muhammad IV (r. 1859-73) agreed to pay a war indemnity to Spain, provoking riots in Marrakesh.

Mawlay Hasan (r. 1873-94) modernized Morocco’s army and reformed taxes. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz (r. 1894-1908) changed tax collection and had to fight a civil war. He borrowed money from Europeans, who gained equal trading rights in 1906. The French invaded Morocco in March 1907, and ‘Abd al-‘Aziz abdicated in 1908. French soldiers occupied Fez in 1911, and in 1912 Sultan Hafid accepted a French protectorate. Spanish Morocco was secured by occupying Tetuan in 1913. A rebellion in 1921 and two years of war made Spanish Morocco a dictatorship. General Lyautey governed Morocco for France 1912-24. The French controlled foreign policy and finance. Abd al-Karim led the independence struggle that broke out in 1920. The French and Spanish armies combined in 1925, and Abd al-Karim surrendered in May 1926. The secret Moroccan League was formed the next year.

French officials received most of Morocco’s budget, and in 1934 Moroccan nationalists demanded reforms and rights. General Nogues arrested the leaders and in 1937 banned the nationalist party. A dispute over water led to demonstrations and the imprisonment of 444 Moroccans. During World War II 300,000 Moroccan volunteers fought for the Allies. In January 1944 the nationalist party (Istiqlal) declared independence. In 1946 Resident General Labonne freed most political prisoners and improved opportunities for Moroccans. Yet 270,000 French had as much representation as eight million Moroccans. Sultan Muhammad V refused to sign decrees.

West Africa 1700-1950

Africa to 1700

More than six million African slaves were transported to the Americas in the 18th century. The Dutch were on the Gold Coast, and the British came and opened trade to others in 1698. The French were also very active in West Africa. War chiefs battled each other during this exploitation, and the Moors used British arms to overcome Wolof and dominate Futa Toro. ‘Abd al-Qadir defeated the Moors, was captured, and in 1796 invaded Wolof. Marabouts defeated Jallonke and formed a confederation in 1747. Ibrahima Sory attacked Farabana in 1754 to procure slaves, and Sory ruled Futa Jallon until 1791. Wars with Tuaregs afflicted Bornu with famines. In the 18th century Bornu fought off Tuareg attacks, and Bagirmi and Gobir were able to throw off Bornu hegemony. Al-Kanemi governed Bornu with six Arab advisors and was succeeded by his son Umar (r. 1837-71).

In the 18th century Katsina welcomed commerce and refugee scholars from Kano. In the second half of the 18th century Gobir fought wars against Kano, Zamfara, and Katsina. Shaykh Usman dan Fodio emigrated from Gobir and began a jihad in 1804. Pastoral Fulanis supported the Muslims, and by 1808 they controlled Katsina and Kano. Muhammad al-Kanemi opposed fighting Muslims and helped Bornu defend itself. Shaykh Usman established a caliphate at Sokoto and implemented Islamic law in the provinces. He was succeeded by his son Muhammad Bello (r. 1817-37), who fought 47 campaigns. The wars between elites over religion and power continued to 1875.

Fulbe nomads and the Bambara revolted against the declining Mali empire, and the Kulibali family founded the Masasi dynasty. Biton Kulibali reduced taxes, and slaves helped him conquer the Mali capital of Niani in 1751. While Tuareg warriors controlled the Middle Niger, al-Mukhtar al-Kunti (1729-1811) united Qadiri factions into a zawiya (religious) group that renounced arms and pillaging. He mediated various disputes for the Aulimadan, Tadmakka, and the arma (military rulers).

Teacher Ahmadu ibn Hammadi (1775-1844) led a jihad and created an Islamic state at Masina, requiring military service. ‘Umar Saidu was born in Futa Toro and joined the Tijaniyya brotherhood on his pilgrimage to Mecca. In 1844 he helped resolve a civil war in Futa Jallon, and he created a new Muslim empire at Tukulor in Senegambia. He began a war with the French in 1857, returned to Futa with 40,000 people, marched on Masina and Hamdallahi, and captured Timbuktu before he died in 1864. Two years later his son Ahmadu Seku Tall made a treaty with the French. The French invaded the Tukulor empire and made it a protectorate in 1887. They annexed Kayor and took over Masina by 1893. The Federation of French West Africa was decreed in 1895. The French invaded and made Futa Jallon a protectorate in 1897. Dahomey was added to the French Federation in 1899.

Portuguese colonized Guinea and recognized Futa Jallon as French, who subdued the Fulani state in 1896. Samory Ture created a large Mandinka empire on the upper Niger and accepted a French protectorate in 1887. Samory attacked Sikasso, which made a protection treaty with the French. Samory made a treaty with the British in 1890 and obtained 6,000 rifles. He defeated the French in 1891 but lost the next year. Samory moved his Mandinka empire east, but the French captured him in 1898. The Franco-Mandinka war reduced the region’s population by about two-thirds. The French claimed the Ivory Coast as a colony in 1893 and took over Mossi by 1905.

The Benin empire traded with Europeans. Dahomey came into conflict with the Oyo in the 18th century until Tegbesu (r. 1732-74) reformed Dahomey with Oyo institutions. In the 19th century Dahomey fought several wars until King Tofa (r. 1874-1908) requested a French protectorate in 1883. The French defeated the Fon in 1892 and occupied Abomey. Using diplomacy and force, Germany claimed Cameroun and Togo in 1885, but the British and French took them over early in the Great War.

In the first decade of the 20th century the French began collecting taxes in West Africa. France conscripted more than 100,000 West Africans for the Great War, and about half died. Several rebellions broke out in 1917 and increased in 1918 during the flu pandemic. In 1919 Senegalese Blaise Diagne (1872-1934) helped organize the Pan-African movement, and he served the French. Galandou Diouf criticized French policies and succeeded Diagne as the African political leader until he died in 1941. Gueye founded a socialist party in 1935, and unions were legalized in 1937. Few Africans were in school or were citizens. Communists began organizing groups in 1943. Africans were declared citizens in 1946, but only 803,000 could vote.

In the Gold Coast region the priest Okomfo Anokye advised Asante (Ashanti) chief Osei Tutu to bring conquered provinces into the Asante confederation as equals. In 1699 the Asante defeated the Denkyira and took over Elmina. Opoku Ware used the Asante army to invade Bono in 1723, Fante in 1726, Gonja in 1732, and between 1742 and 1744 Akyem Abuakwa, Accra, Adangme, Akwamu, and Dagomba. Osei Kwadwo (r. 1764-77) fought the Akyem, Akwapim, and Assin. In the 1780s the ex-slaves Sancho, Cugoano, and Equiano published books in England, arguing that Christians should not engage in the slave trade.

Disputes provoked the Asante conquest of Fante in 1806. The British made a treaty with the Asante in 1816 but had 178 men killed in 1824. Two years later their rockets helped stop another Asante invasion of Fante. British Governor George Maclean (1831-43) developed better relations with the Asante, greatly increasing trade. The Asante people resisted a poll tax that mostly went to officials. Amid a threatening war, the Fante chiefs formed a constitutional government in 1871, but three years later the British made the Gold Coast a colony. In 1873 the Asante went to war against the Fante and the British. Reinforced by a regiment from Jamaica, the British burned the Asante capital at Kumasi and demanded gold. Mensa Bonsu (1874-83) had Kumasi rebuilt. In 1886 the Asante battled the Adansi. The British sacked Kumasi again in 1896. Protests in England prevented taking over more colony land in 1897. Finally in 1901 the British forced the Asante leaders in Kumasi to surrender, and their confederacy was annexed as a Crown Colony.

The Gold Coast began exporting more gold and cocoa while importing more cotton goods. Efforts were made to unify the four British colonies in West Africa—Gambia, Gold Coast, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. Under Governor Guggisberg (1919-27) the Gold Coast’s railways and roads were extended, and schools got more money. Elected legislators in 1925 included Africans. In 1935 the Asante confederacy was restored under Prempeh II, and lands were returned in 1943. The Gold Coast got a new constitution in 1946, but dissidents demanded self-government. Kwame Nkrumah was one of the leaders using nonviolent methods who was imprisoned in 1950.

Slave trading along the Niger coast stimulated wars to gain captives between the Oyo and the Aja of Allada and Dahomey. The Oyo and Benin declined as Muslims urged slaves to revolt. Christian missionaries began arriving in the 1840s. Benin suffered a civil war 1854-80. The Niger coast became a British protectorate in 1885, followed by Benin in 1892, Yorubaland in 1893, and Northern Nigeria in 1900. Lugard conquered the Sokoto empire in 1903 using mostly African soldiers. Taxes were imposed, and resistance was crushed. Nigeria got a constitution in 1922, and crop exports greatly increased along with the population. In the 1930s many more were educated. In 1930 Isaac Wallace Johnson organized the first trade union in Nigeria. The novelist Cary urged more freedom for Africans and education for women. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe edited newspapers and led the nationalist movement. After World War II Zikists became more radical, and ten leaders were imprisoned in 1950.

Gambia became a British colony in 1843 in the midst of French West Africa. The African trader Forster became wealthy and served in the government as did his son. The League Against Imperialism was founded in 1927, and in 1929 E. F. Small helped organize Gambia’s first trade union. The first election for the Legislative Council was in 1947.

In 1787 Granville Sharp persuaded the British government to let ex-slaves move to Sierra Leone in West Africa, and a thousand former slaves from Nova Scotia built Freetown. British soldiers dispossessed the Temne rulers and made it a colony in 1808. Their navy captured slave ships, liberating 130,000 Africans by 1865. James Africanus Horton was born in Sierra Leone, was well educated, and became an army doctor. His West African Countries and Peoples in 1868 urged self-government for Africans and recommended improvements. In 1898 the Temne rebelled against the Hut Tax and were suppressed. Sierra Leone had 34 newspapers by 1900. Presidents Arthur Barclay (1904-12) and Daniel Howard (1912-20) ruled the hinterland indirectly. Progressive organizations were started in 1919, and strikes began. Sierra Leone got a new constitution in 1924, and three Africans were elected to the Legislative Council. In 1931 Haidara led a revolt by poor peasants. In 1946 the Sierra Leone Organisation Society was founded to work for constitutional reforms without violence.

The American Colonization Society began the settlement named Liberia in 1824. Mulatto J. J. Roberts became governor in 1841, and six years later Liberia formed a constitutional republic. The Grebo fought for independence in the 1880s and 1890s. Edward Blyden taught classics at Liberia College and promoted pan-Africanism. His books urged emancipation, illumination, and harmonization, and he recommended Islam as a unifying religion rather than the colonists’ Christianity. Africans became citizens in 1907, but they could not vote. Liberians were discouraged from cooperating with Marcus Garvey’s Back-to-Africa movement. Liberia joined the League of Nations in 1919 and later asked for its help. The United States defended Liberia, and in 1944 the hinterland gained representation.

East Africa 1700-1950

Africa to 1700

In the 18th century court intrigues in Ethiopia led to chaotic rule by warlords from 1769 to 1855. In the eastern Sudan Funj kings ruled amid much strife. Ethiopia remained Christian despite conflicts with its Muslim neighbors, and Emperor Tewodros II (r. 1855-68) tried to modernize his army but was defeated by the British. Ethiopia defended itself against an invading Egyptian army in 1875. King Menelik II ruled Shoa 1866-89 and paid tribute to Emperor Yohannes IV (r. 1872-89) of Ethiopia. Menelik expanded his kingdom and took over Kaffa. He got rifles from the Italians and declared war on Ethiopia, but in 1889 the Mahdists from Sudan defeated and killed Yohannes. Menelik II claimed the throne of Ethiopia while the Italians claimed a protectorate over Ethiopia and made Eritrea a colony; but in 1896 Menelik’s army defeated the Italians.

Tafari was well educated and was given political experience, and in 1917 he became regent of Ethiopia. He helped his country enter the League of Nations in 1923. After Empress Zewdita died in 1930, Tafari was proclaimed Emperor Haile Selassie. He used his own money to rescue the currency, and Ethiopia adopted a constitution based on Japan’s in 1931. He modernized the army as well as the state. Italy’s Mussolini used a border conflict as an excuse to invade Ethiopia in 1935. Selassie fled in 1936 to England and went to Geneva to appeal to the League of Nations. Italy occupied Ethiopia with 250,000 soldiers by 1941. The Allies and Ethiopians fought the Italians, and many surrendered. After the war the United States aided Ethiopia with loans.

In the late 19th century parts of Somalia were claimed by the Ottomans, Egypt, Zanzibar, Italy, France, and Britain. Al-Hassan led a jihad against Ethiopia and the British between 1899 and 1920. Somaliland remained divided by colonial oppressors, but in 1941 the British overthrew the Italians. Yet in 1949 the United Nations General Assembly gave the trusteeship of Somalia to Italy for ten years. Italians made Eritrea a colony in 1889, and in the 1930s the Fascists denied Eritreans citizenship. After the Italians were defeated in World War II, the United Nations in 1950 made Eritrea an autonomous state in federation with Ethiopia.

The Mazrui of Oman governed Mombasa and forced the Portuguese to leave in 1729. The French also purchased slaves from east and central Africa, which suffered from conflicts caused by Bunyoro militarism. Sayyid Sa’id al-Busa’idi (r. 1806-56) from Oman used his navy to oust the Mazrui family from Mombasa by 1837 despite some intervention by the British. In 1840 Sayyid Sa’id moved from Muscat to Zanzibar, where an estimated 40,000 slaves were sold annually. British consul Hamerton persuaded Sa’id to sign a treaty banning the slave trade in 1845. About 450,000 slaves worked on the two islands of Zanzibar and Pemba, and Sa’id multiplied his revenues collecting duties in Africa and exporting cloves. Zanzibar became a British protectorate in 1890.

In the 19th century East AfricaEast Africa still traded tens of thousands of slaves a year, often for guns that made wars more deadly. The British took over the coast and declared the East Africa Protectorate in 1895. The British built a costly 580-mile railway through the land of the Masai and Kikuyu, finishing it in 1904. They designated reserves for the Kikuyu in 1906, and the British governed from Nairobi. In 1908 they banned movement between the two Masai reserves. Taxes were imposed, and Africans were pressured to work for Europeans. Africans were forced to be porters during the Great War as 280,000 were recruited. In 1916 the British invaded and occupied most of German East Africa. The British made Kenya a colony in 1920. Indians and the Kikuyu objected to discrimination and unfair taxes. Gradually reforms were implemented.

The Bunyoro empire dominated the lakes region, but Buganda increased its power and became Muslim. By 1830 east and central Africa were capturing and exporting tens of thousands of slaves every year. In Rwanda cattle-owning Tutsi dominated Hutu farmers. Missionaries Johann Krapf and David Livingstone ventured inland and encouraged others to explore and settle in the region. Tippu Tip developed trade west of Lake Tanganyika and became a governor for the Belgian Congo. Bunyoro’s Kabarega (r. 1869-99) feared Ganda invasions and raided his neighbors. Lugard’s forces took over Buganda for the IBEA Company in 1890 and stopped Bunyoro expansion. Britain bought the company and declared the Uganda Protectorate in 1894. About ten percent of Uganda’s people died of the sleeping sickness. The British governed the region, and Africans only gradually gained representation.

Germans led by Carl Peters began colonizing East Africa in 1884. In October 1886 a treaty divided East Africa, giving the British the northern portion and Germans the southern part. In 1905 a religious rebellion challenged the Germans, who killed more than 75,000 and defeated the Africans in 1907. In the famine that followed more than a quarter million lives were lost. Exports increased, and by 1914 Christian schools had 155,287 students. At the outbreak of the Great War the British navy blockaded German East Africa, and in 1916 the British and Belgians invaded and took over most of the territory except for the southeast. More than 100,000 East Africans died in the war, and about 80,000 died from the influenza of 1918.

The 1919 Peace Conference gave German East Africa to the British, and it became Tanganyika. In December 1923 Belgium received the mandate for Rwanda-Urundi. In 1927 Tanganyika, Kenya, and Uganda agreed to free trade. In 1929 native courts were allowed to function on their own, and African chiefs were authorized to maintain order and taxes. The Tanganyika African Association worked to improve conditions for Africans.

Southern Africa 1700-1950

Africa to 1700

The Portuguese were in Angola for a long time and annexed it as a colony in 1655. They put down a religious movement in 1706 and reclaimed the Kongo. Between 1758 and 1777 a repressive Portuguese policy by Carvalho expelled anti-slavery Jesuits and destroyed religious materials in the Kimbundu language.

In 1876 Leopold II of Belgium organized the International African Association, and he hired the explorer Stanley to establish stations in the Congo. Leopold started a private company for his Congo Free State, and it was recognized by the Berlin conference in 1885. In 1890 George Washington Williams exposed the cruelty and hypocrisy of the Congo where the Europeans exploited the Africans. Conrad described it in Heart of Darkness. A market for rubber developed. Tippu’s slaves were used as soldiers, and they took over the eastern Congo. People were forced to collect rubber. The Congo State cooperated with the Katanga Company to exploit gold. Morel documented the use of slaves and the extreme cruelty as the Congo lost more than half its twenty million people. Finally in 1908 Leopold let Belgium annex the Congo Free State. The army defeated rebels in 1909, and the Belgian colonial government exploited mineral resources in the Congo such as diamonds and later uranium. Most of the schools were Catholic or Protestant, and large numbers were educated.

Belgium took over Ruanda-Urundi after the Germans lost the war in 1918. Labor was obligatory for a certain number of days each year up to 120. Hutus rebelled against taxes in 1932 and 1935 and were crushed. Brazza helped found French colonies in Gabon and the Congo that became French Equatorial Africa in 1910.

In 1890 the Portuguese invaded Viye to bring the Ovimbundu into their Angola colony, and they suppressed a rebellion by those speaking Kimbundu by 1893. The Portuguese subdued the Mbadya in 1907 and Ndembu region in 1908. Portugal became a republic in 1910 and abolished slavery. In 1915 the Portuguese attacked Germans in Southwest Africa. In Angola taxes oppressed the poor, but schools were increased. Angola’s debt reached £5,600,000, and more than half was owed to Portugal where a military coup in 1926 led to harsher policies. In 1930 taxes on Africans doubled. Many Ovimbundu men migrated to Northern Rhodesia during World War II.

From Mozambique the Portuguese tried to exploit the mineral resources of the Mwanamutapa kingdom, but their violence often discouraged the Africans from helping them. The Portuguese began trading for ivory from the interior when they founded a market at Zumbo in 1714. They granted estates to encourage settlers (prazeros), who waged wars, exacted tribute, and exploited African labor. As the trade in gold and ivory declined, the slave trade increased at Kilwa. Portugal banned the slave trade in 1836. Pereiras began the Zambezi wars in 1840. The wealthy Gouveia became captain-general over Mozambique in 1874 and regent in 1880, crushing the Massingire rebels in 1884. The territory of Angola and Mozambique were established by treaty in 1891. Chief Gungunhana was captured in 1895. Rebellions by Swahili and Makua groups were finally defeated in 1910. Mozambique adopted a liberal constitution in 1911 and with fewer settlers sent budget surpluses to help other colonies. In 1916 the Portuguese invaded German East Africa, but they retreated in November 1917. In the 1920s low wages caused many to migrate from Mozambique to South Africa and Rhodesia, and more left after World War II.

Madagascar supplied tens of thousands of slaves for the French islands of Mauritius and Bourbon in the 18th century. Radama I (r. 1810-28) of Madagascar expanded Merina control and signed treaties with the British, but his wife Ranavalona I (r. 1828-61) cancelled them, persecuted Christians, and expelled most foreign traders until 1853. Her son Radama II opened Madagascar to foreign traders, investors, and missionaries, signing treaties with the French and British. Commander Rainilaiarivony became prime minister. A new law code in 1881 eliminated most corporal punishment. Rainilaiarivony married Queen Ranavalona III. The French used force to occupy northern Madagascar and took over external policies. In 1895 French forces occupied the capital and imposed a protectorate, exiling Rainilaiarivony and making Madagascar a colony in 1896. Rebellions were pacified by 1902. After 1926 forced labor was used in public works. Protest leaders were imprisoned in 1929. In 1947 a major rebellion was suppressed as many thousands were killed.

The Dutch East India Company reduced the San and Khoikhoi to being servants as it monopolized all commercial activity and fixed prices. Trekboers with Khoikhoi servants began wandering to find grazing land, and their conflicts with the Xhosa began in 1702. After 1740 the Khoisan were not allowed to herd livestock. After trekboers crossed the Gamtoos River in 1771, Xhosa resistance increased despite a split over their succession. When Xhosa’s regent Ndlambe attacked the Gqunukhwebe in 1789, they fled, causing deadly battles in recently established Graaff-Reinet. In 1795 Cape officials stopped the supply of ammunition. The Dutch government was overthrown, and the British took over the Cape Town colonies.

German missionaries started coming to southwestern Africa in 1806. A mining company came to Otjimbingwe in 1853 and hired poor Hereros. Herero chiefs objected to Boers coming into their territory. In 1880 a war began between the Hereros and the Namas. In 1884 Bismarck declared the area under German protection, and Chief Kamaherero agreed to a protection treaty in 1885. Hereros rebelled in 1904, and German forces slaughtered most of them and a third of the Namas. Diamonds were discovered in 1908 and soon were ten percent of world production. During the Great War the British defeated the Germans, and the League of Nations gave the mandate for South West Africa to South Africa, which tried to annex it in 1946 but failed.

In the mid-19th century Ngoni nations spread south. Diamonds were discovered, and Griqualand became a British colony in 1873. Bechuanaland became a protectorate in 1885. Rhodes and Reed began mining and made a treaty with Lobengula in 1888. Rhodes got a charter and expanded his company. In 1891 Nyasaland and Zambezia became British Protectorates, followed by North-Western Rhodesia and North-Eastern Rhodesia in 1893. Jameson led a raid against Kruger in the Transvaal that failed. In 1896 the British went to war against the Ndebele, and Rhodes negotiated peace in 1897. Southern Rhodesia became a Crown colony in 1923 and Northern Rhodesia the next year. In 1931 one million blacks were given less land than 50,000 whites. Segregation was extended in 1934. Europeans earned thirty times as much as Africans.

Shaka became Zulu chief in 1816, disciplined its growing army, and took over the Mthethwa confederacy two years later. Shaka conscripted males and conquered the region, causing many to emigrate. Shaka executed and killed many in his autocratic rule, and after a failed invasion of Mozambique in 1828 he was murdered by his brothers. Dingane executed his accomplices, but his invasion of Mzilikazi’s Ndebele failed in 1832. Zwangendaba led the Nguni north across the Zambezi; but after he died in 1848, they divided into five kingdoms. In 1838 Dingane murdered 71 Boers; but in another attack the Zulus lost 3,000 men to Boer bullets, and Dingane made peace. Shaka’s brother Mpande won over Zulus and with Boer support defeated Dingane in 1840. Mpande maintained good relations with the Boers and British until his death in 1872. He reformed Zulu laws and survived a war between his sons over the succession in 1856. Sotho chief Moshweshwe learned how to seek justice and peace, managing to found the nation that became Lesotho. By modernizing his army with guns and horses, he was able to defend his mountain fortress from attacks by Boers.

Under British rule the Khoisan were required to carry a pass in 1809, and three years later their children could be “apprenticed” for ten years. A Boer rebellion against British rule in 1815 failed. Xhosa diviner Nxele predicted God would drive the British into the sea; his 6,000 men attacked Grahamstown in 1819 but were defeated. That year England sponsored a thousand unemployed families to settle in the Cape colony. In 1828 missionary John Philip got Ordinance 50 enacted guaranteeing equal rights for all, and slaves were emancipated in 1834.

Thousands of Boers began trekking into Zulu country, capturing Zulu children and making them apprentices. Stockenstrom’s treaty system reduced conflict with the Xhosa until the drought of 1842. Four years later the Xhosa refused to fight or give up their land. A booming wool industry needed more grazing land for sheep, and Governor Harry Smith imposed martial law in 1850 to drive out the Xhosa. Zulu chiefs in the Natal colony had to pay an annual hut tax. A British depression brought thousands of immigrants, and in 1860 indentured laborers began arriving from India. Boers established the Orange Free State in 1852, making whites citizens and males, registered for the military, voters. Four years later the South African Republic began in Transvaal and denied equality to non-whites. In 1873 Africans worked in diamond mines to buy guns, farm tools, or brides.

The British suppressed rebellions and tried to control firearms, and they put Zululand under thirteen chiefs. In 1877 the British annexed the Transvaal, which declared its independence in 1881, and the South African Republic was recognized in 1887. In October 1899 the Boer republics went to war against the British by invading Natal and then the Cape colony in 1901. Africans did not fight in the war, but 107,000 were interned. Kitchener and Louis Botha negotiated, and peace granted amnesty in May 1902.

M. K. Gandhi worked as a lawyer in Natal and led the effort for Indian rights when they were refused the vote in 1896. He first successfully used massive civil disobedience on the Registration Act in 1906. Gandhi wrote Satyagraha in South Africa to explain nonviolent action. In 1913 about 50,000 indentured laborers went on strike, and thousands of Indians were imprisoned. In June 1914 Smuts agreed to the Indian Relief Act that abolished the £3 tax on indentured laborers, recognized Indian marriages, and let Indians move more freely.

The minority Europeans dominating the voting in the Cape, Natal, Transvaal, and Orange River agreed to a constitution for the Union of South Africa which began in 1910. The South African Party (SAP) maintained segregation. In 1913 only 7.5% of the land was set aside for Africans. During the Great War some in Orange River and Transvaal refused to fight for the British, but Botha sent troops to Europe, and in 1916 Smuts led the invasion of German East Africa. In 1930 white women got the vote, reducing African voters to 1.4%. The SAP and the Nationalists formed the United Party and won elections. About 200,000 South Africans fought in World War II, but African and colored soldiers were not deployed in combat. In 1948 the Nationalists won the election and began the apartheid era.

A Native party began in 1912 and became the African National Congress (ANC) in 1923. They condemned racial segregation, and the Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union (ICU) grew to 100,000 members in 1927. That year the ANC began protesting the pass laws, and 700 demonstrators in Johannesburg went to prison. In 1941 the ANC led by Xuma demanded full citizenship, and they published African Claims in 1944, the year the Youth League was formed. In 1950 the ANC led protests, and they were supported by the South African Indian Congress and the African People’s Organization.

Evaluating the Mideast and Africa 1700-1950

Evaluating the Mideast and Africa to 1700

The Ottoman empire struggled against the Hapsburg empire and the Russians in frequent wars for several centuries. Europeans advanced rapidly in technology and economically and won back territory from the Ottoman empire. Reforms based on western progress accelerated in the Ottoman empire after 1826 when the Janissaries were abolished. Greeks had been dominated for centuries and fought for their independence and a constitution. Young Turks led by Namik Kemal also agitated for freedom and constitutional government while affirming patriotism. European commerce and capitalist loans penetrated the Turkish economy and pressured Muslim governments to grant concessions and western reforms. Young Turks gained a constitutional government in 1909, but the empire lost European territory. Christian Armenians were persecuted, and during the Great War about a million were massacred. Allied with Germany, the Ottomans lost the war.

Kemal Mustafa led a nationalistic revolution in Anatolia against the sultanic government, and they won independence for Turkey by defeating the Greeks despite opposition by Europeans. They elected a National Assembly and made Ankara the capital of the Republic of Turkey. Elected President Kemal was made a dictator and modernized the country with secular reforms. The minority Kurds were suppressed, and the opposition party was dissolved. Women worked for the vote and gained it by 1934. Turkey avoided World War II by being neutral and then joined the United Nations. Reforms enabled the Democratic Party to win the election of 1950.

The Safavid dynasty ruled the Persian empire for more than two centuries with the Shi‘i faith opposing the Sunni orthodoxy of the Turks. Sailing ships going around Africa to India made the silk road less essential and Persia more isolated. Persia’s centralized empire lost territory in the 18th and 19th centuries. The new Bahá’í faith led by Bahá’u’lláh challenged Muslim intolerance and called for world peace through international cooperation, but they were persecuted and had little influence. In the 20th century the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company created wealth, and Iran was neutral in both world wars. Reza Pahlavi (1925-41) tried to modernize Iran but with a heavy hand.

In Arabia in the 18th century the Wahhabis allied with the Saudi family imposed a puritanical version of Islam, but the Ottoman sultan got the Egyptian army to crush them in 1818. The Saudi family struggled for rulership until Abdul Aziz ibn Saud became king 1902-53. He favored Wahhabi religion and allied with the British. Sharif Hussein led the revolt against the Ottoman empire and was assisted by British forces in the Great War. Ibn Saud expanded the Arabian kingdom and gained wealth by cooperating with western oil companies. Yet Arabia remained mostly illiterate.

Iraq was part of the Ottoman empire until the British drove out the Turks in the Great War. Kurds were not able to establish a nation state, and the British defeated rebellions in Iraq. The Hashemite Faisal was made king n 1920, and Iraq became independent in 1932. Prince ‘Abd al-Ilah was regent 1939-53, but the British invaded again in 1941. After the war the Communist Party was suppressed.

Syria and Lebanon were under the Ottoman empire and French trade concessions for four centuries. Liberated by the British and Arabs in 1918, Faisal declared independence and then became king in 1920. However, the League of Nations gave the mandate to the French, who tried to control the governments despite resistance by the Druze in Lebanon and Nationalists in Syria. The British liberated Syria in June 1941 and intervened against the French in Lebanon in 1943. French troops withdrew in 1946, and after some military coups Syria became a constitutional democracy in 1950.

Palestine was part of the Ottoman empire until 1917. Zionism grew from the late 19th century as Jews persecuted in Europe emigrated to Palestine. The British were given a mandate to govern Palestine and supported Jews having a homeland there. Muslims outnumbered the Jews, who had more literate people. Jews trained soldiers and had some radical terrorists. After World War II a United Nations committee approved a partition plan that persuaded the British to withdraw in May 1948. The Arab League fought against the Jews for Palestinian territory, and truces led to an armistice. About 600,000 Palestinian refugees were displaced, and Israel established a democracy with its capital in Jerusalem.

Ottoman Turks dominated Egypt and most of North Africa for several centuries. Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in 1798 marked the beginning of European attempts to dominate Africa by commerce and colonization rather than the slave trade, which began to be abolished by the British in 1807. Muhammad ‘Ali modernized Egypt with a large military and commercial monopolies, but European pressure forced him to accept capitalist methods. Large debts caused Egypt to sell the new Suez canal to Britain which dominated Egypt until 1948. Egypt conquered Sudan in 1820. The Mahdi’s religious rebellion was violent and was destroyed by Anglo-Egyptian military power. The Sanusiyya Order spread in Libya, which was invaded by the Italians in 1911. The Fascists oppressed Libya for twenty years until 1943. In 1949 Cyrenaica became independent with a constitution.

Corsairs operating from North Africa captured Christians, perturbing Europeans. The French began colonizing Algeria in 1830 and used military power to exploit the country. The French moved in to colonize Tunisia in 1881. Morocco was independent until the French invaded in 1907. The North Africans fought for France and her allies in two world wars but afterward still were denied independence. Nationalists worked to liberate their countries, and many were imprisoned.

Competition between the Portuguese, English, Dutch, and French for gold and the slave trade in West Africa, gave local chiefs economic incentives to increase their power in wars in order to sell millions of captives. This nefarious European influence caused untold suffering to Africans. In West Africa jihad led by Usman dan Fodio and others spread Islamic law. Muslims and Africans often fought against each other and the French. The French colonized most of West Africa and established protectorates in the last quarter of the 19th century. In the first half of the 20th century the French taxed the Africans and conscripted them to serve in the army. Few Africans were educated or could vote, but they began organizing for political and social change.

In the 18th century the Asante conquered much of the Gold Coast region, but the British came in the 19th century and made the Gold Coast a colony in 1874, finally defeating the Asante militarily in 1901. Exports increased as railways and roads were extended. Schooling developed, and a few Africans were elected; but the British continued to govern the colony amid increasing agitation for self-government. On the Niger coast slave-trading caused wars. The Oyo and Benin declined as Muslims advanced. Christian missionaries came in the 1840s, and the British brought areas into protectorates between 1885 and 1903. Nigeria was given a constitution in 1922, and exports increased. Educated leaders arose and demanded independence, but their leaders were still being imprisoned in 1950. The small area by the Gambia River became a British colony in 1843 and continued so.

Starting in 1787 the British helped ex-slaves establish a colony in Sierra Leone, conquering the Temne. Horton advocated self-government in 1868. Sierra Leone had many newspapers and constitutional government, and Africans demanded more representation and rights. Americans helped found Liberia for ex-slaves in 1824, and it became a republic in 1847. The native Grebo struggled for independence. Blyden taught liberation and recommended Islam to unite Africans. Africans became citizens in 1907 but could not vote until after World War II.

Christian Ethiopia suffered many conflicts for two and a half centuries. Tewodros II achieved an empire and modernized the army. Menelik II of Shoa also created an empire and took over Ethiopia in 1889, and his army defeated the Italians. Haile Selassie facilitated improvements but could not get international help against the Italian Fascists until World War II when the Allies defeated the Italians. Thus Ethiopia with Selassie was one African nation that managed to be independent of European colonialism during most of this era. Somalia suffered from colonialism and even after World War II was left under Italian trusteeship. Yet Eritrea became independent and federated with Ethiopia.

The Portuguese competed with Arabs for trade in gold, ivory, and slaves on the east coast of Africa, but in the first half of the 18th century Oman’s Sayyid Sa’id dominated. Imported European guns made conflicts more deadly. The British colonized the Masai and Kikuyu in Kenya and established a protectorate in 1895. The Bunyoro empire in the lakes region was challenged by Buganda which became Muslim, but they were overcome by the British and Belgians. Germany colonized southern East Africa and provided more schools for Africans, but they lost it in the Great War. The English taxed Africans more than Europeans but gave them little representation.

In Angola and the Kongo the Portuguese tried to impose Christianity as they exploited the slave trade. Belgium’s Leopold II established his own private colony called the Congo Free State and exploited it with excessive cruelty, killing more than half the population. His atrocities were exposed, and the colony was turned over to Belgium, which also exploited mineral resources but with less injustice. Christian schools educated many people. Belgium also colonized Ruanda-Urundi where the pastoral Tutsis dominated the farming Hutus.

The Portuguese colonized Angola on the west coast and Mozambique on the east coast. Angola ran up a large debt which Mozambique helped pay. Africans were again subdued and exploited, and less than three percent of the people became literate by 1950. Madagascar had a monarchy in the 19th century until the French took over in 1895. Once again African rebellions were suppressed, and their labor was exploited.

In southern Africa the Dutch East India Company established a colony at Cape Town, and the Boers gradually came into conflicts with native Xhosa over cattle ranges. The Zulu conquests of Shaka caused massive migrations, but the wise Moshweshwe managed to establish a Sotho kingdom despite encroaching Europeans. Boers rejected British rule in Cape Town and moved on to exploit Africans, establishing segregated states in the 1850s. In the southwest German missionaries were replaced by a mining company which was protected by Germany, but during the Great War the British defeated the Germans. Rhodes developed mining companies in an area named after him that became segregated colonies under the British. The Boers also established segregation in the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. They fought the British 1899-1902 and accepted amnesty. Gandhi led the effort for Indian rights by using nonviolent action. The Union of South Africa formed in 1910 with a constitution, but few Africans could vote or get fair pay or education. The United Party continued segregation, and in 1948 the Nationalists began the apartheid policy. The African National Congress worked for human rights and better conditions, developing their organization.

Thus the Mideast and Africa from 1700 to 1950 was an era of European colonialism imposing their government with military power. Yet in education, technology, and commerce the Europeans also stimulated development that would lead to independence for many of these countries not long after 1950. The empires tended to decline and eventually move toward democracy. Most Mideast nations were already Islamic, but Islam often spread among Africans who might prefer it to the religion of their oppressors. The greatest crimes, of course, were the selling of millions of human beings as slaves and the killing of many on the passage or to instill European domination in conflicts that arose. Some Jews managed to find a refuge in Palestine to escape from genocide in Europe, but they too fought to take over some land that had belonged to others. Europeans with their attitudes of superiority tended to exploit the Africans, but they often lacked the moral superiority that could have offered equal rights and more helping hands.

Copyright © 2010 by Sanderson Beck

This chapter has been published in the book Mideast & Africa 1700-1950.
For ordering information, please click here.


Ottoman Empire 1600-1907
Ottoman Fall and Turkey 1908-1950
Persia (Iran) and Afghanistan 1600-1950
Arabia, Yemen, and Iraq 1600-1950
Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan 1600-1950
Palestine and Zionism 1600-1950
Egypt, Sudan, and Libya 1600-1950
Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco 1600-1950
West Africa and the French 1600-1950
West Africa and the British 1600-1950
Ethiopia and Somaliland 1600-1950
East Africa 1600-1950
Congo, Angola, and Mozambique 1600-1950
Southern Africa 1700-1950
Summary and Evaluation



World Chronological Index
Chronology of Asia & Africa to 1800
Chronology of Asia & Africa 1800-1950
Mideast & Africa to 1950

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