Saturday, 5 November 2016

BIOCHEMISTRY • Proteins and Enzymes • Electrolytes and Acid-Base Balance • Case Studies PROTEINS and ENZYMES


Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR): A high ESR occurs when the body is infected or under stress, and the
liver is releasing acute-phase proteins into the blood.
ACUTE-PHASE PROTEINS: Proteins released by the liver when the body is under stress.
• alpha1-Antitrypsin: Protease inhibitor. When there is tissue damage, the dead tissue releases proteases, so
the anti-proteases help to prevent further damage.
• alpha2-Macroglobulin: Indirect anti-protease that fixes proteases and allows macrophages to engulf them.
• C-Reactive Protein (CRP): Opsonin, help to fix antibodies to antigen to facilitate phagocytosis.
• Ceruloplasmin: Copper-carrying protein, and anti-oxidant.
• Complement Proteins: Inflammatory mediators.
• Ferritin: Iron protein-carrier.
• Fibrinogen: Clotting factor.
• Haptoglobin: Binds to hemoglobin in blood.
• Serum Amyloid A Protein: Apolipoprotein.
PROTEIN ELECTROPHORESIS: alpha1, alpha2, beta, and gamma zones all have distinct proteins.
• alpha1 Zone: Closest to the anode (right).
o Albumin: Albumin is the tall peak closest to the anode.
 Normal properties:
 50% of liver protein production; primary determinant of oncotic pressure.
 20-day lifespan in circulation. If albumin decreases, it won't show up until 20
days later.
 MW = 68 kDa, which is right at the margin for glomerular filtration. That's why
even mild glomerular disease leads to albuminuria.
 Albumin is decreased under a lot of circumstances:
 Renal disease, proteinuria.
 Times of stress or disease.
 Malnutrition, Kwarshiorkor.
 Albumin binds to bilirubin and Ca+2.
 A decreased albumin levels can significantly alter the laboratory values for
bilirubin and calcium. If albumin is low, then these lab-values will be falsely
low, and you must adjust them upward to get the real value.
o Pre-Albumin: Fetal albumin is called pre-albumin. It consists of two proteins.
 alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP):
 Anencephaly, Spina Bifida: AFP leaks out of the fetus and into the maternal
circulation, thus AFP is increased in maternal blood.
 Liver Cancer, Endodermal Sinus (Yolk-Sac) Tumor: The tumors contain
immature tissue thxat releases pre-albumin, thus AFP is increased.
 Transtherytin: Fetal form of TBG that carries T3 and T4 in fetal blood.
• alpha2 Zone:
o alpha2-Macroglobulin: Huge molecule that binds to proteases and thus allows macrophages to
engulf them, getting rid of the proteases.
o Haptoglobin: Binds to free hemoglobin in the plasma. Its maximum binding-capacity is about
10% of all hemoglobin in blood.
 If free haptoglobin is decreased (all bound up) and free hemoglobin is increased, then
that indicates intravascular hemolysis, such as that caused by blood-type incompatibility
or artifical heart valves.
o Ceruloplasmin
o GC Globulin
• beta Zone:
o LDL Lipoprotein
o Transferrin: Iron transporting protein.
o C3 Complement Factor
o beta2-Microglobulin: Part of the Major Histocompatibility Complex.
o Hemopexin: Binds free heme (hemoglobin degradation product) -- not hemoglobin itself, as in
• gamma Zone: Closest to cathode (left).
o Immunoglobulins (Ig):
o C-Reactive Protein (CRP): Good marker during wound-healing. If it increases during woundhealing,
then the wound is probably getting infected.
 Originally discovered as a protein that binds to Streptococcus Pneumoniae.
o Fibrinogen:
o Lysozyme:
• Polyclonal Gammopathy: Broad gamma peak, indicating infection.
• Monoclonal Gammopathy: Narrow gamma peak. Differential:
o Multiple Myeloma, 60%. Malignancy of IgG-secreting plasma cells.
o Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia, 10%. Hypersecretion of IgM.
o Lymphomas, Leukemias, 10%
o Monoclonal Gammopathy of Unknown Significance (MGUS), 10%
o Rare causes: Heavy chain disease, primary amyloidosis, solitary plasmacytoma.
• Hypogammaglobulinemia: No peak or shallow peak in gamma range.
o Due to inherited immune deficiency:
 X-Linked IgA Deficiency: Common, 1/750 births.
 Agammaglobulinemia: Rare.
o Acquired causes: Malignancies, immunosuppressive drugs, HIV, measles, malnutrition.
• Alkaline Phosphatase (Alk.Phos.): Increased Alk.Phos. indicates:
o Cholestasis
o Increased bone growth or reformatuion. Osteoblasts secrete Alk.Phos.
• Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT): Increased ALT indicates liver damage. It is released into circulation
from damaged or necrotic liver cells.
• Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST): AST is released from a variety of damaged cells. Increased ALT
o Liver damage
o Post-MI
o General cellular injury.
• Myocardial Infarct (MI): CAL is a mnemonic to remember the order in which enzymes increase:
o Creatinine Kinase (CK): 4-8 hrs. post-MI
o Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST): Goes up next.
o Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH): Last one to go up.
• Creatinine Kinase (CK): Isozymes
o CK-MM: 99% of skeletal muscle, and about 77% of myocardium.
o CK-MB: About 22% of myocardium, but it is not found in any other tissues, so CK-MB is a
significant marker for myocardial infarct.
o CK-BB: Forms greater than 90% of CK in other tissues, such as CNS, colon, and ileum.
• Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH): Isozymes
o LDH-1: The predominant isozyme in myocardial tissue. High LDH-1 indicates MI.
• LDH-Flip: LDH-5 is normally highest, but in cases of MI LDH-1 may be higher. This is called an LDHflip
and is suggestive of MI.
o LDH-2 thru LDH-4: Minor isozymes.
o LDH-5: The predominant isozyme in liver and skeletal muscle. It is normally the highest, except
in cases of MI LDH-1 may be higher.
PROTEINURIA: Can be caused by three mechanisms:
o Normal proteins in blood: hemoglobinuria, myoglobinuria.
o Abnormal proteins in blood: Bence-Jones protein (IgG light-chains found in Mutiple Myeloma).
• GLOMERULAR: Primarily albuminuria.
o Fever, glomerulonephritis cause higher renal permeability.
o Altered hemodynamics (such as exercise) can transiently cause proteinuria.
o Tubular damage due to heavy-metal poisoning, drug toxicities.
o Interstitial nephritis, pyelonephritis.
o beta2 and alpha1 Microglobulin will be found in urine. They are normally filtered and
reabsorbed, but with tubular disease they won't be reabsorbed.
• TBW is normally 60% of body weight. 60% of 70 kg = 42L
o INTRACELLULAR: Intracellular fluid is normally two thirds of TBW. 67% of 42L = 28L
o EXTRACELLULAR: Extracellular fluid is normally one third of TBW. 33% of 42L = 14L
 PLASMA VOLUME: Plasma is normally about 5% of TBW. 5% of 42L = 2-3L
 INTERSTITIAL VOLUME: ISF is the rest of the volume. 14L - 3L = 10-11L.
POTASSIUM: Reference range 3.5 - 5.0 mEq / L
• HYPOKALEMIA: Decreased K+ in plasma
o Hypokalemia is usually accompanied by metabolic alkalosis.
• HYPERKALEMIA: Increased K+ in plasma
o Hyperkalemia is usually accompanied by metabolic acidosis.
SODIUM: Reference range 135 - 146 mEq / L
o Pitting Edema: Fluid has moved from vascular space into interstitial space. The intracellular
spaces are not affected.
 It occurs because of an off-balance of Starlnig's Forces:
 Too much hydrostatic pressure: CHF
 Too little oncotic pressure: Nephrotic Syndrome, Liver Cirrhosis
 One usually finds hyponatremia with these conditions, because the patient has
gained more water than sodium, so the sodium levels are diluted.
o Cerebral Edema: In hyponatremia, water enters into neuron cells in brain ------> cerebral edema.
Potential for herniation if it is not corrected.
 Idiogenic Molecules are osmotically active molecules created by the cerebrum, to try to
compensate for the cerebral edema. They are excreted into the ISF to try to suck the
water out of the cells.
o Syndrome of Inappropriate ADH (SIADH): It is the most common cause of hyponatremia with
a normal physical exam (no edema, no lost skin turgor).
 CAUSES: Ectopic production by a tumor, such as small-cell carcinoma of the lung.
 TREATMENT: Restrict intake of water. Electrolyte balance remains normal; no
electrolyte adjustments are needed. Treat with ADH antagonists.
o Dehydration: Pure water loss, infantile diarrhea.
 TREATMENT: Don't give the calculated amount of fluid back to the patient. Always
give less, to prevent cerebral herniation. The brain will make osmotically active idiogenic
molecules to try to compensate for the dehydration. Then if you give too much fluid, the
brain can herniate.
o Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA):
 Due to increased osmotic force of hyperglycemia, fluid will move from the intracellular
space into the plasma.
 Sodium Concentration must be adjusted for the presence of hyperglycemia (which isn't
normally taken into account). The sodium concentration will be actually higher than what
is reported. This is true with blood sugar > 500.
o Decreased TBNa ------> decreased fluid in interstitial space ------> decreased skin turgor. You
can pull on skin and it isn't as elastic or tight.
o Increased TBNa ------> increased fluid in interstitial space ------> pitting edema. Fluid
accumulated in interstitial space.
 Patient may still have Hyponatremia, because the sodium concentration in blood is
decreased. But, the total body sodium will be increased.
• Adult Diarrhea is isotonic, thus adult dehydration will show normal sodium levels.
o To rehydrate, give them what they lost -- an isotonic saline solution.
• Infantile Diarrhea is hypotonic, thus infantile diarrhea will show hypernatremia.
o To rehydrate, give them what they lost -- a pedialyte, or hypotonic saline solution.
• Cellular Edema: Tissue Hypoxia leads to cellular edema. Hypoxia ------> Na+/K+-ATPase Pump failure --
----> Na+ collects inside cells and brings water with it ------> hydropic swelling of cells and cellular
• Pitting Edema: CHF, Nephrosis, Cirrhosis lead to pitting edema. Transudate collects in interstitial space,
either due to increased hydrostatic pressure (CHF) or decreased oncotic pressure (Nephrosis, cirrhosis,
• Cerebral Edema: In hyponatremia, water enters into neuron cells in brain ------> cerebral edema. Potential
for herniation if it is not corrected.
o Idiogenic Molecules are osmotically active molecules created by the cerebrum, to try to
compensate for the cerebral edema. They are excreted into the ISF to try to suck the water out of
the cells.
OSMOLALITY: Normal value is about 289 mOsm.
- ------> the pH goes down. Compensation: Respiratory
Alkalosis will bring the pH back near normal.
- ------> the pH goes up. Compensation: Respiratory
Acidosis (hypoventilation) can help to bring the pH back near normal.
 Vomiting: Lose enough stomach acid to produce alkalosis.
 Diuretics: Loop diuretics and thiazides can lead to hypokalemia ------> secondary
metabolic alkalosis.
• RESPIRATORY ACIDOSIS: Increase the PCO2 ------> the pH goes down. Hypoventilation.
Compensation: Metabolic Alkalosis can help bring the pH back near normal.
• RESPIRATORY ALKALOSIS: Decrease the PCO2 ------> the pH goes up. Hyperventilation.
Compensation: Metabolic Acidosis can help bring the pH back near normal.
ANION GAP: Essentially, the difference between between the concentrations of cations (Na+ primarily) and anions
(Cl-, HCO3
-) in the blood.
• High Anion Gap: Metabolic Acidosis. It indicates that you have added acids to the blood: salicylic acid,
formic acid, lactic acid, oxalic acid, sulfuric acid.
• Normal Anion Gap: Respiratory Acidosis. It occurs when you ultimately become acidotic because of
losing HCO3
Item Value
pH 7.4
-] 22 - 28 mEq / L
PaCO2 33 - 44 mEq / L
PaO2 90 - 100 mEq / L
Case # pCO2 PO2 HCO3
- pH Explanation
Case 1 70 low 27 7.2 Acute Barbiturate Overdose. PCO2 is high ------> respiratory acidosis from
hypoventilation. It is uncompensated because the HCO3
- is normal and the
pH is low.
Case 2 70 100 12 7.0 Code Arrest. High PCO2 ------> respiratory acidosis. Also, low HCO3
- ------
> metabolic acidosis. It's a mixed disorder.
Case 3 59 50 31 7.34 COPD. Partially compensated respiratory acidosis. High PCO2, high HCO3
(metabolic alkalosis) in compensation, near normal but slightly low pH.
Case 4 29 100 22 7.50 Hyperventilation. Uncompensated respiratory alkalosis.
Case 5 50 80 12 7.27 Chronic Renal Failure. Patient shows partially compensated metabolic
acidosis with high anion gap. Patient can't excrete all the acid he is creating.
Case 6 50 80 42 7.52 Diuretics in a non-smoking female. Metabolic Alkalosis (high HCO3
-) with
partially compensated respiratory acidosis (low PCO2).
Case 7 62 50 36 7.37 COPD, loop diuretic. Mixed disorder. Respiratory acidosis from COPD, and
metabolic alkalosis from loop diuretic. The pH is near normal but it should
not be called compensated, because full compensation never occurs, and the
pH is the result of two unrelated processes.
Case Pertinent Lab Values Explanation
1 Potassium Lab Error, Addison's
High K+
High Urea
Low Na+
K+ was high becuase of partial hemolysis of blood,
because blood was aged. Labs could indicate
Addison's Disease, but they need to be retaken.
2 Potassium Lab Error High K+ K+ of 45 is incompatible with life.
3 IDDM Glucose tolerance test: young kid most likely has a
transitory hyperglycemia, because he just ate. Next
day glucose is normal
4 Starvation, Dehydration ICF and ECF will shrink to the same extent.
Drink seawater: death due to hypernatremia,
diarrhea from magnesium in the sea-water.
5 Dehydration High Na+, high Cl-
High urea (pre-renal
Low HCO3
- (acidosis)
Man lost pure water ------> dehydration with
hypernatremia. He had hypotension, high pulse.
Pre-renal failure: Due to inadequate perfusion of
kidneys; uremia (high urea) is more prominent
than high creatinine.
6 Paraneoplastic SIADH Low serum osmolality,
low urine osmolality.
Low Na+, low Cl-
High K+ (aldosterone is
not being secreted at
Differential should include Diabetic Ketoacidosis.
7 Dehydration High urea
All electrolytes are low.
Low HCO3
-, acidosis.
Uremia: pre-renal failure due to hypotension.
These labs would not be found in end-stage kidney
8 Injury with Lactic Acidosis High Na+
High K+
Low HCO3
-, metabolic
Hyperkalemia is often associated with metabolic
Give calcium chloride immediately to prevent
arrhythmias associated with the hyperkalemia.
9 Volume depletion after surgery Low Na+ Her sodium was depleted from surgery. Her
responses to the low sodium included all things
except reduced GFR.
10 Creatinine Clearance Erroneous collection of urine is most common
mistake in measuring creatinine.
11 Diabetes Insipidus Normal electrolytes
(more or less).
Lack of ADH. ADH effects osmolality and plasma
volume, but not electrolyte balance.
(more or less).
High serum osmolality.
Low urine osmolality.
volume, but not electrolyte balance.
12 Septicemia with acidosis, prerenal
High K+
High urea
High serum osmolality
High K+ is associated with acidosis. Renal
disturbance is due to pre-renal failure. Serum urea
is also increased because patient is in a state of
excessive catabolism.
13 Renal Osteodystrophy High urea, high
Chronic renal failure ------> low, calcium and
Vitamin-D ------> high PTH.
14 Compensated Metabolic
High HCO3
- (alkalosis),
low PCO2
pH is high, but variable.
Low K+
Patient had severe vomiting, and later had shallow
Low K+ is associated with alkalosis.
15 Respiratory Acidosis High PCO2 (respiratory
High HCO3
16 Compensated Respiratory
High PCO2 (respiratory
High HCO3
pH is closer to normal, hence compensated.
17 Diuretic-induced hypokalemia
with Metabolic Alkalosis
Low K+
High HCO3
18 Membranous Nephropathy,
19 Multiple Myeloma Hypercalcemia
20 Myocardial Infarct Increased CK, AST,
Creatinine Kinase MB (CK-MB) is most useful
isoenzyme for diagnosis.
21 Metastatic Breast Cancer High Alk.Phos, AST,
Normal albumin
Cancer metastases to bone.
22 Obstructive Jaundice, caused by
Carcinoma of Head of Pancreas
Very high alk.phos,
indicated of cholestasis.
High AST and ALT
High Bilirubin
23 Acute Viral Hepatitis Very high AST and
Moderate Alk.Phos.
High gamma-GT
Dark color of urine is due to conjugated bilirubin.
Patient should recover from the hepatitis without
24 NIDDM glucose tolerance test
25 Diabetic Ketacidosis Odor on breath
26 Nocturnal Hypoglycemia in a
Low blood sugar at
night after taking
Measuring blood sugar during a hypoglycemia
attack isn't practical. Can measure catecholamines
in the blood to estabolish diagnosis.
Treatment: adjust insulin levels.
27 Osteomalacia Low Ca+2
Low adjusted Ca+2
High alk.phos. would be found if ordered, to
establish diagnosis.
28 Paraneoplastic Hypercalcemia High Ca+2
Low phosphate
Normal PTH
Normal PTH was found on further investigation,
so they took X-rays looking for metastases.
29 Hypomagnesemia with
scondary Hypoparathyroidism.
Low Mg+2
Low PTH secondarily
Mg+2 is required for PTH secretion!
30 Paget's Disease of Bone High alk.phos.
31 Lactotrope Adenoma with Panhypopituitarism
High Prolactin
The rest of the pituitary
hormones are low
Compression atrophy of the rest of the pituitary.
32 Possible Growth Deficiency Repeat test. GH levels can fluctuate, and erroneous
results can happen after a single random
33 Cystic Cold Thyroid Nodule in
woman on ERT.
High T4
Taking estrogen ------> TBG is higher ------> T4
baseline must be higher to compensate for the
increased TBG.
Perform fine-needle aspiration biopsy to evaluate
the nodule.
34 Hypothyroidism
35 Thyrotoxicosis Order free T3 and T4 tests to evaluate status.
36 Acute Adrenal Cortical Failure Low Na+, High K+ Low Na+ and high K+ result from no aldosterone.
Acidosis is secondary to the hyperkalemia.
Give ACTH (Synachten) test to confirm diagnosis.
37 Auto-immune Adrenalitis
(Addison's Disease)
Low Na+, High K+
38 ACTH-Secreting Carcinoma of
Lung, Cushing's Disease
Carcinoid tumor.
39 Polycystic Ovary Syndrome High testosterone, High
LH, low FSH
40 Chronic Malnutrition Vitamin-K malabsorption
41 Pernicious Anemia with
42 Total Parenteral Nutrition,
secondary hyperglycemia
High blood sugar Can see hyperglycemia in patients who are on
TPN, due to poor or no stimulation of insulin
43 MVA with tissue injury High K+ High K+ is released from tissues, from tissue
Measure creatinine kinase to document muscle cell
necrosis (rhabdomyolsysis).
44 Osteomalacia High alk.phos.
Low Ca+2, low Vit-D
Most likely caused y malnutrition, or
malabsorption of Vitamin-D.
45 Iron-Deficiency Anemia Low Fe+2
Low transferrin
saturation (high binding
Low ferritin.
46 Wilson's Disease Liver failure.
47 Digoxin Toxicity, Renal Failure Patient had elevated serum urea due to pre-renal
failure, secondary to heart failure.
48 Salicylate Poisoning Low HCO3
High anion gap
Metabolic Acidosis with Respiratory Alkalosis.
Anion gap is increased because it is metabolic
49 Lead Poisoning Measure protoporphyrin in blood cells to confirm
50 Alcoholism There is no lab test that is specific for alcoholism.
gamma-GT comes close but is not diagnostic.
51 Diabetic Hypoglycemia after
drinking alcohol
Patient was hypoglycemia, due to mixing alcohol
with insulin. Treat with IV glucose.
52 Hyperlipidemia Low electrolytes
High amylase
High triglycerides
Pseudohyponatremia: Low Na+ due to abnormally
low water-content of plasma (i.e. plasma had way
too much lipid in it).
Genetic disorder involves Apolipoprotein-B
Patient is at risking of forming a volvulus.
53 Obesity, hyperlipidemia,
NIDDM, Alcohol
High cholesterol, lipids
High glucose
High gamma-GT
Treat with dietary measures. Man is at increased
risk for coronary artery disease.
54 Heterozygous Familial
High fasting
cholesterol, Normal
lipids, Low HDL
Hypercholesterolemia is also found in patients
with Hypothyroidism.
55 Pheochromocytoma VMA in urine.
56 ACTH-secreting tumor,
Cushing's Disease
High HCO3
Low K+, High Na+
High creatinine
Metabolic Alkalosis secondary to hypokalemia,
from increased aldosterone activity.
Probably comes from oat-cell carcinoma of lung.
57 Alcoholic Liver Disease,
High liver enzymes
High gamma-GT
alpha-Fetoprotein was normal in this case (it's
usually elevated)
Can also measure Carcinoembryonic Antigen
58 Thyroid Carcinoma Severe headache
High Ca+2
59 Septic Arthritis posing as Gout Uric acid came back normal.
Give antibiotics to treat septic arthritis.
60 Hemolysis, Tissue Damage High LDH, high CK
Low haptoglobin
LDH, CK = damage to: muscle, liver, or
61 Cystic Fibrosis High Cl- in sweat
62 Rh-Incompatibility Disease Measure bilirubin in amniotic fluid to diagnose
erythroblastosis fetalis. High bilirubin would
indicate hemolysis in the fetal blood.
63 Pre-Eclampsia Progressive
albuminuria, HTN
64 Cretinism Baby came back normal. TSH must be above 100
before follow-up test is required.
65 IRDS in premature infant

Who was Mirambo?

Born Mbula Mtelya, Mirambo is the man who revolutionized nineteenth century Tanzania, and made it hard for the Germans to conquer the region: he united the numerous Nyamwezi tribes, and gained control over Swahili-Arab trade routes.  Mirambo was the leader of the Nyamwezi people on a 200,000 km2 territory south of Lake Nyanza (Lake Victoria), and east of Lake Tanganyika.  He was not a vulgar chief of brigands as the Arab traders made Stanley believe in 1871, but his links to different families of Ntemi (kings) were a little bit blurred as many historians had mixed up dynastic and genealogical lineages, different in a matrilineal system such as that of the Nyamwezis.  In 1858, Mirambo managed to inherit the chiefdom of Uyowa from his father, Kasanda, who was a renowned warrior; he was only 18 years old.  In 1860, he joined two chiefdoms located 100 km west of Tabora, in the kingdom of Unyanyembe.  He learned the Ngoni language (Ngoni people trace their origin to the Zulu people of KwaZulu Natal), as well as their military techniques.  Later in 1860, he conquered the neighboring territory of Ulyankuru.
Map of Mirambo’s kingdom
He then moved his capital to Iseramagazi where he built a Boma, a fortified residence, with walls made up of dry bricks, retrenchments and hedges of euphorbia flowers.  From his father and mother, he was a descendent of Mshimba (lion), the last ruler of the legendary kingdom of Usagali, and Mirambo was thus recreating the old empire.  Thus in 1860, he created a new Nyamwezi state, the Urambo, from the name he had adopted for himself, ‘corpses‘ in kinyamwezi, Mirambo.  From 1860 to 1870, he strengthened his authority along the banks of the river Gombe, i.e. on the road to Ujiji, thereby threatening to block the Arab commerce in the area.  In 1871, he defeated the Arab traders at Tabora.  The Sultan of Zanzibar, Barghash bin Said, retaliated by sending 3000 soldiers (2000 Swahili, and 1000 Balutchi).  Mirambo’s resistance was one of the most fierce: Nyamwezi’s fighters would go as far as melting their copper bracelets to make bullets for their guns.  A compromise was made to keep commerce flowing with the coast: caravans could pass after paying a tax (hongo) to Mirambo.
Illustration of the Ntemi of Urambo, Mirambo (from James William Buels Heroes of the Dark Continent (1890))
Every year, during the dry season, Mirambo would dispatch his ruga-ruga in all directions to continue the expansion of his territory.  From 1876 to 1878, the territory was expanded to the north, up to the southern banks of Lake Victoria.  From 1879 to 1881, expansion to the west toward Uvinza, for the control of Lake Tanganyika.  The Muhambwe of King Ruhaga fell under Nyamwezi domination, and the Ruguru of King Ntare had to seek protection from Mirambo and agree to the presence of a ruga-ruga post on the eastern border of his kingdom.  In 1879, there was also the expansion towards Burundi.  His alliance with the Ngoni fell apart in the early 1880s.  He was greatly hated by the Arabs who used to dominate the commerce in the region, and other neighboring kings who feared him, and the Europeans who saw in him as a powerful adversary.  After 1881, the Arabs managed to convince the International African Association (AIA – Association Internationale Africaine), a European power created under King Leopold II’s initiative to inflict an embargo on arms and munitions on Mirambo (yup… European unions already inflicted embargo on arms back then).  The goal of the AIA was to “open up central Africa to civilization.”  At first Mirambo’s army succeeded in entering Burundi by surprise using a feud between the local king and his brother, but in 1884, his army was defeated by Burundi warriors (aided by Ngoni warriors).  After his defeat in Burundi, and another defeat against the alliance of the Arabs and the Ntemi of Bukune, Mirambo’s troops were led by Mpandashalo as he was increasingly sick.  Mirambo died on 2 December 1884.
Flag of Tanzania
Mirambo was a strong and ambitious leader.  He expanded his authority and influence over a number of Nyamwezi chiefs.  One of his challenges was to devise a political system that would allow him to consolidate his power, while ever expanding his territory.  For that, he made sure not to change the structure of the Nyamwezi’s society: once in power, he would usually choose a successor from the same family.  As long as the new chiefs pledged allegiance to him, they would be left to go about their political duties.  The conquered chiefs had to provide troops at all times.  His greatest strength was military.  He used surprise as a tactical ploy.  His capital was both a military and economic center.  He had two residences: Iseramagazi from 1879, and Ikonongo from 1881.
Mirambo was actually a simple man, deeply rooted in his culture and traditions, but also very curious of the world.  He was a man of order and progress, who will set the price of commodities in the capital’s markets, and regulated the consumption of alcohol in his kingdoms (he thought that alcohol weakened societies – just like Gungunyane), and meditated on the decadence of Africa in the 19th century.  He was nostalgic of the magnificent ancient African capitals, and kingdoms


By mid-19th Century, the Nyamwezi were not as centralized as contemporary Buganda or Bunyoro
Kingdoms. The Nyamwezi lived in a number of chiefdoms called Ntemiships. These chiefdoms had a
considerable degree of autonomy and must have therefore existed independent of each other. The
chiefdoms were usually small in size and with scarcely more than one thousand inhabitants. But if the
population increased, chiefdom would split up to make new ones along clan ties or common historical
origins. The existence of the various Ntemiships, in fact over 150, should not tempt one to think that all
Nyamwezi were disunited. Far from this, the Nyamwezi were knit together by clanship ties and
common historical origins. Moreover, the 1870’s and early 1880’s saw an emergence of great leaders
Mirambo and Nyungu Ya Mawe who forged centralized institutions that is, Urambo and Ukimbu states
respectively. Even then it has been pointed out that this centralization was mainly commercial and not
political. For instance, beyond Urambo it is alleged Mirambo was more known as a commercial giant
other than a politician. Whatever the case, the distinction between a commercial and political kingdom
is not as clear-cut as it may appear to be.
The Nyamwezi political entities, chiefdoms, were headed by chiefs known as Ntemi or Mtemi. The
Mtemi or Ntemi comes from a Bantu verb kutema which means “to cut.” The Mtemi was originally a
man appointed by villagers to “cut” discussions so as to reach judgements in legal cases and decisions
on political questions. His position was therefore not hereditary. The Mtemi was highly cherished by his
people and indeed looked at as their father. Were (1974:183) records that the well-being of his people,
country, crops and animals depended on his personal health. When he fell sick the chiefdom was
supposed to suffer in one way or another.”
Besides, as political leaders the chiefs had royal symbols such as the spear and drum. The Ntemi was
responsible for appointing the army commander and his deputy, the information officer as well as the
tribute collector called Minule. These officers usually got orders from the Ntemi. The Ntemi also had
religious duties to perform. They were adored as rain makers, magicians and judges. It has been
pointed out however that beyond these tasks, the chiefs did not exercise excessive political powers.
In their administration, the Ntemi were assisted by a council of elders known as Wanyampala. Below
the council of elders were various officers who included army officers, the head of the secret
intelligence service, tribute officer and the information officer. The information officer would travel
around the chiefdom announcing the Ntemi’s orders to the subjects. There was also the headquarters;
the influence of the Ntemi was hardly felt. Thus he had to depend on a group of administrators called
Gungli. These were heads of various settlement areas. In turn the Gunguli depended on the Wazenga
Makaya, the heads of households. Thus there were various important political units. There was
therefore power sharing among the Nyamwezi something that can be compared to modern
democracy. This is contrary to the view that African leaders were completely dictators.
Militarily, the Nyamwezi chiefdoms had a means of defense. They had an army that served the
pruposed of defense as well as maintenance of law and order. Leaders of settlement areas usually
raised armies to assist the Ntemi in times of war. Unlike the Buganda or Bunyoro where the Kings had
overall powers over the army, i.e. could make war and sue for peace; the Ntemi had no such powers. It
was the council of elders that had the powers to sanction any way. But before any war was fought, the
Ntemi had to perform a sacrificial ceremony referred to as “eating of the meat of war.” Later in the
second half of the 19th Century, the army became personalized and even more efficient with the
creation of the powerful professional rugarugas of Mirambo and of the one eyed Nyungu Ya Mawe.
L a s t u p d a t e d : S e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 1
The Nyamwezi had an elaborate judicial structure. The top most judicial officer was the Ntemi himself
with his court as the final court of appeal. He had powers to administer traditional and customary law.
In addition to handling court cases, he also dealt with cases referred to his court from the districts. The
Ntemi handled cases ranging from murder, treason, to witchcraft. Cases of witchcraft were settled with
the help of advice from members of the secret of society

The People of Kenya To understand Kenyan history, we need to understand the people of this country.

- Indeed, Kenya has over 42 ethnic groups in number.
- Each group has a diverse history, based on migration, evolution of the group, interaction with other groups over the years, culture, political, social and economic set-up.
- Kenyan ethnic groups are also grouped into major clusters:
(a) the Cushites
(b) the Nilotes and
(c) the Bantu
(a) The Cushites
The Cushites form a group that is broadly homogenous:-
- in language and
- in culture, and spread over a large part of Ethiopia, Somalia and in Kenya.
- In Kenya they are spread over a small part as compared to the two countries.
Examples of Cushites include:
- The Rift Cushite peoples – that is the Dorobo and Okiek.
- The North-East Cushites-that is the Somali, Boran and Galla among others.
Cushites are the earliest groups to have settled in Kenya.
- The Rift Cushites are mainly hunters and gatherers (since the pre-colonial period).
- And the North-East Cushites are mainly herders or pastoralists (over the years).
(b) The Nilotes
The term Nilotic is linguistic and originates from the term Nile.
- they originated in the Nile Valley
- A mixed group referred to as the Nile Valley peoples.
- Who stretched on both sides of the Nile from Sennar (in Sudan) to Lake Victoria.
- Their influence penetrated deeper into East Africa (Kenya included).
Examples of Nilotes in Kenya
In Kenya they are divided into three main groups:
(a) The Highland Nilotes
(b) Plain Nilotes and
(c) River-Lake Nilotes
(a) The Highland Nilotes are also referred to as the Kalenjin speakers - for example, the Nandi and the Kipsigis and Pokot (found in the Rift Valley).
(b) Plain Nilotes include the Maasai(in the Rift Valley), Iteso of Western Kenya and Turkana of Northern Kenya.
(c) River Lake Nilotes include the Luo (live around Lake Victoria). In the pre-colonial period Nilotes were mainly pastoralists.
- Today, most Nilotes have adopted farming including sectors of the Maasai.
- It is only Turkana who are mainly pastoralists in present Kenya.
- The Luo and Turkana also practice fishing (Luo in Lake Victoria and Turkana in Lake Turkana).
(d) The Bantu
Bantu is a linguistic term which carries no connotation as to:-
- Race or
- Culture
- It refers to people who speak Bantu languages.
- It was coined from Umuntu- plural, Abantu in reference to person and people in plural.
The Bantu Problem
One of the many difficult problems in early history of Africa leave alone Kenya is that of the origin and spread of the Bantu.
Why the problem?
- the Bantu do not constitute genetically an ethnic group
- there is no homogeneity of physical type amongst them
- we have to study them broadly as a linguistic group
Examples of Bantu groups in Kenya include:-
- The Abaluhya of Western Kenya.
- The Kikuyu of Central Kenya.
- The Meru, Embu and Kamba of Eastern parts of Kenya.
- The Abagusii and Kuria found in Nyanza province (geographically part of Western Kenya).
- The Mijikenda (meaning nine villages and consist of nine groups-for example, the Giriama, Digo and Ribe), Pokomo and Taita of Coastal province of Kenya among other groups.
- The Bantu groups form the largest group of Kenya’s population.
- Since the pre-colonial period, it is true that all Bantu groups are basically mixed farmers.
- They cultivate the land and keep animals as well. They also traded amongst themselves and with other Kenyan groups.
- It is also difficult to generalize the Bantu culture- indeed, the Bantu are a “hybrid community” with different culture and various dialects (for example, over 16 dialects are spoken among the Bantu of Western Kenya alone).
General Remarks on Kenyan groups
- They have interacted over the years by way of marriage, through trade, association, assimilation and absorption. Therefore, it is hard to speak of a “pure” ethnic group in Kenya.
- Interaction has also been through ethnic conflicts (at times escalating into fierce conflicts), mainly caused by fight over scarce resources, mainly land, grazing pasture and water points. Other times ethnic clashes have been fueled by politicians to gain political mileage.
- Of importance also to note- in the pre-colonial period (all Kenya groups except the Wanga ( a group of the Bantu of Western Kenya) were acephalous in nature(meaning they had governments, mainly represented by council of elders but they had no centralized governments in place). It is only the Wanga who had a centralized system with Nabongo (meaning King) as their leader.
- Besides, cattle played an important role in the lives of Kenyan groups.
- animals supplemented agriculture
- they were an investment (capital accumulation)
- a source of increased prestige and wealth
- a medium of exchange
- and animals were and are still used in social cultural aspects fro example-in dowry paying and in rituals/sacrifices.
- There is more interaction among Kenya groups due to urbanization, though trade, politics, education and search for land and new settlement patterns in various parts of the country.
- But ethnicity is still maintained as form of identity and belonging.
- Thus, all Kenyans belong to specific ethnic groups and they identify with them first and foremost.
The Swahili
Also of importance to Kenyan history are the Swahili speakers.
- The term Swahili refer to a people as well as culture.
- To understand the origin of the Swahili - it has been common for historians to view them as representing a fusion of the Shirazi (that is Persian and Arabian) traders and immigrants with the Coastal Bantu (the Mijikenda and Pokomo).
- This fusion was thought to have occurred just prior to the ninth century along Kenya’s coastal region.
- In the process, a Swahili culture evolved - with it emerged Kiswahili as a language-which is now spoken in various parts of Kenya and Tanzania, Zanzibar as well as in other parts of the Eastern Africa region, and as far as the Democratic Republic of Kenya.
- The Swahili have also associated with the Indian Ocean trade.
Kenya During the Colonial Period (1895-1963)
Kenya was colonized in 1895. It became part of the British empire. Kenya was maintained as a Protectorate ( a British sphere of influence), and in 1920 it officially became a British colony. Kenya attained independence in 1983.
Why Was Kenya Colonized by the British?
European encroachment on Kenya took two forms:
(a) Commercial penetration, which is an imperial motive and
(b) Political colonization.
As such, there is association between imperialism and colonization.
Britain established a colony in Kenya for:-
- raw materials(for example ivory),
- and for economic potential (temperate climate and fertile land in the Kenya highlands was an attraction for European settlement).
- Industrial revolution in Britain - search for raw materials and market for finished goods - partly explains why Kenya was colonized.
- The issue of prestige and competition for colonies with other European power (France, Germany and Portugal also explain why the British colonized Kenya).
- Strategic considerations - linked to Britain’s interest to safeguard the Nile, enhance commerce and trade-also explains colonization of Kenya.
- That is acquire Mombasa, the interior of Kenya, link it with Lake Victoria
-the source of the Nile, hence control the Nile which is the lifeline of Egypt. Then control Egypt, with specific interest with the Suez Canal which was officially opened in 1869(built by the British, French and the Egyptians - but with Britain with an upper hand). Control of the Suez Canal would then mean control of trade in the Middle East as well as that, that passes in the Indian Ocean. Thus, Kenya was partly colonized because of strategic consideration.
That is why some scholars have argued that, the colonization of Kenya was an
accident. That the British interest was in Egypt and hence the control of the Nile (Uganda for this matter)
To safeguard the interest of British explorers, missionaries, traders and fortune seekers.
- Whatever the case, Kenya was colonized in 1895.
- And economic motives essentially explains colonization of Kenya.
Main features of Colonialism in Kenya
Colonialism in Kenya was characterized by:-
(a) Land alienation – involved alienating African land for European settlers and for the colonial administration as well. For example, the Kikuyu, Masaai, and Nandi among others lost land. The Masaai suffered the most.
(b) The settler economy – with a powerful settler population – that wanted to be independent from Britain, but, this was met by British government resistance.
(c) The construction of the railway to link Kenya and Uganda (hence the Nile). Popularly known as the Uganda railway started in Mombasa in 1896, reached Nairobi in 1899, and Kisumu on Lake Victoria in 1901. Later on other railway lines were constructed for example the Uasin Gishu railway line – linking Nairobi and Kampala in Uganda(through Nakuru, Eldoret, Bungoma, Malaba and then to Kampala in Uganda; and Eldoret to Kitale, and Nairobi to Lake Magadi (where soda ash is mined up to date).
The railway was only constructed in Kenya’s arable areas – where there was economic potential. This made it possible for settlers to exploit Kenya’s resources and almost all in the form of raw materials (cotton, tea and coffee as examples, also timber) found their way to Britain.
No railway line was built in the arid and semi-arid Northern and North Eastern part of Kenya. But animals were obtained from pastoralists for export (in form of slaughter meat, ghee and hides to Britain, as well as from other parts of the country.
(d) Taxation – in the form of hut and poll tax. Taxation was the main source of revenue. All African male over 18 years paid a hut tax and over 16 years a poll tax. Taxation made it easier for British administrators to run the colony for example, Africans were oppressed and exploited in the process.
(e) Acquisition of Labor
- Settlers needed labour
- Administrators also needed African labour for public works(e.g. road construction and for buildings)
- Various types of labour were enforced: forced labour, and wage labour (poorly paid) – in essence forced labour (next to slavery) was the backbone of the colonial economy and colonial administration (e.g. used in First and Second World War).
(f) Colonization was characterized by continuous conquest of African groups.
- That was through punitive expeditions sent against Africans who opposed colonialism or colonial exploitation.
The British government introduced a centralized system of government in Kenya. The same government was inherited at independence with all its evil (e.g. corruption, ruthlessness, since).
(g) Social Amenities:
For example, education and health facilities – at first were not meant for Africans but for settlers.
- It was an after thought to incorporate Africans as beneficiaries of the same.
(h) The colonial economy was a dual economy (based on enclave development).
- One for Africans (base on traditional farming methods)
- One for settlers Supported by the colonial state
The colonial economy contributed to underdevelopment of the African economy. It also created Kenya’s dependency to Britain and later own to the international Community.
(i) The Indian question is part of colonial features in Kenya.
- Indians were first brought in (to built the railway as free labour).
- Eventually, given option to go back to India or remain in Kenya.
- Today the Indian population controls a great majority of the Kenyan commercial empire.
- They invest most of the money outside the country – with the support of Kenyan politicians – They have contributed to corruption problems in the country. There is always tension between Kenyan Indians and the rest of the population.
(k) Monetary Economy
- Is a reflection of colonialism in Kenya.
- The British introduced money economy in Kenya. Traditionally barter trade was the norm.
Hence, through monetary economy Kenya was linked to the capitalist economy
(i) Wage labour – is also a feature of colonialism.
- Today a considerable number of Kenya’s are employed in wage labour sector.
- Particularly the blue and white color jobs.
Other features of Kenya’s colonial period can be captured through further reading.
African Response to penetration of Colonialism and Fight for independence
Mainly characterized by collaboration and resistance
- Some groups resulted to armed resistance from example the Giriama at the Coast, Kikuyu of Central Kenya, Nandi in the Rift Valley, and some Abaluhya groups (for example the Babukusu) in Western Kenya. The Abagusii also resisted the penetration of colonialism.
- The Maasai and the Kamba collaborated. Why? They had been weakened by droughts, famine and disease at the time of colonial penetration. Thus, they passively resisted colonialism.
We also need to understand the paradox of collaboration and resistance.
- Some groups resisted they were subdued and ended up collaborating with the colonizers.
- Others started by resisting, then collaborated and went to full scale resistance – the best example is the Kikuyu who in the 1950s waged liberation war against the British – the Mau Mau rebellion in the 1950s that contributed to Kenya’s independence in 1963.
- Mau Mau rebellion holds a central position in Kenya’s history.
- Mau Mau has been viewed as a war of independence by nationalists in Kenya.
- It shock the foundation of the colonial structure in Kenya.
- It was mainly concentrated in Central Kenya – led by Kenya’s populous group the Kikuyu.
However, to the British, this was a “tribal Warfare.” But to Kenyans it was a war of independence.
Besides Mau Mau
- the Constitutional movement – Constitution talks of the 1950s mainly in 1957, 1959 and the 1960s (1960-1963), also contributed to Kenya’s Independence.
- The talks were between Kenyan nationalists, amongst them Jomo Kenyatta, Tom Mboya, Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi, Ronald Ngala, Masinde Muliro, Martin Shikuku, Oginga Odinga, Jeane Seronney among othes with British officials – that eventually culminated into Kenya’s independence in 1963.
Nonetheless, the Mau Mau sent shock waves to British settlers as well as administrators in Kenya and undermined the very foundation of colonialism in Kenya.
The Post-Independence Kenya (1963 to the Present)
At independence, the Kenya government virtually inherited the colonial structure.
- That is politically, economically and socially.
- Indeed it has been almost impossible to dismantle the colonial state
- It is not surprising that Kenya has experienced neo-colonialism since 1963. Kenya is still tied, particularly economically, to British and the Western World in general.
(a) Politically
- Kenya still maintains a centralized system of government inherited at independence.
- This contributed to the emergence and evolution of “personalized rule” (during the Kenyatta and Moi regimes) powerful President with executive powers (and above the law).
- The same powers were inherited by the current president (as vested in Kenya’s Constitution of 1963). The only different is the current president – is operating in the multi-party era; and in a coalition government.
- Jomo Kenyatta was Kenya’s first president and was in power from 1963 – 1978; (died in August 1978) – he was a Kikuyu from Central Kenya.
- Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi was Kenya’s Second president ruled from 1978 – 2002. He is Kenya’s first retired president. He was removed from power through popular vote.
- Currently, there is Mwai Kibaki – came to power through popular vote – aimed at removing Moi and KANU (Kenya African National Party from power). Moi just as Kenyatta was accused of heavy handedness and corruption tendencies while in power. Kenyatta was also a KANU President.
- Kenya was under a single party from 1964 – when KADU (Kenya African Democratic Union) an opposition party was disbanded.
- Multi-party politics re-emerged and endorsed in the Kenyan Constitution in 1992.
- Kenya is now a multi-party state with NARC (National Alliance Rainbow Coalition) in power (2003 – 2007). NARC was made up of about 14 political
parties. It is a coalition form of government with its own internal problems, but, it is the hope of Kenyans that it does not break the current government.
- 2008 – 2012 – Coalition government headed by Kibaki – serving a second and last term.
- The coalition government (2008 – 2012) is under three main parties Party of National Unity (PNU); Orange Democratic Movement (ODM); and Orange Democratic Movement Kenya (ODM-Kenya).
- President Kibaki is from PNU
- Prime Minister Raila Odinga from ODM
- Vice President Musyoka Kalonzo from ODM - Kenya.
(b) Economically
- Kenya is a developing country with a developing economy
- Today, Kenya’s economy is capitalist oriented and tied to the global world. It is affected by World Bank and IMF (International Monetary Fund) like other developing countries. For instance, in the 1980s, it was affected by Structural Adjustment (SAPs) and Liberalization of the world markets. Today it is also affected by globalization as other parts of the world; and the global crisis.
- Given the fact that it has a weak economy, it heavily felt the impact of SAPs as well as globalization.
- Kenya is an agricultural country. It relies on a mixed economy (farming, animal keeping, fishing and trade).
- Main exports include, tea, coffee, pyrethrum for the manufacture of insecticides.
- It also relies on foreign aid and internal resources to sustain the economy.
- It has a weak manufacturing sector. For example vehicles come in form outside, with few assembling plants (or factories in the country).
The Coalition governments (2003 – the present) mainly emphasizes economic recovery and fight against poverty.
(C) Socially
- Main sectors are education and health sectors.
- The government promotes free primary education, for all primary school going children. But this is yet to be achieved.
- Health care is a major problem. Majority of the Kenyan population have no access to health care. Both public and private sectors, including religious operated health facilities are encouraged. Besides, the use of traditional medicine also play a role in health care.
- Religion – freedom of worship ensure that it is enshrined in the current Constitution. Kenya has Muslims, Christians (majority) and traditionalists.
- Poverty is rampant, and it is one of the challenges facing the Kenyan government. Related to poverty is the fight against ignorance and disease; as well as state insecurity (fight against crime, cattle raids and militia groups).
Important Remarks about Kenya
- It is the cradle of mankind, based on archaeological evidence – for example excavations at Koobi Fora (an important excavation site in the world) in Northern Kenya (on shores of Lake Turkana).
- Kenya is among the most important countries in Africa and to the international Community. For instance it is the headquarters of UNEP (United Nations Environmental Program) at Gigiri in Nairobi.
- Kenya is also known as a tourist destination with a rich resource of wild animals – important National Parks. The Tsavo and Nairobi National Parks. The Giraffe Centre, Ostrich Centre in Nairobi.
- National Museums found in all parts of the country, house Kenya’s past history including Fort Jesus in Mombasa. Museums are found in virtually all towns in Kenya. The Nairobi National Museum also houses the archeological artifacts excavated in various parts of the country. It also has a snake park.
- Kenya is also known for its long distance runners in the world. Sports and athletics in particular is very important.
- Generally, Kenya has a pleasant climate and has a very hospitable (friendly) population.
Last but not least
The country is undergoing Constitution making. Kenyans are looking forward to see a new Constitution in place to accommodate the country’s needs.

After Independence: General.

The newly independent African nations faced many problems, particularly those
countries - the great majority - with no recent experience of being a national state.
One awkward problem was that the boundaries of the new states often bore little or
no relation to racial or tribal divisions. The boundaries had mainly come about as a
result of the "scramble” for Africa", and had been drawn after bargaining between
the European powers concerned with little consideration for tribal organisation. When
independence was gained these artificial boundaries were accepted, because there
was no other practicable way of obtaining independence without prolonged
discussion, negotiation and strife. There was some talk of federation in West Africa,
uniting the ex-British and also the ex-French colonies, but it came to nothing.
There were nevertheless many frontier disputes and small wars; but the
"Organisation of African Unity", which was formed in 1963 by representatives of
some 30 of the new states, helped to settle them. The OAU aimed to help towards
independence those which had not yet, at that time, achieved it, and to improve
economic, political and cultural conditions throughout Africa. Its permanent
headquarters was established at Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia. The new states also
became members of the United Nations; indeed, African countries number about
30% of the whole.
Another difficult problem facing particularly the East African countries, was the
position of the European and Asian minorities in the new order.
Nearly all the new nations became republics. The few exceptions were the Kingdoms
of Lesotho and Swaziland in the south, and Morocco and Libya in the north, but Libya
became a republic later. And, in the other direction, the Central African Republic later
changed to the Central African Empire.
With little experience of democratic government, there has been an inevitable trend
in many states towards autocratic rule. Military coups and dictatorships have been
frequent, and Communist interference by the Soviet Union in some areas has added
to the problems.
The remaining chapters of this history will give some general information about all
the states (populations and other statistics are estimates in the mid 1970s) and a
brief history of each since independence. They are grouped as follows; and some
notes are here given regarding previous names, to assist in identification
North Africa
Libya - Tripolitania and Cyrenaica.
The Countries of the Sudan
Mauritania - part of French West Africa. Not to be confused with Roman
Mauretania, which was roughly modern Morocco.
Mali - part of French West Africa. In roughly the same position as ancient Mali
from which it has taken its name.
Niger - part of French West Africa.
Chad - part of French Equatorial Africa. Named after Lake Chad, includes
much of ancient Kanem-Bornu.
Sudan - Nubia, Egyptian or Eastern Sudan.
West Africa.
Nigeria - includes ancient Oyo and Benin.
Ghana - Ashanti, Gold Coast. A different land from ancient Ghana, whose
name it has taken.
Sierra Leone
The Gambia - Gambia.
Senegal - part of French West Africa.
Benin - Dahomey, part of French West Africa. A different land from ancient
Ivory Coast - part of French West Africa.
Upper Volta - part of French West Africa.
Guinea - French Guinea, part of French West Africa.
Togo - Togoland.
Guinea-Bissau - Portuguese Guinea.
East Africa.
Somalia - British and Italian Somaliland.
Djibouti - French Somaliland, Territory of the Afars and Issas.
Uganda - Buganda, Bunyoro and other kingdoms.
Tanzania - Tanganyika and Zanzibar.
Malagasy - Madagascar.
Central Africa.
Central African Empire - Central African Republic, part of French Equatorial
Cameroon - Cameroons.
Congo - ancient Kongo, part of French Equatorial Africa. Different from the
'Belgian Congo'.
Gabon - part of French Equatorial Africa.
Equatorial Guinea - Spanish Guinea.
Zaire - Congo Free State, Belgian Congo. (Includes ancient Lunda, Luba,
Rwanda & Burundi - ancient kingdoms, then part of German East Africa, then
part of the Belgian Congo.
Southern Central Africa
Zambia - Northern Rhodesia. Includes some of Central ancient Monomatapa
Malawi - Ancient Malawi, then Nyasaland.
Angola - parts of ancient Kongo and Ndongo.
Southern Africa
Zimbabwe - ancient Zimbabwe, then Southern Rhodesia, then Rhodesia.
Botswana - Bechuanaland.
Lesotho - Basutoland.
Namibia - (German) South West Africa.
Note. The Central African Empire has recently (1979) reverted to being the Central
African Republic.
Chapter 18. After Independence: North Africa.
Morocco. Resumed independence in 1956
Population – 16 ½ million. Arab 65%, Berber 35%, foreign population about
Density of population - about 90 per square mile.
Religion - Moslem.
Language - Arabic (official), Berber, French, Spanish.
Literacy - 15%.
Exports - Phosphates and other minerals, citrous fruits.
Main towns -
Rabat 435,000. Capital. Seaport.
Casablanca 1,370,000 Port. Economic centre of the country.
Marrakesh 330,000 Tourist centre. Ancient capital.
Fez 320,000 Sacred city. Ancient university. One-time capital
Meknes 300,000 Agricultural centre. One-time capital.
Tangier 185,000 Port and commercial city. Held by Portugal 1471-
1662. Later a centre of the Barbary pirates.
(Ceuta-and Melilla still belong to Spain.)
On Morocco's resumption of independence the Sultan Sidi Mohammed assumed the
title King Muhammad V. On his death in 1961 his son became King Hassan II. A
constitution providing for representative government was adopted by referendum in
1962; but after serious disturbances in 1965 the King suspended parliament. In
1970 he brought in a new constitution; in which he kept considerable powers.
Discontent with the monarchy led to attempted coups by military officers in 1971
and 1972. The King survived, and brought in another constitution, also approved by
Morocco has kept aloof from the conflicts in the Middle East, and her economy has
made progress - Morocco is the world's third largest producer of phosphates, and her
tourist industry has increased.
Algeria Became independent (from France) in 1962.
Population - 15 million. Arab/Berber.
Density of population - about 18 per square mile.
Religion - Moslem.
Language - Arabic (official), French, Berber.
Literacy - 15%.
Exports - Oil, natural gas, wine, fruit.
Main towns –
Algiers 1,000,000 Capital. Seaport. Industrial centre.
Oran 400,000 Seaport. Former French naval station.
Constantine 250,000
On attaining independence a leader of the Nationalists, Ben Bella, became President,
but he was deposed by a military coup in 1965. Colonel Boumédienne came to
power, and remained President until his death in 1978. His government maintained a
neutral foreign policy, but Soviet influence increased.
The mass exodus of French colonists after independence weakened Algerian
economy, but the discovery of huge deposits of oil and natural gas helped recovery.
Tunisia. Became independent (from France) in 1956.
Population – 5 ½ million. Arab/Berber.
Density of population - about 90 per square mile.
Religion - Moslem.
Language - Arabic (official), French.
Literacy - 30%.
Exports - Olive oil, mine, phosphates.
Main towns –
Tunis 500,000 Capital. Seaport. Near ruins of Carthage.
Sfax 200,000
Bizerta 100,000 Seaport.
On becoming independent an elected Assembly abolished the monarchy and deposed
the Bey, and Habib Bourguiba, a Nationalist leader, became President of the Tunisian
Republic. He still is. He is immensely popular and has ruled with farsightedness and
moderation - in both internal and foreign affairs, including his attitude towards
Israel. Under his guidance Tunisia has been one of the most stable states in the Arab
Libya. Became independent in 1951.
Population – 2 ½ million. Arab/Berber.
Density of population - about 4 per square mile.
Religion - Moslem.
Language - Arabic (official), Italian, English.
Literacy - 25-30%
Exports - Oil.
Main towns –
Tripoli 400,000. In Tripolitania.
Benghazi 200,000. In Cyrenaica. Joint capitals.
A new capital is being built at Beida, in Cyrenaica.
Like Algeria, Libya contains a high proportion of desert. A sparsely populated country
- with its inhabitants about a third nomadic - Libya was the first ex-colonial African
state to become independent . From 1951 to 1969 it was a monarchy under King
Idris, the Senussi leader. He was then overthrown by a military, coup, and the
Libyan Arab Republic has since then been ruled by a left-wing military regime led by
Colonel Gaddafi. Gaddafi expelled foreigners and aligned Libya with the more militant
Arab countries in the Arab-Israeli confrontation.
The international position of Libya, hitherto of little consequence, has been
transformed by the discovery of vast oil reserves, and Libya h

The "Scramble for Africa"

Until the 1870s only Portugal, Britain and France of the European nations had made
any substantial colonisation in Africa. And. the French and British advances had been
rather spasmodic, their colonial policies varying with the government or regime in
power, and with the enterprise of its representatives in Africa.
In the 1870s, however, the outlook of the European nations towards African
colonisation changed. This was partly due to the greater knowledge of the continent
obtained from exploration, and consequent increased opportunities for trade and
access to valuable raw materials; and partly due to efforts to protect the explorers
and missionaries and to suppress slavery and the remnants of the slave trade. But it
was also due to a new spirit of national prestige, stemming largely from the
unification of both Germany and Italy in the period 1859-1870; and perhaps to some
extent due to the rise of a sentiment that it was the duty of the "superior" white man
to civilise, educate and convert the Africans - a sentiment which ignored the fact that
the white man was not necessarily superior, and that the Africans might well be
much happier, and certainly preferred, to be left alone.
The result was the “scramble for Africa", in which the European nations competed
with each other for colonies there. One of the earliest targets was Tunisia, where
Italy had greatly extended her commercial interests and hoped to gain control of the
country but, as already mentioned, was forestalled by the French in 1881. The
French people were no very ardent colonists; but France’s policy, after her
humiliating defeat by Prussia in 1870, had become one of vast colonial expansion,
partly to restore her international prestige. Bismarck, the creator of Germany, did
not want colonies, but deferred to pressure by German commercial interests, and
Germany joined in the competition.
There then followed, in 1884-85, a remarkable international conference in Berlin at
which rules were drawn up for colonisation in Africa. There were many provisions in
the Act emanating from the conference, the main one being that all signatories had
to notify the others of any intended action to take possession of any part of the
African coast or to penetrate into the interior - and in effect to obtain the approval of
the other signatories. In this way, although there were international disputes and
'incidents', Africa was carved up by the European nations without armed conflict
between them.
One of the first agreements arising from the Berlin conference was the recognition of
the "Congo Free State" as the personal possession of King Leopold II of the Belgians.
(Belgium had been an independent country since 1830). The enterprising Leopold,
seeing the possibilities of central Africa opened up by the explorations of Livingstone,
Stanley and others, had called an international conference in 1876 to co-ordinate
further exploration and suppress the slave trade. (This was the forerunner of the
Berlin conference eight years later.) An international association was formed - largely
Belgian - and Leopold engaged Stanley to establish trading posts in the Congo area
and make treaties with the African chiefs. Stanley spent 5 years doing this. The
international aspect of the operations soon evaporated, and Leopold financed the
enterprise from his private fortune - hence the award of the Congo Free State as his
personal property. Early in the 1900s mismanagement and ill-treatment of the
Africans in the Congo Free State led to international concern, particularly in Britain
and the United States. The result was that in 1908 the Belgian government took over
the colony, and the worst of the abuses were removed.
In general, the period from 1885 to about 1920 was one of invasion, conquest
and/or negotiations with African rulers by the European powers in their chosen and
allotted areas, and the setting up of colonial rule. The only African states to survive
as independent were Ethiopia and Liberia. In some of the more powerful and
organised African countries resistance was fierce and prolonged, but in the end they
succumbed to the superior weapons and equipment of the invaders. Another cause
of the defeat of the Africans was that there was no unity amongst them - either
between different states, or within each state. Some countries comprised several
different African peoples, with one ruling and oppressing the others. The Europeans
could often recruit African soldiers for their invading armies.
Altogether some 40 colonies or protectorates were formed. Taking in turn the
European nations involved:-
France was the most active colonial power, and acquired the largest area of territory.
By 1900 her African empire included Algeria and Tunisia in the north; Senegal,
French Guinea, Ivory Coast and Dahomey in the West African coastlands; French
West Africa which took in nearly all the Sahara and western Sudan; French
Equatorial Africa which comprised Gabon, some of the Congo and central Sudan
(modern Chad); French Somaliland (Djibouti), and the island of Madagascar.
France did not achieve this without a number of severe struggles, particularly in
Dahomey, and in the Lake Chad area where they met with resistance from the
Senussi. It was well into the 20th century before the French had won control in the
western and central Sudan. In Madagascar resistance by the Hova dynasty was not
finally overcome until 1896.
The last stage of French colonization was in Morocco, where France, Spain, Germany,
Britain and Italy competed for influence over the Sultan. Eventually, in 1912, the
country became a French protectorate, except for the Spanish possessions in the
north - around Ceuta and Melilla. Resistance by the Riff tribes continued. A prolonged
rising by them in the 1920s was suppressed, but guerilla action went on into the
Britain completed her occupation of Nigeria, the Gold Coast, Gambia and Sierra
Leone in West Africa, and acquired Kenya, Nyasaland*, Uganda, Zanzibar (where the
Arab Sultan accepted a British protectorate) and British Somaliland in the east. In
the Gold Coast there were two more wars with the Ashanti before it became a British
colony in 1902. In Somaliland a Moslem Somali leader, nicknamed the "Mad Mullah"
by the British, caused a lot of trouble by raids against the British forces during the
first 20 years of the 20th century.
In Egypt a British-officered Egyptian army defended the frontier with the Sudan for
10 years against the Mahdi’s successor until Britain decided on re-conquest to end
this nuisance and to deliver the Sudanese from tyranny. In 1896-98 the re-conquest
was achieved by a British/Egyptian army under Lord Kitchener. The eastern Sudan
came under the joint control of Britain and Egypt - and Britain continued to rule
Egypt until 1922. (By a British unilateral declaration Egypt then became formally
independent, but with certain powers reserved to Britain, including the future of the
Sudan. The last British troops left Egypt in 1956, leaving the Sudan a separate state,
independent of Egypt.)
In British South Africa the dominant personality in political affairs in the 1880s and
early 1890a was Cecil Rhodes who had visions of British dominion from Cape Colony
to Cairo. He was alarmed at the threat to the route to the north by German
infiltration in South West Africa on one side and the Boers of the Transvaal on the
other; and when the Bechuana tribes in 1885 asked for protection against Boer
aggression, Britain proclaimed Bechuanaland (modern Botswana) to be a British
Rhodes later turned his attention to the land north of the Transvaal - ancient
Zimbabwe - then divided between the Shona and the Zulus (with whom Britain had
already had a serious conflict in 1879 ). The British now intervened in a Shona-Zulu
war, defeating the Zulus; but some years later, in 1896, they were faced with a
formidable rising of both peoples, which they suppressed. The whole area was given
the name Rhodesia, separated in 1911 into the two protectorates of Northern and
Southern Rhodesia, north and south of the Zambezi. Northern Rhodesia is modern
Zambia, Southern Rhodesia modern Zimbabwe**
Returning to the “scramble" - Germany acquired the Cameroons and Togo, South
West Africa (Namibia) and Tanganyika. To the latter were joined Rwanda and
Burundi, to form German East Africa. In the first decade of the 20th century the
Hottentots and the Herero tribes in South West Africa and the African tribes In
Tanganyika all rebelled, unsuccessfully, against German rule.
Italy, after being disappointed in Tunisia, was ‘awarded' Eritrea (north of Ethiopia)
and Italian Somaliland. Not content with this she embarked in 1887 on an attempt to
conquer Ethiopia. After establishing a sort of protectorate, with the terms of which
the Emperor of Ethiopia did not agree, the Italians invaded the country again in
1896, only to be disastrously defeated at Adowa. Still in search of a greater African
empire, Italy invaded Tripolitania in 1911. The Turks, attacked by a league of Balkan
countries, withdrew from Tripolitania to meet the menace nearer home - and Italy
conquered Tripolitania and Cyrenaica; but they had great difficulty with the Senussi,
who were not finally subdued until the early 1930s. In 1934 Tripolitania and
Cyrenaica were united to form the Italian colony of Libya.
Portugal, as well as being confirmed in her possession of Mozambique and Angola,
was awarded “Portuguese" Guinea. Portugal also still possessed the Cape Verde
Islands and Madeira.
Spain kept her ancient possessions - in northern Morocco, the Canary Islands and
the island of Fernando Po (which she obtained from Portugal in the 18th century). To
Fernando Po she added the nearby mainland area of Rio Muni, to form Spanish
Guinea; and along the north-west coast she acquired the Spanish Sahara.
*Nyasaland was ancient Malawi, Uganda largely the ancient Kingdom of Buganda.
Britain acquired both mainly by peaceful agreement with the Africans.
**The history of Rhodesia, while it was Rhodesia, is included in the history of South
Africa. (After the Boer War of 1899-1902, the Boer Transvaal and Orange Free State
became British colonies, and in 1910 were united with Cape Colony and Natal to
form the British dominion, the Union of South Africa.)

French and British Activities in Africa from the 1820s to 1880s.

In the 1820s the main European colonies in Africa were Portuguese Mozambique and
Angola in the south, the French settlement in coastal Senegal, and the British
possessions (in addition to South Africa) in Sierra Leone, the Gold Coast and.
Then the first big step in European colonisation was by the French in Algeria. Though
still under nominal Turkish suzerainty, Algeria was in practice ruled by local chiefs.
One of these, in 1827, insulted the French consul; and after failing to get an apology
the French sent an expeditionary force which captured Algiers in 1830. After some
indecision as to what to do next, the French embarked on a policy of further
conquest. Though strongly opposed by some of the Algerian chiefs, the conquest of
Algeria was virtually completed towards the end of the 1840s - and the Barbary
pirates at last quelled. Some 40,000 French colonists were settled there.
French rule was later extended into the Algerian Sahara, and a policy of
"assimilation' of Algeria to France adopted. In 1881, by when there were nearly
400,000 European settlers, Algeria became politically part of metropolitan France.
In 1881, also, the French invaded Tunisia from Algeria, and established a French
protectorate there.
Elsewhere in North Africa - Morocco remained independent, with the European
powers, chiefly Spain, France and Britain, from the middle of the century rivalling
each other in spreading their influence. The Spaniards extended their foothold on the
north coast in the 1860s.
In Cyrenaica and Tripolitania the power of the Senussi increased. By the 1880s they
had over 100 monasteries in North Africa and elsewhere. They were basicallv
peaceable and a civilising influence, but there were opposed to Europeans as being
incompatible with Islam - and also to the Turks as not fulfilling its precepts. The
Turks had to accept the authority of the Senussi over the Bedouin tribes of the
West Africa.
In Senegal the French started an advance into the interior in the 1850s, and Senegal
became an important base for further expansion into the Sudan and the extension of
French influence in West Africa generally. The French also started moving into
Dahomey from the coast in the 1880s.
The British throughout the 19th century were involved in a series of minor wars in
the Gold Coast with the Ashanti, who were not resigned to British influence, in the
coastal area. After an invasion of this area by the Ashanti in 1873, a British punitive
expedition destroyed the capital, Kumasi, and forced the Ashanti to agree to refrain
from further invasion of the coast.
In Nigeria the British - in order to stop the slave trade through the port of Lagos, and
to stop aggression from the King of Dahomey, captured Lagos in 1851, and it
became a British colony in 1861. British influence then spread in the Yoruba area of
Nigeria, and the British made efforts to stop the civil wars which had engulfed the
country since the breaking up of the Oyo empire. In the 1880s Nigeria became a
British protectorate.
Further south - on the equator the French in 1849 founded a colony for freed slaves
at Libreville in Gabon; and in the 1870S they started advancing into the interior of
this region.
On the other side of Africa the French acquired from the local sultan the port of Obok
in Somalia in 1862.
Egypt and the Eastern Sudan.
In 1869 European interest in Africa became focussed on Egypt, with the opening of
the Suez Canal (built under the direction of the French diplomat and engineer
Ferdinand de Lesseps). Egypt at this time, though still nominally under Turkish
suzerainty, was ruled by the Khedive (viceroy) Ismail, great grandson of Mohammecl
Ali. Ismail had many ambitious schemes, one of which was the conquest of the
southern part of the Egyptian (or Eastern) Sudan and the suppression of the slave
trade there. The northern part had been conquered by Mohnmmed Ali.
In 1870 Ismail commissioned the British explorer Samuel Baker to carry out this
conquest with Egvptian troops - which he did: and on the completion of Baker's 4-
year contract Ismail obtained the services of the British General Gordon as Governor
of the Sudan.
Ismail's foreign adventures, public works schemes, and personal
extravagance brought Egypt to financial collapse in 1875; and after an international
investigation her finances were placed under the joint control of Britain and France. A
nationalist movement then arose, and several years of turmoil culminated in 1882 in
serious riots, which resulted in Britain putting down the Nationalists by force. The
Khedive’s authority was restored, but Britain now effectively ruled Egypt.
The Liberal government in Britain did not wish to perpetuate this control, and
intended to withdraw British troops as soon as order and good government was
restored; but this policy was thwarted by events in the Sudan. General Gordon, after
5 years as Governor, during which he established firm military control and did much
to suppress the slave trade, resigned in 1879; and the Sudan reverted to an
oppressive Egyptian rule. In 1881 there was a formidable revolt led by Mohammed
Ahmed of Dongola, who claimed to be the Mahdi, or Messiah, destined to conquer
the world for Islam. An Egyptian army under the British Colonel Hicks was sent in
1883 to suppress the Mahdi - and was wiped out.
The British government, reluctant to extend British involvement, persuaded the
Egyptian government to abandon the Sudan, and sent Gordon there to evacuate the
Egyptian garrisons. Gordon began trying to arrange for the future settlement and
welfare of the Sudan after the evacuation; but his ideas were rejected by the Mahdi -
who then besieged the capital, Khartoum. Inspired by Gordon, the Egyptian troops
held out for 10 months; but in 1885 Khartoum fell, and Gordon and the garrison and
many of the inhabitants were massacred.
This disaster caused a demand in Britain for retribution and the restoration of British
prestige. The British withdrawal from Egypt was indefinitely postponed.

Africa in the Early Years of the 19th Century.

In the early part of the 19th century the political situation in the different countries
and regions of Africa was one of varying degrees of independence; and the social
Organisation still varied from the kingdom to the tribal. The following is a brief
summary of the position.
North Africa.
Morocco was ruled by the Filali dynasty (since the mid-7th century). There was
considerable trade with European nations - the French, British, Dutch - in spite of
some high-handed treatment of European emissaries. The possession of Ceuta had
passed from Portugal to Spain, which also still held Melilla.
Algeria was under nominal Turkish suzerainty. Algiers was still the main centre of the
Barbary pirates. Oran had been taken from Spain by the Turks.
Tunisia was ruled by Beys, originally appointed by the Turks, but becoming
hereditary in the 18th century. They paid tribute to the Sultan, but were otherwise
independent. Under pressure from the European powers piracy was abandoned as a
main occupation about 1820.
Tripolitania was virtually independent in the 18th century, but the Turks re-asserted
their authority in 1835 after a civil war. Piracy was still rampant at the beginning of
the 19th century.
Cyrenaica was practically free from Turkish control, and more or less in a state of
anarchy. In the 1840s it became the main base of a Moslem religious reform group,
the Senussi. Their leader, Mohammed Ben Ali as-Senusi, preached a return to the
simplicity of early Islam.
(In Egypt power was seized in the first decade of the 19th century by the Albanian
Mohammed Ali, whose descendants ruled until late in the century.
West Africa.
The Forest and Coastal Lands:-
Nigeria. On the disintegration of the Oyo Empire, Nigeria consisted of a large number
of states and communities, mainly of the Yoruba, Ibo and Hausa peoples. At the
beginning of the 19th century the Hausa states were conquered by the Fulani, a
lighter-skinned people with mixed Negroid and Hamitic features, who had penetrated
into Nigeria and the central Sudan from the west. (They are thought to be descended
from the rulers of' the ancient kingdom of Tekrur, in the Senegal river area, which in
the 10th to 15th centuries sometimes rivalled the empires of Ghana and Mali.) The
Fulani, ardent Moslems, set up emirates in northern Nigeria. Their religious centre
was Sokoto.
Ashanti and Dahomy were the main kingdoms in West Africa, The conquest of the
coastal tribes brought the Ashanti into political rivalry with the British stations an the
coast early in the 19th century. After several armed conflicts an uneasy peace
ensued, with British influence in the coastal area (which they called the Gold Coast)
Further west were the ex-slave states of Liberia and Sierra Leone; and on the
"bulge” of West Africa -there were French settlements an the coast of Senegal, which
had started about 1650, and British in Gambia. The British and French had for long
fought for supremacy in “Senegambia”. Guinea and Ivory Coast were inhabited by
mixtures of peoples - Fulani and Mandinka in Guinea, and Mandinka, Mossi and Akan
in Ivory Coast.
The Sudan.
In the central Sudan the kingdom of Kanem-Bornu , which had reached its peak in
the 16th century, fell to the Fulani in about 1808, but was soon reconquered from
them. However, the ruling dynasty, which had reigned for 1000 years, was
extinguished. In the Western Sudan political power had reverted from the "Niger
Moors" to various tribes of the Mandinka (the original founders of ancient Mali).
East and South Africa.
The Swahili area of the East African coast (Kenya and Tanganyika) was controlled by
the Arabs from Oman. In 1832 the Sultan of Oman transferred his court to Zanzibar;
and the Sultans of Zanzibar extended their influence along the coast from Mogadishu
to the Portuguese-controlled territory of Mozambique.
Inland were the kingdoms of Buganda, Rwanda and Burundi, and the Kikuyu, Masai
and Luo tribes. Buganda was one of the most advanced kingdoms in East Africa. The
people lived a peaceful and orderly existence in spacious dwellings - which, in the
absence of suitable stone or clay, were constructed of grass and reeds.
In Zimbabwe the Rozvi kingdom was destroyed and Great Zimbabwe devastated in
1830 by an invasion from the south, caused by the northern movement of the Bantu
Zulu people who had formed a nation in Natal. The Zulus then founded a Matabele
(Zulu) kingdom among the Shona of Zimbabwe.*
Somalia was still divided into many small Somali states. (Ethiopia. During the 18th
and the first half of the 19th century the power of the Kings of Ethiopia dwindled,
and the country was in a continual state of turmoil.)
Angola and the Congo basin were largely controlled by the Portuguese. Both
territories had suffered very severely from the slave trade.
Madagascar. By the end of the 18th century the Hova, the lightest coloured of the
peoples of the island, had established supremacy over most of the island. The French
had intermittently held stations there and exerted considerable influence; but the
Hova Queen Ranavalona, who reigned from 1828 to 1861, pursued a policy of
excluding all Europeans, and foreign commerce almost ceased.
As with the political and social organisation, the way of life in Africa also varied,
basically between the more advanced peoples of the coastlands and the less
advanced in the interior but perhaps the latter had the benefit of a calmer and more
unhurried existence in which the community spirit prospered.
Educationally, Islam played a prominent part in the lands in which it was
predominant - the north, the east coast, and to a lesser extent West Africa. For
many centuries Arabic was the language of business and learning for Moslem
Africans, and the Arabic script their medium of writing; but at some time between
the 16th and 18th centuries Africans began to write their own languages, using the
Arabic letters. Books, at first for religious purposes, appeared in Swahili, Hausa,
Mandinka, Fulani and Yoruba.
Apart from the Christian Nubian kingdoms in the 6th to 13th centuries, Christianity -
until the coming of the Portuguese - played little part in African history (except in
Ethiopia which has been basically Christian since the 4th century, and in Egypt where
there are still a million or more Christians of the Coptic Church). European
missionaries started activities in Africa in about 1500, but Christianity did not
become at all widespread until the later part of the 19th century.
The Africans' love of music continued unabated. Various instruments were played,
but pride of place was taken by the drum. It was used for many different purposes,
including dancing, drama, ceremonies, and sending messages. The royal drums were
often an important symbol of kingship, through which the king communicated with
his ancestors. Some of these drums measured 12 feet across.
* The Zulus later came into conflict with both the British and Dutch in South Africa.
The Dutch had first settled in South Africa in 1652, and the colony had been taken
over by Britain in 1806. During the mid-19th century both the British and the Boers
(the Dutch South Africans) advanced from the original Cape Colony eastwards and
northwards, the Transvaal and Orange Free State being occupied by Boers
dissatisfied with British rule.
Chapter 12. European Exploration 1770-1870.
Exploration of the interior of Africa by Europeans, in search of geographical and other
knowledge of the continent, and not start until- late in the 18th century. Previous
expeditions for any distance into the interior - mainly by the Portuguese in the south
- had been basically in search of trade or of slaves for the slave trade.
The new phase of exploration, starting in the 1770s, was fraught with many
difficulties peculiar to Africa. The tropical climate and diseases of central and west
Africa were a great hazard to the European; the tribes of the interior, seeing in every
European an emissary of the slave trade, were naturally often hostile; and in Moslem
areas the European had to contend with Moslem fanaticism. A high proportion of the
early explorers died or were killed.
Some of the earliest were two Scotsmen - James Bruce, who went through Ethiopia
and the Sudan and traced the course of the Blue Nile in 1770-72; and Mungo Park,
who was drowned on his second attempt (in1805) to find the source of the Niger. In
the south- east the Portuguese de Lacerda died in 1798 near Lake Mwera in northern
Zambia, having reached there from the Zambezi; and in the first decade of the 19th
century two half-caste Portuguese crossed southern Africa from Angola to the
Between 1820 and 1834 several British expeditions explored northern Nigeria, the
first expedition starting from Tripoli and going to Nigeria via the Kingdom of Kanem-
Bornu. Later expeditions reached northern Nigeria from the west and south. The
leaders were the Naval Commander Hugh Clapperton and - after his death from
dysentery - his ex-servant - Richard Lander, who also died after being wounded in an
affray with Africans. Clapperton was the first European to publish descriptions of the
Hausa states from personal experience.
The first European to reach Timbuktu was the Scotsman Major Laing in 1826. He was
murdered on leaving it. Two years later the Frenchman René Caillié, having learned
to speak Arabic, disguised himself as an Arab and joined a Mandinka caravan
travelling inland from Senegal. He reached Timbuktu, stayed there for two weeks,
and then joined another caravan crossing the Sahara to Morocco - becoming the first
European to return alive from Timbuktu.
The first non-Africans to penetrate far into central Africa were Arabs from Zanzibar,
one of whom crossed the continent to Benguela in Angola in 1848. Then came the
best-known of all explorers of Africa, the Scottish doctor and missionary David
Livingstone. In 24 years (1849-1873) of travels over a third of the continent - from
the south to the equator - he not only vastly increased European knowledge of
central Africa, but by his interest in the Africans and their welfare, his kindness and
gentlemanly behaviour towards them, he was trusted and revered by them wherever
he went. His journeys were unhurried, allowing time for meticulous observation
and often delayed by fever or dysentery - and sometimes by slave traders, against
whom he raised a strong feeling in Europe which greatly contributed to the final
extinction of the trade.
Amongst Livingstone's achievements were the crossing of the Kalahari desert, the
crossing of central Africa in both directions, and the discovery of Victoria Falls and
Lake Nyasa*. In a search for the source of the Nile, starting in 1866, he was out of
contact with Europeans for four years until met at Ujiji on Lake Tanganyika by the
Welshman Henry Horton Stanley, journalist and explorers who had been
commissioned by an American newspaper to find him. Still exploring, Livingstone
died of dysentery in 1873. His body and all his instruments and papers were carried
by his faithful African porters 700 miles to Zanzibar.
Meanwhile detailed exploration of the land between Timbuktu and Lake Chad had
been carried out by the German Heinrich Barth in the 1850s; and the British Richard
Burton, John Hanning Speke, Samuel Baker and James Grant, in expeditions in the
north-east in the 1850s and 1860s solved the problem of the sources of the Nile.
In the later part of the century interest in Africa had been so inspired by the example
of Livingstone and other pioneers that it became almost crowded with explorers and
* On his journey along the west coast of Lake Nyasa, Livingstone was appalled at the
activities of the Arab slave traders among the Malawi tribes.

The Slave Trade

The European colonists in America soon found the need for imported labour to work
on the sugar plantations and in the mines, and later on the tobacco and cotton
plantations. The Spaniards started using Negro slave labour in their West Indian
colonies early in the 16th century; and the Portuguese in the middle of the century
started sending slaves from Africa to Brazil. Other European nations soon joined in
this lucrative trade, and the slave trade became big business.
The trade went on until the 19th century, with Europeans of many countries taking
part in it - notably the British, French, Dutch and Danes as well as the Spaniards and
Portuguese. The British first engaged in the trade as agents providing slaves for the
Spanish colonies in 1562 - over 50 years before slavery itself was introduced into
British North America.
The traders operated from "factories" and forts established along the African coast,
mainly in West Africa, from where they exchanged European goods for gold, ivory
and slaves. By the end of the 18th century there were some 40 of these factories -
which sometimes changed hands as the nations competed with each other in the
trade. Altogether they were exporting perhaps between 70,000 and 80,000 slaves
The procurement of the slaves was sometimes by raids into the interior, or even
actual wars, but more usually by trading agreements with the local native rulers or
by providing them with military help against their African enemies. As the trade
expanded some African chiefs continued it with reluctance, but found it difficult to
withdraw. Some of the main European commodities supplied in exchange were guns
and gunpowder - and if an African chief stopped getting the guns he would be at the
mercy of more unscrupulous neighbours.
One of the worst features of the trade was the voyage to America. The slaveship
owners, in search of a bigger profit, packed more and more slaves into their vessels
- often on shelves across the holds which allowed no room to stand, or even to
kneel. The voyage lasted anything from three weeks to two months or more,
depending on the weather; and fever and hunger were often suffered in addition to
the appalling living conditions. Large numbers died before arrival.
It has been estimated that the total number of African slaves who reached America
and the West Indies in the course of the trade was about 9 to 10 million. It may well
have been more; and this does not include those who died on the voyage or those
who were killed in Africa in slaving raids or wars. Probably between a half and two
thirds of the total came from West Africa, most of the others from Angola and the
Congo, some from Mozambique.
Apart from the actual loss of manpower, the slave trade inhibited social and
economic progress in the African regions most affected. The trade degraded political
life, and encouraged the continuation of slavery in Africa; and while the European
nations were organising and inventing new means of production these Africans were
depending economically upon a trade which was totally unproductive - and which, by
the loss of the fittest members of the community, curtailed production.
Until late in the 17th century no one in Europe or the colonies seemed to see
anything wrong in the slave trade. Then the lead was taken by the Quakers in
England and North America in protesting against it. But it was another 100 years
before the British parliament, due mainly to the efforts of William Wilberforce, began
to consider abolition of the trade. It took Wilberforce 20 years to get Parliament to
agree; and in 1807 Britain ceased to engage in the trade. Denmark had already done
so. The other European nations followed, some less willingly than others. By 1850
the trade was almost ended. The last slave ship sailed in the 1880s.
Long before this both the British and the Americans (who became independent in
1783) started settlements in Africa for freed slaves the British in Sierra Leone in
1787, the Americans in Liberia ("the land of the free") in 1822. Both ventures, which
were organised by private associations, suffered a number of setbacks some financial
and some through the resentment of the local tribes due to the privileged status
given to the ex-slaves. The British base was Freetown, and British control was
gradually extended inland. Liberia was declared an independent republic in 1847.
Slavery itself was abolished by the European and American nations at various times
during the 19th century - by Britain in all her colonies in 1533, by the United States
in 1865 after the American Civil War, by Brazil (independent of Portugal since 1822)
in 1888. In Brazil the numbers of slaves had been substantially reduced during the
19th century, from nearly 2 million to about 700,000 at the time of abolition.
The subsequent history of the Negroes in the Americas is part of the history of those
countries rather than of Africa. Their contribution to Western music, singing and
dancing has been notable - for instance jazz and Negro spirituals, the latter made
world famous by the great American Negro singer Paul Robeson. And American
Negroes have provided a remarkable number of world champions in boxing and
On the political side, one episode before the abolition of the slave trade and slavery,
should be mentioned. This was in the French colony of Saint Domingue in the West
Indies. During the Napoleonic Wars the slaves in Saint Domingue, led by Toussaint
L'Ouverture**, expelled the French and in 1804 established the Negro nation of
In the 19th century, while the Atlantic slave trade was dwindling, another slave trade
grew up in East Africa. The Arabs who ruled in Zanzibar and other places an the east
coast (see previous chapter), raided far into the interior for slaves, in partnership
with the Swahili traders. Some were sold to Arabian dealers, some to the French for
work in the Indian Ocean islands, some even to North America. However, by the
1880s this trade, like the Atlantic trade, had ceased.
* Manpower it includes women. Though the slaves were mainly male, there were
many women.
* Toussaint L'Ouverture, reputed to be the son of an African chief, was brought to
Saint Domingue as a slave and rose to the position of superintendent of other
Negroes on the plantation. He joined in a rebellion in 1791, and later raised and
disciplined a Negro army. He led a further insurrection in 1796. His armies defeated
a French force sent by Napoleon, but Toussaint L'Ouverture was captured and died in
a French prison.