African Viewpoint

  • Robin Brooke-Smith
Part of the Documents and Debates book series (DD)


This section contains documentary sources that pose great problems for the historian. There is very little written evidence from nineteenthcentury Africa because most societies were non-literate; in many regions nobody could write and the languages had never been put into written form. There is, therefore, a severe shortage and more often a total lack of normal written documentary material. This means the historian has to rely upon sources that modern academic orthodoxy often finds hard to accept. For example the historian Basil Davidson has relied upon anthropological sources and oral tradition as well as more normal sources when they are available in his work on African history. And yet, whatever were the causes of the scramble and whatever the difficulties with indigenous sources, there is no doubt that the consequences were very profound for the peoples who were colonised. It is therefore important to tackle this difficult area.


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Copyright information

© Robin Brooke-Smith 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin Brooke-Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Shrewsbury SchoolUK

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