Colonialism and the Colonial Impact

  • William Tordoff


The pre-colonial history of Africa has been pieced together from archaeological findings, oral tradition, and the records of Arab and other alien chroniclers, such as Ibn Battuta, who travelled widely in the Muslim world in the fourteenth century. A good deal is now known, for example, of the richness of the Egyptian civilisation of the pre-Christian era, of the medieval empires of the Western Sudan — Ghana, Mali and Songhai — and of the forest kingdoms which subsequently emerged in West Africa. Some of these kingdoms extended at the height of their power over a wide area and were underpinned by a centralised bureaucracy. Such was Ashanti, which was founded at the end of the seventeenth century, but about whose internal organisation little was known until Thomas Bowdich and Joseph Dupuis visited Kumasi, the Ashanti capital, in the first quarter of the nineteenth century. Benin (in present-day Nigeria) was another powerful kingdom, which, according to oral tradition, had been founded by immigrants from Ife some three centuries before the coming of the Portuguese; possibly these immigrants brought with them the technique of casting in bronze which in Benin, as in Ife, resulted in sculpture of world renown.


Cash Crop Gold Coast Colonial Rule Colonial Power European Power 
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Further Reading

  1. Bender, G. J., Angola under the Portuguese: The Myth and the Reality (London: Heinemann, 1978).Google Scholar
  2. Brett, E. A., Colonialism and Underdevelopment in East Africa: The Politics of Economic Change, 1919–1939 (London: Heinemann, 1973).Google Scholar
  3. Clapham, C., Third World Politics. An Introduction (London: Croom Helm, 1985).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Crowder, M. (ed.) Colonial West Africa: Collected Essays (London: Frank Cass, 1978).Google Scholar
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  6. Hodgkin, T., Nationalism in Colonial Africa (London: Frederick Muller, 1956).Google Scholar
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  10. Robinson, R. and Gallagher, J. with Denny, A., Africa and the Victorians: The Official Mind of Imperialism (London: Macmillan, 1961).Google Scholar
  11. Rodney, W., How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (Dar es Salaam: Tanzania Publishing House, 1972, and London: Bogle-L’Ouverture, 1972).Google Scholar
  12. Schaffer, B.B., ‘The Concept of Preparation: Some Questions about the Transfer of Systems of Government’, World Politics, vol. XVIII, no. 1 (October 1965).Google Scholar
  13. Suret-Canale, J., French Colonialism in Tropical Africa, 1900–1945, trans. by T. Gottheiner (London: Hurst, 1971).Google Scholar
  14. Young, C., The African Colonial State in Comparative Perspective (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1994).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© William Tordoff 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Tordoff
    • 1
  1. 1.Chapel-en-le-Frith, High PeakUK

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