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almost exclusively confined to Mahommedan Africa. The lucrative nature of

this trade and the large quantities of alluvial gold obtained by the

Portuguese drew other nations to the Guinea coast. English mariners went

thither as early as 1553, and they were followed by Spaniards, Dutch,

French, Danish and other adventurers. Much of Senegambia was made known as

a result of quests during the 16th century for the ``hills of gold'' in

Bambuk and the fabled wealth of Timbuktu, but the middle Niger was not

reached. The supremacy along the coast passed in the 17th century from

Portugal to Holland and from Holland in the 18th and 19th centuries to

France and England. The whole coast from Senegal to Lagos was dotted with

forts and ``factories'' of rival powers, and this international patchwork

persists though all the hinterland has become either French or British


Southward from the mouth of the Congo2 to the inhospitable region of

Damaraland, the Portuguese, from 1491 onward, acquired influence over the

Bantu-Negro inhabitants, and in the early part of the 16th century through

their efforts Christianity was largely adopted in the native kingtom of

Congo. An irruption of cannibals from the interior later in the same

century broke the power of this semi-Christian state, and Portuguese

activity was transferred to a great extent farther south, Sao Paulo de

Loanda being founded in 1576. The sovereignty of Portugal over this coast

region, except for the mouth of the Congo, has been once only challenged by

a European power, and that was in 1640-1648, when the Dutch held the


Neglecting the comparatively poor and thinly inhabited regions of South

Africa, the Portuguese no sooner discovered than they coveted the

flourishing cities held by Arabized peoples between Sofala and Cape

Guardafui. By 1520 all these Moslem

The Portuguese in East Africa and Abyssinia.

sultanates had been seized by Portugal, Mozambique being chosen as the

chief city of her East African possessions. Nor was Portuguese activity

confined to the coast-lands. The lower and middle Zambezi valley was

explored (16th and 17th centuries), and here the Portuguese found semi-

civilized Bantu-Negro tribes, who had been for many years in contact with

the coast Arabs. Strenuous efforts were made to obtain possession of the

country (modern Rhodesia) known to them as the kingdom or empire of

Monomotapa, where gold had been worked by the natives from about the 12th

century A.D., and whence the Arabs, whom the Portuguese dispossessed, were

still obtaining supplies in the 16th century. Several expeditions were

despatched inland from 1569 onward and considerable quantities of gold were

obtained. Portugal's hold on the interior, never very effective, weakened

during the 17th century, and in the middle of the 18th century ceased with

the abandonment of the forts in the Manica district.

At the period of her greatest power Portugal exercised a strong influence

in Abyssinia also. In the ruler of Abyssinia (to whose dominions a

Portuguese traveller had penetrated before Vasco da Gama's memorable

voyage) the Portuguese imagined they had found the legendary Christian

king, Prester John, and when the complete overthrow of the native dynasty

and the Christian religion was imminent by the victories of Mahommedan

invaders, the exploits of a band of 400 Portuguese under Christopher da

Gama during 1541-1543 turned the scale in favour of Abyssinia and had thus

an enduring result on the future of North-East Africa. After da Gama's time

Portuguese Jesuits resorted to Abyssinia. While they failed in their

efforts to convert the Abyssinians to Roman Catholicism they acquired an

extensive knowledge of the country. Pedro Paez in 1615, and, ten years

later, Jeronimo Lobo, both visited the sources of the Blue Nile. In 1663

the Portuguese, who had outstayed their welcome, were expelled from the

Abyssinian dominions. At this time Portuguese influence on the Zanzibar

coast was waning before the power of the Arabs of Muscat, and by 1730 no

point on the east coast north of Cape Delgado was held by Portugal.

It has been seen that Portugal took no steps to acquire the southern part

of the continent. To the Portuguese the Cape of

English and Dutch at Table Bay—Cape Colony founded.

Good Hope was simply a landmark on the road to India, and mariners of other

nations who followed in their wake used Table Bay only as a convenient spot

wherein to refit on their voyage to the East. By the beginning of the 17th

century the bay was much resorted to for this purpose, chiefly by English

and Dutch vessels. In 1620, with the object of forestalling the Dutch, two

officers of the East India Company, on their own initiative, took

possession of Table Bay in the name of King James, fearing otherwise that

English ships would be ``frustrated of watering but by license.'' Their

action was not approved in London and the proclamation they issued remained

without effect. The Netherlands profited by the apathy of the English. On

the advice of sailors who had been shipwrecked in Table Bay the Netherlands

East India Company, in 1651, sent out a fleet of three small vessels under

Jan van Riebeek which reached Table Bay on the 6th of April 1652, when,

164 years after its discovery, the first permanent white settlement was

made in South Africa. The Portuguese, whose power in Africa was already

waning, were not in a position to interfere with the Dutch plans, and

England was content to seize the island of St Helena as her half-way house

to the East3. In its inception the settlement at the Cape was not intended

to become an African colony, but was regarded as the most westerly outpost

of the Dutch East Indies. Nevertheless, despite the paucity of ports and

the absence of navigable rivers, the Dutch colonists, freed from any

apprehension of European trouble by the friendship between Great Britain

and Holland, and leavened by Huguenot blood, gradually spread northward,

stamping their language, law and religion indelibly upon South Africa. This

process, however, was exceedingly slow.

During the 18th century there is little to record in the history of

Africa. The nations of Europe, engaged in the later half of the

Waning and revival of interest in Africa.

century in almost constant warfare, and struggling for supremacy in America

and the East, to a large extent lost their interest in the continent. Only

on the west coast was there keen rivalry, and here the motive was securance

of trade rather than territorial acquisitions. In this century the slave

trade reached its highest development, the trade in gold, ivory, gum and

spices being small in comparison. In the interior of the

continent—Portugal's energy being expended—no interest was shown, the

nations with establishments on the coast ``taking no further notice of the

inhabitants or their land than to obtain at the easiest rate what they

procure with as little trouble as possible, or to carry them off for slaves

to their plantations in America'' (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 3rd ed.,

1797). Even the scanty knowledge acquired by the ancients and the Arabs was

in the main forgotten or disbelieved. It was the period when — Geographers,

in Afric maps, With savage pictures filled their gaps, And o'er unhabitable

downs Placed elephants for want of towns.

(Poetry, a Rhapsody. By Jonathan Swift.)

The prevailing ignorance may be gauged by the statement in the third

edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica that ``the Gambia and Senegal

rivers are only branches of the Niger.'' But the closing years of the 18th

century, which witnessed the partial awakening of the public conscience of

Europe to the iniquities of the slave trade, were also notable for the

revival of interest in inner Africa. A society, the African Association,4

was formed in London in 1788 for the exploration of the interior of the

continent. The era of great discoveries had begun a little earlier in the

famous journey (1770-1772) of James Bruce through Abyssinia and Sennar,

during which he determined the course of the Blue Nile. But it was through

the agents of the African Association that knowledge was gained of the

Niger regions. The Niger itself was first reached by Mungo Park, who

travelled by way of the Gambia, in 1795. Park, on a second journey in 1805,

passed Timbuktu and descended the Niger to Bussa, where he lost his life,

having just failed to solve the question as to where the river reached the

ocean. (This problem was ultimately solved by Richard Lander and his

brother in 1830.) The first scientific explorer of South-East Africa, Dr

Francisco de Lacerda, a Portuguese, also lost his life in that country.

Lacerda travelled up the Zambezi to Tete, going thence towards Lake Mweru,

near which he died in 1798. The first recorded crossing of Africa was

accomplished between the years 1802 and 1811 by two half-caste Portuguese

traders, Pedro Baptista and A. Jose, who passed from Angola eastward to the


Although the Napoleonic wars distracted the attention of Europe from

exploratory work in Africa, those wars nevertheless

Effects of the Napoleonic wars—Britain seizes the Cape.

exercised great influence on the future of the continent, both in Egypt and

South Africa. The occupation of Egypt (1798-1803) first by France and then

by Great Britain resulted in an effort by Turkey to regain direct control

over that country,5 followed in 1811 by the establishment under Mehemet Ali

of an almost independent state, and the extension of Egyptian rule over the

eastern Sudan (from 1820 onward). In South Africa the struggle with

Napoleon caused Great Britain to take possession of the Dutch settlements

at the Cape, and in 1814 Cape Colony, which had been continuously occupied

by British troops since 1806, was formally ceded to the British crown.

The close of the European conflicts with the battle of Waterloo was

followed by vigorous efforts on the part of the British government to

become better acquainted with Africa, and to substitute colonization and

legitimate trade for the slave traffic, declared illegal for British

subjects in 1807 and abolished by all other European powers by 1836. To

West Africa Britain devoted much attention. The slave trade abolitionists

had already, in 1788, formed a settlement at Sierra Leone, on the Guinea

coast, for freed slaves, and from this establishment grew the colony of

Sierra Leone, long notorious, by reason of its deadly climate, as ``The

White Man's Grave.''6 Farther east the establishments on the Gold Coast

began to take a part in the politics of the interior, and the first British

mission to Kumasi, despatched in 1817, led to the assumption of a

protectorate over the maritime tribes heretofore governed by the Ashanti.

An expedition sent in 1816 to explore the Congo from its mouth did not

succeed in getting beyond the rapids which bar the way to the interior, but

in the central Sudan much better results were obtained. In 1823 three

English travellers, Walter Oudney, Dixon Denham and Hugh Clapperton,

reached Lake Chad from Tripoli—the first white men to reach that lake. The

partial exploration of Bornu and the Hausa states by Clapperton, which

followed, revealed the existence of large and flourishing cities and a semi-

civilized people in a region hitherto unknown. The discovery in 1830 of the

mouth of the Niger by Clapperton's servant Lander, already mentioned, had

been preceded by the journeys of Major A.G. Laing (1826) and Rene Caillie

(1827) to Timbuktu, and was followed (1832-1833) by the partial ascent of

the Benue affluent of the Niger by Macgregor Laird. In 1841 a disastrous

attempt was made to plant a white colony on the lower Niger, an expedition

(largely philanthropic and antislavery in its inception) which ended in

utter failure. Nevertheless from that time British traders remained on the

lower Niger, their continued presence leading ultimately to the acquisition

of political rights over the delta and the Hausa states by Great Britain.7

Another endeavour by the British government to open up commercial relations

with the Niger countries resulted in the addition of a vast amount of

information concerning the countries between Timbuktu and Lake Chad, owing

to the labours of Heinrich Barth (1850-1855), originally a subordinate, but

the only surviving member of the expedition sent out.

Meantime considerable changes had been made in other parts of the

continent, the most notable being—the occupation of Algiers by France in

1830, an end being thereby put to the piratical proceedings of the Barbary

states; the continued expansion southward of Egyptian authority with the

consequent additions to the knowledge of the Nile; and the establishment of

independent states ((Orange Free State and the Transvaal) by Dutch farmers

(Boers) dissatisfied with British rule in Cape Colony. Natal, so named by

Vasco da Gama, had been made a British colony (1843), the attempt of the

Boers to acquire it being frustrated. The city of Zanzibar, on the island

of that name, founded in 1832 by Seyyid Said of Muscat, rapidly attained

importance, and Arabs began to penetrate to the great lakes of East

Africa,8 concerning which little more was known (and less believed) than in

the time of Ptolemy. Accounts of a vast inland sea, and the discovery in

1848-1840, by the missionaries Ludwig Krapf and J.Rebmann, of the snow-clad

mountains of Kilimanjaro and Kenya, stimulated in Europe the desire for

further knowledge.

At this period, the middle of the 19th century, Protestant missions were

carrying on active propaganda on the Guinea

The era of great explorers.

coast, in South Africa and in the Zanzibar dominions. Their work, largely

beneficent, was being conducted in regions and among peoples little known,

and in many instances missionaries turned explorers and became pioneers of

trade and empire. One of the first to attempt to fill up the remaining

blank spaces in the map was David Livings tone, who had been engaged since

1840 in missionary work north of the Orange. In 1849 Livingstone crossed

the Kalahari Desert from south to north and reached Lake Ngami, and between

1851 and 1856 he traversed the continent from west to east, making known

the great waterways of the upper Zambezi. During these journeyings

Livingstone discovered, November 1855, the famous Victoria Falls, so named

after the queen of England. In 1858-1864 the lower Zambezi, the Shire and

Lake Nyasa were explored by Livingstone, Nyasa having been first reached by

the confidential slave of Antonio da Silva Porto, a Portuguese trader

established at Bihe in Angola, who crossed Africa during 1853-1856 from

Benguella to the mouth of the Rovuma. While Livingstone circumnavigated

Nyasa, the more northerly lake, Tanganyika, had been visited (1858) by

Richard Burton and J. H. Speke, and the last named had sighted Victoria

Nyanza. Returning to East Africa with J. A. Grant, Speke reached, in 1862,

the river which flowed from Victoria Nyanza, and following it (in the main)

down to Egypt, had the distinction of being the first man to read the

riddle of the Nile. In 1864 another Nile explorer, Samuel Baker, discovered

the Albert Nyanza, the chief western reservoir of the river. In 1866

Livingstone began his last great journey, in which he made known Lakes

Mweru and Bangweulu and discovered the Lualaba (the upper part of the

Congo), but died (1873) before he had been able to demonstrate its ultimate

course, believing indeed that the Lualaba belonged to the Nile system.

Livingstone's lonely death in the heart of Africa evoked a keener desire

than ever to complete the work he left undone. H. M. Stanley, who had in

1871 succeeded in finding and succouring Livingstone, started again for

Zanzibar in 1874, and in the most memorable of all exploring expeditions in

Africa circumnavigated Victoria Nyanza and Tanganyika, and, striking

farther inland to the Lualaba, followed that river down to the Atlantic

Ocean—reached in August 1877—and proved it to be the Congo. Stanley had

been preceded, in 1874, at Nyangwe, Livingstone's farthest point on the

Lualaba, by Lovett Cameron, who was, however, unable farther to explore its

course, making his way to the west coast by a route south of the Congo.

While the great mystery of Central Africa was being solved explorers were

also active in other parts of the continent. Southern Morocco, the Sahara

and the Sudan were traversed in many directions between 1860 and 1875 by

Gerhard Rohlfs, Georg Schweinfurth and Gustav Nachtigal. These travellers

not only added considerably to geographical knowledge, but obtained

invaluable information concerning the people, languages and natural history

of the countries in which they sojourned.9 Among the discoveries of

Schweinfurth was one that confirmed the Greek legends of the existence

beyond Egypt of a pygmy race. But the first discoverer of the dwarf races

of Central Africa was Paul du Chaillu, who found them in the Ogowe district

of the west coast in 1865, five years before Schweinfurth's first meeting

with the Pygmies; du Chaillu having previously, as the result of journeys

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