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African History Blog

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Goodbye and Thank You

Monday March 31, 2014

This is my farewell to AfricanHistory.About.com.

I would like to thank all my readers for your enthusiasm and support over the past 13 years. It's been an enjoyable journey during which I have learnt so much and interacted with so many interesting people. My journey continues, and you can reach me on social media such as Twitter (@africanhistory), Facebook, and on Google+ Alistair Boddy-Evans.

My Favorite Pieces
Having written AfricanHistory.About.com from 2001 to 2014, I have lots and lots of favorite articles, but if I were to pick a few they'd be:

What Caused the Scramble for Africa?
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
Steve Biko
and
Mary Henrietta Kingsley

Also one of the earliest articles I wrote: Adinkra Symbology and its related gallery of images, the Free Adinkra Stencil Collection

What has been the Most Popular?
It is perhaps not surprising that the most popular article on the African History site was The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, or that the third most popular article was Apartheid Legislation in South Africa.

What does surprise me, however, is that the most popular biography on my site was not the Mandela biography, but that of Idi Amin (which comes second in the popular articles list).

New in the African History Glossary

Saturday March 29, 2014

Five new entries in the African History Glossary.

• Deutsch-Sόdwestafrika
• Odendaal Commission
• Resolution 435
• Tripartite Accord
• Turnhalle Conference

New on African History -- New Resources on Namibia

Saturday March 29, 2014

Where is Namibia?The German mandated territory of South West Africa was given to South Africa in 1915 by the League of Nations. In 1950 South Africa refused a UN request to give up the territory. It was renamed Namibia in 1968 (although South Africa continued to call it South West Africa). On 21 March 1990 Namibia became the forty-seventh African colony to gain independence. (Walvis Bay was only given up in 1993.)

Find out more in this five part timeline of Namibia, taking us from pre-history to the present day.

Timeline of Namibia
• Part 1: From Pre-history to the End of the Herero and Nama Rebellion (February 1909)
• Part 2: From the End of the Herero and Nama Rebellion (February 1909) to the Founding of SWAPO (1960)
• Part 3: From the Founding of SWAPO (1960) to US Proposal of 'Linkage' (1981)
• Part 4: From the US Proposal of 'Linkage' (1981) to Namibia gains independence (21 March 1990)
• Part 5: From Namibia gains independence (21 March 1990) to the Present Day

Abolition of the Slave Trade Act Becomes Law in Britain

Tuesday March 25, 2014
In 1807, as a climax of over 20 years of forceful campaigning, the like of which had never been seen before, a bill abolishing the British slave trade passed both houses of parliament - an event which saw much celebration by the leading campaigners, Thomas Clarkson, William Wilberforce, Olaudau Equiano, etc.

The Abolition of the Slave Trade Act became law on 25 March 1807 and took effect on 1 May, at which time no slave ships would be allowed to trade at British ports, and taking part in the slave trade would be considered a felony (it would eventually be classed as an act of piracy).

It was, however, a shallow success, since the banning of the slave trade did nothing for those already in the British Caribbean (an estimated half-million Africans) and elsewhere who were still under the shackle and yoke of British run slavery.

Whilst the US quickly followed suit and also banned the slave trade, they did little to enforce the ban. Britain, on the other hand, ultimately apportioned over one-third of the Royal Navy to enforce the law.

Full emancipation would not be achieved until 1838 - the Emancipation Act was passed by the British parliament on 1 August 1933, with British slaves achieving a limited freedom under a draconian 'apprenticeship' system the following year. A new campaign brought this to an end, and full freedom in 1838.

This Day in African History – Defeat for Axis forces at El Guettar

Sunday March 23, 2014
Having suffered a spectacular defeat at Kasserine Pass American troops, now under command of General George S Patton, finally achieved success - in what is considered my many to be a brilliant defensive battle. On 23 March 1943 the Big Red One (the First Infantry division) fought off 50 or so tanks of the 10th Panzer Division at El Guettar, ten miles south of Gafsa, Tunisia.

This Day in African History – Namibia Achieves Independence

Friday March 21, 2014

Where is Namibia?The German mandated territory of South West Africa was given to South Africa in 1915 by the League of Nations. In 1950 South Africa refused a UN request to give up the territory. It was renamed Namibia in 1968 (although South Africa continued to call it South West Africa). On 21 March 1990 Namibia became the forty-seventh African colony to gain independence. (Walvis Bay was only given up in 1993.)

Find out more about the history of Tunisia:
• Namibia History Resources

Image: ©2006 Alistair Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc

21 March 1960 – The Sharpeville Massacre

Friday March 21, 2014
On 21 March 1960 at least 180 people were injured and 69 killed when South African police opened fire on approximately 300 demonstrators, who were protesting against the pass laws, at the township of Sharpeville, near Vereeniging in the Transvaal. The Sharpeville Massacre, as the event has become known, signaled the start of armed resistance in South Africa, and prompted worldwide condemnation of South Africa's Apartheid policies.

In 1996, on the 26th anniversary of the Sharpeville Massacre, Nelson Mandela chose Sharpeville as the site to announce the signing of the new democratic constitution. The day is now commemorated as South Africa's Human Rights Day.

Find out more about the Sharpeville Massacre:
• Sharpeville Massacre: The Origin of South Africa's Human Rights Day
• TRC Conclusions about the Sharpeville Massacre
• Map of townships around Pretoria, Johannesburg and Vereeniging
• South Africa's National Holidays

This Day in African History – Tunisia Gains Independence

Thursday March 20, 2014

Where is Tunisia?The Republic of Tunisia achieved independence from France on 20 March 1956. Its history, however, is one of occupation - by the Phoenicians, the Romans, Byzantine, Arab, and Ottoman empires, and then by the French in 1883. It was also briefly under Axis control during World War II.

Find out more about the history of Tunisia: • Tunisia History Resources

Image: ©2006 Alistair Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc

19 March 1996 – Mandela Gets a Divorce

Wednesday March 19, 2014
On 19 March 1996 Nelson Mandela gave testimony in a South African court for the first time since the 1964 Treason Trial. This time, however, it was something quite different -- an application for divorce from Winnie Mandela after 38 years of marriage. The Rand Supreme Court judge granted the divorce application, which was not contested, on the grounds that they're lived apart for at least a year. During testimony about their irreconcilable differences, the issue of Winnie committing adultery while Mandela was imprisoned was also raised.

Read More About Nelson Mandela:
Quotes from Nelson Mandela
Biography of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

This Day in African History – Bambara Empire of Mali Brought to an End

Monday March 10, 2014

The final death knell of the Bambara Empire sounded with the invasion of the city of Sιgou by the forces of al-Hajj 'Umar on 10 March 1861. The process had been long winded - the collapse began in 1818 with an assault by the forces of the Fulani Muslim leader, Shehu Ahmadu Lobbo. Following the 1818 invasion Bambara Empire fractured, but it still managed to dominate the region for the next 40 years from its center at Kaarta.

The Tukulor Empire, created by Al-Hajj 'Umar eventually spanned from Senegal to Timbuktu. But came up against the colonial aspirations of France - by 1890 French troops had swept across the region and in 1893 was incorporated into the territory of French Sudan (Soudan).

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