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Zahia Smail Salhi

Algerian emir and anticolonialist leader, was born on 6 September 1808 near Mascara in the west of Algeria. His full name was ʿAbd al-Qadir bin Muhieddine; he is known in the Arab east as ʿAbdel-Kader al-Jazaʾiri and in Algeria as al-Amir ʿAbd El-Kader.

His father, Muhieddine al-Hassani, was a Sufi shaykh who followed the Qadiriyya religious order and claimed to be a Hasani (sharif ) descendent of the Prophet with family ties with the Idrisi dynasty of Morocco. As a young boy, ʿAbdel-Kader trained in horsemanship, and from this he developed his love for horses, about which he wrote some beautiful poetry. He was also trained in religious sciences; he memorized the Qurʾan and read in theology and philology. He was also known as a poet who recited classical poetry and wrote his own poetry, mostly centering on war and chivalry.

In 1825 ʿAbdel Kader set out with ...


Geoffrey Roper

Egyptian Muslim theologian, modernist, and reformer, was born in the Gharbiya Province of Lower Egypt, the son of ʿAbduh ibn Hasan Khayr Allah, a peasant farmer, and his wife, who was descended from the Bani ʿAdl clan. He grew up in the village of Mahallat Nasr and received a traditional education, learning the Qurʾan by heart. In 1862 he was sent to the madrasa (Islamic college) in Tanta. There, he perfected his Qurʾan recitation and started to learn Arabic grammar, by the then normal method of memorizing texts and commentaries without explanation from his teachers.

Reacting against this, according to his own account, he ran away from the college and returned to his village, intending to become a peasant rather than a scholar. In this condition he married in 1865 at the age of sixteen But after various vicissitudes he resorted to his great uncle Shaykh Darwish Khadr who ...


M. W. Daly

British adventurer, explorer, and administrator, was born in London to Samuel Baker, a businessman, and his wife. Educated in England and Germany, and a civil engineer by training, he played a notable role in the history of the Upper Nile in the 1860s. His varied and peripatetic life as a planter, big-game hunter, writer, and controversialist may be studied in his extensive writings and the enormous literature on European travel in Africa.

His work in Africa began in 1861–1865 with explorations in the eastern Sudan, up the White Nile, (where he met James Augustus Grant and John Hanning Speke), and beyond to the Great Lakes. Credit for discovery of the source of the Nile has gone to Grant and Speke; Baker, famously accompanied by his second wife, Florence, explored and named Lake Albert Nyanza. For these adventures, embellished in several books, Baker was much acclaimed, and in 1869 as ...


Michael R. Mahoney

first Anglican bishop of Natal, theologian, and political activist, was born in Saint Austell, Cornwall, on 24 January 1814, the eldest of four children of a mineral agent to the Duchy of Cornwall. He began attending Saint John’s College, Cambridge University, in 1832, and in 1836 he graduated as a second wrangler in the mathematical tripos and a second Smith’s prizeman. A year later he was elected a fellow at Saint John’s. In 1839 he took up holy orders in the Church of England but worked as a mathematics tutor at Harrow, where he gained some notoriety as an author of mathematics texts. During this period Colenso also became increasingly active in the Church of England and in 1846 became rector of Forncett Saint Mary Church in Norfolk County. That same year he married Sarah Frances Bunyon, with whom he had five children.

In 1853 at the ...


Mikal N. Nash

Frederick Douglass the American slave turned statesman was a towering figure in the struggle to gain civil and human rights in the United States of America for African Americans thus becoming a pioneer in the struggle to make the country s practices more congruent with its principles That civil rights was so inextricably tied to the African American quest for freedom justice and equality in a country that was established in the name of freedom but which grappled with recognizing the humanity of Americans of African descent is indeed a paradox Douglass like Nat Turner and John Brown though not nearly as militant was a visionary and a much needed voice of passion moderation and reason in an environment that clung to conservatism on the issues of race class and gender equality His brand of militancy would become manifest in his advocacy of black participation in the American Civil ...


Nathaniel Mathews

Belgian monarch, son of Leopold I (1790–1865) and Louise-Marie of Orleans (1812–1850), was born Leopold Louis Philippe Marie Victor on 9 April 1835. His father was the first ruler of an independent Belgium after the Belgian revolt of 1830. Leopold II became, in 1865 at the age of thirty, the Belgian monarch, inheriting the title from his father. With his wife, Marie Henriette, he had four daughters.

The new king combined remarkable ambition with an uncanny ability to hide his true motives He also felt a strong unease about Belgium s place in European affairs The country was divided by class and language between the impoverished Flemish north and richer French speaking south Leopold II felt its divisions and diminutive size could be only overcome by possessing a colony From an early age he embarked on a long quest using research advocacy and stealth diplomacy in order to ...


Elizabeth Heath

Son of Leopold I, the first king of independent Belgium, Leopold II ascended the throne in 1865 intent on finding opportunities abroad to increase his power and personal wealth. He looked at first to the Far East but was soon enticed by the stories of Sir Henry Morton Stanley, an Anglo-American explorer. Stanley’s stories told of potential for wealth in the Congo basin of Central Africa. In 1876 Leopold organized an association to develop Central Africa. He hired Stanley to lead an expedition to the Congo River and establish contacts with the peoples around the river. By 1884 Stanley had made 450 treaties with local chieftains on behalf of Leopold and had constructed roads and railroads in the basin. Consequently, the Berlin West Africa Conference (1884–1885 recognized Leopold as sovereign of the Congo Free State Leopold promised other European powers that his exclusive mission is to introduce civilization ...


Alan West

José Martí is one of the major figures of nineteenth-century Latin America. He is regarded by Cubans across the political spectrum as the father of Cuba's independence. His collected works span some twenty-eight volumes and include exquisite poetry, insightful essays on Whitman and Emerson, impassioned political analysis, and a remarkable book of children's literature, La edad de oro (1889).

While still an adolescent, Martí embraced the cause of Cuban independence, founding the newspaper La Patria Libre in 1869. He was imprisoned and then banished for writing a letter denouncing a Spanish fellow student. After 1871 Martí spent a great deal of his life outside of Cuba (Mexico, Guatemala, Spain), and most of the years between 1881 and 1895 in New York where he dedicated himself to the Cuban independence movement as a brilliant orator journalist fund raiser and political leader He ...


Kathleen Sheldon

the last queen of the Merina Empire in Madagascar (r. 1883–1897), was born Princess Razafindrahety, daughter of Andriantzimianatra, and was educated by Protestant missionaries. She first married Ratrimo, a nobleman who died in 1883. Later that year the ruling Queen Ranavalona II died, and Razafindrahety was named queen, taking the name Ranavalona III. She followed the pattern of the previous queens by marrying the prime minister, Rainilaiarivony, who was the actual ruler and a leading convert to Christianity.

Despite her limited ceremonial role, Ranavalona III was involved in the maneuvering that led to the French conquest of Madagascar. She signed a treaty with France in 1885 that gave the French certain rights and concessions and led to the declaration of a French protectorate over the entire island Though she sent gifts to US President Grover Cleveland seeking American help in fending off French interests the United States ...


Robert Rotberg

British imperialist in southern Africa, diamond mine entrepreneur, and Cape Colony politician, was born the fourth son and sixth child in a family of nine. Rhodes grew up in a vicarage in Bishop’s Stortford, England, performed well but not brilliantly in the local schools, and set sail for Africa at the age of sixteen.

For a year from age seventeen to eighteen he attempted to grow cotton in the central section of what is now KwaZulu Natal South Africa Then he joined his brother on the newly opened diamond fields of Kimberley in the Cape Colony There he made his fortune gradually gaining ascendancy among hard scrabble diamond seekers and consolidating his holdings over first one and then over the several pits from which rough diamonds were dug As a very young man he also gained a broad personal following because of his ideas about imperial might and the glory ...


Esperanza Brizvela-Garcia

The Sokoto caliphate conquered and united for the first time the Hausa States of present-day northern Nigeria, under the leadership of a mostly Fulani aristocracy. It also incorporated neighboring non-Hausa territories. The caliphate was the largest independent state in Africa during the nineteenth century.

Muslim Fulani pastoralists migrated into Hausaland as early as the twelfth century. They played an important part in spreading Islam to the Hausa, and over the centuries many Fulani took up settled life in the rich Hausa city-states as Islamic scholars. One such scholar, Usuman dan Fodio of the Qadiriyya Sufi order, initiated a reform movement in Hausaland during the late eighteenth century. This movement promoted an ascetic and purist version of Islam and advocated a society based on the Shari’a Islamic Law It united Hausa and Fulani communities of devout Muslims in a populist campaign to reform the wealthy Hausa states which Usuman s ...


Jeremy Rich

explorer and representative of Leopold II of Belgium’s efforts to build a Central African empire, was born with the name John Rowlands on 28 January 1841 in Denbigh, Wales. He came from an impoverished background. His mother, Elizabeth Parry, was nineteen years old and unmarried, and there is some debate over who his father may have been. While Stanley believed his father was an alcoholic named Rowlands, a lawyer named James Vaughan Horne may have actually been his father. In any event, his mother left Henry in the care of his grandfather, but his death in 1846 resulted in the boy’s placement in a workhouse for abandoned children and poor people. He only met his mother in 1850 Extremely bitter about his extended family s unwillingness to treat him as one of their own as well as the physical and psychological abuse he experienced in the workhouse Stanley graduated ...