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Sierra Leonean public intellectual, was born in the southwest Nigerian city of Abeokuta in 1848. His father was from the Krio community in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Many people from Freetown were former slaves originally of Yoruba descent, and still others traded in southern Nigeria by the 1840s. His father may have been a Muslim notable in Freetown, but his Christian missionary uncle took him under his wing. His parents agreed to send him to the Church Missionary Society (Anglican) mission school in Freetown. Though he did not stay long in school, Abayomi-Cole proved to be a formidable intellect. He mastered Arabic, Latin, Hebrew, and Greek. In the 1870s and early 1880s, Abayomi-Cole made a living as a teacher. His lively intelligence attracted the interest of the Evangelical United Brethren Church, which appointed him a catechist in the Sierra Leonean town of Shenge in the Shebro district in 1885 ...

Article

Israel Gershoni

the third and last khedive of Egypt, ruled the country from 1892 to 1914. ʿAbbas was the seventh ruler in Mehmet ʿAli’s dynasty, which was established in the early nineteenth century. ʿAbbas came to the throne at the very young age of eighteen in January 1892 after his father, Khedive Tawfiq (r. 1879–1892), died unexpectedly. Born in Cairo ʿAbbas was educated by tutors at the Thudicum in Geneva and later in the Theresianum Military Academy in Vienna.

Unlike his father, a weak ruler who was considered a puppet of the British colonial rule, the young ʿAbbas strove to restore the original khedival status as sovereign ruler, patterned after the model established by his grandfather Ismaʿil (r. 1863–1879 and to assert Egypt s unique status as a semiautonomous province within the Ottoman Empire ʿAbbas s aspirations clashed with British rule particularly with the authority of the powerful agent ...

Article

the Khalifa Abdallahi of the Sudan, was born at Turda in Darfur, the son of Muhammad Adam, a holy man of the Taʾaisha Baqqara whose grandfather had migrated from farther west. Living among the Rizayqat as a soothsayer, Abdallahi was taken prisoner in 1873 by the forces of al-Zubayr Rahma Mansur, the Jaʾali Arab merchant prince, who was on the verge of conquering Darfur. Later, in a famous episode, Abdallahi professed belief that al-Zubayr might be the Mahdi, the deliverer prophesied in certain Islamic traditions. At some point after his release Abdallahi, with his father and brothers, set out on the pilgrimage to Mecca, but he settled in southern Kordofan.

From the time of their earliest acquaintance, at al-Masallamiyya, Abdallahi appears to have been convinced that Muhammad Ahmad ibn ʿAbdallah was the Mahdi. What role he played in the Mahdi’s manifestation in 1881 and in some critical events immediately ...

Article

Walter Clarke

pasha of Zeila (1857–?), an Afar Hassoba, was born at Ambado on the north coast of the Gulf of Tadjoura (present-day Djibouti). During the first half of the nineteenth century, the most lucrative trade in the area was traffic in slaves, although political disorders in the Abyssinian highlands later led to a vigorous trade in arms. Aboubaker also provided guides and supplies for various European expeditions from the coast up into Abyssinia.

Aboubaker and his eleven sons became wealthy, but their trading activities brought them into direct and frequently bitter competition with Ali Chermarke Saleh, the pasha of Zeyla. Chermarke, a Somali Issa (born c. 1775), held a contract with the Turks to collect taxes on goods passing through the ancient port of Zeyla. Britain was the first European power to establish a naval facility in the region, at Aden in 1842 and Ali Chermarke maintained their trust and confidence ...

Article

Kathleen Sheldon

Asante ruler in present-day Ghana, was an asantehemaa (queen mother) who advised the Asante royal council to avoid war with the British in the late nineteenth century; she was particularly active from about 1834 to 1884. She was born into Asante aristocracy as the daughter of Asantehene (King) Owusu Afriyie and Asantehemaa Afua Sapon and became the ninth asantehemaa in that dynasty. She married Kofi Nti, a member of the ruling asantehene’s council. Between about 1835 and 1850 they had five children, including two who became asantehenes and one who was later asantehemaa. When Kofi Nti died, most likely in the late 1860s, she married Boakye Tenten, also a council member; but they had no further children. Her descendants continued to hold key positions in the twentieth century, when her great-great-grandson, Barima Kwaku Adusi, was elected to the Asante throne, known as the Golden Stool.

Initially ...

Article

Charles C. Stewart

Malian political leader and notable Muslim scholar, was the political head of the Timbuktu-area lineage, the Kunta confederation, during the years 1847–1865. He inherited this role from his brother, Sidi al-Mukhtar al-Saghir bin Sidi Muhammad (d. 1847), who had assumed the position from his father in 1824, himself heritor of the influence of the family’s patriarch, his father, Sidi al-Mukhtar al-Kunti (d. 1811). His education in the Azaouad region of Timbuktu encompassed the Islamic disciplines including Arabic language, jurisprudence, and theology. The database of West African writings, West African Manuscripts, provides us with a sense of his intellectual literary productivity: in a sample of 180 manuscript titles there are 47 poems or collections, 41 devotional writings, 33 letters of political polemics, 15 works on Sufism, mainly attacking the Tijaniyya, and 10 juridical decisions. At some point, probably in the late 1820s or early 1830s we know he ...

Article

James Jankowski

Egyptian lawyer, politician, and champion of Arab and Muslim causes, was probably born between 1875 and 1878 (he himself was not sure of the date) in al-Minya province, where his father was a school principal. The family later moved to Asyut where his father entered commerce and became a mill owner. After attending a kuttab, in 1890 he enrolled in the Khedivial Secondary School in Cairo. He graduated in 1895 and progressed to the Khedivial School of Law, from which he graduated in 1899 and entered law practice in Asyut. Known for much of his life simply as Muhammad ʿAli, “ʿAlluba” was a surname he had legally registered in 1931 to distinguish him from others.

ʿAlluba’s political sympathies originally lay with the Nationalist Party founded by Mustafa Kamil. He entered national politics when he was elected to the new Legislative Assembly in 1914 At the end of World ...

Article

politician and medical doctor, was born to Jacob Galba Bright and Laetitia (Williams) Bright on 23 August 1883 in the town of Okrika, a settlement in the eastern Nigerian Niger Delta region, roughly 30 miles from Bonny. His father belonged to a Yoruba family that had been rescued from a slave ship and resettled in Wellington, a small town on the outskirts of the Sierra Leonean capital of Freetown. Herbert's father was a trader, although he had tried but failed to become a doctor early in life. Bankole-Bright lived in relatively affluent circumstances thanks to his father, who had developed a successful business career. Bankole-Bright attended a private primary school in Freetown and then enrolled at the Methodist Boys High School for his secondary education. Around 1904 he graduated from the Methodist school and began his own medical career. He became an apprentice of W. Awuror Renner one ...

Article

Geoffrey Roper

Egyptian poet, diplomat, military commander, and politician, was born in Cairo on 6 October 1839. His family claimed descent from a medieval Mamluk royal line, but his surname (nisba) refers to the district of Ityay al-Barud in Lower Egypt, of which his ancestors had once been tax farmers (multazims). His father, an artillery officer under Muhammad Ali, died in Sudan when al-Barudi was only seven years old. After primary education, al-Barudi entered the Military Training School in Cairo, in 1851, and graduated from it in 1855 with the rank of bash-jawish (sergeant-major). During the reign of the viceroy Saʿid (r. 1854–1863), he served in Istanbul as a diplomat and during this time acquired a lifelong enthusiasm for literature.

In 1863 the new viceroy, Ismaʿil (r. 1863–1879 visited Istanbul and recruited al Barudi as commander of his Viceregal Guard in Cairo with the ...

Article

Bill Nasson

farmer, general, and first prime minister of the Union of South Africa, was born on 27 September 1862 near Greytown in the British colony of Natal. His paternal grandfather, Philip Rudolph Boot (or Both), was of German settler descent and had participated in the 1830s Boer Great Trek into the interior. The son of migrant trekkers Louis Botha and Salomina van Rooyen, Louis was the ninth of thirteen children. In 1869, the Botha family left Natal and settled on a farm near Vrede in the Orange Free State, where Louis lived until the age of twenty-two. Earlier, he had been schooled at a local German mission where he received only a very basic education.

Botha’s minimal formal learning proved to be no handicap to the development of his exceptional aptitude for fieldcraft and understanding of the working of the highveld terrain. In 1886 he settled on his ...

Article

Robert Ross

South African lawyer and politician, was born in Cape Town on 6 December 1823. His father, Christoffel J. Brand, a member of a leading Cape family, was a noted journalist and parliamentarian and the first speaker of the Cape Parliament in 1854. Brand Sr. had presented a doctoral thesis to Leiden University in 1820 on the rights of colonists, which the British might have considered treasonable if it had not been written in Latin. By the 1840s he, along with a number of his fellow Dutch-speaking settlers, decided to cooperate with British rule, believing, accurately as it would turn out, that they would be able to dominate democratic institutions in the colony when they were eventually granted.

Jan, as he was known, followed his father to Leiden University in the Netherlands, where he studied law, and thereafter he was admitted to the British Bar. In 1849 ...

Article

French explorer and administrator, was born on 26 January 1852 in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, to the aristocratic family of Ascanio Savorgnan de Brazza and Giacinta Simonetti de Brazza. Although he was born and raised in Italy, he volunteered to join the French navy and became an officer in 1869 and served in Algeria. In 1874, he proposed to the French Minister of the Navy an expedition to travel up the Ogooué River, the longest waterway in Gabon, to see if it eventually reached the Congo River. Although French officials had established a small coastal enclave on the northern Gabonese coast in 1843, the limited budget and personnel of the colony had restricted exploration of the Gabonese interior.

Brazza assembled a collection of several dozen Frenchmen and Senegalese soldiers for this mission His ability to combine intimidation with diplomacy proved very useful as he struggled to convince Adouma Fang ...

Article

David U. Enweremadu

journalist, political leader, and West African nationalist, was born in Cape Coast (present-day Ghana) on 29 September 1866. He was the fourth son of Rev. Joseph de Graft Hayford, a prominent Wesleyan minister, who belonged to the Anona Clan, and Mary de Graft Hayford, the daughter of Samuel Collins Brew, a leading Gold Coast trader. In addition to his European names, he was given the Fante names of Ekra Agyiman, which he rarely used. Following his father, who was one of the founders of the Fante Confederacy in the 1870s, young Joseph imbibed a strong sense of Fante nationalism.

After his secondary education at the Wesleyan Boys high school in Cape Coast 1872 1874 he attended Fourah Bay College in Sierra Leone After that he returned to the Gold Coast Subsequently he served the Wesleyan church as principal of two of its boys secondary schools first in Accra and ...

Article

Shannon Vance Harris

Senegalese politician, was born in Saint-Louis, Senegal, on 14 September 1875; a variant form of his name is Ngalandou. His father, John Legros Diouf, successfully traded merchandise at towns located along the Senegal River. Galandou’s mother’s family, Guèye, was of notable Wolof origin; his mother’s father was the chief of N’Galel, and his great-aunt was married to a son of the Emir of Trarza. Diouf’s family aligned with the French during colonial expansion; Galandou’s great-uncle, grandfather, and uncle were killed fighting for the French general Louis Faidherbe, and his father was killed during Mamadu Lamine’s siege of Bakel in 1885 when Galandou was but eleven Young Diouf attended a primary school established by the French Catholic order of the Brothers of Ploërmel and he received some secondary education in Saint Louis also under Catholic tutelage Diouf gained access to French language and culture through his early education but ...

Article

Kathleen Sheldon

ruler of the island of Mwali (Mohéli in French), the smallest of the Comoro Islands, between 1842 and 1878, was the daughter of Ramanataka and Rovao, both members of the Merina royal family based in Madagascar. She ascended to the throne at age five when her father, Ramanataka, died, though her mother, Rovao, ruled as regent. In 1847 Rovao married Tsivandini, who had been a close adviser to her deceased husband and was connected to the Malagasy ruling family as well. Tsivandini, who was interested in improving relations with the Zanzibari rulers, converted to Islam and began tutoring Djoumbe Fatima. In the welter of conflicting interests and contesting powers, Tsivandini simultaneously advised Djoumbe Fatima to work with the French, who were trying to strengthen their own position in the Indian Ocean, and began arranging for her to marry a sultan from Zanzibar.

Rovao and Tsivandini divorced in 1847 ...

Article

James Jankowski

Egyptian lawyer, judge, and nationalist leader, was born in the delta village of Kafr al-Musayliha in Minufiyya Province on 23 December 1870. Son of a prominent landowning family, Fahmi was educated at first in the traditional educational system of his village primary school (kuttab), the Ahmadi Mosque in Tanta, and al-Azhar, but later entered the secular school system, attending the Khedival Secondary School in Cairo, and graduating from the School of Administration in 1890.

After working in the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Administration of Waqfs through the 1890s, in 1903 Fahmi opened a private law practice. He was elected to the new Legislative Assembly in 1913. One of Egypt’s most distinguished lawyers, in 1914 Fahmi became president of the Egyptian Bar Association for the first time he would hold this position twice more in later years He also served as president of the ...

Article

military leader and French colonial administrator, was born to Louis César Joseph Faidherbe and Sophie Monnier in Lille, France, on 3 June 1818. His family, while not poor, struggled to make a living. His father had served in the French military, and his mother sold hats to support her family with limited success. Although his parents had five children, Faidherbe was the only one who succeeded in an obtaining a higher education. On 1 November 1838 he entered the French military’s renowned École Polytechnique academy. Ironically, given his later achievements and his wide array of intellectual interests, his instructors found him to be a mediocre student at best. Still, he graduated as a sub-lieutenant in an artillery unit on 1 October 1840 At first he had difficulty adjusting to the regimented life of a military engineer He even briefly considered leaving France for the United States where he ...

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Haggai Erlich

Egyptian politician and historian, succeeded Mustafa Kamil in 1908 as the leader of al-Hizb al-Watani, the Nationalist Party, Egypt’s more activist anti-British movement in the pre–World War I period. Though the party, established in late 1907, was quickly losing momentum, and though he remained overshadowed by the memory of Kamil’s charisma, Farid went down in history as a keeper of Kamil’s ideological legacy and as a leader in his own right.

Muhammad Farid was born on 20 January 1868 to a wealthy family of Ottoman-Turkish origin, which had settled in Egypt when it was annexed to the empire in the early sixteenth century. His father was an administrator in Muhammad ʿAli’s educational system and then, during the years of Khedive Ismaʿil, a director in the Khedival Railway Department. In 1877 following European intervention in Egypt s economy he was fired a humiliating experience young Farid never forgot Moreover ...

Article

Goolam Vahed

lawyer and political leader, was born on 2 October 1869 in Gujarat, India. He married Kasturbai Makhanji in 1883. After the birth of their son Harilal in 1888, Gandhi went to London, where he qualified as a lawyer in 1891. He was making a modest living in Gujarat when he was approached in 1893 by a trader from South Africa, who wanted Gandhi to represent his company in a legal matter. While Gandhi was in Natal, a bill was introduced to disenfranchise Indians, and his benefactors persuaded him to extend his stay to help them lobby against the bill. That stay was to last twenty-one years, as the government intensified the passage of anti- Indian racist legislation. Gandhi formed the Natal Indian Congress in 1894 with himself as secretary and it was this organization that led the political struggle of Indians in South Africa for the ...

Article

Gbudwe  

Stephanie Beswick

prominent Zande leader in southern Sudan, was born about 1860; his father was the Avongara leader Bazingbi (“conqueror of the world”) and his mother, a slave woman. He is also known as “Mbio” or “Yambio.” He gradually rose to leadership in rivalry with several half-brothers and numerous other Zande princes. As a young man he participated in his community’s conquests eastward across the Yubo River into Western Equatoria and the area of Yambio, the town that now bears his name. Attempts to extend the Zande conquests east to the White Nile, however, were repulsed by the Dinka and Bari. Because Gbudwe could no longer expand eastward, he planned new invasions toward the territories along his northern borders. These efforts brought him into conflict with the Turco–Egyptian regime in Bahr al-Ghazal that had succeeded at the fall of al-Zubayr Rahma Mansur in 1875. In 1881 Gbudwe obliterated a large ...