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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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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 ...