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Elizabeth Heath

French military officer and colonial official, was born 1 February 1866 in the Corsican town of Marignana, roughly 75 kilometers from the capital of Ajaccio. His parents were Domenico Coppolani and Giacinta Coppolani (née Luciani). Madame Coppolani’s belief in popular Catholicism had a deep impact on his later views on Sufi Islam, with which he found many parallels. Like many other Corsican families, the Coppolanis moved to the French colony of Algeria to make a living. Xavier Coppolani spent his first years at Marignana, but his family relocated to the Algerian town of Sidi Mérouan. Coppolani attended primary school at Sidi Mérouan, and then completed his secondary education at the port city of Constantine from 1883 to 1886.

On 1 April 1889 Coppolani became a member of the colonial administration as secretary for the Algerian town of Oued Cherg This position brought him into contact with politically influential ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

explorer and colonial official, was born in Nancy, France on 18 November 1864 the son of Charles Victor Crampel a devout Catholic tobacco inspector and Elisabeth Pierret After attending primary school in Nancy and Dordogne Crampel then attended secondary school in Périgueux and Bordeaux Since other civil servants had doubts about Crampel s father s loyalty to the French Republic due to his Catholic faith his career required Paul and the rest of the family to move frequently Like so many other young Frenchmen Crampel became interested in Africa through the work of explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza whose first two expeditions to Africa received much coverage in the French press Crampel viewed both his mother s religious zeal and the discipline he endured in secondary education as backward Rather than continue his education as his father had hoped Crampel quit the prestigious Henry IV school where he ...

Article

Nathaniel Mathews

Baron Dhanis, Belgian soldier and colonial official in the Belgian Congo, was born on 11 March 1862 to Joseph-Edmond Dhanis, the Belgian consul in London, and his Irish wife, Brigitte Maher. His parents had married in Australia, Dhanis was born in London, and when young Francis was seven or eight, his parents moved near Cardiff in Wales. Dhanis studied at Saint Joseph’s Institute before being admitted to the École Militaire in Belgium in March 1882.

After completion of military school in 1884, he volunteered for service in the Congo Free State, which King Leopold II of Belgium had established in 1885 At the Berlin Conference King Leopold had maneuvered to bring this vast region of Central Africa under the control of the Association Internationale Africaine an organization he personally controlled Leopold now needed manpower to establish military control over the vast territory Initially Dhanis conducted missions of ...

Article

British imperialist and businessman, was born on 20 May 1846 in the town of the Nunnery on the Isle of Man between Ireland and England. His family belonged to the Manx elite as his father, John Taubman Goldie-Taubman, was the speaker of the House of Keys, the lower branch of the Isle of Man legislature. His mother, Caroline Everina, was the daughter of a prosperous attorney from England, John Eykyn Hovenden. Goldie attended the Woolwich Royal Military Academy and served for several years in the Royal Engineers. Goldie also spent time in Upper Egypt and became interested in the possibility of finding a link between the Nile and Niger rivers. In 1870 Goldie married Matilda Catherine Elliott.

Goldie became a willing participant in African adventures in the mid 1870s According to one biographer Goldie s fascination with Africa was evident even in his youth when he dreamed of painting a ...

Article

M. W. Daly

British soldier and administrator in the Sudan, was born at Woolwich in England on 23 January 1833, the son of General H. W. Gordon and his wife, Elizabeth Enderby. Owing to his exploits in the Sudan, culminating in his death at Khartoum in January 1885, Gordon was and remains one of the most famous figures in the colonial history of Africa.

A Royal Engineer, Gordon served in the Crimea (1855) and as a commissioner delimiting the Russo-Turkish borders in Bessarabia and eastern Anatolia. For his soldiering during the Second Opium War and suppression of the Taipeng rebellion in 1860–1864 he became known popularly in Britain as “Chinese Gordon.” In 1874 he began the first of three stints in the Egyptian Sudan where the Khedive Ismaʿil had begun to rely on European officers to suppress the slave trade As governor of Equatoria Gordon continued the work of Samuel ...

Article

Geoffrey Roper

French army officer and colonial administrator in Morocco, Algeria, and Madagascar, was born at Nancy on 17 November 1854. His father was from a family of soldiers and administrators, and his mother was an artistically inclined aristocrat, both of which tendencies influenced his life and career. In infancy he suffered a severe accident, which disabled him until the age of twelve; but he later entered the military college at Saint-Cyr, from which he graduated as a cavalry officer.

In 1880 he was posted to Algeria where he spent initially two years during which he acquired some knowledge of and taste for local Muslim manners and customs carefully learning spoken and written Arabic He found poetry even in Algiers but he was especially enthusiastic about the deserts and mountains of the hinterland whose vistas he described as a fairyland at every minute worth all the beautiful but drab landscapes ...

Article

Thomas V. McClendon

colonial official in Natal, South Africa, was born in Westbury- on-Trym, England, on 8 January 1817, the son of a stonemason, John William Shepstone, and his wife, Elizabeth Shepstone (née Brooks). The family joined the wave of British settlers who emigrated to the Cape Colony in southern Africa in 1820 as colonial authorities sought to Anglicize the eastern frontier of the former Dutch possession they had acquired in 1806 John a Methodist became a lay missionary at a series of mission stations in African chiefdoms near and beyond the Cape colonial frontier Theophilus Shepstone s early life therefore developed in a missionary and frontier context surrounded by African communities and rulers Four important consequences flowed from the setting of his childhood First young Shepstone became fluent in the local language that was eventually standardized by missionaries as Xhosa closely related to the Zulu language spoken in the Natal ...

Article

colonial official, was born in Wetteren in the eastern Flanders region of Belgium on 2 June 1846. His father was Baptist Joseph Renaud Storms and his mother was Hélène Caroline Joséphine Hansez. It appears that Storms had no surviving siblings. He joined the Belgian army on 11 December 1861, and briefly fought in a Belgian army unit with French forces against the Prussians in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870. Storms reached the rank of lieutenant in 1876. After Leopold II of Belgium formed the International African Association (IAA) to promote European exploration of Central Africa and to covertly allow Leopold to create his own personal colony, Storms joined the organization. His superiors in the IAA assigned him in 1882 to lead an expedition from the Indian Ocean coast of modern Tanzania to Karema a station already established on the southeastern coast of Lake Tanganyika ...