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Like many early nationalist leaders in Africa, Rudolph Douala Manga Bell was from a chiefly lineage and initially collaborated with the colonial authorities before ultimately turning against them. Born in the commercial port town of Douala, Bell was the eldest son of Duala king Manga Ndumbe, who had signed an annexation treaty ceding large tracts of land to the Germans. At the age of twelve he traveled to Germany to attend the gymnasium at Ulm and university in Bonn. In 1896 Bell returned to then-German Kamerun to work as a civil servant. When his father died in 1908 Bell became the paramount chief of the Duala. He soon disagreed with the colonial authorities about what he considered their contravention of an 1884 treaty that his father had signed concerning Duala rights on the Jos Plateau The Germans had effectively attempted to break the Duala trade monopoly for good Because ...

Article

Chris Saunders

Boer general, Afrikaner nationalist, and South African prime minister, was born near Wellington in Cape Province in 1866 He studied law at Victoria College Stellenbosch and then at the University of Amsterdam After practicing as a lawyer in Pretoria he was appointed a judge in the Orange Free State OFS then became legal adviser to the OFS forces during the Anglo Boer War before becoming a general and leading a guerrilla commando on daring raids against the British After the war he became active in politics founding the Orangia Unie Party When the Orange River Colony ORC became self governing Hertzog joined its cabinet as attorney general and director of education in which capacity he demanded equal status for English and Afrikaans in schools He represented the ORC in the negotiations for a Union of South Africa and the first prime minster of the Union Louis Botha asked him ...

Article

Eric Young

Samuel Maharero, born Uereani Maharero, was the first son of Chief Maharero, who between 1860 and 1889 led the Herero in a series of wars with the Nama. Vehemently opposed to settlement by Europeans, particularly Afrikaners and Germans, in what is today Namibia, the elder Maharero repeatedly and unsuccessfully requested British “protection” during his reign. He finally gave in to German occupation in 1885.

Samuel and his brothers were educated at the Rhenish mission school in Otjimbingwe in the early 1860s. Samuel’s brother, Wilhelm, the chief’s second son and intended heir, was killed in battle with the Nama. Thus when his father died in 1890, Samuel Maherero assumed the chieftainship—a succession that divided the Herero, as some believed one of his cousins should have become chief.

For the next two years Maharero continued in his father s footsteps leading his people in wars against the Nama To gain ...

Article

James Jankowski

Egyptian lawyer, judge, nationalist leader, and prime minister, was born in Samanud in Gharbiyya Province on 15 June 1879. Of modest family background (his father was a timber merchant), Nahhas is a prime example of the trajectory of upward mobility experienced by the effendiyya, Egypt’s new middle class created by processes of modernization in the nineteenth century. Educated at the Nasiriyya Elementary School and later the Khedivial Secondary School, he was first in his class at the Khedivial Law School when he graduated in 1900. In 1904 he was appointed a judge in the National Court in Tanta, and served as a judge until dismissed from the courts in 1919 due to his political involvement.

In the pre–World War I period, Nahhas’s initial political sympathies were with the Watani Party of Mustafa Kamil and Muhammad Farid. When Saʿd Zaghlul organized the new Wafd Party to demand ...

Article

James Jankowski

Egyptian lawyer, cabinet minister, and prime minister, was born in Cairo in 1863. He belonged to the Topuzzadeh family and was thus a member of the Turko-Circassian (Ottoman-Egyptian) elite that dominated Egypt through the nineteenth century. Educated in Egypt, Geneva, and Paris, he held a French law degree. Rushdi began his public career as a lawyer in the Finance Ministry and later served as an inspector of education and as a judge in both the Mixed Courts and the National Court of Appeal. His first wife was the French feminist writer Eugenie Le Brun; after her death in 1908 he married a sister-in-law of Sharif Husayn of the Hijaz.

Rushdi was a fixture in Egyptian ministries before and during World War I. He served as minister of justice from 1908 to 1910, as foreign minister from 1910 to 1912, and again as minister of justice from 1912 ...

Article

Haggai Erlich

Egyptian writer, was born in January 1872 to a landowning family in Lower Egypt. He attended a local traditional Islamic school (kuttab) and chose to go to the khedivial secondary school rather than to al-Azhar. Having read translated scholarly works, notably Darwin’s Origin of Species, he was admitted in 1889 to the Khedivial Law School, the alma mater of many of Egypt’s modern politicians and leaders. As a young student, he founded Egypt’s first law review, Majallat al-Tashriʿ (Legislative Review). He graduated in 1894, entered government service, and in 1897 began collaborating with the nationalist leader Mustafa Kamil, who had the support of Khedive ʿAbbas II. They advised him to go to Switzerland and acquire Swiss citizenship so that he would enjoy immunity as a journalist and would be able to criticize the British occupiers freely. However, in Geneva in 1897 he came under ...

Article

Kurt J. Werthmuller

Egyptian military officer and Minister of War, and leader and namesake of the “Urabi Revolt” against the Ottoman-Egyptian ruling class of the military in 1881–1882, was born in Huriya, a village near the Nile Delta city of Zaqaziq, on 1 April 1841. Because of the changing norms of Arabic-English transliteration, his name is also written as “Ahmed Orabi” and “Ahmed Arabi.” While his village belonged to the agricultural (fellah) class of Egyptian society, his father was a religious elder (shaykh) of the village, and a man of some means relative to the community. His family’s resources afforded ʿUrabi the opportunity to receive an excellent early education, culminating at the age of eight in the completion of his primary education at the prestigious al-Azhar University in Cairo.

It was ʿUrabi s conscription into the Egyptian army at the age of thirteen however that set him on the ...

Article

James Jankowski

Egyptian lawyer, nationalist leader, and prime minister, was born in the village of Ibyana, Gharbiyya Province, where his father was village ʿumda or leader. Zaghlul’s initial education was traditional: study at the village kuttab followed by four years at al-Azhar. Both his family and educational backgrounds were important components of his political persona; from a moderately well-off peasant family, raised in a village in the Delta, and educated in the indigenous educational system, Zaghlul was a leader with the popular touch, a man with whom the indigenous Egyptian majority, long dominated by foreigners, could and did identify.

Zaghlul had a long public career before he became the dominant figure in Egyptian politics after World War I. Associated with the failed ʿUrabi movement of the later 1870s and early 1880s, when he edited the official gazette al-Waqiʿi al-Misriyya he was arrested but cleared on the charge of ...