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Article

David Killingray

Exhibition to celebrate the achievements of a global empire recently expanded by the inclusion of territories acquired as a result of the First World War, to encourage Imperial trade, to promote pride in the Empire, and ‘the almost illimitable possibilities of the Dominion, Colonies, and Dependencies overseas’. The Exhibition, staged on a 216‐acre site in Wembley, north London, was opened on St George's Day (23 April) 1924 by King George V with a radio broadcast.

Besides the pavilions provided by each Dominion and the exhibits of the different colonies there were also a Pageant of Empire military tattoos an Imperial Boy Scout Jamboree and re enactments of First World War battles Visitors could also see indigenous people or races in residence as they were called demonstrating local crafts and skills Special postage stamps were also issued Of great importance for many people was the construction of the Wembley ...

Article

Erin D. Somerville

Royally commissioned exhibition run between 4 May and 10 November 1886 in South Kensington, London, showcasing India and the colonies of the British Empire. Over 5 million people attended the Exhibition.

The tone of the Exhibition was one of British patriotism, evidenced by a performance of ‘Rule Britannia’ and a commemorative diploma given to participants depicting female figures representing the colonies paying tribute to Britannia on her throne. A map showing the reach of the British Empire was also displayed in the main hall, as were stereotypical colonial landscapes and trading ships.

Although the objective of the Exhibition was industrial development, exhibits celebrating the natural wealth of the colonies were favoured over those highlighting technological advancements. In addition to an explanation of each display, official Exhibition catalogues contained a list of all the races of the Empire.

The Indian and Ceylonese section was the primary focus and consumed a third ...

Article

Jonathan Morley

Journalist and activist born to wealthy parents, against whom she rebelled. Cunard became a well‐known figure in the London modernist movement, and throughout the busiest period in her career, the 1930s, was a controversial advocate of black emancipation in the United States and Africa.

At 855 pages long, weighing nearly 8 pounds, with 150 contributors, the NEGRO anthology of 1934 was Cunard's most ambitious publication: a collection of essays, polemics, and poetry from France, Britain, and America designed to highlight the vibrancy of the black world and to lobby for black freedom. Writers of interest include the future African presidents Jomo Kenyatta and Nnamdi Azikiwe, the Pan‐Africanists George Padmore and W. E. B. DuBois, the black modernist novelist Zora Neale Hurston, and the poets Nicolás Guillen, Langston Hughes, Sterling Brown, Countee Cullen, Alain Locke, William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound who ...

Article

David Killingray

From the 16th century onwards African states sent occasional diplomatic representatives to certain European states including England. Most of these embassies were from North Africa. From the 18th century the number of African diplomats coming to Britain increased, but it was not until the 19th century that the number of African diplomats making their way to London grew in significance (e.g. Madagascar1836, Zanzibar1838 and 1842, Egypt1846, Morocco1850). A proposed Asante embassy to London in 1820 failed because the British would not provide a ship to convey the ambassadors. However, in the face of British official hindrance, an embassy led by John Owusu Ansa arrived in London in 1895, but it failed to secure Asante independence from British imperial ambitions. Also in 1895 three southern African chiefs from what is now Botswana travelled to London to try to persuade Queen Victoria ...

Article

Richard Smith

The First World War highlighted the shortcomings of British Imperial rule and politicized many colonial subjects who took part in the war effort. This precipitated a rise in nationalist sentiment and anti‐colonial movements throughout the Empire. But equally significant was the impact of the war on race relations and racialized identities in the British Isles. In many ways, the articulation of racial difference, from 1914 until demobilization in 1919, foreshadowed that more commonly associated with mass migration to Britain in the decades after the Second World War.

The outbreak of hostilities in 1914 was widely seen as an opportunity for Imperial subjects to support the Empire with the expectation of post‐war political, economic, and social progress. The Universal Negro Improvement Association, founded on the eve of the war in Jamaica by Marcus Garvey issued a declaration of loyalty to the King and Empire pledging the support of black ...

Article

David Killingray

Black BritishWesleyan missionary and traveller in West Africa. Freeman was born in Hampshire, the child of a black father and a white mother. Little is known of his early years, but he was employed as a gardener in Suffolk and became a Christian, joining the Wesleyan Methodists. In 1838 Freeman went as a missionary to the Gold Coast, an area of West Africa where he was to spend most of his life. He built Methodist churches at Cape Coast and Accra, promoted education, and trained local men for the ministry. He established a mission station in Kumase, the Asante capital, and visited towns in southern Nigeria and also the kingdom of Dahomey, where he urged King Gezo to stop the slave trade. On furlough in Britain in 1843 Freeman actively promoted missionary work and also the anti‐slavery cause, both helped by publication of his travel accounts. In 1847 ...

Article

John Gilmore

Englishwriter on historical subjects. Froude was widely admired for his literary skill, but frequently criticized for his inaccuracies, which did not stop him eventually being appointed Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford in 1892 He was a staunch advocate of British imperialism which he saw as the ...

Article

Michael Niblett

Religious title Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948), political leader and social reformer often regarded as the ‘father’ of modern India and one of the most influential figures of the 20th century. The series of non‐violent civil disobedience campaigns he led against British colonial rule between 1919 and 1942 brought him to worldwide prominence. Although never holding high political office, the aura of spiritual authority he projected is frequently seen as having enabled Gandhi to transform India's nationalist struggle from an elitist political campaign into a mass moral crusade. As a result, he had a considerable impact on Britain too. From 1919 onwards, every British Cabinet had to contend with the Mahatma; his erosion of the moral credibility of colonial power in India was pivotal to Britain's reassessment of its role as an imperial nation.

Gandhi was born in India in the town of Porbandar on the south west coast of ...

Article

Ireland  

Lyn Innes

From 1172 until 1922 Ireland was governed by England and considered by the English a part of Britain. It is not surprising, therefore, that during the 18th century its history is implicated in slavery and the slave trade and other colonial enterprises. Nevertheless, the historical ‘black presence’ in Ireland was almost completely ignored until 2002, when W. A. Hart published his seminal article ‘Africans in Eighteenth Century Ireland’. In the absence of further historical research, however, we can only offer glimpses of the black presence in Ireland over the past three centuries.

Many Irishmen owned estates in the Caribbean and brought slaves to serve them from the Caribbean to Ireland. Eighteenth‐century newspapers in Ireland carried advertisements offering rewards for runaway slaves. Thus, in 1766 the Belfast Newsletter displayed a notice offering a reward of 3 guineas for ‘a young negro manservant’ named John More described as straight and ...

Article

Laura Tabili

Indian and Caribbean workers employed in British shipping from the early 19th century.

1.Who were the Lascars?

2.Pay and conditions

3.Black seamen in British ships

4.Racial and gender divisions in maritime labour

5.Lascars, black seamen, and the National Union of Seamen

6.Significance

Article

Jonathan Morley

A refugee is a person fleeing persecution or suffering, under the entitlements of international law. The largest proportion of the world's refugees live in poverty‐stricken countries of the Third World, to which they move from neighbouring areas afflicted by war, dictatorship, famine, drought, or other natural disasters. The term ‘asylum‐seeker’ is specific to Britain, denoting applicants who may be granted official refugee status, humanitarian protection, or discretionary leave to remain. Those rejected during the asylum process are, in effect, illegal immigrants attempting to enter the country by false means: they are returned to their home countries or moved to a third state (either one they have passed through to reach Britain or a further point of stoppage). Since the accession of the east European states to the European Union in 2004, debates on illegal immigration have become applicable almost exclusively to non‐white immigrants.

Until the late 19th century there ...