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Article

ʿAli Khurshid  

M. W. Daly

Turco-Egyptian soldier and administrator, served in the Sudan as governor during the 1820s–1830s and adopted policies that largely set the course for the entire colonial period. Following Muhammad ʿAli’s conquest of Sinnar and Kordofan in 1820–1821, Egypt’s African empire expanded gradually over a period of sixty years. The exploitive motives of that expansion, and failure ever to extract the quantities of gold, ivory, and slaves that comprised its principal object, were reflected in attempts to administer the territories. The appointment of ʿAli Khurshid was a watershed in this process. His long period of loyal service was marked by pragmatism, a liberal and enlightened outlook, and energetic interest in developing the country.

In 1826 following military service in Greece ʿAli Khurshid was named governor of Sinnar a much larger territory of uncertain southern and eastern borders than the future province of the same name Much of the northern Sudan ...

Article

Ashmun, Jehudi  

Jeremy Rich

was born in Champlain, New York on 21 April 1794. He was the third child of ten in a white family. His father, Samuel Ashmun, was a relatively prosperous man. He was tutored by a pastor to prepare for university. On 26 June 1810 Ashmun had an inward conversion to Christianity that led him to follow a vocation as a Protestant minister. Ashmun enrolled at Middlebury College in September 1812. He briefly served in a Vermont militia during the War of 1812. Although he did not see combat, Ashmun’s limited military experience proved valuable later on when he immigrated to Liberia. Due to financial problems, he transferred to Vermont College in 1815 By the end of this period Ashmun had become interested in missionary work I determined not only to forsake the gay but even the civilized world and spend my life among distant savages Gurley ...

Article

Clozel, Marie François-Joseph  

Cyril Daddieh

French military officer, colonial administrator, and governor-general, was born in Annonay, France, on 29 March 1860. Clozel completed his military service in Algeria and entered the colonial service there in 1885. He spent virtually his entire career in Africa. He had earned a degree in Arabic language from the École des Langues Orientales (School of Oriental Languages) in Paris before pursuing further studies in Islamic culture at the Faculté des Lettres in Algiers. In 1892 he joined an exploration group to Chad and the Congo. In 1894–1895 he led his own expedition to the north of Congo. He met Louis-Gustave Binger, the first governor of the Ivory Coast (1893–1895), upon his return to France.

In 1896 he was posted to the Ivory Coast as a young colonial officer and assigned to the Anyi Ndenye region where he was attacked and wounded by Anyi warriors Unlike his successor ...

Article

Coppolani, Xavier  

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

Dhanis, Francis  

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

George, David  

Jeremy Rich

a Baptist minister and a pioneer of African American settlement in Sierra Leone, was born in the early 1740s in Essex County, Virginia. His parents, John and Judith, were both slaves born in Africa.

George s family was owned by a man named Chapel who carried out brutal punishments on George s parents and siblings For example George watched as his brother Duck was hung up in a cherry tree whipped five hundred times had salt rubbed into his wounds and then sent to work in the tobacco fields Horrified by such torture George ran away at the age of nineteen He met some traveling white people the day after he fled Chapel s plantation on the Roanoke River George worked for one of them for three weeks until he heard Chapel had put out a bounty of thirty guineas for George s capture His white patron told him to ...

Article

Goldie, George Dashwood Taubman  

Jeremy Rich

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

Gordon, Charles George  

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

King, Boston  

Jeremy Rich

antislavery activist and a pioneering African American settler in Sierra Leone, was born around 1760 to a slave family on a plantation located not far from Charleston, then the capital of the British colony of South Carolina. His father was born in Africa.

He worked as child as a domestic servant but then at the age of nine was reassigned to prepare cattle hide At the age of twelve King joined the growing evangelical fervor of the First Great Awakening movement promoting a personal and emotional tie to Jesus Christ and became a fervent Protestant Christian King s life as a young man was full of suffering as he worked as an artisan in Charleston He was assigned to watch over his master s tools and was regularly beaten by his owner During the American Revolution King s master chose to move King to an inland location out of fear ...

Article

Lyautey, Louis-Hubert  

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

Macaulay, Zachary  

Jeremy Rich

abolitionist and governor of Sierra Leone, was born on 2 May 1768 in Inveraray, Scotland. His father John was a Protestant minister, and Zachary had eleven other siblings. One brother, Alexander, served in the British army in India. Another brother was a prominent Anglican priest. As for Zachary, his early life hardly indicated future greatness. In order to make a living, Macaulay left Scotland to work as an accountant on a Jamaican plantation.

The brutal violence of plantation slavery left a deep mark on Macaulay over time. By 1780 he returned to England rather than remain in the service of slavery There his brother Thomas Babington introduced Macaulay to evangelicals such as the tremendously active reformer and abolitionist William Wilberforce as well as Thomas Clarkson Macaulay became a member of the Clapham Sect a reformist association of evangelicals within the Anglican Church opposed to slavery and in favor of ...

Article

Peters, Thomas  

Jeremy Rich

leader of African-American settlement in Sierra Leone, was born sometime around 1738. Some sources contend Peters was born in a Yoruba-speaking community in what later became Nigeria, but the lack of documentation makes identifying his origins extremely difficult. These same accounts contended he came from a wealthy family, but that he was captured by rivals and sold to Europeans. It is clear that he was brought to Louisiana by French slave traders around 1760 aboard the ship Henri IV. Since French ships purchased slaves from Senegal to Congo and Madagascar, his background is unknown. Peters managed repeatedly to escape different slave masters in the 1760s and early 1770s Later accounts claimed Peters was branded whipped and tortured for his rebelliousness At some point a wealthy slave owner named William Campbell purchased Peters and put his new acquisition to work at a mill in Wilmington North Carolina ...

Article

Rafai  

Richard A. Bradshaw and Juan Fandos-Rius

Bandia paramount chief of a Zande kingdom that straddled the Chinko River in what is now southeastern Central African Republic (CAR). Rafai was born c. 1855, the eighth son of Bayangi, who, according to oral tradition, was the son of Sangou, the son of Tossi, the son of Kassanga, the son of Ngubenge, the son of Kube. The Bandia, an Ngbandi clan from the southern bank of the Ubangi River region west of the Azande, spread northeast across Azande territory in the late eighteenth century. By c. 1800, the Bandia had become the rulers of a number of states on the forest margins north of the Mbomu River. The Bandia ancestors of Rafai came to rule an Azande population on both sides of the Chinko River.

Rafai was one of the youngest sons of Bayangi and so at birth he appeared to have little chance of ever leading ...

Article

Retief, Piet  

Michael R. Mahoney

one of the leaders of the Great Trek, during which white settlers from the Cape Colony expanded into the interior and conquered most of what is today South Africa, was born on 12 November 1780 to Jacobus and Debora Retief in Limiet Vallei (today called Wagenmakers Vallei) near the present town of Wellington, Western Cape province. His full name was Piet Mauritz Retief. The Retief family were the descendants of a French Huguenot refugee, François Retif, who came to the Cape in 1689. Retief’s father owned a vineyard, and when Retief himself came of age his father gave him a vineyard estate of his own. He soon lost the estate, however, after a series of unwise investments bankrupted him. He moved to Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape in 1812 Two years later he married a widow Lenie Greyling and over the course of their marriage the couple adopted ...

Article

Russwurm, John Brown  

Jeremy Rich

African American activist and an administrator in Liberia, was born in Port Antonio, Jamaica, on 1 October 1799. His father was an American businessman of German descent who had worked in Port Antonio. Russwurm’s mother was an African-descended slave about whom there are no records. Some accounts claim Russwurm was the product of rape, while others asserted that Russwurm’s mother was a house servant of his father. It is also unclear if Russwurm was immediately freed by his father or if he was a slave during his childhood.

Russwurm seems to have received a primary school education until he moved to Quebec, Canada, around 1807. By 1812 Russwurm and his father had moved from Canada to Portland Maine There Russwurm s father married a widow named Susan Blanchard Russwurm developed a very close relationship with his stepmother and she insisted that his father name him John Brown ...

Article

Shepstone, Theophilus  

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

Sousa, Manuel António de  

Rosemary Elizabeth Galli

nineteenth-century Mozambican warlord, was born on 10 November 1835 in Mapusa, Goa (Portuguese India). His parents were Felix de Sousa, a landowner, and Doroteia Tomásia de Mascarenhas. He went to Mozambique in the early 1850s to manage his maternal uncle’s estate and married his cousin, Maria Anastásia de Mascarenhas. He became a rich and powerful ivory trader in the Sena region, gathering together a private army of elephant hunters and slaves with which he raided surrounding territories. He built a heavily fortified base camp in the Gorongosa Mountains in the 1850s from which he built an empire. He helped Portugal gain control over central Mozambique, challenged first by the Nguni and powerful estate holders and later the British. Locally he acquired the name of Gouveia, said to be a corruption of the term meaning “Goan.”

Sousa found his opportunity to extend his landholdings in the 1860s when Nguni armies ...

Article

Storms, Émile Pierre Joseph  

Jeremy Rich

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 ...

Article

Yoko of Senehun  

Lynda R. Day

leader of the Kpa Mende Confederacy who wielded greater authority than any other Sierra Leonean woman of her time, was born about 1849 near Taiama in Gbo. She was originally known by her birth name, Soma, and had three brothers named Ali Kongo, Lamboi, and Goba. Her father and maternal grandfather were leaders in the Kpa Mende expansion westward from the Gorama chiefdom. With both a father and a grandfather who were prominent war leaders, Yoko met one of the most important criteria for leadership in this era, descent from the ruling elite of Mende country.

As a girl, Yoko was initiated into the women’s society, the Sande also known as Bundu there she gained a wide reputation as an excellent dancer Some sources mention a first husband the warrior Gongoima who may have been her cousin her father s sister s son Other sources describe her first marriage ...