Portugal and Africa

Overview


Portugal was the first European nation to assert itself aggressively in African affairs. David Birmingham's Portugal and Africa, a collection of uniquely accessible historical essays, surveys this colonial encounter from its earliest roots. The Portuguese established sugar plantations on Africa's offshore islands and built factories on the beaches in the fifteenth century, but Professor Birmingham explains that their focus shifted to regions where medieval African miners had discovered deep seams of gold ore. ...
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Overview


Portugal was the first European nation to assert itself aggressively in African affairs. David Birmingham's Portugal and Africa, a collection of uniquely accessible historical essays, surveys this colonial encounter from its earliest roots. The Portuguese established sugar plantations on Africa's offshore islands and built factories on the beaches in the fifteenth century, but Professor Birmingham explains that their focus shifted to regions where medieval African miners had discovered deep seams of gold ore. Later, when even richer mines and more fertile lands were captured from the native peoples of the Americas, Portuguese ships became the great “slave bridge” that spanned the Atlantic and ferried captive black workers to the colonies of the New World.

Portugal lost its major mining claims in Africa to the British, but it left a legacy of a new pattern of white settler colonization based on American-style plantations. The blending of European and African cultures and races led to the emergence of elite communities, from the Kongo princes of the seventeenth century to the creolized generals of today.

Portugal and Africa focuses extensively on Angola to cast new light on the final years of the colonial experience and its traumatic legacies. After 1950, Portuguese Angola became one of the most dynamic of Africa's colonies and the largest white colony outside of Algeria or South Africa. Angola's eventual collapse in a series of wars had devastating results. Birmingham brings the terror and devastation to life in a series of powerful chapters that are a model of disciplined scholarship and informed passion.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Gives an account of the great explorers of the 15th century and looks at the imperial tradition which led Europeans to plunder the natural and human resources of Africa. Looks at Portugal's loss of much of Africa to the Dutch in the 17th century, and its retention of trading harbors in Central Africa, which in the 20th century became the focus of immigrant colonies of white settlers. Discusses relations between white settlers and their black hosts and the emergence of "colored" communities, and shows how Portuguese cultural traditions and language persisted long after Portugal was forced to abandon its political hold on Africa in the 1960s and 1970s. The author is a professor of modern history at the University of Kent, UK. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

David Birmingham is Professor of Modern History at the University of Kent.
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Table of Contents

1 Portugal's impact on Africa 1
2 Coloniers and the African iron age 12
3 The Regimento da Mina 25
4 Early African trade in Angola 33
5 Traditions, migrations and cannibalism 44
6 Iberian conquistadores and African resisters in the Kongo kingdom 51
7 Angola and the church 63
8 Joseph Miller' Way of death 82
9 The coffee barons of Cazengo 94
10 Britain and the ultimatum of 1890 110
11 Colonialism in Angola : Kinyama's experience 122
12 Youth and war in Angola 133
13 The twenty-seventh of May 142
14 Angola revisited 155
15 Back and white in Angolan fiction 174
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