Land of Tears: The Exploration and Exploitation of Equatorial Africa

Land of Tears: The Exploration and Exploitation of Equatorial Africa

by Robert Harms


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A prizewinning historian's epic account of the scramble to control equatorial Africa

In just three decades at the end of the nineteenth century, the heart of Africa was utterly transformed. Virtually closed to outsiders for centuries, by the early 1900s the rainforest of the Congo River basin was one of the most brutally exploited places on earth. In Land of Tears, historian Robert Harms reconstructs the chaotic process by which this happened. Beginning in the 1870s, traders, explorers, and empire builders from Arabia, Europe, and America moved rapidly into the region, where they pioneered a deadly trade in ivory and rubber for Western markets and in enslaved labor for the Indian Ocean rim. Imperial conquest followed close behind.

Ranging from remote African villages to European diplomatic meetings to Connecticut piano-key factories, Land of Tears reveals how equatorial Africa became fully, fatefully, and tragically enmeshed within our global world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465028634
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 12/03/2019
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 774,602
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.80(d)

About the Author

Robert Harms is Henry J. Heinz Professor of History and African Studies at Yale University. He is the author of several books on African history, including The Diligent, winner of the Mark Lynton History Prize, the Frederick Douglass Prize, and the J. Russell Major Prize. He lives in Guilford, Connecticut.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Manyema 17

Chapter 2 Competition for the Atlantic Coast 69

Chapter 3 The Grand Highway of Commerce 113

Chapter 4 Homeward Bound 158

Chapter 5 A Torrent of Treaties 191

Chapter 6 Creating the Congos 235

Chapter 7 Rescuing Emin 276

Chapter 8 Things Fall Apart 318

Chapter 9 Concession Companies and Colonial Violence 361

Chapter 10 The "Red Rubber" Scandals 404

Chapter 11 The End of Red Rubber 448

Acknowledgments 471

Notes 473

Index 523

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