The Fortunes of Africa: A 5000-Year History of Wealth, Greed, and Endeavor

The Fortunes of Africa: A 5000-Year History of Wealth, Greed, and Endeavor

by Martin Meredith
The Fortunes of Africa: A 5000-Year History of Wealth, Greed, and Endeavor

The Fortunes of Africa: A 5000-Year History of Wealth, Greed, and Endeavor

by Martin Meredith

Paperback(First Trade Paper Edition)

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A sweeping history the fortune seekers, adventurers, despots, and thieves who have ruthlessly endeavored to extract gold, diamonds, and other treasures from Africa and its people.

Africa has been coveted for its rich natural resources ever since the era of the Pharaohs. In past centuries, it was the lure of gold, ivory, and slaves that drew merchant-adventurers and conquerors from afar. In modern times, the focus of attention is on oil, diamonds, and other rare earth minerals.

In this vast and vivid panorama of history, Martin Meredith follows the fortunes of Africa over a period of 5,000 years. With compelling narrative, he traces the rise and fall of ancient kingdoms and empires; the spread of Christianity and Islam; the enduring quest for gold and other riches; the exploits of explorers and missionaries; and the impact of European colonization. He examines, too, the fate of modern African states and concludes with a glimpse of their future.

His cast of characters includes religious leaders, mining magnates, warlords, dictators, and many other legendary figures-among them Mansa Musa, ruler of the medieval Mali empire, said to be the richest man the world has ever known.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781610396356
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 03/22/2016
Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
Pages: 784
Sales rank: 294,011
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 2.30(d)

About the Author

Martin Meredith is a journalist, biographer, and historian who has written extensively on Africa and its recent history. His previous books include Mandela; Mugabe; Diamonds, Gold, and War; Born in Africa; and The Fate of Africa. He lives near Oxford, England.

Table of Contents

List of Maps ix

Preface xiii

Introduction xix

Part I

1 Land of the Pharaohs 3

2 Venture into the Interior 19

3 A Clash of Empires 24

4 Death on the Nile 30

5 Roman Interlude 40

Part II

6 Saints and Schisms 50

7 The Arab Conquest 63

8 Highways of the Desert 70

9 Zanj 81

Part III

10 A Chain of Crosses 92

11 In the Land of Prester John 107

12 The Middle Passage 116

13 Southern Frontiers 129

Part IV

14 Mamluks and Ottomans 145

15 The Black Guard 152

16 The Sword of Truth 161

17 A Matter of Faith 170

Part V

18 The Gates of Africa 183

19 The Pasha 198

20 Pieds Noirs 207

21 Bibles, Ploughs and Bullets 215

Part VI

22 Masters and Servants

23 The People of the Heavens

24 Republics on the Highveld 243

25 The Missionaries' Road 252

Part VII

26 The Tunes of Zanzibar 269

27 Unlocking the Congo 283

28 The Pearl of Africa 290

29 A Game of Thrones 299


30 The Khedive 309

31 Equatoria 315

32 Delegate of the People 323

33 The Expected One 331

Part IX

34 Diamond Fever 341

35 The Fellowship of Afrikaners 349

36 The Washing of Spears 356

37 A Chosen People 364

38 The Most Powerful Company in the World 371

Part X

39 This Magnificent Cake 383

40 Spheres of Interest 390

41 The Eagle and the Lion 397

42 Carving up the Niger 407

43 By Right of Conquest 418

Part XI

44 New Flower 427

45 Omdurman 434

46 A Desert Fraternity 439

Part XII

47 Bula Matari 445

48 The Rubber Regime 452


49 A Tale of Two Towns 459

50 The Road to Ophir 465

51 Marching to Pretoria 473

52 The Extermination Order 481

Part XIV

53 Interregnum 491

54 A Veiled Protectorate 496

55 Elect of God 501

56 The Goal of Mastery 507

57 The Turn of the Tide 518

Part XV

58 Before the Deluge 527

59 Revolution on the Nile 540

60 The Nationalist Urge 548

61 Gone with the Wind 556

62 'An Honourable Exit' 564

63 The Congo Bet 570

64 In the Name of Apartheid 580

Part XVI

65 The First Dance of Freedom 593

66 Coups and Dictators 601

67 Lost Decades 617

68 Liberation Wars 625

69 In Search of Democracy 636

70 Soldiers of God 647

71 Platinum Life 666

Chapter Notes 676

Picture Permissions 701

Select Bibliography 702

Index 719

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