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Within the context of the period 1869-1914, to what extent was the British take-over of what would become Rhodesia typical of European Imperialism, in Africa?

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Introduction

Within the context of the period 1869-1914, to what extent was the British take-over of what would become Rhodesia typical of European Imperialism, in Africa? The term "the scramble for Africa" effectively illustrates the mass imperialism occurring at the end of the 19th century. European nations were increasing their empires, conquering new territories around the globe, with one area highly contested. Africa, one of the last untouched areas in the world, was to be divided up by the nations. In 1888, a treaty was signed between Lobengula and Cecil Rhodes, effectively signing over the area which would later become known as Rhodesia (and now Zimbabwe). However, with all of the other imperialism occurring at time, was this just another typical conquest for the British or was it a highly unique take-over? Some forty years before British interest, the area was occupied by the Mashona. These were peaceful, pastoral people, reliant on self-sufficiency. The land was taken over, quite easily, by the Matabele who would eventually turn out to be ruled by Chief Lobengula. The area became known as both Mashonaland and Matabeleland. 40 years later and international interest in the area increased, especially that of Cecil Rhodes: the infamous British imperialist. ...read more.

Middle

The gun could fire 50x faster than any other machine gun and, obviously, Lobengula's primitive warriors stood no chance. This was the first time this particular weapon had been used in battle; arguably making this is a unique occurrence (or, at least, a first). The weapon would later be used in the Omdurman war and the second Boer war. However, more crucially, is the significance of the violence and the extreme of which Rhodes went to to takeover a single area of land. Rhodes' mercenaries annulated the primitive warriors with 1500 Matabele been wiped out. By comparison, only 4 of Rhodes' men were killed. This example of brutality was seen later, at the turn of the century, in the Second Boer War. After an indecisive start, the British managed to take over several areas of land, creating what would now be known as "concentration camps" in the process. Here, any of the Boer people who had originally lived on the lands were put: not just the warriors, but the women and children as well. The living conditions were terrible and while not in the same style as the brutality seen in the Matabele war, the sickening effects of this piece of colonial history cannot be ignored. ...read more.

Conclusion

Understandably, the idea of the natives wishing to remain in their homeland is not unique to just the Matabeleland. Everywhere you look in African imperialism, there is an undercurrent of violence, largely initiated by native peoples wishing to remain independent. Indeed, the Italian invasion of Abyssinia in the early part of the 20th century showed both how the natives are willing to fight back and how they are surprisingly good at it! Possibly because of poor planning on the side of the Italians, in this case the Abyssinia locals fought back against the poorly prepared Italian army, eventually wiping them out of the country. This was a sense of much resentment with Italy, which would fester for years to come. Following the Rhodes capture of the land, the country has gone through several stages of turmoil, ranging from British rule to attempted independence movements by Ian Smith. The occupation and takeover of what would become Rhodesia is relatively strange due to the contrasting elements. On one hand, the British government actually giving Rhodes full control of the operation was highly unique; indeed, a first for Britain. However, the local Matabele wishing to remain in their lands and fighting back Rhodes is hardly surprising and fairly ubiquitous. However, even when keeping this in mind, the occupation can hardly be called "typical" or "unique", but then can any piece of colonialism? ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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