Browse results

L’œuvre d’un historien guinéen à l’époque coloniale / The Work of a Guinean Historian during the Colonial Period
Essai d’histoire locale fut écrit par un acteur-clé de l’historiographie de l’Afrique de l’Ouest pourtant encore méconnu: Djiguiba Camara. Rédigé en 1955, ce texte est centré sur l’histoire du Nord de la Guinée, avec une attention particulière portée sur l’empire de Samori Touré et la résistance anticoloniale.
Ce texte, Essai d’histoire locale, illustre la fabrique de l’histoire locale et coloniale par un intermédiaire colonial guinéen et un intellectuel, à partir du point de vue spécifique de la famille Camara, qui fut engagée dans les armées de Samori. Ce texte n’a été connu que parce qu’il est devenu l’une des sources majeures de l’historien français Yves Person pour sa monumentale thèse Samori, Une Révolution Dyula (1968-1975). Avec cette édition annotée d’une source primaire, “Essai d’histoire locale” de Djiguiba Camara devient enfin accessible à un lectorat plus vaste. Elara Bertho et Marie Rodet ont démontré grâce à cette publication que Essai d’histoire locale est une source essentielle pour la compréhension de l’histoire de la Guinée ainsi que de la fabrique de l’historiographie, en particulier du travail d’Yves Person.

Although a key figure in West African historiography, Djiguiba Camara from Damaro has remained almost completely unknown. He wrote Essay on Local History over many years but finally finished it in 1955. His focus was the history of Northern Guinea with an emphasis on the Empire of Samori Touré and anticolonial resistance.
Everywhere in Essay on Local History we can see not only the highly developed craft of the local and colonial historical writing of a Guinean colonial intermediary and scholar, but the view he gave is from the particular perspective of the Camara family, who had served in Samori’s armies. Djiguiba Camara’s own work had been known only by reputation as a source for the monumental thee-volume Samori – Une Révolution Dyula (1968-1975) by the French historian Yves Person. Now however, in this fully annotated text edition, Djiguiba Camara’s Essai d’histoire locale becomes available to a wider audience for the first time. Elara Bertho and Marie Rodet have demonstrated through this publication that Essay on Local History is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand both the history of Guinea and more especially Yves Person’s modus operandi.

Abstract

This article focuses on the militarization of social life and leisure in Brazzaville during the Second World War and argues that efforts to instill a sense of control over the city could only suppress life so much, as many Congolese people were unwilling to completely succumb to the will of the administration in a war that seemed to offer very little to their communities or their city as a whole. Furthermore, drinking and dancing served as opportunities to engage with issues of class and race in the wartime capital of Afrique Française Libre. The history of alcohol consumption in Brazzaville is not simply the story of choosing whether or not to drink (or allow others to drink); rather, it is one of many stories of colonial control, exploitation, and racism that plagued Europe’s colonies in Africa during the Second World War.

In: Journal of African Military History

Abstract

In an effort to enrich the historical understanding of the African past, the editors of the Journal of African Military History announce the creation of a new series titled the New Lens of African Military History. In this new series, we ask for contributions that examine various aspects of the African past from a military methodology, and assess the ways that using military history helps create a more complex and complete picture of different aspects of African history. In our inaugural issue, we examine the question of genocide during the Nigerian Civil War, a hard fought war with an underdeveloped military literature. By placing the evolution of Biafra’s genocide claims into the broader picture of the war, a more nuanced and complex analysis of the war and its most important legacy becomes possible.

In: Journal of African Military History

Abstract

This article examines the local and regional contexts surrounding the creation and evolution of the Police Mobile Unit (PMU), Bechuanaland’s (Botswana today) paramilitary unit that was created in 1963 to contain internal riots. After Botswana’s independence in 1966, the PMU acted as a quasi-military because the country had no armed force to preform those duties. This was because from the mid-1960s, Southern Africa was marred with bloodshed due to armed struggles in Rhodesia, South Africa among others. Botswana then became a safe haven for fleeing guerrillas who would enter the country illegally. Being the only line of defence, the PMU was quickly militarised and tasked with patrolling Botswana’s borders in order to arrest those guerrillas and possibly avoid being attacked by security forces of both Rhodesia and South Africa. This however did not work as planned because the PMU was simply too small and ill equipped for the task.

In: Journal of African Military History
The Fatimids (10th - 12th centuries C.E) are known to have been the first Shiite caliphal dynasty and to have founded Cairo, the city that became their capital in 973 when they left Tunisia for Egypt. During their reign, the Fatimids built an effective war fleet that inflicted several defeats on Christian navies. This is the first study on the Fatimid naval force and, more generally, on the role of the sea for the Fatimids whose territories touched both the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. The documentation presented in this study demonstrates how, in the course of two centuries, this Ismaeli dynasty set up a maritime policy and developed a communication strategy in which their control of the sea helped legitimize their universalist claims against competing powers.

Les Fatimides (10e -12e s. ap. J.-C) sont connus pour avoir été la première dynastie califale chiite et pour avoir fondé Le Caire qui devint leur capitale à partir de 973 lorsque la dynastie quitta la Tunisie actuelle pour s’installer en Egypte et prendre possession d’un empire qui s’étendait de l’Algérie orientale jusqu’à la Syrie en passant par la Sicile et certains territoires de la péninsule arabique. Durant leur règne, ils disposèrent d’une flotte de guerre efficace qui infligea plusieurs défaites aux marines chrétiennes. Au-delà de la chronologie des batailles navales, aucune étude n’existait sur le rôle de cette force navale et plus généralement sur le rôle de la mer pour les Fatimides dont les territoires touchaient à la fois la Méditerranée et la mer Rouge. La documentation met pourtant en évidence que sur durant plus de deux siècles, les Fatimides mirent en place une politique maritime qui dépassait largement les considérations militaires. Ils développèrent ainsi une stratégie de communication dans laquelle la mer jouait un rôle majeur pour à la fois légitimer les prétentions universalistes de cette dynastie ismaélienne face à des pouvoirs concurrents et pour lui permettre de survivre.

Abstract

In British colonial Nigeria, the military was more heterogeneous than previously thought and British ideas about “martial races” changed depending on local reactions to recruiting. In the early twentieth century British officers saw the northern Hausa and southwestern Yoruba, who dominated the ranks, as civilized “martial races.” The Yoruba stopped enlisting given new prospects and protest, and southeasterners like the Igbo rejected recruiting given language difficulties and resistance. The British then perceived all southern Nigerians as lacking martial qualities. Although Hausa enlistment also declined with opportunities and religious objections, the inter-war army developed a northern ethos through Hausa language and the northern location of military institutions. The rank-and-file became increasingly diverse including northern and Middle Belt minorities, seen by the British as primitive warriors and as insurance against Muslim revolt, enlisting because of poverty. From 1930, military identities in Nigeria polarized with uneducated northern/Middle Belt infantry and literate southern technicians.

In: Journal of African Military History