November 20, 2011
The African country of Botswana, formerly know as Bechuanaland, is located in the southern end of the continent, Africa, and consists seventy percent of the Kalahari Desert. Botswana is surrounded by six countries, including South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. Rhodesia was an expanded territory which included the countries of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Botswana. Once this vast Rhodesian territory came across the idea of independence, it split into four separate countries. Northern Rhodesia became known by the name of Zambia, and southern Rhodesia became Zimbabwe. At the time of colonization, there were many political, economic, and religious advantages, as well as disadvantages, that motivated the Europeans to colonize Botswana. One might wonder, “What specific advantages and disadvantages does Botswana possess that inspired the Europeans to colonize this area?” In this essay, one will explore the political, economic, and religious ambitions, of the Europeans, to colonize Botswana. Botswana first came in contact the Europeans, when seeking protection in 1884. During this time, the people of Botswana relied on their chiefs as a form of government. Therefore, all important decisions were made by the tribe leader with perhaps some council from other respectable individuals of the tribe. Later on, Resident Commissioner Sir Charles Rey would try to proclaim that all local government officials/chiefs would be answerable to colonial magistrates. This suggestion was met with an enormous outburst of opposition fueled with the fear that the people possessed within themselves of becoming assimilated into South Africa. As a result, Resident Commissioner Sir Charles Rey, was expelled from his job, along with his proclamation. Conflict arose among these people, when the Boers set out on their Great Trek across the Vaal River, confident that they had the rights to any land they chose. Once they crossed into Tswana territory, the Boers claimed it as their own. Soon, they were making their way over to notify the Batswana, the people of Botswana, of their current position in the South African Republic. The two Tswana leaders, Sechele I and Mosielele, immediately rejected white rule and aroused the brutal vengeance of the Boers upon themselves. After facing severe loss of land and life, the Tswana people pursued the protection of the British. At first, the British felt no need to assist the Batswana, but soon got involved after realizing the establishment of German Southwest Africa. Due to the political rivalry between Germany and Britain, Germany's interest in Botswana was the main reason why Britain decided to develop the Bechuanaland Protectorate. The Bechuanaland Protectorate officially came into effect on March 31, 1885. What Botswana didn't expect, was Cecil Rhodes rushing in with his British South Africa Company to exploit the economy and enable colonization inside of the Protectorate. Botswana was a very fertile land source composed of the Kalahari Desert and graze-efficient grasslands. Due to these grasslands, during the period of colonization, Botswana relied on cattle herding as their main source of economy. In fact, this country's wealth was measured in cattle instead of money. However, in 1889, Cecil Rhodes created the British South Africa Company, based off of the British East India Company, in hopes of linking Cape with Cairo in order to discover any mineral sources along the way. The construction of the railroad from Bechuanaland to Rhodesia obliterated the transit trade along with the foot-and-mouth disease. Transit trade is the business connection of passage goods through a country to their destination. Aphtae Epizooticae, also known as Foot-and Mouth Disease or Hoof-and-Mouth Disease is an infectious and occasionally fatal disease in which hoofed animals, domestic and non-domestic, and humans contract a high fever...
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