Read carefully the following piece of text. What does it tell us about cross cultural encounters?
In 1892 the new vice-consul for the Benin river section Captain Henry Gallwey visited Benin and signed a treaty which made Benin a British protectorate, but as far as the British were concerned the treaty proved disappointing and by 1896 many British traders and officials were calling for military intervention, although the foreign office seemed reluctant to do this. On January 2nd 1897 the acting consul-general of the protectorate James Phillips set off without permission for Benin accompanied by a large armed party. When news of the oncoming invaders reached Benin it caused alarm and messengers were sent out to try and talk to General Phillips and halt the invasion but all talks were in vain and the General continued with his advance, possibly due to the fact he would have needed to collect spoils of his conquest to pay for the expedition, but unfortunately in the words of RH Bacon (reading 1.6 page 38 cultural encounters book 3) “Silver there was none, Gold there was none and the coral was of little value” in fact the only things of any value would have been tusks for the ivory and the Bronze plaques and statues. On January 4th his party were ambushed and most were killed including the General himself. The British responded quickly and within a month Benin City was captured although many of the chiefs escaped. We know about this cross cultural encounter because of government documents written with the help of one of the two white men who survived the ambush, (Boisragon, 1897). News of the ambush travelled fast with the invention of telegraphs, and within seven days of the ambush, the first journalists arrived in Benin.
How did ideas about race and about the `primitive` influence the response of Western Europeans to art from Benin from 1897 onwards?
Throughout the Nineteenth Century British interest in Africa...
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