As European powers raced to occupy Africa, native rulers would not have it and fought back to the best of their ability. Europeans, seeking political and economic gain, sought to seize control of African territories and take advantage of the resources they offered, while native tribes and their chiefs, proud and unwilling to yield to invading white men, resisted. While the Europeans dominated Africa with superior guns and technology, Africans fell back on tradition and faith and rallied as much resistance as they could to defend themselves and their culture.
Documents 1 and 8 make clear the European view of Africans. Both from a European perspective, they indicate feelings of superiority. Document 1, a contract from the British Royal Niger Company, has African rulers signing over “forever, the whole of [their] territory” and for the supposed purpose of “bettering [their] country and people”. It also claims that “chiefs…affixed their marks of their own free will and consent.” If any chief signed this document, he was surely coerced into it, as other documents show that African chiefs would not concede to such an agreement. Document 8, an account from a German military officer, describes African traditional medicine. It is noted that a particular treatment is meant to ensure good harvest and invulnerability. The officer then goes on to seemingly ridicule this practice by noting that “The medicine consisted of water, maize, and sorghum grains.” The authors of documents 1 and 8, both being of European origin, have opinions influenced by the common feeling of racial supremacy at the time. Europeans, having more advanced technology and further scientific knowledge, saw traditional African tribes as backward and primitive. Another document from a European perspective would be helpful in this series, as neither of the two provided offer any opinion or observation of African resistance to European invasion.
Documents 2, 3, and 9 are each correspondences from...
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