samory touré-d

With most of Europe fighting to obtain as much of Africa as they could, a huge social change that came for Africans was that they were forced to fight back and build armies of their own. One army I will focus on is the one led by Samory Toure in West Africa.

Europe was motivated to infiltrate Africa because of economic, political, and social factors. They wanted a source for raw materials, more slaves, and a way to deal with their industrialization. Europe had rising unemployment, poverty, and homelessness and a way to fix this was with colonizing and expanding the population that couldn’t live under the new capitalist industries. After African leaders realized Europe wanted to impose and exercise political authority in their lands they had to fight back with military resistance. In 1867 Samory became a war chief and knew he needed to build a stable and loyal army with plenty of weapons to counter the French’s aggressive expansion into West Africa. In February 1882 the French attacked one of Samory’s armies. He was able to push them back but became alarmed with their amount of fire power. Samory tried to deal with the French by expanding and  trying to get help from the British who were uninterested. The French were eventually able to push him even more eastward with continuing battles and he lost control of his base and capital and was captured in 1898.

Because of European colonialism, Africa’s political and social life was subject to change through the European dominated slave trade. This colonialism also sometimes brought a change in the relationships among African communities as some tolerated the Europeans whereas others, like Samory, did not. African armies were created and strengthened and Samory’s was one of the biggest resistors of French Imperialism. During this time the Africans simply tried to protect their interests and survive in the midst of growing European military aggression and political dominance.

Resources

http://exhibitions.nypl.org/africanaage/essay-colonization-of-africa.html

http://observer.gm/africa/gambia/article/2008/9/12/thebig-read-samory-toure-the-west-african-empire-builder

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