By E. A. Ayandele
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Additional info for African Historical Studies
Vol. 1, Preface, p. xv. 2 Dr Heinrich Barth as a Diplomatist and Philanthropist A cursory glance through the massive literature on Africa by the explorers of the so-called classical period1 reveals in bold relief a great contrast between the white man in pre-colonial Africa and the European in the colonial period. The colonial administrator, Africans in this generation have witnessed, was the imperious master, at times a bully, the law-giver, a sort of demi-god whose presence imposed fear on traditional rulers and awe on the communities.
12 See the portions on these explorers by various authors in Rotberg, op. cit. 13 Richard Baxter, Christian Directory, quoted on p. 18 of Theophilus Vincent, ‘Changing concepts of the Negro in English Literature with special reference to the period 1700–1807’, unpublished PhD thesis, Ibadan University, 1967. 14 For details see Vincent, op. cit. pp. 134–90. Tenkorang, ‘British slave trading activities on the Gold Coast in the 18th century’, unpublished MA thesis, London University, 1964, last chapter.
There was no question of his being a bully who could bludgeon a chief to submit to his wishes. Even though he did not approve of their 42 AFRICAN HISTORICAL STUDIES customs and institutions and entertained unfavourable opinions about the nature and degree of their civilization, he dared not condemn them until he was safely out of the continent. It can hardly be overstressed that the European intruder was not regarded as an equal, much less as a superior. 6 The European intruder had no choice but submit to such treatments as have been mentioned because he was completely at the mercy of his African hosts; the slightest act of misdemeanour or miscalculation could cost him his life.
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