Tag Archives | France

The Forgotten Cameroon War : Tens of thousands dead behind the sunny view of France’s colonial past.

French officials like to project a sunny view of their country’s colonial past. Tens of thousands dead in Cameroon would tell a different story. by Thomas Deltombe Journalist, editor, and the co-author of Kamerun! and La Guerre du Cameroun. France’s agonizing over its identity has recently taken a shocking turn. Almost daily, some editorialist, politician, or writer celebrates the country’s “colonial endeavor.” In September, former president Nicolas Sarkozy resurrected one of the most hackneyed and racist clichés of the colonial period when he insisted that the “ancient Gauls” are the ancestors of all French people, whatever their origins. A few days earlier, former prime minister François Fillon described colonization as the simple “sharing of culture.” Ignoring the millions of corpses French colonialism left in its wake, he declared: “France is not guilty for having wanted to share its culture with the peoples of Africa, Asia, and North America.” This trend, unfortunately, has a precedent. In 2005, parliament adopted a law requiring history teachers to discuss the “positive aspects” of colonization. Of course, this has always been done: many French colonial atrocities have been erased, and the driving forces of imperialism are rarely, if ever, critically examined. School curricula propagate a […]

Continue Reading 0

The Liberated Africans Project has been launched!

The Liberated Africans Project provides historical resources and data related to transatlantic slave trade. Between 1808 and 1868, officers, primarily from the British navy, captured hundreds of slave ships and brought them into this network of mixed commissions. During the six decades known as the ‘illegal slave trade era’, these international courts liberated upwards of 200,000 people. However, this united effort had a limited impact on the overall suppression of the trans-Atlantic slave trade because an estimated 2.6 million people still crossed the Atlantic in this period with the majority landing in Brazil (1.8 million), followed by Cuba (685,000). According to the treaties, the mixed commissions could condemn a slave ship for re-sale, but the courts could not exact penalties on the owners, captains, and crew, who in many cases returned to the lucrative business on the same ship. Although Great Britain emancipated slaves in their colonies in 1834, most other nations did not abolish slavery in the Americas until much later: this included France and Denmark in 1848, the Netherlands in 1863, the United States in 1865, Cuba in 1886, and Brazil in 1888. These courts produced extensive documentation about tens of thousands of people victimized by the trans-Atlantic […]

Continue Reading 0