Mhambi has been redeployed.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A startling takeover in Africa

From today's UK Guardian archive, a report on the annexation of the Transvaal:

A startling takeover in Africa
Thursday May 10, 1877
The Guardian
Prince Bismarck once spoke of England - somewhere about the time the Ionian islands were transferred to Greece - as a ceding Power, and therefore, wanting in one of the "notes" of true imperial vigour.

When a State ceases to annex and begins to surrender territory, it may be taken as certain, in the opinion of the German Chancellor, that it has passed its climacteric. Tried by this test, it cannot be said that the British Empire gives signs of decay.


There is a general feeling in this country that our responsibilities in South Africa are sufficiently onerous. It is not a mere question of annexing a slice of territory here or there. That could be a small matter; but with every mile we increase the burdens and risks which accompany dominion over savage or semi-savage races.

We are not in a position to pronounce a definite judgement. The situation in the Transvaal country had become deplorable. A chronic state of anarchy had set in. The Portuguese are reproached, and not without reason, with the marked deterioration which seems to overtake the national character whenever it is brought in contact with inferior races, as in Africa.

The Dutch appear to suffer in the same way. In Europe they are unsurpassed as representatives of the principle of order. In South Africa we see in their kinsmen a degree of lawlessness scarcely matched by any other community of European descent.

Read the full text here

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