Category Archives: Imperial History

Brexit, a Splendid Isolation? Why Britain Should Remain in the European Union

Standing on the side-lines of Britain’s ongoing EU referendum debate makes for a peculiar and a rather worrying spectacle. It is probably the single most important political decision this country will make in a generation; a decision that will echo … Continue reading

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Eunuchs for the Sultan of Zanzibar

In the autumn of 1884 the British Consul at Zanzibar reported to the Liberal Foreign Secretary Earl Granville that the Sultan Barghash had imported ten slave-women and nine boy eunuchs to his harem. Although a violation of the Anti-Slave Trade … Continue reading

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Israel – The Last of the Settler Colonies

Rewind the clock more or less than a century and you will find a world teeming with settler colonies engaged in battle with ‘unruly natives.’ Today only one remains; Israel is the last of a dying breed, the last of … Continue reading

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Vice-Consul Haggard’s Report

Sir John Kirk, the British Consul to the Sultan of Zanzibar, received in 1884 a report from his Vice-Consul John G. (Jack) Haggard. The brother of Victorian writer H. Rider Haggard  had summarised his adventurous journey from his station on … Continue reading

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Deciphering Livingstone’s 1871 Field Diary

A year after the great African explorer Dr David Livingstone’s death in 1873, his friend Horace Waller published an edited version of his diaries. In his introduction to ‘The Last Journals of David Livingstone, in Central Africa, from 1865 to … Continue reading

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An East African Israel

In 1903, during the premiership of Arthur Balfour (later the author of the Balfour Declaration of 1917), the British government offered a territory of 5,000 square miles on the Uasin Gishu (Gwas Ngishu) plateau in the British East Africa Protectorate to the World … Continue reading

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Glass Beads for the African Trade

A favourite currency among European and African alike during the 19th century was glass beads. Inexpensive and portable for the European explorer or trader and having a high intrinsic value for the natives, it was used extensively for the exchange … Continue reading

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