A short thread about imperial attitudes and how Africa was carved up by European occupiers… 🧐🧵 #BritishEmpire #history #Africa
I’ve tweeted before about Major Sir Claude MacDonald (pic above)… He’s one of the main figures in my new book BLOOD AND BRONZE because he led the initial formal British occupation of what is now southern Nigeria. #BeninBronzes #history @HurstPublishers

I regard MacDonald as a cut above the average imperial official, but nonetheless he was guilty of some horrendous acts, which have been largely obscured or forgotten in the archives. ⬇️😖 #Nigeria #BritishEmpire #history #ColonialViolence
One telling piece of evidence about him and his attitude didn’t make it into my book, so a quick note about it – I think it says a great deal about the way that European imperial officials operated, and the way they thought about Africa… 🧐 #history
In 1914, after his retirement, MacDonald attended a meeting at the Royal Geographical Society to hear a paper about the Nigeria-Cameroon boundary, which was published in the Geographical Journal in June 1914. @RGS_IBG 🌍🌳🍃🍂
Back in 1889, MacDonald had been tasked with looking into the options for what to do with the “protectorate” that Britain had unilaterally declared over much of what is now Nigeria. #history #Africa
This declaration of a protectorate had come in the wake of the Berlin Conference of 1884-85 – the central event of the “Scramble for Africa” – but with no real thought as to what to do with the territory claimed… #history #Africa #ScrambleForAfrica
At the same time, he was given the job of agreeing the boundary with territory claimed by Germany in Cameroon. At the RGS meeting in 1914, MacDonald spoke about his 1889 experience during the discussion. 🌍🌳🍃🍂 @RGS_IBG
As a highly-esteemed elder statesman speaking to a friendly group of Empire types, MacDonald’s tone is avuncular and he is naturally seeking to amuse… His remarks are, however, highly revealing about the way he approached this business of carving up Africa. #BritishEmpire
Here are some direct quotations from the Geographical Journal, reporting MacDonald’s words:
“In those days we just took a blue pencil and a rule, and we put it down at Old Calabar, and drew that blue line up to Yola, and that is the boundary which Captain Nugent has described to you so charmingly and in such detail this evening.”
“This was in 1889, and the same year I was sent by my old chief, the late Lord Salisbury, and the authorities of the Foreign Office, up the Niger River. I went as far as Yola…”
“…I recollect thinking, when I was sitting having an audience with the Emir, surrounded by his tribe, that it was a very good thing that he did not know that I, with a blue pencil, had drawn a line through his territory.”
“The following year I was sent to Berlin to endeavour to get from the German authorities some sort of modification or rectification of the blue line, and the instructions which I received on that occasion… vaguely they were, I was to grab as much as I could.”
“I was also provided at that time with the only map – the same map on which we had drawn the blue line. That was nothing more or less than a naval chart! It had all the soundings of the sea very carefully marked out, but the whole of the rest of the sheet was white!”
Although delivered in a somewhat jocular form, these remarks by MacDonald comprise a damning indictment of the mindset of European officials in their carving up of Africa in 1880s and 1890s… 🤨🌳🍃🍂⛓ #BritishEmpire #Nigeria #history
He admits to not even informing the local ruler that his territory was being divided by foreign powers… The casual approach to dividing up the region is shocking! 😳🤯 #BritishEmpire #Nigeria
Given the European ignorance of African geography, it would be extraordinary that such a task was even undertaken, if we didn’t already know that greed and power were the driving forces, not reason and the public good. 🌍🌳🍃🍂⛓
MacDonald’s remarks in this obscure little article therefore provide a graphic illustration of imperial attitudes, and help explain why we must – for the sake of justice – address the difficult topic of #reparations for colonialism. [ends] 🤨✊🌍🌳🍃🍂⛓ #BritishEmpire #history

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Paddy Docherty

Paddy Docherty Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @paddydocherty

5 Jan
Complete change of pace… I just made an edible sculpture in my garden… I’m calling this

In the end you will all be destroyed, pt I

☺️🌳🥚 #art #wildlife
Side note: stacking eggs is harder than you might think.
The question now is who eats them - badgers or foxes..? This ⬇️ will let me know over the next few days… 📸🦡🦡🦡🦊
Read 5 tweets
26 Dec 21
A thread about drug smuggling, the British Empire, and the ways in which historical wrongdoing by the Establishment persists into the present day. 🧐🧵🌳🍃🍂⛓ #EstablishmentPsychopathy #history #ToriesOut #OpiumWar #ColonialViolence
It’s generally well known that the Opium Wars of the mid nineteenth century were launched by Britain against China in order to benefit British drug smugglers… 🤨🇬🇧🇨🇳 #OpiumWars #BritishEmpire #ColonialViolence #China
After all, even the National Army Museum – not typically regarded as a bastion of anti-Establishment lefties – states this frankly in its displays on the Opium Wars. #BritishEmpire #ColonialViolence #China
Read 67 tweets
27 Oct 21
Today marked a significant milestone: @JesusCollegeCam handed over the Benin Bronze in its possession to representatives from #Nigeria. Well done to Jesus College. There is simply no excuse for anyone else keeping stolen property. 🙏🇳🇬 #BeninBronzes

I’ve just written an account of the brutal 1897 British Invasion of the Kingdom of Benin, based largely on new archive research:

@HurstPublishers #BeninBronzes 🇳🇬

Happily, @OUPAcademic will distribute #BloodAndBronze in North America:

Read 6 tweets
12 Oct 21
Twitter pronouncements by @JimMFelton are incorporated directly into English common law, right? ⬇️😋 In that case, I’m legally obliged to plug the bejeesus out of my forthcoming book… 🤪👩🏼‍⚖️📔 #history #books @HurstPublishers #BeninBronzes
It’s called “Blood and Bronze” and tells the true story of the 1897 British invasion and destruction of the Kingdom of Benin, when the famous Bronzes were plundered… Empire loons like @NigelBiggar will absolutely *hate* it… 😃 #history #BritishEmpire

Blood and Bronze will be out on December 9th, and please sign up with my publisher @HurstPublishers for their New Book Alerts… 🤓👍📚 #books #history #BlackHistoryMonth

Read 6 tweets
11 Oct 21
@PriyamvadaGopal Hello Professor, thanks for your kind words about my forthcoming book, much appreciated! ☺️👍📔 #history #BeninBronzes #repatriation #reparations @HurstPublishers #books 🌳🍁🍂

If anyone would like to know more, please sign up with @HurstPublishers for their New Book Alerts… ⬇️🤓📚 #books #history #BookTwitter

All pre-orders make a *massive* difference to independent authors, so please consider using @hivestores to place an advance order… 🙂⬇️ #books #history #BookTwitter 🌳📚🍂🍁

Read 5 tweets
1 Sep 20
One month ago today I posted this modest call for peaceful action against the kleptofascist crooks in Downing Street... ⬇️☺️ In that time, their attacks on democracy have only got worse. 😠✊🌹🇪🇺 #3Point5Percent #ToryCorruption #ToryTraitors #resist
Some regime apologists try to rubbish the possibility, but the capacity of the country to resist this Tory cabal through peaceful protest is clear. ⬇️🙂✊🌹🇪🇺 #3Point5Percent #ToryCorruption #ToryTraitors #RussiaReport #crooks
Will you do what you can to protest this corrupt “government” and oppose the kleptofascist takeover? 🧐✊🌹🇪🇺 #3Point5Percent #ToryCorruption
Read 4 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!


0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy


3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!