By Richard J. Reid
Up to date and revised to stress long term views on present matters dealing with the continent, the recent 2<sup>nd</sup> version of A historical past of contemporary Africa recounts the whole breadth of Africa's political, financial, and social background over the last centuries.
* Adopts a long term method of present concerns, stressing the significance of nineteenth-century and deeper indigenous dynamics in explaining Africa's later twentieth-century challenges
* areas a better concentrate on African supplier, in particular through the colonial encounter
* contains extra in-depth insurance of non-Anglophone Africa
* bargains accelerated insurance of the post-colonial period to take account of contemporary advancements, together with the clash in Darfur and the political unrest of 2011 in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya
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Additional info for A History of Modern Africa: 1800 to the Present (Blackwell Concise History of the Modern World)
The benefits to be had from access to commerce through Massawa, in particular, and Zeila were a factor in the heightened and violent competition between several states in the highlands. Between the 1770s and the 1850s, the unified highland Christian empire was an ideal only, as the centralized state disintegrated and several polities jostled for access to land, resources, and commerce; in the meantime, there was pressure from the south, as the Oromo migrated onto the plateau and became a political and military force to be reckoned with, even though many became assimilated into Amhara culture and society.
Each had its own informal area of commercial and political influence, which was used to gain access to European merchants; slaves had been important earlier in the century, but palm oil soon took their place, and indeed the delta became synonymous with oil for the European (and especially British) trading companies which did business there. The social mobility made possible by commerce led to considerable instability: ex-slaves, for example, worked their way into the ranks of traders and demanded sociopolitical status commensurate with the wealth thus acquired.
Among the most successful, and notorious, of these traders was “Tippu Tip”, so named, apparently, after the retort of his firearms, who covered a vast area of modern Tanzania and Congo from the 1860s, raiding and trading, and establishing a considerable if short-lived sphere of influence. Tippu Tip was particularly successful in imposing himself politically on a number of societies; more generally, although this kind of penetration was essentially commercial in character, Arab traders in the second half of the nineteenth century attempted to assert political influence over African rulers, in order to secure commercial interests.
A History of Modern Africa: 1800 to the Present (Blackwell Concise History of the Modern World) by Richard J. Reid