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Kongo in Renaissance Era

Discussion in 'World History' started by Lonecat Nekophrodite, Sep 18, 2019.

  1. innonimatu

    innonimatu Deity

    Dec 4, 2006
    This is indeed worth reading.The author of the thesis kind of attributes the failure of Nova Oeiras to the next governor, surmising that he sabotaged the conclusion of the works by withholding materials which had already been bough and delivered to Luanda, and procured reports to make a case of financial infeasibility for the project.

    It seems to have been a political shift, from a very enthusiastic governed to one that opposed it, that killed the european-style foundry. Whether it was indeed long-term viable or not is imo an open issue. But it's funny how the tale of it reads as many a contemporary CEO or politician killing a project he doesn't want. Compete with later private letters (we'd call those "leaks" today) about reports chanted due to political pressure, etc. It pains a picture of how difficult it was to change anything against local interests.
    The buildings themselves were built and are remarkably preserved even after two centuries abandoned. There are photos at the end of the paper.

    This also raises the wider question of why the two sides of the Atlantic developed in different ways. Was it the climate and diseases an overriding block? Was it the local resistance of the native population, more numerous in Africa? Was it local resistance of the colonial population that had already found their economic niches (mostly the slave trade to the other side of the ocean this case) and refused to allow a different path that might imperil their position? Was it lack of investment from outside? May have been a combination of all these.

    One must admit that there are also similarities between Brazil and west Africa in the difficulties of settling the interior (lack of navigable rivers in many areas, diseases, wide expanses...). And Brazil's were nevertheless overcome in the 1700s. I wonder if, had gold been found in Angola instead of Minas Gerais, their whole position would have been reversed, with west Africa developing first, becoming independent first, and the whole "scramble for Africa" would have gone differently. Is it an accident that South Africa, the place where the first modem gold rush in Africa happened, was also the first european colony there to develop past the point where it could be kept as a colony? Gold rushes bring in new population quickly, and they force changes overcoming any local opposition.
    Then one can also question whether that is a good or bad thing. Development, at what price to the local population? In any case this is not the way it went in west Africa. And south Africa's gold rush was still a century into the future. By the end to the 18th century america had won the race of development against Africa and would go on to have independent countries and acquire a decisive lead.
    It was also probably due to the american experience (the rebellion and independence of the american colonies once they became developed enough to stand on their own) that the 18th century efforts at promoting development in colonies were dropped during the whole 19th century. Colonies in the New World had manufactures built, universities, libraries... African colonies would not be allowed such. Where and when it happened, it happened against policy, not due to policy.

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