Amadou Hampte Ba's The Fortunes Of Wangrin: An Analysis

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As European power rivalries increased and the amount of unclaimed land in the world diminished, European interest in the vastly unclaimed African continent increased. Africa lured in Europeans looking to conquer land, for it was a source of unique commodities, such as ivory in East Africa and cloves in Zanzibar, which the powers could extract to make a profit. However, Europeans quickly discovered that conquest and colonization were two very different processes. Conquest involved seizing foreign territory, usually by force, to extract its resources and accumulate wealth; colonization, on the other hand, involved settling the conquered lands to, with the help of institutions and colonial administrators, bring civilization and organization to …show more content…
European efforts to colonize were insufficient and their broadcast of power was extremely uneven, partially due to the high costs associated with the process of colonization coupled with lack of European interest in investing both time and resources on mainland Africa. Using what Terence Ranger calls invention of tradition, European colonial powers attempted to colonize Africa, to which Africans such as Wangrin in Amadou Hampte Ba’s in The Fortunes of Wangrin responded by straddling the line between the colonial society and the traditional African societies; others, such Samuel Ajayi Crowther in Nigeria used defensive westernization; and others, such as the Shona in southern Zimbabwe, engaged in resistance movements to European …show more content…
Due to the lack of colonial administrators and uneven broadcast of power, the European powers struggled to properly colonize the lands. Taking advantage of what they had observed, African leaders such as Crowther, preempted European intrusion through defensive westernization, or constitution building to preempt and hopefully prevent, European involvement in their affairs. Crowther, an England-educated saro, became the bishop of West Africa, but due to pseudo-scientific racism spread by Darwinism, he was expelled from his position as bishop. Once expelled, he founded the town of Abeokuta with a government that replicated European governments. This process of adopting western ideas before colonial powers implemented them was intended to prevent Europeans from saying they were westernizing to benefit Africans. In this way, leaders such as Crowther used western institutions against colonial powers to prevent further efforts to

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