Internet Mailing Lists on Colonial and Related Topics

Mailing Lists active as of March 2004

African History and Culture Resources

The World Wide Web Virtual Library - African Studies - A great links page for African resources.

Heart of Darkness Page - Part of an Apocalypse Now site but great information on Joseph Conrad and his classic Heart of Darkness.

African News Papers - This is site with listings of newspapers available on the World Wide Web.  There is an extensive listing of African Papers.

Stanley Portal Hyatt Home Page - This is Ronald Wilson's site containing The Diary of A Soldier of Fortune by Stanley Portal Hyatt who roamed Africa and the Philippines at the turn of the nineteenth century.

African Proverbs - This is a site of proverbs from all over Africa.  You can pick a country and get a selection from that country.

Orientation Africa - A portal site for things related to Africa.  Mainly aimed at travelers, but good links.

Portuguese African Postcards - A site recommended on the Colonial Mailing list.  In Portuguese but easy enough to navigate these photos are a great resource.

Smithsonian's African Voices Site - A good site on Africa's contribution to world history. A nice history timeline here.

African Internet History Sourcebook - The Internet History Sourcebooks Project [IHSP] is an world wide web project designed to provide easy access to primary sources and other teaching materials in a non-commercial environment. It was developed and is edited by Paul Halsall with the aid of numerous other contributors. Some really good stuff here.

Defence of Duffer's Drift - A classic work on little war tactics written for those who were going to use the advice in the real world. A great book about what colonial fighting was like.

Book Recomendations

Sultan to Sultan

May French Shelton was a Victorian adventuress in the classic style. On her own (ok, with a never mentioned servant) she took off on a safari in 1891 to see the 'savage Masai'. She accomplishes nothing new really, all of her new discoveries had been done before, but in spite of that she clearly was a gutsy woman. The book is interesting, but self absorbed as all explorer memoirs seem to be. It is also filled with politically correct comments by her modern editor, Tracey Jean Boisseau, who seems to delight in popping in to state the obvious about how Victorians were racist and under appreciated the African cultures they encountered. Not a bad read, but not great. The most useful thing to gamers is her inventory and list of all her porters.

Sultan to Sultan at Amazon US

Victorian Explorer

Captain William Stairs was a Haligonian. This isn't as scary as it seems, it means he was from Halifax in Canada but it scared me when I first saw it. Anyway, Capt. Stairs was on Stanley's Emin Pasha expedition and later led the expedition for the Belgians that got them the Katanga region. He is blunt about Stanley, whom he blames for all the Emin Pasha expedition's problems. His description of Stanley machine gunning two natives in a canoe who refuse to stop and talk to Stanley is chilling. His own expedition starts out as a proof of all Stanley did wrong, but ends with a member of his party killing the chief they were trying to negotiate with, then Capt. Stairs own death from fever on the return trip. All in all this is not a happy book, but I think it is a great one for the mindset of the explorers and difficulties these expeditions overcame.

Victorian Explorer at Amazon UK

The Exploration of Africa; From Cairo to Cape

Really a history of exploration of Africa by the English with token mentions of 'foreigners', never the less this is book well worth having for a good overview of the English explorers. Tons of photos make this book particularly valuable to the gamer. Lots of color, and quotes from the original diaries make this one a must have for the African colonial gamer.

The Exploration of Africa; From Cairo to Cape at Amazon UK

Hearts of Darkness; The European Exploration of Africa

A much better overview of the European (not just the English) exploration of Africa. Still bias to the English, but much more about the French, Portuguese, Belgians, etc. The author, Frank McLynn has many of the same obvious PC opinions about the nature of the early explorers, and a particularly rabid anti-hunter bent, but he does give the story in a cohesive and readable manner. He also starts earlier than must, covering the early explorers like Mungo Park, as well as the more famous later explorers. If you are only going to get one book for an overview, this is the one to get.

Hearts of Darkness; The European Exploration of Africa at Amazon US

Wars of Imperial Conquest in Africa, 1830-1914

This is an attempt at a Keegan style book on the conquest of Africa and is successful at avoiding most of the PC traps many of the other books on Africa in this period suffer. The author, Bruce Vandervort takes a fairly balanced view on the strengths and weakness of the African armies and their European opponents. He has a wide spread on doesn't merely lock in on English sources, but also focuses on Italian, French and Portuguese as well. The book reads a little dry and academic, but it isn't bad and gives a lot of good scenario ideas for those interested in larger battles.

Wars of Imperial Conquest in Africa, 1830-1914 at Amazon US

African Arms and Armour

This is a must have book for miniatures gamers who want to do accurate figures for colonial Africa. Great book with lots of photos. A little over concerned with knives (which is what most people brought home when exploring) and a little thin on shields this is still one to get. I only wish it was twice as thick.

African Arms and Armour at Amazon US

Warrior Chiefs of Southern Africa

Most of these works have concentrated on Central Africa, this is a good one for those interested in the wars of Southern Africa, which are equally varied and colorful. There are many great books on the Zulus, this one covers some of the other key leaders in the south as well.

Warrior Chiefs of Southern Africa at Amazon US

Victoria's Enemies

A great overview of the opponents faced by the Victorian British from the Ashanti to the Zulus and all the native powers between. For a gamer you cannot go wrong with a Donald Featherstone book, they are all great.

Victoria's Enemies at Amazon US (Out of Print Service Only)

Notes on the Reviews:

I am not associated with Amazon or any other book seller and receive not commission for the links here, they are for your convenience only, shop where you like. If you have a dissenting opinion on a review or a review of your own you would like posted, send them along and I will put them up when I have a chance. I use gaming to drive my study of history, if you know of any books you think would help please send me the information.