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Jeudi 25 novembre 2021
« Explores the history of Britain’s colonial army in West Africa, especially the experiences of ordinary soldiers recruited in the region.
West African Soldiers in Britain’s Colonial Army explores the complex and constantly changing experience of West African soldiers under British command in Nigeria, the Gold Coast (now Ghana), Sierra Leone, and the Gambia. Since cost and tropical disease limited the deployment of British metropolitan troops to the region, British colonial rule in West Africa depended heavily on locally recruited soldiers and their families. This force became Britain’s largest colonial army in Sub-Saharan Africa.
West African Soldiers looks at the development of this colonial military from the conquest era of the late nineteenth century to decolonization in the 1950s. Rather than describing the many battles fought by this army both regionally and overseas, and informed by the concept of military culture, the book looks at the broad and overlapping themes of identity, culture, daily life, and violence. Chapter topics include the enslaved origins of the force, military identities including the myth of martial races, religious life, visual symbols like uniforms and insignia, health care related to tropical and sexually transmitted diseases, the experience of army wives, disciplinary flogging, mutiny, day-to-day violence committed by troops, and the employment of former soldiers by the colonial state. Based on archival research in five countries, the book derives inspiration from previous work on ordinary African soldiers in the British and German colonies of East Africa and in French West Africa. »
Timothy Stapleton is a professor in the Department of History at the University of Calgary.
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