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Seventeenth-Century America Essays In Colonial History Of Kenya

Seventeenth-Century America: Essays in Colonial History.Edited by James Morton Smith. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, for the Institute of Early American History and Culture at Williamsburg, Va., 1959. Pp. xv, 238. Index. $5.00.)

The major part of this book consists of a half-dozen monographs by as many different authors on important aspects of seventeenth-century Virginia history. Besides this, there is a similar essay on Massachusetts Bay, a critical discussion of the historical accounts of the colonies in the seventeenth century written in or near the period, a lecture pointing out the significance of the experiences and changes of the period that resulted in the American way of life, and an excellent introduction summarizing the essential contribution of each chapter and supplying enough connective tissue to produce a unified whole.

The lecture on the significance of the period for future American history points out how the strange, new, and elemental experiences of the colonists engendered in them the conviction of divinely ordained mission. At one time or another peoples from the ancient Jews to the Germans of the days of the last Kaiser and the English of the days of Kipling have been effectively inspired by such a conviction.

The essay on moral and legal aspects of the dispossessing of the Indians makes a strong case for the Indians, but may be a little too much inclined to apply modern standards. The preponderance of official pronouncements by church and state seems to have held that non-Christians had no right to own anything—not even their own bodies. The principle of "finders-keepers" was thus applied by the absolute sovereigns to the unowned New World. Uninterrupted possession even by an interloper could be argued as nine points in the law if the possessor were strong enough. If evidence existed that would enable one to run clear abstracts of title for all the land on earth, it is doubtful whether he would find one square inch of soil that did not at one or more times show transfers of title through forcible, uncompensated dispossession. No doubt many of the Indian tribes occupied lands that they had acquired by conquest.

The essay on Indian culture indicates that because of friction between Indians and white settlers there was not too much conscious borrowing by one from the other. With some important exceptions this is undoubtedly true. The American wilderness, however, was conquered by pioneers who had as much of the characteristics of the Indian as they did of the old country Englishman. The requirements of the environment may to some extent have produced the survival of the same characteristics in the pioneer as in the Indian, but there was much that has escaped the documents.

The painstaking and industrious effort to search out the social strati from which the majority of the early settlers came will be much appreciated by historical scholars. Research tends to solidly confirm the earlier supposition, sometimes questioned, that the majority were of the substantial middle class. The importance of this finding should not blind one, however, to the importance of this other fact that if the newcomers contained a preponderant number who were deeply dissatisfied with conditions in England and who had enough initiative and courage and energy to do something about it, such as getting into jail or coming to America, these people would be truer seed of the American people of today than the washed-out people, regardless of social class, who were content to take things lying down and remain where they were.

The author of the essay on the Anglican church is convinced that English statesmen and churchmen realized the importance of strengthening the establishment in the colonies as an instrument of imperial control but concludes that confused and changing political and religious conditions resulted in failure to take effective measures. The chapter on the church in New England is restricted to a treatment of the disciplinary functions of the church. The influence of its theological tenets on such things as economic enterprise and education are omitted. An investigation of the Puritans' attitude toward the place of equity in judicial decisions re-establishes the balance in the statement of the truth. The author might have cited a few of the many cases where decisions were based solely upon reason and common sense and then justified by quoting a text from the Bible that by no stretch of the imagination could be related either to the case or to the decision.

The essays on the origins of the Virginia landed aristocracy and the control of local and provincial governments is well done. The essayist gives more attention in his discussion of local government to the vestrymen than to the county justices; but since they were in the nature of interlocking directorates, it makes no real difference. In his concluding paragraphs the writer states that the situation in Virginia at the time of the Glorious Revolution in England and the disturbances in the colonies had more points of similarity to situations in the other colonies than differences. This may be true. There was in each of the colonies a ruling class that held the balance of power between the British government and a large group of colonials who had little political power. The ruling class to a considerable degree maintained its position down to the American Revolution by playing the other groups against one another. An important difference between colonies is revealed at the outbreak of the American Revolution when the Virginia aristocracy kept step with the humbler folk, whereas a much larger proportion of the aristocracy in most of the other colonies sided with the British. The essays as a whole are examples of the solid, honest research and writing that can and should be done over the whole field of American history.

Indiana University Albert L. Kohlmeier

This post is also available in: German

Written by Marco Ramerini. English text revision by Dietrich Köster.


– Various Authors “John Conny & Goombay Drum ignite the imagination of the African Diaspora” From: Angwandah, J. Kwesi “Castles and forts of Ghana” Ghana Museums and Monuments Board, Atlante, 1999, Paris, France. pp. 84-88

– Angwandah, J. Kwesi “Castles and forts of Ghana” Ghana Museums and Monuments Board, Atlante, 1999, Paris, France.

– Grosser Generalstab “Brandenburg-Preußen an der Westküste von Afrika 1681-1721” 1912, Leipzig, Germany.

– Heyden, Ulrich von der “Rote Adler an Afrikas Küste. Die brandenburgisch-preußische Kolonie Großfriedrichsburg in Westafrika” 105 pp. Selignow-Verlag, May 2001, Berlin, Germany.

– Lawrence, A. W. “Trade Castles and Forts of West Africa” 390 pp. 48 maps & 158 plates, Jonathan Cape, 1963, London, United Kingdom.

A detailed description of about 40 European forts and castles from Arguin (Mauritania) to Whydah or Ouidah (Benin). Many illustrations and maps of the forts. Chronological history of the forts. The place of the fortsystem in history; the setting of times; organization and personnel; life at the forts; relations between fort and town; types of building; materials and structure; early draughtsmen; Elmina castle: the Portuguese and later Dutch headquarters; other headquarters: Cape Coast Castle, Christiansborg, Princestown; early forts: Axim, Mouri, Cormantin, Gambia, Butre, Shama; forts about 1700: Akwida, Commenda, Dixcove, Apam, Sekondi, Beraku; forts of the late eighteenth century: Anomabu, Beyin, Keta.

– Monod,Th. “L’ île d’ Arguin (Mauritanie), essai historique” 327 pp. 5 maps IICT and CECA 1983 Lisboa, Portugal. Detailed research on Arguin castle history.

– Van Dantzig, A. “Forts and castles of Ghana” Sedco, 1980, Accra, Ghana.

– Van Dantzig, A. and Priddy, B. “A short history of the forts and castles of Ghana” 59 pp. map and ills. Liberty Press, 1971, Accra, Ghana.

The Portuguese period, Dutch penetration and the expulsion of the Portuguese, English Swedish and Danish penetration, growth of the English trade, the Brandenburg Company, the 18th. century, the 19th century.



– Various Authors “Germans in the Tropics. Essays in German Colonial History” 192 pp. Knoll, Arthur J. and Lewis H. Gann ed., Greenwood Press, 1987, Westport, Conn., USA.

The book seeks to add to both German and colonial history, detailing the effects of colonization on both the rulers and the ruled. The nine essays cover topics from anthropology and decision making in the German colonies to slave labor in German Togo, the superstructure of the colonial state in German Melanesia, and the position of the indigenous populations in German Africa. A final chapter provides a historical perspective on German imperialism. A selected bibliography and an index complete the work. 1) Marginal Colonialism: The German Case by Lewis H. Gann; 2) The German Colonial Society by Richard V. Pierard; 3) Anthropology and German Colonialism by Woodruff D. Smith; 4) Enemies of the Colonial Idea by Helmuth Stoecker and Peter Sebald; 5) Slave Labor and Wage Labor in German Togo, 1885-1914 by Donna J.E.Maier; 6) The Neglected Empire: The Superstructure of the Colonial State in German Melanesia by Peter Hempenstall; 7) The Position of Africans in the German Colonies by Helmuth Stoecker; 8) Decision-Making for the German Colonies by Arthur J. Knoll; 9) German Imperialism in Historical Perspective by Winfried Baumgart; Selected Bibliography.

– Various Authors “Featured attraction: Jerry Grzenda on German colonial money” The Montgomery County Coin Club Bulletin, August 1999

– Henderson W. O. “The German Colonial Empire 1884-1919” 164 p. illustrated maps Longman 1993

– Henderson, W. O. “Studies in German Colonial History” 150 pp. Frank Cass & Co. Ltd, 1962, London, UK.

– Woodruff Smith, D. “The German Colonial Empire” 274 pp. maps, University of North Carolina Press, 1978, Chapel Hill, USA.


– Gann, L. H. & Duignan, Peter “The Rulers of German Africa 1884 – 1914” 286 pp. Stanford University Press, 1977, Stanford, USA.

– Prothero, G. W. “German African possessions: Togoland, Cameroon, South-West Africa, Tanganyika, German treatment of….” Vol. XVIII of the Peace Handbooks Issued by the Historical Section of the British Foreign Office, Tanzania, Africa Munger Library. Munger Africana Library, 1969(1920 1st ed.), Greenwood, NY, USA.

– Stoecker, Helmuth “German imperialism in Africa : from the beginnings until the second world war” 446 pp. C. Hurst & Company, 1986, London, UK.

The historical background; The annexations; The conquest of colonies: the establishment and extension of German colonial rule; Economic expansion and political aims in South Africa 1884-1898; Semi-colonial expansion into Morocco 1871-1898; Colonial rule after the defeat of the uprisings; The German Empire in Africa before 1914: general questions; Pre-1914 efforts to secure a larger share; The first world war; The colonial aims of the Weimar Republic; The colonial aims and preparations of the Hitler regime 1933-1939; The second world war.


– Gardner, Brian “German East: The Story of the First World War in East Africa” x, 213 pp. Cassell, 1963, London, UK.

– Illiffe, J. “Tanganyika under German rule 1905-1912” 315 pp. 1970


– Knoll, A. J. “Togo under imperial Germany 1884-1914. A case study in colonial rule” ? XV, 224p. Hoover colonial studies, 1978, Stanford

– Moberly, F. J. “Military Operations, Togoland & the Cameroons, 1918, Vol. III” 584 pp. Battery Press,

– Rudin, Harry “Germans in the Cameroons 1884-1914. A case study in Modern imperialism” 1938, New Haven, USA.


– Bley, H. “South West Africa under German rule 1894-1914” xxxii, 303 pp. 3 maps and 28 plates, Heinemann, 1971, London.

– Calvert, Albert F. ” South West Africa during the German Occupation 1884-1914″ Negro University Press, 1969, New-York, USA.

– Collyer, General J. J. “The Campaign in German South West Africa, 1914-1915” 180 pp. Battery Press, 1997 (1937), Nashville,

– Esterhuyse, J. H. ” South West Africa 1880-1894. The Establishment of German Authority in South West Africa” XII – 262, map, ill. C. Struik, 1968, Cape Town, South Africa.

– Seligmann, Matthew S. “Rivalry in Southern Africa, 1893-99; the transformation of German colonial policy” 200 pp. St. Martin’s Press, 1998

Examines the development of German policy towards the Transvaal and southern Africa in the 1890s, investigating the roots of German policy and its consequent rivalries and tensions. Shows that Germany pursued an expansionist policy in active opposition to British policy of the time, and demonstrates the importance of southern Africa to German imperialism and the role it played in widening German imperial ambitions before 1914.

– Voeltz, Richard A. “German Colonialism and the South West Africa Company 1894-1914” Ohio University, 1988, Athens, USA.


– Various Authors “Tsingtao – A chapter of German colonial history in China. 1897 – 1914” 1998 ?, Berlin, Germany.

A survey about the era of German colonialization in China: German interests and presence in China prior to the territorial occupation, the situation of the Chinese society in the second half of the 19th century, the occupation of the Bay of Kiaochow, and the construction of the colonial town of Tsingtao. The daily life of Germans and Chinese in Tsingtao, the development of the hinterland by German railroad and mining companies and the conflicts which gradually arose. The Boxer Rebellion and its suppression. The aftermath of this mutual but unequal epoch and the ways of dealing with the past.


– Various Authors “European impact and Pacific influence: British and German colonial policy in the Pacific Islands and the indigenous response” Ed. by Hermann Hiery and John MacDonald MacKenzie, German Historical Institute in London Tauris Academic Studies, I.B. Tauris Publications, 1997 – 347 pages.

British and German ambitions have clashed in the Pacific at many times in the last two centuries. This is a study of those episodes, and their effects on the European powers and the Pacific Islanders involved. It throws light on the activities of missionaries in Micronesia, head-hunters in New Guinea, Law-makers in Tonga and the influence of the British and Germans in the region. The book considers: European perceptions of Pacific islanders and vice versa; the ecological effect of European intervention, both on the environment and its inhabitants; the efforts to impose a European rule of law in the South Pacific; the area of sexuality as a specific form of Pacific-European interaction where cultural differences between European and traditional behaviour was at its most marked.

– Burnell, F. S. “Australia versus Germany. The Story of the Taking of German New Guinea” 254pp. George Allen & Unwin. 1915, London, UK.

Account of the capture of German New Guinea during WW1. This was Australia’s 1st military action in WW1.

– Cass, Philip “The infallibile engine: indigenous perceptions of Europeans in German New Guinea through the missionary press” Internet article. University of Westminster, 1998, London, UK.

– Hempenstall, Peter J. “Pacific Islanders under German rule” xii, 264 pp. 6 maps, 19 plates b/w, Australian National University Press. 1978, Canberra, Australia.

A Study in the Meaning of Colonial Resistance. This is an important book. It captures under one cover, the German approach to her Pacific colonies and the Islander’s response to the Germans. It is the first detailed study of Samoans, Ponapeans and New Guineans under German rule. It is thoroughly researched, well documented, written in a readable, yet thorougly scholarly style.

– Emerson, Terence B. “A brief history of Rota: the German period” Internet article.

– Hiery, Hermann Joseph “The neglected war. The German South Pacific and the influence of World War I” xvii, 384 pp. 35 illustrations, University of Hawaii Press, 1995, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.

The author is a permanent research fellow at the German Historical Institute in London, in this work he looks at how the Pacific Islanders coped with the dramatic changes brought about by the war and how they tried to influence the consequences, detailing the policies pursued by Australia, New Zealand and Japan, showing how each viewed and treated the indigenous population, includes: New Guinea, Western Samoa and Micronesia.

– Mackenzie, S. S “Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918: Vol. X. The Australians at Rabaul” xvi, 412pp. 55 maps, 91 illustrations, Angus & Robertson, 1940, Sydney, Australia.

The Capture and Administration of the German Possessions in the Southern Pacific.

– Moses, John A. and Kennedy, Paul M., Editors. “Germany in the Pacific & Far East 1870-1914” xx, 417pp. University of Queensland Press. St. Lucia, 1977, Brisbane, Australia.

With contributions of scholars from around the world, includes native policy in the colonies, historical anthropology and a valuable guide to archives dealing with Germany in the Pacific and Far East, for the first time researchers have had access to German Colonial Office records.

– Sack, Peter “German New Guinea. A Bibliography” 298 pp. Department of Law Research School of Social Sciences, The Australian National University, 1980, Canberra, Australia.

A comprehensive listing of German literature on the “Old Protectorates” of German New Guinea (later the Mandated Territory of New Guinea and now part of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea) published during the time of the political existence of German New Guinea (that is between 1884 and 1914). Selected listings include government officials and government publications; missionaries and mission literature; traders, planters and economic literature; academic literature; general press and colonial literature.

– Staniforth, Smith “Germany in the Pacific and an account of British New Guinea and the Solomon Islands” 16pp. F. Cunninghame & Co. 1905, Sydney, Australia.


– Mühlhäusler , P. “Bemerkungen zum Pidgin-Deutsch von Neuguinea” In: Molony, C., Zobl, H., Stolting, W. (eds.). “German in Contact with other Languages” Scriptor Verlag, 1977, Kronberg pp. 58-70.

– Volker, Craig A. “Rabaul Creole German Syntax” In: Working Papers in Linguistics University of Hawaii n° 21, 1989, pp.153-189.

– Volker, Craig A. “The rise and decline of Rabaul Creole German, Language and Linguistics in Melanesia” ? In: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Oceanic Linguistics, Pacific Linguistics, Canberra, Australia.

– Volker, Craig A. “Short notes: Rabaul Creole German” In: “The Carrier Pidgin” vol. 25, n° 1-2 Florida International University, Miami, Florida, USA.


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