Cape to Cairo

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pages: 424 words: 140,262

Blood, Iron, and Gold: How the Railways Transformed the World by Christian Wolmar


banking crisis, Beeching cuts, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, invention of the wheel, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Khartoum Gordon, Mahatma Gandhi, railway mania, refrigerator car, side project, South China Sea, transcontinental railway, tulip mania, urban sprawl

.), The Great Trains, Crown Publishers, New York, 1973, p. 149. 16 The colour of Britain’s colonies on maps of the day. 17 George Tabor, The Cape to Cairo Railway and River Routes, Genta Publications, 2003, p. 3. 18 Quoted in ibid., p. 11. 19 Ibid., p. 83. 20 These friendly looking herbivore hippos are, in fact, the biggest killer in Africa today as they are incredibly fierce if they feel threatened. 21 Quoted in George Tabor, The Cape to Cairo Railway and River Routes, p. 87. 22 Ibid., p. 85. 23 Ibid., p. 85. 24 Now Mutane. 25 George Tabor, The Cape to Cairo Railway and River Routes, p. 95. 26 Now Zimbabwe. 27 Technically, the second Boer War as there had been a brief one in 1880–81 when the Boers successfully resisted a British attempt to take over the Transvaal. The second war lasted to 1902 and ultimately resulted in the creation of the Union of South Africa. 28 George Tabor, The Cape to Cairo Railway and River Routes, p. 150. 29 From his journal, quoted in George Tabor, The Cape to Cairo Railway and River Routes, p. 175. 30 Now in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 31 Now Ilebo. 32 Now Shaba. 33 Then Portuguese East Africa. 34 Although it was not until a battle further south in November 1899 at Umm Diwaykarat that the Mahdi’s forces were finally defeated. 35 About which he wrote a book, The River War: An Historical Account of the Reconquest of the Sudan, Longmans, Green & Co., 1899. 36 George Tabor, The Cape to Cairo Railway and River Routes, p. 237. 37 M.F.

With rapid progress at both ends, by 1900 there seemed a strong possibility that the Cape to Cairo railway would be completed. That year, Rhodes had cheekily sent a telegram to Kitchener, saying ‘if you don’t look sharp, I will reach Uganda before you’. Kitchener replied, with equal chutzpah, ‘hurry up’. But there was a long way to go and the Boer War, the lack of will on the part of the British government, the blockage by the Germans in Tanganyika and the sheer ambition of the project meant it would never be completed. As was the British way, with the exception of the Sudan line driven through by Kitchener and small sections in the Cape Colony and East Africa, the vast majority of the completed sections of the Cape to Cairo had been built by the private sector. The Cape to Cairo may never have been finished, but its partial construction left behind a notable legacy, helping to establish a permanent British presence in much of central and southern Africa and effectively creating the two new colonies of northern and southern Rhodesia which, understandably, were named after the railway’s principal protagonist.

These lines, too, attracted settlers, particularly from South Africa where many Boer farmers were eager to flee British control. The Germans briefly considered the idea of an extension to meet the Cape to Cairo and run a line through to the Congo Free State, but realized there was no economic justification since the rich minerals from Katanga would never be transported in an easterly direction. Or at least not until sixty years later, when the Chinese took an interest, building the Tazara Railway to enable Zambia to export its copper without going through South Africa or Rhodesia. Sections of the line are actually on the route the Cape to Cairo might have taken had the Kaiser not blocked its path, and as a result the dream of a Cape to Cairo railway is not entirely dead. As recently as 2004, the Sudanese government commissioned a study by German consultants for a rail link to Kenya connecting eventually with the Tazara line, which would almost complete Rhodes’s vision.

pages: 311 words: 89,785

Crossing the Heart of Africa: An Odyssey of Love and Adventure by Julian Smith


blood diamonds, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, James Watt: steam engine, Livingstone, I presume, Scramble for Africa, trade route

Perhaps he figured he had been through worse. “In the course of a chequered career I have seen many unwholesome spots,” he wrote in From the Cape to Cairo, “but for a God-forsaken, dry-sucked, fly-blown wilderness, commend me to the Upper Nile; a desolation of desolations, an infernal region, a howling waste of weed, mosquitoes, flies, and fever, backed by a groaning waste of thorn and stones—waterless and waterlogged. I have passed through it, and have now no fear for the hereafter.” Ewart Scott Grogan died quietly on August 16, 1967, in Cape Town, aged ninety-two. His grave faces Table Mountain, the starting point of his great African adventure so many years before. Grogan’s Cape-to-Cairo trek was the last great journey of the Golden Age of Exploration in Africa. Like the death of Queen Victoria on January 22, 1901, it marked the end of both a century and an era.

Her family had dismissed him as a ne’er-do-well who would be unable to keep their daughter in the manner to which they thought she should be accustomed. Grogan banked on the fame (if not the fortune) that a dramatic adventure would bring him to persuade them to reconsider. That was it: three sentences, nothing more. But I had to know more. I tracked down the few biographies of Grogan and his firsthand account of the journey, From the Cape to Cairo. The more I read, the more the adventure and romance of his story captivated me. The proud tradition of men doing crazy things for love goes back at least to the Trojan War, triggered when Paris eloped with Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world (and someone else’s wife). A seventeenth-century Mughal emperor built the Taj Mahal as a memorial to his favorite wife, who had died in childbirth.

Mosquito nets over the bunks sagged with cockroaches the size of mice. The captain spent more time in his bunk than piloting the ship, Grogan wrote. “His only anxiety was lest he should oversleep himself and miss a meal.” They had left Kituta on April 2, 1899, six days after the Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi sent the first wireless message across the English Channel. One of the official goals of the journey, scouting a route for a Cape-to-Cairo telegraph line, was on the verge of becoming obsolete. Grogan seemed to be going back in time, but the outside world was surging forward. The Good News shoelaced from shore to shore as it steamed north up the lake. At a French mission station on the eastern side, the passengers were paddled ashore in forty-foot dugout canoes, and the Catholic fathers filled the canoes to bursting with fresh fruit, beef stew, and Algerian wine.

pages: 410 words: 122,537

Engines of War: How Wars Were Won & Lost on the Railways by Christian Wolmar


anti-communist, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, Khartoum Gordon, railway mania, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, V2 rocket

A decade later, however, work restarted on the Sudan Military Railway from Wadi Haifa to Khartoum. Since Wadi Haifa could be reached by ships on the Nile from Luxor, the line was the last link in the line of communication between the two capitals, Cairo and Khartoum. However, this time the scale of ambition was far greater as not only was the line planned to be a military railway enabling the British to retake Sudan from the Mahdis, but it was also part of the ambitious Cape to Cairo project promoted by Cecil Rhodes to build a railway line across the whole continent. After much prevarication following the disaster of Gordon’s fall, Herbert (later Lord) Kitchener, then the commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Army, obtained permission from the British government to build the line in order to quell the Mahdi rebellion once and for all. The original fifty miles of railway had, by then, been completely wrecked but progress was impressive thanks to the leadership of a remarkable young Canadian military railway engineer, Lieutenant Edouard (Percy) Girouard, who would, too, play a major role on the railways in the Boer War and later use his railway expertise in the First World War.

In a long section in the book, he concludes that while bravery and discipline may often result in unexpected victories, ‘in savage warfare in a flat country the power of modern machinery is such that flesh and blood can scarcely prevail and the chances of battle are reduced to a minimum. Fighting the Dervishes was primarily a matter of transport. The Khalifa was conquered on the railway.’16 At the other end of the putative but never completed Cape to Cairo,17 the railways were also about to play a major, if very different, part in a war. The Boer War18 was another eminently preventable clash which started off with patriotic cheers, and ended with much soul searching about the state of the British Empire. At the turn of the century, the current Republic of South Africa was divided into four territories: Natal and the Cape Colony, which were British colonies, and two Boer republics, the Transvaal and Orange Free State.19 To the north, Rhodes had created the British South Africa Company, which became Rhodesia.

In addition to opening up markets and ensuring sources of supply of minerals and agricultural produce, railways unified political territories4 and made the job of policing an area far easier. Railways, it was recognized, were both the economic lifeline of remote regions and the physical demonstration of military domination by the colonial power. The Russo-Japanese War had grown precisely out of a struggle between competing powers and in Africa the efforts by Rhodes to build a Cape to Cairo railway had almost resulted in a war with the French over their rival plans in the immediate sub-Saharan area. As a historian of the Middle East in the pre-war period suggests, ‘railways having become so important, it was soon merely sufficient for one nation to announce the preliminary plans for a new railway to engender suspicion, hostility and jealousy in other powers’.5 The collapse of the Ottoman Empire offered a country such as Germany, which had come rather too late to establish direct control of huge swathes of land, the opportunity to carve out an area where it could exert economic domination.

pages: 427 words: 124,692

Empire: What Ruling the World Did to the British by Jeremy Paxman


British Empire, call centre, Cape to Cairo, colonial rule, conceptual framework, Etonian, European colonialism, Fellow of the Royal Society, imperial preference, joint-stock company, Khartoum Gordon, Kibera, land tenure, Livingstone, I presume, mass immigration, offshore financial centre, polynesian navigation, Scramble for Africa, transatlantic slave trade

In 1887, for example, he told the House of Assembly in Cape Town that ‘the native is to be treated as a child and denied the franchise … We must adopt a system of despotism in our relations with the barbarians of South Africa.’ It is as redundant to wonder whether Rhodes was a racist as to question whether he wore a moustache on his self-satisfied face, for the evidence is overwhelming. When he plotted his Cape-to-Cairo railway or, as prime minister of the Cape, cast lustful imperial eyes on the lands beyond the Limpopo and Zambezi rivers he was not thinking of the welfare of anyone but ‘the Anglo-Saxon race’. Rhodes – whose African ambitions meant he acquired the inevitable nickname ‘Colossus’ – was an empire-builder on the scale of Clive of India, and when he wanted to exploit the mineral rights obtained from the Matabele king, Lobengula (in exchange for a promise of money, a thousand rifles and a boat), the British government gave him a chartered company similar to the old East India Company.

Gathering a couple of battalions of Sudanese troops, two companies of Cameron Highlanders, an artillery battery and four Maxim guns, Kitchener set off upriver with five of his gunboats. As he approached Fashoda on 18 September 1898, the identity of the intruders was settled, for he was greeted by soldiers carrying a letter from a Major Jean-Baptiste Marchand. It had the impertinence to welcome him, in the name of France. The British Empire in Africa was hung on a north–south axis, along the lines of Cecil Rhodes’s dream of a railway line from the Cape to Cairo. French possessions in Africa were concentrated on the Atlantic coast of west Africa, although the French had recently taken control of the fly-blown but strategically important territory of Djibouti on the Horn of Africa. Paris dreamed of linking the two and Fashoda was the point where the British north–south line crossed the French east–west line. Marchand and his small group of officers had spent two years hacking their way across the continent on a march from west Africa.

From the elegant formal garden the High Commissioner could look at the gold dome of the mosque – built at the point from which Muhammad was said to have ascended to heaven – and wonder whether a force of policemen in sand-coloured shorts would be enough to keep a lid on things.* The site chosen for his headquarters was called the Hill of Evil Counsel. The spoils of war may have broadened the empire. But the effects of war weakened it. It was true that the acquisition of most of what had been German East Africa almost made possible Cecil Rhodes’s dream of a railway line from the Cape to Cairo on British territory, should anyone ever get around to building it. Lord Curzon, who had served in Lloyd George’s War Cabinet, sighed that ‘The British flag never flew over more powerful or united an empire than now.’ Figures like Curzon expected that the experience of shared hardship might have deepened the unity of empire. Had not the government of India given £100 million towards the war effort and sent so many thousands of soldiers?

pages: 649 words: 181,179

Diamonds, Gold, and War: The British, the Boers, and the Making of South Africa by Martin Meredith


back-to-the-land, banking crisis, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, joint-stock company, Khartoum Gordon, liberation theology, sceptred isle, Scramble for Africa, trade route

Carnarvon provided Frere with a wide remit. He proposed that Frere should go out to the Cape ‘nominally as Governor, but really as the Statesman who seems to me most capable of carrying my scheme of Confederation into effect’. Frere’s reward was to be appointed the first governor-general of a new British dominion. But Carnarvon’s ambition did not stop there. He began to fashion the idea of a ‘Cape to Cairo’ policy, envisaging even greater swathes of Africa coming under British control, out of reach of other European powers. In a letter to Frere on 12 December 1876, he wrote: I should not like anyone to come too near us either on the South towards the Transvaal, which must be ours; or on the North too near to Egypt and the country which belongs to Egypt. In fact when I speak of geographical limits I am not expressing my real opinion.

Livingstone’s lonely death in central Africa in 1873 while searching in vain for the source of the Nile unleashed a burst of imperial sentiment that mixed a world power’s responsibility for trusteeship with a strong dose of economic opportunism. Disraeli’s surge of imperial activity during the 1870s - acquiring Cyprus, Fiji and a large bulk of shares in the Suez Canal - won popular support. In a pamphlet written in 1876, Edwin Arnold, editor of the Daily Telegraph, used the phrase ‘from the Cape to Cairo’ to demonstrate the scale of imperial ambition. Queen Victoria herself was particularly pleased when, at her own suggestion, Parliament in 1877 bestowed on her the title of Empress of India. That same year, at the age of twenty-four, after completing his first full year at Oxford, Rhodes drew up what he later called ‘a draft of some of my ideas’, giving it the title ‘Confession of Faith’. It was a strange, rambling document, full of fantasies and grievances, summing up in juvenile fashion his views of the ills afflicting mankind and his solutions for them.

In August 1888, an ardent young imperialist, Harry Johnston, after spending the weekend at Lord Salisbury’s residence at Hatfield, wrote an article for the London Times advocating an end to Britain’s ‘magnificent inactivity’ in colonising Africa. While conceding that other European powers had ‘legitimate’ interests in Africa - the French and the Italians in north Africa, for example - he argued that it was essential for the sake of British commerce that Britain should extend its control ‘over a large part of Africa’. Picking up Edwin Arnold’s original idea for a ‘Cape-to-Cairo’ policy, he urged the linking of Britain’s possessions in southern Africa with its sphere in east Africa and the Egyptian Sudan ‘by a continuous band of British dominion’. Impressed by Johnston’s zeal, Salisbury appointed him as consul in Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique). His remit was to secure for Britain territory in the interior which Salisbury was interested in acquiring by signing treaties with African chiefs before the Portuguese or the Germans or the Belgians got there.

pages: 469 words: 146,487

Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World by Niall Ferguson


British Empire, Cape to Cairo, colonial rule, Corn Laws, European colonialism, imperial preference, income per capita, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, Khartoum Gordon, Khyber Pass, land reform, land tenure, liberal capitalism, Livingstone, I presume, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, night-watchman state, profit motive, Scramble for Africa, spice trade, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, the new new thing, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, union organizing, zero-sum game

Africa, which had seemed to be British by right, dealt the Empire an unexpected and painful blow. While some responded by retreating into a defiant jingoism, others were assailed by doubts. Even the most gilt-edged generals and proconsuls exhibited symptoms of what is best described as decadence. And Britain’s most ambitious imperial rival was not slow to scent the opportunity such doubts presented. Cape to Cairo In the mid-nineteenth century, apart from a few coastal outposts, Africa was the last blank sheet in the imperial atlas of the world. North of the Cape, British possessions were confined to West Africa: Sierra Leone, Gambia, the Gold Coast and Lagos, most of them left-overs from the battles for and then against slavery. Within twenty short years after 1880, however, ten thousand African tribal kingdoms were transformed into just forty states, of which thirty-six were under direct European control.

I think that the constant study of maps is apt to disturb men’s reasoning powers … But if you look beyond the merely commercial considerations to those which are of a strategic character, I can imagine no more uncomfortable position than the possession of a narrow strip of territory in the very heart of Africa, three months’ distance from the coast, which should be separating the forces of a powerful empire like Germany and … another European Power. Without any advantages of position we should have had all the dangers inseparable from its defence. In other words, it was only worth acquiring new territory if it strengthened Britain’s economic and strategic position. It might look well on a map, but the missing link that would have completed Rhodes’s ‘red route’ from the Cape to Cairo did not pass that test. As for those who resided in Africa, their fate did not concern Salisbury in the slightest. ‘If our ancestors had cared for the rights of other people,’ he had reminded his Cabinet colleagues in 1878, ‘the British Empire would not have been made.’ Sultan Bargash was soon to discover the implications of that precept. In August 1885 Bismarck sent four warships to Zanzibar and demanded the Sultan hand over his empire to Germany.

Across Africa the story repeated itself: chiefs hoodwinked, tribes dispossessed, inheritances signed away with a thumbprint or a shaky cross and any resistance mown down by the Maxim gun. One by one the nations of Africa were subjugated – the Zulus, the Matabele, the Mashonas, the kingdoms of Niger, the Islamic principality of Kano, the Dinkas and the Masai, the Sudanese Muslims, Benin and Bechuana. By the beginning of the new century, the carve-up was complete. The British had all but realized Rhodes’s vision of unbroken possession from the Cape to Cairo: their African empire stretched northwards from the Cape Colony through Natal, Bechuanaland (Botswana), Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Northern Rhodesia (Zambia), and Nyasaland (Malawi); and southwards from Egypt, through the Sudan, Uganda and East Africa (Kenya). German East Africa was the only missing link in Rhodes’s intended chain; in addition, as we have seen, the Germans had South West Africa (Namibia), Cameroon and Togo.

pages: 699 words: 192,704

Heaven's Command (Pax Britannica) by Jan Morris


British Empire, Cape to Cairo, centralized clearinghouse, Corn Laws, European colonialism, Fellow of the Royal Society, Khartoum Gordon, Khyber Pass, land reform, land tenure, Livingstone, I presume, Magellanic Cloud, mass immigration, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, sceptred isle, Scramble for Africa, trade route

Goldie himself, who claimed to be able to hypnotize people, and carried a phial of poison in his pocket in case he was suddenly struck with an incurable illness, disclaimed all such ambitions, and regarded the scramble for Africa as ‘a game of chess’. 1 Which Rhodes never set eyes on. 2 Rhodes was not the first to foresee a British Cape-to-Cairo corridor. Gladstone himself direly predicted it, five years before Tel-el-Kebir, as an inevitable consequence of intervention in Egypt—‘be it by larceny or be it by emption’. 1 In fact the British north-south corridor was not achieved until after the first world war, when Tanganyika became a British mandated territory, and the Cape-to-Cairo railway was never completed. Nor, except within South Africa, did the British ever control an east-west corridor across Africa. 1 Whom we last met hoisting the flag in Fiji and accepting Cakobau’s war-club for the Queen. 1 Nowadays one may follow the route of Jameson’s raid fairly exactly by car, the cross-road stores one sees often being the sites of his secret supply depots—in those days most of the store-keepers were British.

Africa was racked still by its own incessant wars, rivalries and predations—tribe against tribe, trader against slave, Arab against negro, warrior against pastoralist. There were spoils still to come, civilizing duties yet to be fulfilled, and activists in all the imperial countries eyed the continent hungrily, some imagining its map swathed with green from coast to coast, some envisaging slabs of Prussian blue, and many conceiving one long strip of British red, veld to delta, Cape to Cairo. Sometimes the Powers seemed likely to clash, as their traders, missionaries or troops advanced into the continent, and often diplomatic exchanges between the chanceries of Europe were prompted by episodes on distant reaches of tropic rivers, or in steamy unmapped banyan swamps: but in 1884 Bismarck, Chancellor of the new Federal Germany, perhaps foreseeing the inflammatory properties of Africa, invited all the leading nations of the world to confer in Berlin about its future.

pages: 379 words: 114,807

The Land Grabbers: The New Fight Over Who Owns the Earth by Fred Pearce


Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, big-box store, blood diamonds, British Empire, Buy land – they’re not making it any more, Cape to Cairo, carbon footprint, clean water, corporate raider, credit crunch, Deng Xiaoping, Elliott wave,, energy security, farmers can use mobile phones to check market prices, index fund, Jeff Bezos, land reform, land tenure, Mahatma Gandhi, market fundamentalism, megacity, Mohammed Bouazizi, Nikolai Kondratiev, offshore financial centre, out of africa, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ronald Reagan, smart cities, structural adjustment programs, too big to fail, urban planning, urban sprawl, WikiLeaks

Its first director was John Hanks, a veteran of WWF in Africa, who had taken responsibility for Operation Lock when it was exposed in 1991. This foundation has initiated plans for cross-border parks involving every southern African country as far north as Tanzania, and has treaties creating them that involve South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. One journalist hailed it as “an ecological Cape to Cairo dream.” Its main accomplishment on the ground so far is the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, essentially a cross-border extension of the Kruger Park in South Africa into Mozambique and Zimbabwe. It covers 8.5 million acres. The parks authorities say that it is trying, in Hanks words, to “right the wrongs of the past,” including those from the apartheid era. But that hasn’t prevented them from “resettling” some seven thousand people in the Mozambique portion.

The 57,000-acre Phinda game reserve in KwaZulu Natal, north of Durban, is owned by Tara and Jessica Getty, heirs to the Getty legacy. Virgin boss Branson—yes, him again—owns the 25,000-acre Sabi Sands, one of nine private game reserves that circle the 5-million-acre Kruger National Park, sharing its wildlife. Nicky Oppenheimer, chairman of the de Beers diamond empire founded by Cecil Rhodes, who once dreamed of an African land grab from the Cape to Cairo, has spent some of his $3 billion fortune on the 250,000-acre Tswalu Kalahari game reserve, South Africa’s largest, in the north of the country. And, in case you thought we could get through a chapter without mentioning a Gulf investor, the 60,000-acre Shamwari game reserve in the south, near Port Elizabeth, is owned by Dubai World, a real-estate-grabbing arm of the government of Dubai, which also has luxury beach resorts in Djibouti, Zanzibar, and the tiny Indian Ocean island nation of Comoros.

pages: 267 words: 81,108

Happy Valley: The Story of the English in Kenya by Nicholas Best


British Empire, Cape to Cairo, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Etonian, out of africa, Scramble for Africa

One of the first settlers to arrive was Ewart Grogan, named Ewart because his father was a friend of William Ewart Gladstone. Grogan was to remain active in Kenya politics from the turn of the century right through to the 1960s. He had first heard about Africa while an undergraduate at Cambridge, just before being sent down for locking a goat in a don’s rooms. Later he had set out to walk the length of the continent, from the Cape to Cairo. By his own account, he had fallen in love with a girl and made the journey to prove his worth to her father. By other accounts, the girl was just a cover and he was on a mission for the British secret service, keeping an eye on French ambitions in Africa. Whatever the truth, Grogan managed to complete his extraordinary journey, so achieving, as Cecil Rhodes pointed out, ‘that which the ponderous explorers of the world have failed to accomplish’.

pages: 323 words: 94,406

To the Edge of the World: The Story of the Trans-Siberian Express, the World's Greatest Railroad by Christian Wolmar


anti-communist, Cape to Cairo, land reform, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, railway mania, refrigerator car, stakhanovite, trade route, transcontinental railway, urban planning

According to a contemporary source, ‘unskilled workers in western Siberia, for instance, earned up to eight times more on the Trans-Siberian than they normally had earned as farm hands in the employ of old settlers’.10 Skilled workers fared even better. Masons, most of whom were Italian, could earn up to 100 roubles (around £10) per month by working hard, an excellent wage at the time. It was, inevitably, dangerous work. The death rate, for which the best estimate is two per cent, may be shocking in today’s terms, but compared favourably with other contemporary massive projects, such as construction of the (never completed) Cape to Cairo railway or the digging of the Panama Canal, when at times it reached thirty per cent. The estimate, however, could be either an underestimate or, equally, an overestimate, as it was subject to inaccuracy in either direction. On the one hand, the Soviet historians who documented the story of the construction of the line after the Revolution tended to exaggerate the harshness of the conditions for their own political ends, seeking to portray the evil regime of the tsar as negatively as possible.

pages: 319 words: 105,949

Skyfaring: A Journey With a Pilot by Mark Vanhoenacker


Airbus A320, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, computer age, dark matter, digital map, Edmond Halley, John Harrison: Longitude, Louis Blériot, Maui Hawaii, out of africa, phenotype, place-making, planetary scale, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, the built environment, transcontinental railway

My colleagues and I had planned to stay in South Africa for two nights, but it would be ten days before we finally returned home, and even then we would not know we were leaving until a few hours beforehand. During those ten long days we came to joke about, and then imagine, a Europe devoid of aviation. How would we get home? The size of Africa, of the world, has never been so apparent to me as it was that week, when the mechanism that brought us across it was so precipitously withdrawn. We mused aloud about various overland routes across Africa. Whatever happened to the Cape-to-Cairo railway? Or might we ride by motorcycle up the west coast of Africa, and wash up, in our torn and dusty uniforms, as exiles in Casablanca, where we would wait for passage to Europe? Our forlorn 747 was parked patiently at Cape Town’s airport. We joked about phoning London to ask for permission to take the cabin crew up for a morning spin over Table Mountain or up along Namibia’s Skeleton Coast or perhaps over Victoria Falls.

pages: 650 words: 203,191

After Tamerlane: The Global History of Empire Since 1405 by John Darwin


agricultural Revolution, Atahualpa, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, colonial rule, Columbian Exchange, cuban missile crisis, deglobalization, deindustrialization, European colonialism, failed state, Francisco Pizarro, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, Khartoum Gordon, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, Malacca Straits, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shock, open economy, price mechanism, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade

The Trans-Caspian Railway (1880–88) carried Russian power into Central Asia. The Trans-Siberian Railway (1891–1904), the grandest of all these imperial projects, was meant to turn Russia’s Wild East into an extension of Europe. Other lines were planned on a heroic scale but were left unfinished: the Bagdadbahn to connect Hamburg to Basra (and the Persian Gulf); a ‘Trans-Persian’ railway, linking Europe to India; and Cecil Rhodes’s dream, a Cape to Cairo railway running all the way over a British-ruled Africa. The railway, thought the great British geographer Halford Mackinder, would change world history. The ‘Columbian epoch’, when sea power was everything, was about to give way to a new age of great land empires that commanded vast resources and were virtually impregnable.1 By the end of the century, no part of the world could be considered immune from the transforming effects of the communications revolution.

pages: 1,072 words: 297,437

Africa: A Biography of the Continent by John Reader


agricultural Revolution, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, clean water, colonial rule, discovery of the americas, illegal immigration, land reform, land tenure, Livingstone, I presume, new economy, out of africa, Scramble for Africa, spice trade, surplus humans, the market place, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, urban sprawl, women in the workforce

For £9,000 and 10,000 shares in his British South Africa Company.34 In writing of the deal Rhodes remarked that he did think the price excessive; which gives some clue to the scale of his ambitions in Africa in 1889. Rhodes was already immensely rich; he had gained overall control of the Kimberley diamond mines, and had major interests in the development of the gold-mining industry in the Transvaal. Wealth and ruthless business acumen had brought political influence and fuelled grandiose plans for a British Empire in Africa, stretching from the Cape to Cairo, as magnificent as the Indian Raj, ruled by Rhodes and his men. But first he had to have exclusive rights to the land. And at a time when the European powers were scrambling for spheres of influence around the world, that meant keeping others out. The granting of Protectorate status had kept the Germans out of Bechuanaland; an agreement with Lobengula forestalled Boer and Portuguese ambitions in Matabeleland; but what of Barotseland?