The Peoples of Africa: An Ethnohistorical Dictionary

Greenwood Publishing Group
Free sample

Recent historical events have made it quite clear that the world is in for a long-term continuation of ethnic rivalries that have been going on for centuries. The short-term hegemony of the European empires, the Soviet Union, and the United States may have temporarily subdued some of those conflicts, but older identities are now reasserting themselves. The most complicated, diverse ethnic setting is in Africa, where several thousand languages still provide powerful identities to as many ethnic groups. The Peoples of Africa provides a brief description of the more than 1,800 individual African ethnic groups living today in Africa.

Where possible, the individual ethnic groups are discussed in terms of their geographical settings, religion, population, and local economy. Reference librarians, African area specialists, and students of African history and culture will find the book an invaluable guide.

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About the author

JAMES S. OLSON is Distinguished Professor of History at Sam Houston State University, where he has taught since 1972. He is the author of more than 20 books on U.S. and world history. With Robert Shadle, he edited Historical Dictionary of the British Empire (Greenwood, 1996).

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Additional Information

Publisher
Greenwood Publishing Group
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Published on
Dec 31, 1996
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Pages
681
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ISBN
9780313279188
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Africa / General
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / General
Social Science / Reference
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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For two generations historians have debated the significance of the New Deal, arguing about what it tried and tried not to do, whether it was radical or reactionary, and what its origins were. They have emphasized the National Recovery Administration, Agricultural Adjustment Administration, Tennessee Valley Authority, or the various social and labor legislation to illustrate an assortment of arguments about the "real" New Deal. Here James Olson contends that the little-studied Reconstruction Finance Corporation was the major New Deal agency, even though it was the product of the Hoover Administration. Pouring more than ten billion dollars into private businesses during the 1930s in a strenuous effort to "save capitalism," the RFC was the largest, most powerful, and most influential of all New Deal agencies, proving that the main thrust of the New Deal was state capitalism--the use of the federal government to shore up private property and the status quo. As national and international money markets collapsed in 1930, Hoover created an RFC with a structure similar to that of his War Finance Corporation. The agency was given two billion dollars to make low-interest loans to commercial banks, savings banks, other financial institutions, and railroads. With modifications, it survived the ultimate collapse of the economy in 1933 and went on to become the central part of the New Deal's effort to preserve fundamental American institutions.

Originally published in 1988.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

The peoples of Africa are neither ethnically, culturally, nor religiously homogeneous. European colonial powers took little note of this reality in carving up the continent, a fact reflected in the periodic outbreak of civil war since decolonialization. Likewise, Western European models of development, whether in their liberal or Marxist manifestations, have so far failed to meet African development needs. The path to stability in Africa is through its people's character and goals. Almanac of African Peoples and Nations provides an essential guide to the major ethnic groups of the African continent, highlighting the major contributions and basic features of each.The Almanac reviews Africa's language families and their respective national and geographic concentrations, explaining ethnic classification based on linguistic difference and including language groups that are not indigenous to Africa. The major African peoples are then listed by country with a statistical breakdown on their respective shares in the total population of each country and maps indicating their concentration. The major section of the volume includes a comprehensive listing and descriptive profile of each ethnic, national, and tribal group detailing their history, customs, economic systems, and political and social organizations. The Almanac points out as well which groups support revisionist political aspirations and shows the internal and external pressures they are subject to. Yakan notes that African societies are not highly integrated and must support multitudes of influential sub-cultures with conflicting agendas and loyalties. Arguing that tribalism reflects Africa's historical experience and cultural heritage, he sees the resolution of the continent's problems in consociational democracy, proportional representation, federalism, or some form of autonomous rule.
In the 1880s, as the European powers were carving up Africa, King Leopold II of Belgium seized for himself the vast and mostly unexplored territory surrounding the Congo River. Carrying out a genocidal plundering of the Congo, he looted its rubber, brutalized its people, and ultimately slashed its population by ten million—all the while shrewdly cultivating his reputation as a great humanitarian. Heroic efforts to expose these crimes eventually led to the first great human rights movement of the twentieth century, in which everyone from Mark Twain to the Archbishop of Canterbury participated. King Leopold's Ghost is the haunting account of a megalomaniac of monstrous proportions, a man as cunning, charming, and cruel as any of the great Shakespearean villains. It is also the deeply moving portrait of those who fought Leopold: a brave handful of missionaries, travelers, and young idealists who went to Africa for work or adventure and unexpectedly found themselves witnesses to a holocaust. Adam Hochschild brings this largely untold story alive with the wit and skill of a Barbara Tuchman. Like her, he knows that history often provides a far richer cast of characters than any novelist could invent. Chief among them is Edmund Morel, a young British shipping agent who went on to lead the international crusade against Leopold. Another hero of this tale, the Irish patriot Roger Casement, ended his life on a London gallows. Two courageous black Americans, George Washington Williams and William Sheppard, risked much to bring evidence of the Congo atrocities to the outside world. Sailing into the middle of the story was a young Congo River steamboat officer named Joseph Conrad. And looming above them all, the duplicitous billionaire King Leopold II. With great power and compassion, King Leopold's Ghost will brand the tragedy of the Congo—too long forgotten—onto the conscience of the West.
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