By Edmund James Yorke

An insightful account of the devastating effect of the nice warfare, upon the already fragile British colonial African kingdom of Northern Rhodesia. Deploying broad archival and infrequent proof from surviving African veterans, it investigates African resistance at the moment.

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Extra info for Britain, Northern Rhodesia and the First World War: Forgotten Colonial Crisis

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Perrings, Black Mineworkers in Central Africa, pp. 2 Northern Rhodesian mine labour distributed by the RNLB, 1906–21 (R. Kuczynski, Demographic Survey of the British Colonial Empire, Vol. II, p. 443) 1906 1907 1908 1909 1,579 7,590 7,411 7,457 1910 1911 1912 1913 9,120 6,588 12,126 6,501 1914 1915 1916 1917 5,408 6,602 4,142 8,549 1918 1919 1920 1921 5,418 8,509 14,579 9,058 to the plantations8 and railways of German East Africa and Nyasaland. In annual terms, however, these probably numbered a few hundred rather than thousands.

As a more direct pressure, even the right to kill game was rescinded. 120 The Unga and Batwa peoples, for instance, possessed a famine reserve in fishing and hunting game which helped compensate for seasonal crop failures. The Mambwe operated a social system better adapted to larger-scale labour demands. Nevertheless, the predominantly marginal levels of food production in these areas were an ominous portent for a highly fragile colonial Territory, which, by the close of 1914, had been plunged into a major global war with commensurate unprecedented and large-scale food and labour demands.

61 Of these ‘primary’ collaborators, messengers were of central importance as the functional link between the colonial administration on the one hand and traditional elites on the other. The perceived value of such agencies, however, as with chiefs and headmen, by no means exonerated them from Company financial pressure. In May 1914, for instance, the custom of exempting Messengers and Mailmen in north-western Rhodesia from payment of tax, as enshrined in a 1905 Circular, was abolished. As one 1914 Circular asserted, ‘the principle of exempting Messengers and Mailmen is quite wrong.

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