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date: 10 August 2020

African Military History and Historiography 

The Oxford Encyclopedia of African Historiography: Methods and Sources
Timothy ParsonsTimothy Parsons

Throughout much of the 20th century, military historians did not pay much attention to Africans. This is scarcely surprising given that most Western historians accepted the colonial-era canard that Africans had no history. African combatants therefore usually appeared in conventional military histories as tribal warriors or anticolonial insurgents. Concerned primarily with strategy, tactics, and battles, conventional military historians tended to dismiss African armed actions as tribal wars, slave and cattle raids, or warlordism. Western-style armies in the Anglo-South African War, World War I, and World War II fought the only “real” wars in Africa. Authentically African conflicts were part of the less advanced but supposedly endemic tribal violence that hindered the political and economic development of pre-conquest Africa. These alleged deficiencies prevented Africans from keeping pace with the Western military revolution and industrialization of warfare in the ... ...

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