African History 5: Portuguese Africa
You might think that people living in constant fear of mosquitoes is hilarious, but it was a totally real thing...and more like malarious. Diseases carried by bugs prevented Europeans from settling large portions of Africa. We'll learn all about those today in this video.
|World History||African History|
Of course, only a few slave forts ended up going from colonies to actual countries. [Man plants South African flag]
This was because most were located between 25 degrees latitude North and 10 degrees latitude
Otherwise known as…Terrifying-bugville. [Bug appears beside girl]
The conditions in this climate band were heaven for mosquitoes and tsetse flies.
And these bugs spread some scary stuff. [Mosquitoes flying in the sky]
Like malaria, which gives you a fever so bad that you can hallucinate for weeks or months…or,
you know, die… [Man falls onto bed]
…yellow fever, which can do as much damage to your liver as a decade of heavy drinking…
…and, of course, that standby of African history, sleeping sickness. [Man with sickness laying on bed]
These diseases were bad enough for Africans.
But Europeans' immune systems really couldn’t handle them.
Permanently settling within 30 North and 10 South was almost suicidal.
So let’s just say that a lot of these forts had staffing problems. [Stacks of folders appear on desk]
Who cares if there’s a good medical plan… if there’s no cure for the disease...
what does that do for you?
But below 10 South, it was a different story.
Mosquitoes there had less luck and bred in fewer seasons. [Mosquito on a hospital bed]
Can’t say we feel bad for them.
It wasn't exactly a healthy choice for Europeans to move there permanently. [Man approaches a tank of dirty water]
Two areas where white people thrived and grew in the early years were just below the 10
South line on both coasts.
They were Portuguese West Africa, which was centered on the slave fort of Luanda…
…and Portuguese East Africa, centered on the Swahili city of Sofala.
Who knew awful places could have such pretty names?
Both colonies began in the slave trade era and primarily exported…unsurprisingly… [Colony on the beach and ship appears]
As the European population grew, European control increased, and the forts became early
In the 18th and 19th centuries, cultures changed, missionaries preached, and merchant companies [Man preaching to African men]
remade the local economies to exploit the areas for raw resources.
And that big wheel of oppression just kept rolling along…
Portugal's African colonies are a top-notch example of how the slave trade led naturally [Portugal african colonies appear on a map]
The mechanics of the slave trade and early merchant activity created zones of political
control in Africa. [Zones of political control appear on African map]
When the slave trade had the kibosh put on it… [Boot kicks slave trade ship]
…instead of giving up control, European governments found new ways to profit.
It’s like Africa was a great big piñata that Europe just couldn’t stop beating. [European man hitting Africa pinata]
There had to be more candy in there, right?
After 1699, Portugal lost interest in East Africa.
It was too far away for slave trading to be competitive, and too undeveloped to compete [Man walking into door of freedom]
with other East African traders.
Did they set the land and its people free?
Instead of running it themselves, Portugal gave most of East Africa to a handful of companies. [Man shaking womans hand]
It would be sort of like if Facebook suddenly governed California.