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Om Struggle for Control of the Hinterland o
This book tells the story of the people of Igbo land at the middle of the nineteenth century, when Europe and Europeans held the dominant power over the lives and affairs of many peoples in Africa. This dominance, however, was never supposed to be total or absolute. Nevertheless, it managed to cast a constricting shadowwith its associated, if unhealthy, ambienceon the day-to-day lives of the people using the overwhelming military and economic power at its disposal at a time when Africans were either recovering from five hundred years of stupor brought on by its own dark ages (AD 11001600) or the shock and paralysis that followed the Moroccan (Mohamedan) and Spanish-mercenary-assisted mayhem and chaos of 1591 against the African kingdoms of West Africa. But the white man would soon lose most of his political and economic opportunities, and some of the absolute attributes he had mustered over the years the moment Britain and the other European races saw themselves as divinely appointed to right the wrongs of mankind. He would, from then on, render himself vulnerable to the tide of African enlightenment and progress, which was then building up everywhere, once the trade by which he had gained his ascendency over the other races of mankind began to decline. In addition, European ascendency witnessed an unusual reversal of luck when its residual strengths, recently boosted with the development of some newer types of weaponrythe Maxim machine gun in the UK (1883) and the Mauser Machine gun (1891) in Germanyweapons whose astonishing power and versatility had not previously been seen or tested in any battlefront, became more widely available to European and non-European troops. These, however, could not provide definitive answers to all the tactical and strategic imperatives of the developing new battlefront which European armies had sought. Nevertheless, these new weapons became celebrated after they were successfully used to hold the line and repel hordes of brave native fighters armed only with machetes and spears (South Africa) and bows and arrows (Kitcheners Sudan), enabling British forces to claim easy victories over the native forces; several Victoria Crosses would be won on both battlefronts by the British army. The success of the campaigns clearly went to the heads of the victorious army commanders. Thus were sown the seeds that would grow, leading to the idea of invincibility of the white man in the battlefield and the tragic events that preceded the First World War (19141918).