West African Soldiers in Britain’s Colonial Army, 1860-1960
Title Details

400 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

1 map and 12 b/w illus.

Series: Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora

Series Vol. Number: 94

Imprint: University of Rochester Press

West African Soldiers in Britain’s Colonial Army, 1860-1960

by Timothy Stapleton

  • Description
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  • Author
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Explores the history of Britain's colonial army in West Africa, especially the experiences of ordinary soldiers recruited in the region.

West African Soldiers in Britain's Colonial Army explores the complex and constantly changing experience of West African soldiers under British command in Nigeria, the Gold Coast (now Ghana), Sierra Leone, and the Gambia. Since cost and tropical disease limited the deployment of British metropolitan troops to the region, British colonial rule in West Africa depended heavily on locally recruited soldiers and their families. This force became Britain's largest colonial army in Sub-Saharan Africa.
West African Soldiers looks at the development of this colonial military from the conquest era of the late nineteenth century to decolonization in the 1950s. Rather than describing the many battles fought by this army both regionally and overseas, and informed by the concept of military culture, the book looks at the broad and overlapping themes of identity, culture, daily life, and violence. Chapter topics include the enslaved origins of the force, military identities including the myth of martial races, religious life, visual symbols like uniforms and insignia, health care related to tropical and sexually transmitted diseases, the experience of army wives, disciplinary flogging, mutiny, day-to-day violence committed by troops, and the employment of former soldiers by the colonial state. Based on archival research in five countries, the book derives inspiration from previous work on ordinary African soldiers in the British and German colonies of East Africa and in French West Africa.
Summary
Acknowledgements
Abbreviations
Introduction
Chapter 1: Slave Origins
Chapter 2: Identities: Nigeria and Ghana
Chapter 3: Identities: Sierra Leone and the Gambia
Chapter 4: Religion
Chapter 5: Symbols
Chapter 6: Health
Chapter 7: Women
Chapter 8: Flogging
Chapter 9: Mutiny
Chapter 10: Murder and Mayhem
Chapter 11: Former Soldiers
Conclusion
Appendix: Mini-Biographies
Bibliography

TIMOTHY STAPLETON is a professor in the Department of History at the University of Calgary.

"An in-depth analysis of a complex aspect of the British Army's history, and a worthwhile addition to the historiography of Britain's army, its colonial history, as well as the history of Africa. The book deserves to be read and debated by a large audience." INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MILITARY HISTORY AND HISTORIOGRAPHY

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December 2021

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Title Details

400 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

1 map and 12 b/w illus.

Series: Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora

Series Vol. Number: 94

Imprint: University of Rochester Press