Uprisings in Africa during WWI

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Utrecht
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Uprisings in Africa during WWI

Post by Utrecht » 21 Sep 2006 15:19

Most white settlers in Africa were not eager to fight in the colonies when the First World War broke out. Main reason was that they feared new uprisings from natives. And indeed, when fighting broke out in Africa both parties had to face rebellions in their territory.

The Germans caused uprisings in both Portugese East- and West-Africa.

Because of the German invasion in North-Mozambique the Portugese presence in the South was weakened. This encouraged the Makombas - who were often used as carrier by the Portugese, but neither paid nor fed - to start a rebellion in the Zambezia-area.
By using 10.000-15.000 Ngoni auxiliaries, who were promised all the booty they could carry away (including women and children), the back of the rebellion was broken by the end of 1917.

Although the suppression of the rebellion in SE-Africa was ferocious, it was nothing compared to the methods the Portugese used to stop the uprising in the Angolan Ovambo-region.
After the Portugese were defeated by the Germans at Cuangar and Naulila they abandoned large parts of the Ovambo-region. In reaction the tribes in the area - armed with 1000 rifles and 4 machine-guns, left behind by the Portugese - rose in revolt.

Hew Strachan writes about the Portugese punitive expedition against the Ovambo-tribes:

The Portugese now commanded by Pereira d'Eca confronted a long campaign, punctuated with major battles and conducted with fearful brutality. Pereira d'Eca was alleged to have ordered the killing of all natives aged over 10: some were hanged with barbed wire, others crucified.

For the Germans the uprising in Angola ment the neutralization of their northern frontier so that they could focus on the southern front. For the natives of the Ovambo the uprising resulted in death and destruction.

But also the Germans had to deal with rebellion (e.g. Namibia under leadership of Neels van Wijk) in their territory.

Were there more uprisings in Africa during WWI?
And more information about what is mentioned above is welcome!

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Chris Dale
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Post by Chris Dale » 22 Sep 2006 01:02

Hi Utrecht,
Thanks for the information on the Portuguese rebellions. The only other large rebellion agaist a colonial power during WW1 that I'm aware of was the Maritz Rebellion in South Africa
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maritz_Rebellion
Cheers
Chris

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Post by Kuno2 » 25 Sep 2006 07:19

There was another rebellion in Africa during WW1; the most successful of all the upraisings:

The Libyan Freedom Fighters have pushed back the Italians to only a very few fortified cities along the coast to the Mediterranean Sea. The whole big rest of th e country has been taken by them.

Assisted by Turkish "advisors" and supported with weapons delivered from German U-Boats, they became a little bit too courageous and attacked even the british occupied Egypt. They conquered the large Oasis SIWA but have been defeatet then by the newly formed "Light Car Patrols".

The Libyan Resistance went on until the year 1931.

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Post by Utrecht » 25 Sep 2006 10:59

Interesting, I didn't know of this Libian rebellion.

The Boer revolt is obviously the most famous rebllion that occured during WWI. The Union suffered more casualties in this rebellion than in the campaign against the Germans in Namibia.

About the other revolts there is hardly any information to find on the internet.

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Post by Animal » 25 Sep 2006 11:13

Kuno2 wrote:There was another rebellion in Africa during WW1; the most successful of all the upraisings:

The Libyan Freedom Fighters have pushed back the Italians to only a very few fortified cities along the coast to the Mediterranean Sea. The whole big rest of th e country has been taken by them.

Assisted by Turkish "advisors" and supported with weapons delivered from German U-Boats, they became a little bit too courageous and attacked even the british occupied Egypt. They conquered the large Oasis SIWA but have been defeatet then by the newly formed "Light Car Patrols".

The Libyan Resistance went on until the year 1931.
In fact there was a 1981 movie about the Libyan Senussi resistance, called "Lion Of The Desert", with Anthony Quinn as the Senussi leader Omar Mukhtar and Oliver Reed as the Italian General Graziani who finally crushed the rebellion. The film was largely financed by none other than Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Khadafy.

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Post by Kuno2 » 26 Sep 2006 08:55

Correct. Otherwise there is not that much literature available in english language about that subject...

BTW. the film was made on the original places in Libya.

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Post by cj » 28 Sep 2006 04:19

there was a rebellion against the British in Kenya, i read it in Ross Anderson's "The Forgotten Front", it was avery short anicdote, and it will take me some time to find it but I'll go look and post the tribes name and any other info I find hopefully tomarow

Utrecht
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Re: Uprisings in Africa during WWI

Post by Utrecht » 06 Oct 2006 11:37

Utrecht wrote:

But also the Germans had to deal with rebellion (e.g. Namibia under leadership of Neels van Wijk) in their territory.
More about this uprising:

After the defeat of Kleist's unit at Gibeon the Bastards (or Basters) - who were tired of German requirements because of the war - rose in revolt.

Neels van Wyck contacted Botha to co-operate, but the latter didn't want any of the black bastard labourers involved (according to Botha it should stay a 'White man's war'.....) But from 11 April the Bastards began seizing weapons and oxen from German settlers, killing three who opposed them. On 18 April Bastard police attacked the town Rehoboth.

By 25 April three German Compagnies (under command of ?) were engaged in a punitive expedition into Bastard territory. But the military situation elsewhere in Namibia forced the Germans to break off their action on 8 May.


Source: To Arms, Hew Strachan

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Post by Utrecht » 08 Mar 2007 12:33

Albeit the bigger uprisings - which the white settlers feared, while fighting each other - didn't seldom occure, there were probably dozens of smaller uprisings. I think less are well-known. But I found information about another one:

In January 1915 the Chiradzulu district rose in rebellion unrelated to the war. The British K.A.R. depot at Zomba and local Europeans were reinforced by the dispatch from Karonga of a double company ("F" and "H"), 1 K.A.R. with a machinegun and a 7pdr, under Captain H. G. Collins was landed at Fort Johnston and put down the rebellion.

Source is this interesting article

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