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The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume V: Historiography$
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Robin Winks

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205661

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205661.001.0001

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West Africa

West Africa

(p.486) 31 West Africa
The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume V: Historiography

Falola Toyin

Oxford University Press

The study of the British Empire in West Africa began before the birth of African history as an academic discipline. There were three major currents. The first was the literature generated by Europeans. The second current was the literature generated within West Africa, mainly by Arabic chroniclers and local historians such as Carl Reindorf of Ghana and Samuel Johnson of Nigeria. The third and least known current was the interest in West African history in the United States, due mainly to the activities of pan-Africanist W. E. B. Du Bois. This chapter is concerned with the work of professional historians, and particularly with work since 1945. The three currents mentioned above led to the foundation for the post-Second World War creation of African history as an academic field. Four major themes dominate the historiography of British West Africa. In addition, the historiography of British West Africa over three generations is rich and vibrant and deserves to be celebrated.

Keywords:   British Empire, British West Africa, African history, Second World War, historiography, Arabic chroniclers, Carl Reindorf, Samuel Johnson, W. E. B. Du Bois

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