PC: An African Bismarck or Garibaldi?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by SpaceCowboy, Apr 15, 2018.

  1. SpaceCowboy Banned

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    Would it have been plausible to have an African Bismarck or African Garibaldi either in the 19th or 20th century?

    What I'm thinking of here is having some African leader embrace ethno-nationalism and create a unified nation-state like Bismarck managed to do in Germany and like Garibaldi managed to do in Italy.

    Also, I want this nation-state to become a regional power in Africa--if not immediately, then eventually.
     
  2. SwordLord Well-Known Member

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    Your first mistake was calling Germany and Italy ethno-nation states. They were/are cultural nation states. As for the regional power part, the only part of Africa that *might* be strong enough to stop the Europeans would be West Africa, which was full of tiny states and small cultural groups which disliked each other at best, and hated each other at the worst. If you want a united African state that the Euros would want to conquer(ie, not Ethiopia) then you need a pod FAR further back then a single person once the Euros were knocking on the door.
     
  3. Ultima Ratio The Last Baron

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    I don't think Bismarck or Garibaldi are good comparisons in any kind of African context. Ethiopia probably has the most potential, but the will have to rule Sudan at least and probably all of the Horn. Problem is the religion. A modernized Ethiopia could probably do it, but it's not going to be an ethno-nation state by far.
     
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  4. GoulashComrade Huey Newton's Edgier Twin

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    Depending on how late you want your POD to be, perhaps shifting geopolitics around might let you get something out of Somalia's Sufi Muslim Dervish State. Maxamed Cabdille Xasan often wrote that he wanted to get all ethnically Somali territories under the state, almost like Siad Barre's later Somali irredentism. The Dervish State was also freakishly good at beating off Europeans; could they have some staying power?
     
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  5. LostInNewDelhi Anarcho-Shaivist

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    Menelik II of Ethiopia is the closest I can think of.

    It's important to remember that Bismarck had the resources of one of Europe's great powers at his back, and Garibaldi had both foreign and domestic support. They didn't come out of nowhere, and neither did Menelik (he built on the historical memory of a centuries-old Ethiopian state as a mandate for his reunification and expansion of the country). The plausibility of an African nation-builder depends on this kind of infrastructure, and the existence of that infrastructure requires a prior POD in most cases outside of West or North Africa.

    I guess that maybe you can have the South African Mfecane lead to the establishment of bigger kingdoms. It already contributed to the existence of Lesotho and Swaziland, whose constituent peoples formed kingdoms as a defense against Shaka. Just have those kingdoms be bigger somehow?
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
  6. FillyofDelphi Well-Known Member

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    "African" is not a meaningful cultural, linguistic, ethnic, or even historical-experience based label. It's purely geographic, with nothing to build the nation-state on. The continent is huge and fragmented in every measure that counts.
     
  7. Noscoper Well-Known Member

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    I believe he means a European-style nation-state in Africa rather then an Pan-African state
     
  8. Noscoper Well-Known Member

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    Muhammad Ali would be a good candidate should he hold onto the Levant.
     
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  9. Tripledot Well-Known Member

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    Pan-Africanism would necessarily be at odds with ethno-nationalism.
    But how would that work? Africa simply isn't homogenous enough for something like that to work (barring industrial genocide).
     
  10. Noscoper Well-Known Member

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    There are some locations that are homogeneous like most of North Africa, Somalia and Zululand or they can be made so by a process of linguistic and cultural assimilation similar to what happened in Western Europe
     
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  11. JonasResende Well-Known Member

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    Zululand? Homogenous? You've got Sothos up in the mountains, Zulu in the lowlands, Xhosa up to halfway (and the Xhosa don't like the Zulus much - actually TBF, thanks to Shaka, most tribes AROUND the Zulu don't like the Zulus much) up the KwaZulu Natal Coast, Ndebele in the north, and then we're not even talking about the smaller tribes like the Pedi, the Mpande etc.

    Plus Shaka's whole set up didn't exactly lend itself to the system surviving his death; and lets face it, Dingane that succeeded him is proof pudding of that. And I wouldn't set too much hopes about Moshoeshoe with the Sotho or Mzilikazi with the Ndebele. Moshoeshoe basically beat the Zulus out by retreating to higher ground and waging defensive campaigns, while Mzilikazi was formerly one of Shaka's commanders who surprise-surprise caught the Zulus on the backfoot by using their own tactics against them.
     
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  12. GoulashComrade Huey Newton's Edgier Twin

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    I only have in-depth knowledge of the Somali scenario, being Somali myself, but the Dervish State and honestly even the modern-day Somali territories (Somalia, Somaliland, Puntland, the Ogaden, and the Northern Frontier District) are almost 100% Somali except for small Bantu farming populations in South Somalia. Tribalism is the big thing that screws with pan-Somali unity, but Xasan had already united several Darod, Dir, and Issaq clans and has cowed the rest. Coupling that with the fact that the Dervishes had a semi-modern military (especially for Africa) and I could see something starting there.
     
  13. Marius Member Donor

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    Huh? How are you defining Zululand? If you're generous and say that Zululand is KwaZulu-Natal (which it's not) Zulus make up three-quarters of the population. If we restrict Zululand to northern KwaZulu-Natal then Zulus are probably between 85-90% of the population. Pedis and Ndebele are also to the north, won't find many of them in Zululand.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
  14. Darth Dargon Sith and dangerous, if you know what I mean

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    Well what about a industrialized madagascar, perhaps strong statesman could hold off the Europeans, play them off one another and take advantage of the trade routes
     
  15. Vespasian Active Member

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    Have someone unify the Yoruba city states and recreate the Oyo Empire/defeat Dahomey, Nupe and the Sokoto Caliphate. Perhaps even prevent Lagos from being seized by the British.
     
  16. Gandalf553 Member

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    What about a Swahili state on the East African coast that also pushes inwards, compromising of modern day Tanzania, Kenya and Northern Mozambiqcue?
     
  17. metalinvader665 Well-Known Member

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    IIRC, the Malagasy have about as much internal distinctions as the Germans or Italians did. The problem was that unlike Japan or Thailand, 19th century Madagascar had rulers (i.e. Ranavalona I) who made remarkably poor decisions which led to the colonisation of Madagascar. Madagascar isn't going to be the African Japan, but under solid leadership, it will definitely be one of the strongest powers in Africa.

    Probably, Madagascar could build a force to humiliate Portugal in a war and grab Mozambique. A second rate European power versus a rising African power seems like an interesting battle.

    Lots of slave traders did that, and given the issues with the slave trade, it doesn't make for a stable state.
     
  18. Max Sinister Retired Myriad Club Member Kicked

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    Uniting black Africa would be more like uniting all of Europe, not Germany or Italy.

    Even uniting all the Bantu people would be kinda challenge.
     
  19. Ultima Ratio The Last Baron

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    Come to think of it... how about uniting the Maghreb? Maybe Morocco could do it... somehow?
     
  20. SwordLord Well-Known Member

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    The Maghreb was the target of Colonial desires from every Mediterranean nation, especially France. Uniting at all would be hard, as France and the Ottomans would try their hardest to stop it. Even if they united, I doubt that would do anything but delay France, and give them more land once they kick down the door.