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Decompressing pre-colonial history - Are the colonial clouds beginning to clear ?

October 7, 2019 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
National Liberal Club, 1 Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2HE

Please note this meeting has been postponed due to uncertainty about a general election. a new date will be advised.

The worst thing that colonialism did was to cloud our view of our past.' - Barack Obama

When Portuguese traders first arrived on what is now the Nigerian coast in 1472 they found a thriving region with large cities, and trade routes by river & overland to North Africa and the Middle East. Surprisingly for the malnourished Portuguese crews venturing inland, they found goods from South East Europe and Turkey. Moreover, Nigerian exports, especially advanced metals, had been sent through trans-Saharan routes to the

Mid East since a thousand years earlier. The Nigerian currency in the 1600s had its origins in what is now Zanzibar and Maldives. In 1786 a whole town - Calabar - was created in order to extend trade with Europeans.

The phenomenon is not restricted to Africa. Few in present-day Pakistan for example are aware that Taxila (near what is now Islamabad) was one of the largest cities in all Asia 2600 years ago. When Alexander the Great arrived in 326 BCE his scribes recorded a university commune there the like of which had not been seen in Greece.

As the renowned scholar the late Prof. Richard Reid said: "States and peoples that were or are acknowledged as having existed on the eve of colonial rule are too often overlooked in a scholarly world that lauds, in one way or another, colonial power and the power of modernity".

This is something to be remedied.

This Liberal International Forum explores these issues and, in discussing these and other examples of pre-colonial history, considers the impact of changing European perceptions about pre-colonial history internationally, today, and the scope to focus more on pre-colonial histotry in educational institutions.

Speakers at the Forum will include Dr Abidemi Babatunde Babalola, a Smuts Research Fellow in African Studies at the Centre of African Studies at the University of Cambridge and Paul E M Reynolds a member of LIBG Executive and an adviser to governments across the world on economic development and public policy reform, who as part of parallel charitable work, has reviewed education content in several developing nations.


Joyce Onstad,

All are welcem and ther eis no need to book.

Enquiries to: paulemreynolds@gmail.com