Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
December 20, 2014, 08:13:35 pm
HomePredMockPollEVCalcAFEWIKIHelpLogin Register
News: Please delete your old personal messages.

+  Atlas Forum
|-+  General Politics
| |-+  Political Debate
| | |-+  Book Reviews and Discussion (Moderator: Beet)
| | | |-+  Lusotropicalism
« previous next »
Pages: [1] Print
Author Topic: Lusotropicalism  (Read 1896 times)
Storebought
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 3084
View Profile
« on: January 26, 2014, 02:11:59 pm »
Ignore

I'm about halfway through reading Angola under the Portuguese by Gerald Bender. It is, in part, a deconstruction of Lusotropicalism, the (in)famous ideology constructed by Gilberto Freyre to justify Portugal's continued colonial presence in southern Africa.

They're many interesting points brought up, but the most interesting to me is the discussion of the creation and class positions of "mestizo" classes. One of the main points of Lusotropicalism is that, because the Portuguese created a large and influential mixed-race group in Brazil, it was evidence that the Portuguese lacked the inherent racial endogamy that so strongly characterized the settler colonies established by the British.

Bender uses colonial statistics from both Africa and Latin America to refute that argument. He notes that mestizo classes are created only under the conditions that (1) whites are heavily outnumbered against natives and (2) white men heavily outnumber white women.

Because the desire to "initiate congress" with women is indefatigable in men ("unless one is a homosexual", in the words of Freyre), white men will hump native and subject women in spite of intense internal prejudice against them.  This was a feature of all white colonies satisfying those conditions (infamous examples being Jamaica and Cape Colony [1]), not just those of the Portuguese, who, incidentally, shared the same prejudices as the English and Dutch.

When white women finally emigrate in numbers that create a satisfactory sexual balance to white men (150 to 100, say), the conception of new mestizos will stop, and all privileges accorded to the mestizos against the native majority (when their compliance to the system mattered) will vanish. This was true even in Brazil, the model nation of Lusotropicalism, when European immigration surged after the abolition of slavery.

Bender also notes that the United States is the only nation (besides possibly Israel) where mestizos never had any class privileges. This was because the 13 colonies tended to attract whites who emigrated as family units, or who were deported in roughly matched gender proportion. Unlike Jamaica or Guyana, colonies founded by the same nation, mestizos of the US were always at the bottom [2].

The book is interesting, and the footnotes even more so, even if they are distracting as all footnotes tend to be.

I am now on the section concerning the (deplorable and shambolic) conditions of Angola Colony before the Berlin Conference. I will let you know more if there is any interest.

[1] The Dutch created a large and, until 1948, relatively prestigious, mestizo class in Cape Colony, and were terrific racists.

[2] "White blood carried status in America only when it is unadulterated." Pg 39.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2014, 02:17:56 pm by Storebought »Logged
Tetro Kornbluth
Gully Foyle
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 11639
Ireland, Republic of


View Profile
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2014, 02:43:43 pm »
Ignore

Excellent post Storebought. Good to see you back.

Quote
[1] The Dutch created a large and, until 1948, relatively prestigious, mestizo class in Cape Colony, and were terrific racists.

Still are.
Logged



Quote
Keith R Laws ‏@Keith_Laws  Feb 4
As I have noted before 'paradigm shift' is an anagram of 'grasp dim faith'
Insula Dei
belgiansocialist
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 4232
Belgium


View Profile
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2014, 03:36:16 pm »
Ignore

Excellent post Storebought. Good to see you back.

Quote
[1] The Dutch created a large and, until 1948, relatively prestigious, mestizo class in Cape Colony, and were terrific racists.

Still are.

Also quite a significant population of 'Eurasians' and 'Indos' in Indonesia.
Logged

Tetro Kornbluth
Gully Foyle
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 11639
Ireland, Republic of


View Profile
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2014, 03:53:34 pm »
Ignore

Excellent post Storebought. Good to see you back.

Quote
[1] The Dutch created a large and, until 1948, relatively prestigious, mestizo class in Cape Colony, and were terrific racists.

Still are.

Also quite a significant population of 'Eurasians' and 'Indos' in Indonesia.

Of course. Met a few who were studying in Leiden. Don't forget the Sri Lankan Dutch Burgher population too.
Logged



Quote
Keith R Laws ‏@Keith_Laws  Feb 4
As I have noted before 'paradigm shift' is an anagram of 'grasp dim faith'
Lurker
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 523
Norway
View Profile
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2014, 04:09:40 pm »
Ignore

Excellent post Storebought. Good to see you back.

Quote
[1] The Dutch created a large and, until 1948, relatively prestigious, mestizo class in Cape Colony, and were terrific racists.

Still are.

There are only two things I can't stand in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures... and the Dutch.


(My apologies for bringing Austin Powers into this interesting thread).
Logged
Storebought
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 3084
View Profile
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2014, 10:22:06 pm »
Ignore

The second part of the book concerns the European population trends and settlement of the colony. But before that, it helps to enter a little into the background of the initial contact:

Angola was one part of the series of Portuguese discoveries and settlements of the Atlantic Coast of Africa following the conquest of the Muslim fortress Ceuta in 1415. The Portuguese "discovered" the Senegambia and Cape Verde in 1441; discovered (in the literal sense) Sao Tome and Principe in 1470; built Elmina Castle in Ghana as a trade depot in 1480; and finally reached Angola (which was a bit farther north than currently, near the mouth of the Congo River) under Diogo Cao in 1484.

The primary motivation for this expansion around Africa was an attempt to circumvent Muslim and Venetian trade monopolies of the Mediterranean. Initially, the Portuguese engaged in legitimate trade with black Africans in salt, elephant ivory, gold ("Elmina" is Portuguese for "the mine"), and something called guinea pepper, but after Pedro Cabral's discovery of Brazil in 1500 and the circumvention of Africa by Da Gama and Bartolomeo Diaz, the Portuguese lost interest in Africa except as a source of slaves.

The following anecdote sets into stage the relation between Angola and the Portuguese mainland

---

The Kongo Kingdom of Angola was the first organized state in black Africa to encounter the Portuguese. At first, the relationship began diplomatically, culminating in the conversion of the
Kongo under Afonso I to Catholicism in 1505. But by this point, Portugal's interest in Angola, and Africa in general, was dominated by the slave trade.

While 60,000 slaves were taken from pagan Kongo between 1485 and 1505, 375000 slaves were taken from Catholic Kongo between 1505 and 1575. Much of the Angolan slave trade was conducted by the very priests and Jesuit friars who were called upon to convert the kingdom.

The volume of slaves taken from the Kongo was so high that Kongo King Afonso I wrote letters in Portuguese to King Joao II and successors complaining about the conduct of the Portuguese "missionaries" and traders in his kingdom. It was all in vain: after 1526, the Portuguese mainland would make no move to compromise the slave trade in Africa.

In 1540, a Portuguese friar ordered a mortar attack on a Kongo church during Easter service that barely missed Afonso.

When Afonso died a few weeks later, the relation between Portugal and Kongo deteriorated into open warfare -- which the Portuguese then used as pretext to engage in more slave raiding.

---

From the very start, Angola was little more than a source of slave labor, a function it would retain for the next 400 years.
Logged
Storebought
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 3084
View Profile
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2014, 12:03:45 am »
Ignore

The 400 years between the first contact of Portugal with Angola, and Portugal's abolition of the Atlantic slave trade in 1850, can be described in a sentence:

Quote
The pre-twentieth century history of the Portuguese in Angola is essentially the history of exiled criminals -- "degredados" -- who were dumped into Angola's shores like the garbage they were considered to be.

Portuguese colonial policy, even before Lusotropicalism was invented, prioritized the settlement of Portuguese nationals into its colonies. Initially, this was done through deportation of convicted criminals (every Portuguese conquistador after the conquest of Ceuta in 1415 was accompanied with convict settlers), but, eventually, the Portuguese hoped, voluntary migration would supersede deportation.

In Brazil and the temperate colonies of Azores and Madeira, the voluntary migrant population soon exceeded deported criminals and the territories became effective settlements. In Portuguese Asia (Goa, Macao, Timor), both deportations and emigration were nil, and the colonies remained (legitimate) trading outposts until the very end of Portuguese rule.

By contrast, with the minor exception of Cape Verde, the African colonies remained open air slave trading depots populated and staffed almost entirely by convicts throughout the period.

Because Portuguese colonial policy went unchanged for 400 years, this section of the book is composed almost entirely of anecdotes.

The conditions of Angola colony can be ascertained from fragments of a 17th century poem:

Quote
Angola is a turbulent land ... of bloody wars ... malignant and burning fever ... multitudes of mosquitoes ... snakes and strange animals of every type ... a hell in life ... the dunghill of Portugal where she purges her scum.

The combination of the high death rate, a hostile African population outside the pale of settlement, and towns dominated by white felons, precluded any voluntary Portuguese emigration into Angola colony.

Thus, to maintain any white population, the Portuguese periodically shipped 100 to 200 convicted criminals every year through Luanda harbor. These convicts were not imprisoned on arrival to serve their sentence, as in Devil's Island in French Guiana, but instead functioned as the adjuncts of the civil and military authority of the colony. Most of the white felons lived in Luanda and Benguela, but handfuls of them ventured into the Angola highlands. It was these interior convicts who engaged in the bulk of the Angolan slave trade throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. [1]

Convicts never engaged in agriculture or in development of the interior.

Every now and again, Portuguese colonial governors complained about the counterproductive shipments of criminals to "develop" the colony, but to no avail:

From Governor Sousa Coutinho in 1766
Quote
We must prohibit forever the sentences which burden this kingdom with prostitutes and degredados of the worst type, for the experience of more than two centuries shows that such shipments have been useless and often dangerous

From Governor Antonio de Melo in 1802
Quote
I should like to be able to bring this colony to court so that your Royal Highness and his ministers could actually see the deplorable state it is in.

Portugal continued to send criminals to Angola even after every other colonizing nation had halted the practice of criminal deportations in general. [2]

At the end of the period, the first effective census of the colony in 1846 showed that 1,830 whites lived in the country. Nine whites out of 10 lived in Luanda, and the rest (approx. 40) in Benguela. The enslaved African population in Luanda was not counted.

The next section shows Portuguese efforts to settle Angola after the Berlin Conference of 1885

1. Some 84% of the income of Angola colony came from the slave trade. Between 1759 and 1803, 642,000 Africans were shipped from Angola to Brazil. And between 1550 and 1850, slaves represented 4/5ths of Angola's exports.

2.The author takes great pains to contrast the "degredados" sent to Angola to the English convicts sent to Australia. Portuguese convicts were older, much more likely to be convicted of crimes against the person (murder and rape), and had longer experience in the criminal justice system. The Portuguese convicts were hardened recidivists. And the Portuguese continued to send them, unlike Australia, which refused any more English convicts after 1854.
Logged
Tetro Kornbluth
Gully Foyle
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 11639
Ireland, Republic of


View Profile
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2014, 11:28:48 pm »
Ignore

I just want to say that I really enjoyed this thread. I have nothing to add although none of this I find particularly very surprising in the context of colonial history.
Logged



Quote
Keith R Laws ‏@Keith_Laws  Feb 4
As I have noted before 'paradigm shift' is an anagram of 'grasp dim faith'
Storebought
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 3084
View Profile
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2014, 03:43:15 pm »
Ignore

I might as well finish the project I started and continue with this thread:

The Berlin Conference of 1885, organized under Bismarck at the request of the Portuguese government, as everybody knows, partitioned Africa amongst the Great Powers (inviting even the US, who didn't send delegates) ostensibly to settle competing colonial claims in Africa peaceably.

The details of the Berlin Conference are not discussed much in this book. But one of the consequences of the agreement was that a would-be African power had to enforce "effective rule" over its claims, or else cede them to another European power who could.

In 1885 Portuguese Angola, with a population of 1500 or so, had the largest white population in Africa between Cape Colony/Transvaal and Algeria. The next largest white settlement, St-Louis, Senegal, had a white population of 200. Every place else was below the low double digits. It looked like Portugal had a good head start, but we know better.

The population in Angola at that point consisted mostly of free-range criminals and an overextended, badly underfunded civilian administration. Portugal had to find a way to increase the white population, or exert full administrative control over the entire colony, or else cede it to Britain.

Unfortunately, no amount of inducements could convince Portuguese migrants to choose Angola over Brazil or Argentina. Angola was hot, disease-ridden, and overrun with criminals and wild Africans. In the 19th century, 650000 Portuguese emigrated to the New World while fewer than 9000 settled Angola.

At this point, the author engages in a detailed reportage of the violent and unsettled nature of the colony in a way I personally find gratuitous. But it evidently is no exaggeration, since the Portuguese themselves at the time believed it.

Portugal's response was characteristic -- exert effective control by establishing new agricultural colonies in the interior of the country, to be settled by even more exiled criminals! Only this time, not only from mainland Portugal, but also its other tropical colonies, including Mozambique, as well. As the author points out, even the free Portuguese emigrants to Brazil seldom entered agriculture, so this desire for Angola with convicts was sheer delusion. Nevertheless, convicts continued to be sent to Angola's interior (only to run away to Luanda) until Salazar finally cut off funding for the deportations in 1932:

Quote
The old system of overseas penal colonization, carried out at random over successive decades and without a firm or well-defined plan, failed completely…

The hundreds of bodies which are annually exported to Angola without utility and the thousands of contos which are spent each year could well be applied in the utilization and exploration of
uncultivated metropolitan lands.

The biggest change in Angola's administration came with the establishment of the Estado Novo in 1930 -- another topic outside the scope of this book. According to the 1933 Colonial Act, Portugal's African colonies, much like Belgian Congo, had to become economically self-sustaining. The tribal Africans were now made to pay for their incorporation into colonial administration. Angola and Mozambique had to provide substantive material benefits for their metropole. And, just as importantly, the Africans living in the interior of colony had to adopt Portuguese cultural norms.

The author judges how well the Portuguese fulfilled these objectives through the following criteria:

1. Did the settlement program (now with free people) attract sufficient long-term inhabitants, and not mere fortune seekers?
2. Did the presence of white settlers increase the economic value of the rural areas? Did it do so at lower cost to Portugal than, say, rural development through African farmers themselves?
3. Did it fulfill a tenet of Lusotropicalism -- the non-violent assimilation of tribal people to Portuguese culture?

The new project could not have had a more inauspicious start. Between 1900 and 1940, only 35,000 Portuguese migrated to Angola, whereas over a million migrated to Brazil, Argentina, and the US (obviously before 1924…) during the same time period.

Furthermore, the people who did settle in Angola were neither professional farmers, nor middle class cohorts with capital to start a plantation, but underemployed urbanites (future degredados…) who settled Luanda and Benguela as mechanics and shopkeepers and who ultimately displaced the assimilated Africans who previously occupied the same economic niche. Even the landless rural Portuguese who were induced to settle in Angola refused farming as an occupation there.

The strong social prejudice held by the Portuguese against farming, least of all in Africa ("only blacks should work in Africa"), combined with poor colonial infrastructure (poor selection of homesteads, rural isolation[1], high tariffs to imported machinery and spare parts, misallocated credit, etc.) mean that, by 1950, only 2700 whites, less than 10% of the white male population by that point, were registered as farmers, one of the stated goals of colonial policy [2].

By that criteria, the first two policy objectives of the Colonial Act were failures by the 1950s. The third major objective -- peacable assimilation of Africans into Portuguese culture -- was undercut by the presence of a strict de facto racial segregation in Luanda and the domineering attitude of the (few) Portuguese landholders in the rural areas [3]. For the most part, however, it was colonial policy undertaken after the 1950s that really eroded Portuguese legitimacy in Angola.

[1.] My personal objection: A nation does not need many farmers to have a successful agricultural policy. Even in 1950, the share of output per farmer meant that having 10% of at least the white male population engaged in agriculture was more than sufficient for self-sustaining colony.

[2.] In the mid 1920s, Angola had no roads or rail lines, and rural people had to traverse the countryside in Boer oxcarts. The Benguela railroad, completed in 1929, was financed 80% with British capital (an important point). Even by 1953, Angola had only 50 miles (ok, 80 km) of paved highways. The Portuguese never considered making large investments in a colony they long regarded as unprofitable.

[3.] The capital that the Portuguese government allocated to a settler (called colon, like the French) to establish a farmstead in the outback was instead used either to open a small shop in Luanda, or otherwise to create a hacienda where all manual labor was unloaded onto hired Africans. The latter labor arrangement was common throughout Africa of the 1950s; however, the Angolan haciendas were never profitable (demonstrated later on in the book), and existed only through routine extensions of credit.
Logged
Citizen Superique
Superique
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 2248
Brazil


View Profile
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2014, 12:37:09 pm »
Ignore

Gilberto Freire got many things right but his theories upon race lack factual or historical examples. Not to mention his distorted idea that Brasial was a Racial Democracy.
Logged

"When people want less of taxes and more of everything else, you've got a problem." Jerry Brown

"Government has become so vast and impersonal that its interests diverge more and more from the interests of ordinary citizens." George McGovern

"Don't pray for easy lives, pray to be stronger man." John F. Kennedy
politicus
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 5978
Denmark


View Profile
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2014, 05:27:59 pm »
Ignore

I recently looked into white minorities in Africa and Angola actually has the second largest white population in Africa at 200.000. Mostly not colonials, but people migrating there since 2000 because of the oil boom and - lately - the economic crisis in Portugal. More Portuguese have emigrated to Angola in recent years than Angolans to Portugal.
Logged

Pages: [1] Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  


Login with username, password and session length

Logout

Powered by SMF 1.1.20 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines