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French African Colonies - background reading?

  • pallan
  • Topic Author
10 years 10 months ago - 10 years 10 months ago #43 by pallan
I am a new member of the Society, having only joined a few days ago. I have decided to start collecting some of the French Colonies in Africa, particularly Madagascar, but also Obock, Djibouti & Somali Coast and probably the group French Congo, Middle Congo, oubangi-Chari and Chad.
These will be side collections to my main interest, Tasmanian Postal History, and Australian Postal History 1937 - 1952.

Your Society has been extremely helpful in suggesting some good philatelic references (Congratulations on your excellent journal and resources on your website) and I now find I would like to understand the general history of the french presence in Africa, as I have realised that for me knowing the history of a region is extremely helpful in understanding the postal history.
I have had some difficulty in finding useful references on the history of French Colonization of Africa.
I wonder if anyone can suggest any useful and available titles on this subject, especial in English though I would have a go at something in French?
Last edit: 10 years 10 months ago by pallan.

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10 years 10 months ago #45 by prakelly
Replied by prakelly on topic French African Colonies - background reading?
Hello Peter, it is me again!
This question is difficult to answer because the subject is so wide.
I think the first thing is to examine the colonisation and independence in Africa as a whole and to see where France fitted in to the scheme of things. The best book i have read on this subject is Thomas Pakenham's "scramble for Africa" and this is still in print and easily available.

The second book i would recommend is called " Greater France, a history of French overseas expansion" by Robert Aldrich.

You have told me that you are going to look at The Cote. Francais des somalis and i recommend the le Monde des Philatelistes three brochure work by HenribTristant calle d "histoire postale de la cote des somalis" there is a historical background contained in it.

As far as Madagascar is concerned i am not sure exactly what is in Dr Desnos' two books but i imagine he will have gone into some detail. If you need more info on this, come back to me. I have met Desnos who is a fine old gentleman who spent some years out there as a medical doctor and has unrivalled knowledge of the place.
My own library is relatively sparce. i think on this. It is a vast subject and quite complicated!

A final book that i have found if great interest and useful sometimes is Anthony Clayton's "france, soldiers and Africa" which covers various aspects of french military involvement.

I hope this may be useful for you.

Good luck.

Pe ter

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  • pallan
  • Topic Author
10 years 10 months ago #49 by pallan
thank you for your advice and suggestions. I am starting to realise the scope of some of the African colonies and I have no doubt underestimated the extent of the possibilities for collectors. I am sure the subject of African colonization is too wide to easily be covered by a book or two as you say but I need to start somewhere.
I have managed to easily track down the two general publications you mention and also the Somali Coast booklets.
I guess I will have to narrow my field at some stage.
i must say I didnt expect so much assistance from the Society and i'm very grateful.
I'll probably have more basic questions but will try not to wear out my welcome.
Thanks again

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  • jparmenter
10 years 8 months ago #67 by jparmenter
Replied by jparmenter on topic French African Colonies - background reading?
Colin Spong suggested to me "World War II in Colonial Africa. The Death Knell of Colonialism" by Richard Osborne.(slightly pc but not too extreme)
ISBN 0-9628324-5-6 published by Richel Roque Indianapolis 2001.
I have found it very useful when I started collecting French African airmails.
John Parmenter

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  • pallan
  • Topic Author
10 years 8 months ago #68 by pallan
John, thank you for the suggestion. I will see if I can track a coy down. Sounds most interesting.


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5 years 7 months ago #132 by prakelly
Replied by prakelly on topic French African Colonies - background reading?
I have recently found an excellent source of information that is freely available.
This is the monthly bulletins of the Comite de l'Afrique francaise.
I am trying to put together a collection of these books but originals are hard to find and the reprints are in a much smaller format that is difficult to read. However they have been digitalised and can be found on the website of the French National library, Gallica.with free access
These reports cover not only French interests that is the priority but also summarise news from other countries colonies as well.

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