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Kingdom on Mount Cameroon

Kingdom on Mount Cameroon

Edwin Ardener† | Shirley Ardener


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The Bakweri people of Mount Cameroon, an active volcano on the coast of West Africa a few degrees north of the equator, have had a varied and at times exciting history which has brought them into contact, not only with other West African peoples, but with merchants, missionaries, soldiers and administrators from Portugal, Holland, England, Jamaica, Sweden, Germany and more recently France.

Edwin Ardener†, the distinguished social anthropologist who spoke their language, wrote a number of studies on the history and culture of the Bakweri Kingdom. Some of the unpublished writings, and some of the published but now out of print materials are here brought together for the first time. The book covers the early contacts with the Portuguese and Dutch from the sixteenth century, the arrival of the missionaries in the nineteenth century, the dramatic defeat of the first German punitive expedition, the subsequent establishment by the Germans of the plantation system, and the British Trusteeship period until independence in 1961 as part of the Federal Republic of Cameroon.

Shirley Ardener, a well-published social anthropologist, is a Senior Associate of Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford University. She was the founding director of the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research on Women, now the International Gender Studies Centre, of which she remains an active honorary member.

“ … collected in a single volume, [these papers] become a rich case study of an African people's relations with various European agents over more than four centuries.” • Choice

“… a true treasure… challenging example of how history and anthropology can be combined in practice… such a combination can offer a deeper understanding of present-day issues and tensions.” • Africa

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
PART I. Introduction 1
CHAPTER 1. Biographical Notes on Knutson and Waldau 3
CHAPTER 2. The Manuscript 9
PART II. Knutson’s Memoir 21
CHAPTER 1. From Sweden to Cameroon 23
CHAPTER 2. Fauna and Flora 31
CHAPTER 3. Misery and India-rubber 39
CHAPTER 4. The German Invasion 1884–1885 47
CHAPTER 5. Travel in the Interior 1885 55
CHAPTER 6. The Ancient Races 69
CHAPTER 7. Adventures on Cameroon Mountains and in Biaffran Swamps 79
CHAPTER 8. Religion and Customs of the Bakweri and Bomboko 101
CHAPTER 9. The Slave Trade 125
CHAPTER 10. Black and White 135
CHAPTER 11.The Missionaries, the Explorers and the Men I met at the Cameroons 145
CHAPTER 12. The Future of the Cameroons 159
PART III. Land and Plantations 165
CHAPTER 1. Knutson and Waldau’s Contracts with the Notables on the Cameroon Mountain 167
CHAPTER 2. Knutson’s Legal Battles 175
CHAPTER 3. Waldau’s Last Years in Cameroon 189
PART IV. Alternative Perspectives 195
CHAPTER 1. About the Ba-kwileh [Bakweri] People 197
CHAPTER 2. Epitome of Waldau’s Journey to the Country North of the Cameroon Mountain 211
CHAPTER 3. Sir Richard Burton’s Visit to Mapanja, 1861–1862 223
CHAPTER 4. George Thomson’s Stay in Mapanja 1871–1879 237
CHAPTER 5. Stefan Sczolc-Rogozinski 241
CHAPTER 6. Hugo Zöller, Journalist 245