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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained
Dr. Coolidge delivered an interesting lecture on Africa yesterday afternoon in Sever 11. He spoke in part as follows:
When the history of the present century is written, one of the most important events to describe will be the colonization of Africa and its division among the great European nations. In spite of the large size of this continent, very little is known about it, and few settlements have been made. This is partly explained by the unhealthfulness of the climate, and by the fact that the large rivers are closed to navigation by rapids near their mouths.
In 1497 Vascoda Gama sailed around the Cape of Good Hope while in search of a passage to India, and from this time colonies have slowly sprung up along the shore, especially on the Guinea coast, where the slave trade was largely carried on. From 1815 to 1875 a gradual awakening of interest took place in Europe, and since that time there has been an exciting race to see which nation should acquire most land. This sudden change was caused by the encouraging information which Stanley brought back from the interior in 1875.
In their haste to annex land the European nations have taken no trouble to civilize the inhabitants, and have often dealt unfairly with them. The first colony was planted in the south by the Portugese. After them the Italians appeared and now control a large amount of land near the Red Sea. Germany took no part in this contest till 1882, but she now has valuable possessions near the coast.
The chief struggle however has always been between Great Britain and France. During the last few years the latter country has been more active, and has succeeded in pushing its power inland. The dispute has centered in the attempt of the French to force England to give up her present control of Egypt. These questions have not been settled yet, but it is probable that a treaty will soon be made, in which both nations will have to compromise their claims.
The nations of Africa are little civilized, and are too lazy to work much. Europeans can not live long in the climate, and so an attempt has been made to introduce Chinese and Hindoo laborers to carry on the necessary industrial work.
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