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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Anderson-d'Ollone Controversy of 1903-04: Race, Imperialism, and the Reconfiguration of Liberia-Guinea Border
Author:Geysbeek, Tim
Periodical:History in Africa
Geographic terms:Guinea
scramble for Africa
biographies (form)
History and Exploration
Ethnic and Race Relations
Politics and Government
Inter-African Relations
About person:Benjamin J.K. Anderson (1834-1910)ISNI
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/4128524
Abstract:The years 2003-2004 mark the centennial observance of a debate that emerged in Paris, Freetown and Monrovia over whether or not the Liberian Benjamin Anderson trekked to the fabled town of Musadu in 1868. Musadu, now situated c. 5 miles northwest of Beyla in Guinea-Conakry, or 85 miles northwest of the Liberian border town of Yekepa, represented Liberia's interiormost claim in the 19th century. Anderson's challenger was a captain in the French army named Henri d'Ollone, who went to West Africa in the late 1890s and surveyed some of the land that the French had recently conquered. In 1903, d'Ollone raised allegations that Anderson had not visited Musadu in 1868. Anderson, he wrote, was 'simply a black Liberian' who could not possibly have travelled so far in the interior, calculated geographic coordinates and altitude, and written a book. Anderson won the debate. The controversy was set in the context of Britain, France and Liberia's competing claims for land during the heyday of the Western conquest of Africa. This paper examines the main contours of the debate, sets the debate in historical context, and republishes the most important primary sources. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]