Encyclopedia of African Colonial Conflicts
[2 volumes]
by Timothy J. Stapleton, Editor
November 2016, 787pp, 7x10
2 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-59884-836-6
$218, £168, 190€, A299
eBook Available: 978-1-59884-837-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

During the late 19th and early 20th century, European colonial powers used military force to conquer almost all of Africa.

Two volumes introduce the history of colonial wars in Africa and illustrate why African countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Somalia, and Sudan continue to experience ethnic, political, and religious violence in the early 21st century.

This sweeping study examines the wars of colonial conquest fought in Africa during the 19th and early 20th centuries. From Britain’s efforts to wrest control of the Sudan from military leader Muhammad Ahmad al-Mahdi, to Italy’s decisive defeat at the Battle of Adowa in Ethiopia, to Leopold II’s brutal reign over the Belgian Congo, the work surveys the devastation reaped upon the continent by colonization and illustrates how its combative influence continues to resonate in Africa today.

Written by scholars in the fields of history and politics, this complete reference includes entries on wars, campaigns, rebellions, battles, leaders, and organizations. The work delves into key historical periods including the “Scramble for Africa” (ca.1880 to 1910); early European colonial wars in Africa, such as the Dutch in the Cape and the Portuguese in Angola and Mozambique; and African rebellions against the early colonial state in the 1890s and early 1900s. Entries feature prominent events and personalities as well as lesser-known occurrences and players.


  • Begins with a helpful introduction and overview of the topic
  • Contains alphabetical entries on wars, campaigns, battles, leaders, and other topics related to European colonial conquest in Africa
  • Includes African rebellions against the early colonial states in the 1890s and early 1900s
  • Features entries written by scholars in the fields of history and politics
  • Covers all major regions of Africa as well as relevant European powers
  • Provides a list of additional sources for further reading
Timothy J. Stapleton is professor of history at the University of Calgary. His published works include Praeger's A Military History of South Africa: From the Dutch-Khoi Wars to the End of Apartheid as well as African Police and Soldiers in Colonial Zimbabwe, 1923–80 and Warfare and Tracking in Africa, 1952–1990.


2018 Outstanding Reference Source—Reference and User Services Association [RUSA], February 12, 2018


"Overall, this set provides a concise starting point for researching African colonial wars."—Booklist, February 15, 2017

"Informative and accessible both to the student and interested layperson, this is best for high school and public libraries but worth adding to any collection as a jumping-off point for further study."—Library Journal, February 1, 2017

"The publication provides a convenient source for basic information about African colonial conflicts with helpful references for further information."—ARBA, March 13, 2017

"This compilation provides a valuable assessment of the times and is an excellent and substantial source of information for anyone interested in understanding African history. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All libraries. All levels."—Choice, July 1, 2017
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