The Watershed of the Empire-Commonwealth: The Imperial Policy of the Liberal Government, 1905–1908
It could be argued that the years 1905 to 1908 represent a dividing line in the history of several of the main European empires. After parliamentary criticism in Germany, the rejection of the colonial estimates and the Herero uprising in South West Africa, a new era of total reconstruction began with the appointment of Dr Dernburg in 1907 as first colonial minister. From 1906 the French African empire was marked by growing decentralisation and a reaction against further expansion. The theory of assimilation to French civilisation and citizenship was under attack. The administration of French Equatorial Africa was reformed from 1906 and federated between 1908 and 1910. Fresh constructive interest in French African problems developed. In the same period, Leopold’s Congo Free State was under fatal assault. Transfer to the Belgian parliament and people was achieved in 1908. By 1913 the entire Leopoldian system had been completely abandoned; the concessionaire companies had either vanished or been reduced to impotence, and the British government felt able to recognise the Belgian annexation.
KeywordsLiberal Policy Liberal Government Legislative Council Native Policy Export Duty
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