While commercial and trading interests played a great role in the acquisition of colonies in West Africa, in the East there were no such long-established and lucrative links. What commercial motivations there were in East Africa were mainly for the future. Professors Robinson and Gallagher argued powerfully in the 1960’s that ‘the concentration on East Africa shows the preoccupation with supreme strategic interests’. Yet even this point of view is not without its problems as the evidence will suggest. France, for instance, was allowed to occupy Madagascar which lay directly on the route to India. The extracts in this chapter show a considerable concern with the potential economic benefits as well as the strategic considerations.
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