Portal:Military history of Africa

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The Military history of Africa Portal

Tapestry of the Battle of Adwa between Ethiopia and Italy.

The military history of Africa is one of the oldest military histories in the world. Africa is a continent of many regions with diverse populations speaking hundreds of different languages and practicing an array of cultures and religions. These differences have also been the source of much conflict since a millennia.

Like the history of Africa, military history on the continent is often divided by region. North Africa was part of the Mediterranean cultures and was integral to the military history of classical antiquity, and East Africa has historically had various states who have historically warred with some the world's most powerful. The military history of modern Africa may be divided into three broad time periods: pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial.

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Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell OM, GCMG, GCVO, KCB (22 February 1857 – 8 January 1941), also known as B-P, was a lieutenant-general in the British Army, writer, and founder of the Scout Movement.

After having been educated at Charterhouse School, Baden-Powell served in the British Army from 1876 until 1910 in India and Africa. In 1899, during the Second Boer War in South Africa, Baden-Powell successfully defended the city in the Siege of Mafeking. Several of his military books, written for military reconnaissance and scout training in his African years, were also read by boys. Based on those earlier books, he wrote Scouting for Boys, published in 1908 by Pearson, for youth readership. During writing, he tested his ideas through a camping trip on Brownsea Island in 1907, which is now seen as the beginning of Scouting.

After his marriage with Olave St Clair Soames, Baden-Powell, his sister Agnes Baden-Powell and notably his wife actively gave guidance to the Scouting Movement and the Girl Guides Movement. Baden-Powell lived his last years in Nyeri, Kenya, where he died in 1941.

Selected biography

Samora Moisés Machel (September 29, 1933 – October 19, 1986) was President of Mozambique from 1975 until he died eleven years later, when his presidential aircraft crashed in mountainous terrain where the borders of Mozambique, Swaziland and South Africa converge.

Machel was attracted to Marxist ideals and began his political activities in a hospital where he protested against the fact that black nurses were paid less than whites doing the same job. He later told a reporter how bad medical treatment was for Mozambique's poor: "The rich man's dog gets more in the way of vaccination, medicine and medical care than do the workers upon whom the rich man's wealth is built." His grandparents and great grandparents had fought against Portuguese colonial rule in the 19th century so it was not surprising that in 1962 Machel joined the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) which was dedicated to creating an independent Mozambique. He received military training in 1963 elsewhere in Africa, and returned in 1964 to lead FRELIMO's first guerrilla attack against the Portuguese in northern Mozambique. By 1970, Machel had become commander-in-chief of the FRELIMO army which had already established itself among Mozambique's peasantry. His most important goal, he said, was to get the people "to understand how to turn the armed struggle into a revolution" and to realize how essential it was "to create a new mentality to build a new society."

Quotes

"During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die." — Nelson Mandela

Equipment

Bateleur UAV by Denel Aerospace Systems

The Bateleur (named for an African eagle) is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) prototype designed and built by Denel Aerospace Systems of South Africa (formerly Kentron). It has been designed as a MALE (Medium-Altitude - Long Endurance) UAV, with its primary role being surveillance, with a secondary SIGINT capability.

Development began at the beginning of 2004 as a totally in-house and private-venture project, being developed with internal company funds. The first prototype is expected to fly in early 2006.

The entire aircraft is constructed using a modular construction system, making adapting the airframe in future to increase the range or fit larger payloads much easier than with a rigid airframe. It also makes it possible for the aircraft, once disassembled, to fit inside a 6 m ISO shipping container.

Selected image

A "tank cemetery" of redundant military equipment from the Derg regime in Asmara, Ethiopia

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