Talk:Portuguese Guinea

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Source of the Article and Relevance[edit]

Several parts of this article come straight from a translation of the Portuguese Wikipedia article Guiné Portuguesa, which bears the comment which translates to: "This page or section does not cite any source or reference". There is no acknowledgement of Portuguese Wikipedia.

Other parts of this article seem to be directly lifted from the page HISTORY OF GUINEA-BISSAU on the "History World" site http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/plaintexthistories.asp?historyid=ad46. In some cases, the entries have been re-ordered and slightly changed, but I list below, in the same order as they appear in the Wikipedia article, the most obvious borrowings:


In the HISTORY section

The local African rulers in Guinea, who prosper greatly from the slave trade, have no interest in allowing the Europeans any further inland than the fortified coastal settlements where the trading takes place. The Portuguese presence in Guinea is therefore largely limited to the port of Bissau.

For a brief period in the 1790s the British attempt to establish a rival foothold on an offshore island, at Bolama. But by the 19th century the Portuguese are sufficiently secure in Bissau to regard the neighbouring coastline as their own special territory.

As with the other Portuguese territories in mainland Africa (Portuguese Angola and Portuguese Mozambique), Portugal exercised control over the coastal areas of Portuguese Guinea when first laying claim to the whole region as a colony. For the next three decades there are costly and continuous campaigns to suppress the local African rulers. By 1915 this process was complete, enabling Portuguese colonial rule to progress in a relatively unruffled state - until the emergence of nationalist movements all over Africa in the 1950s.

It is therefore natural for Portugal to lay claim to this region, soon to be known as Portuguese Guinea, when the European scramble for Africa begins in the 1880s.

In 1956 the PAIGC or Partido Africano da Independencia da Guiné ê Cabo Verde (African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde) is founded by Amílcar Cabral, who comes from the Cape Verde islands. (slightly changed in Wikipedia article)

In 1961, when a purely political campaign for independence has made predictably little progress, the PAIGC adopts guerrilla tactics. Although heavily outnumbered by Portuguese troops (approximately 30,000 Portuguese to some 10,000 guerrillas), the PAIGC has the great advantage of safe havens over the border inSenegal and Guinea, both recently independent of French rule.(tenses changed in Wikipedia article)

In 1972 Cabral sets up a government in exile in Conakry, the capital of neighbouring Guinea. Here, in 1973, he is assassinated outside his house - just a year before acoup in Portugal dramatically alters the political situation.(slightly changed in Wikipedia article)


In the ECONOMY section

From the viewpoint of European history the Guinea Coast is associated mainly with slavery. Indeed one of the alternative names for the region is the Slave Coast.

Before that period the slave trade, centuries old in the interior of Africa, is not yet a significant feature of the coastal economy. The change occurs after the Portuguese reach this region in 1446.(slightly changed in Wikipedia article)

Britain's interest in the region has declined since the ending of the British slave trade in 1807.

Portugal's main rivals are the French, their energetic colonial neighbours along the coast on both sides - in Senegal and in the region which now becomes French Guinea. The Portuguese presence in Guinea is not disputed by the French. The only point at issue is the precise line of the borders. This is established by agreement between the two colonial powers in two series of negotiations, in 1886 and 1902-5.


I am not sure that this is everything taken from HistoryWorld, but most of the content in HistoryWorld was been written by Bamber Gascoigne, and he expects pages from it to be cited in the form:

Gascoigne, Bamber. “History of [TITLE]” HistoryWorld. From 2001, ongoing. [URL of the page within the History]

This has not been done, and not only have some of the extracts from HistoryWorld been repeated in different parts of the whole, but they have not been integrated with the material from other sources. Further, although Bamber Gascoigne cites his general sources for all-African history as:

Iliffe, John; Africans: the history of a continent, 1995

Pakenham , Thomas; The scramble for Africa 1876-1912, 1991

Reader, John; Africa, a biography of the continent, 1998

Gascoigne does not say what parts of each relate to Portuguese Guinea or Portuguese Africa in general, and a quick scan through the three books came up with less than 20 hits in total.

Two these two sets of unacknowledged borrowings are added five citations, of which one relates to the Sahel (the Sudan, Niger, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, and Mauritania) one to Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and three to Africa in general. There are no specific Portuguese Guinea sources, such as:

W. G. Clarence-Smith, (1975) The Third Portuguese Empire, 1825-1975,

W Hawthorne, (2003) Planting Rice and Harvesting Slaves: Transformations along the Guinea-Bissau coast

R E Galli & J Jones (1987). Guinea-Bissau: Politics, economics and society.

Even apart from these citations and the unacknowledged borrowings, I have some concerns about the relevance, and possibly accuracy of two sequential passages near the start:

"Like in many other regions across Africa, powerful indigenous kingdoms along the Bight of Benin relied heavily on a long established slave trade." AND

"The slaving network quickly expanded deep into the Sahel, where the Mossi diverted an ancient slaving trade away from the Mediterranean towards the Gold Coast.[1] With the help of local tribes in about 1600, the Portuguese, and numerous other European powers, set up a thriving slave trade along the West African coast."

As a simple matter of geography the Bight of Benin is about 1,500 kilometres from Portuguese Guinea, which had no "powerful indigenous kingdoms" and Portuguese Guinea is about 1,000 kilometres from the area of Burkina Faso where the Mossi live, so these two comments have no direct relevance to Portuguese Guinea. In addition the link through "long established slave trade" is to the article African slave trade, whose Talk section shows how contentious this subject is. I can offer no opinion on the rights and wrongs of that debate, but as I can find no references to slavery in the area of Portuguese Guinea before the Portuguese arrived, I cannot see how examples from the Bight of Benin or Burkina Faso add anything to this article, and may be misleading.

Whilst on geography, the Slave Coast is not the area around Portuguese Guinea, but the coastal areas of present Togo, Benin (formerly Dahomey) and western Nigeria (to quote Wikipedia).

In summary, the current article is uncredited, derivative, and poorly put-together. I did intend to make a few moderately-sized edits, but feel that the article needs a substantial re-write.

Shscoulsdon (talk) 17:25, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

Revised Version[edit]

I have substantially revised the sections on History and on the Later Colonial Economy.

However, the section Economy - Early colonialism contains a lot of material not relevant to Portuguese Guinea and repeats some of the History section. The section on Last days also duplicates much of the section on the Struggle for Independence, so some further editing is needed.

Shscoulsdon (talk) 09:10, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

I don't know why Eldumpo decided to delete a section on the Struggle for Independence in the 1960s because of lack of citations; a "citations needed" marking would have been better. I have restored it. Shscoulsdon (talk) 20:26, 20 July 2013 (UTC)