Bronwen Everill
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Humanitarian priorities and West African agency in the British Empire
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This chapter will explore how Britain’s humanitarian priorities in West Africa could be shaped by the demands of people like Crowther, the limitations of those claims on Britain’s philanthropy and how the relationship between the humanitarian promise and its reality affected West African attempts to control diseases like malaria. Ultimately, while British imperial humanitarian policy often responded to British West African subjects’ appeals to intervene in the slave trade, other humanitarian concerns, including famine and disease, were regularly not prioritised by the colonial government, despite lobbying from the same groups. This chapter will contrast British responses to West African calls for anti–slave trade intervention with measures to reduce malaria and yellow fever and promote colonial welfare. Despite the strength of anti–slave trade feeling in the halls of power, humanitarian imperialism was not matched by humanitarian governance.

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Humanitarianism, empire and transnationalism, 1760–1995

Selective humanity in the Anglophone world


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