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date: 01 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article notes that through studying mundane material realities, archaeology has the potential to illuminate how conquest and colonisation occurred as series of negotiated encounters. With hindsight, the colonial advance in Africa until almost the entire continent was carved up by European powers at the end of the nineteenth century may seem inevitable. These certainties vanish when the African–European encounter is examined under a microscopic lens provided by archaeology. The discussion examines some of the colonial encounters in western and southern Africa from a comparative standpoint. It addresses a range of topics: the establishment of European outposts on the coast, the range of interactions that occurred between Europeans and Africans, and the heterogeneous nature of the new societies created in the process.

Keywords: conquest, colonisation, African–European encounter, archaeology, European outposts

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