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Tippu Tip: Ivory, Slavery and Discovery in the Scramble for Africa

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Room 4429, 4th Floor

SOAS University of London

London

WC1H 0XG

United Kingdom

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Join Stuart Laing in conversation with Angelica Baschiera as Stuart Laing reveals the notorious life of the Zanibari Arab ivory and slave trader Tippu Tip.


Enter the world of East Africa in the second half of the 19th century during the great ‘Scramble for Africa’, as Stuart Laing, Master of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, talks about his recent research into the life and chronicles of Hamad bin Muhammad bin Juma bin Rajab el Murjebi, known as Tippu TIp. As European powers clutched at the African continent in a campaign of colonial and imperial expansion, Tippu Tip played a pivotal role in this period as an ivory-trader, slave trader and protector of European explorers.


Tippu Tip’s story leads us through this tumultuous time and the principal factors that shaped it, revealing a fascinating, multifaceted figure. He was a Zanzibari Arab ivory-trader and a pioneering discoverer, assisting famous European explorers Livingstone and Stanley in their exploration of East and Central Africa. Slavery is a part of his narrative: contemporary Arab traders used slaves as porters and sold them through the market in Zanzibar to work in both local plantations and afar. Tippu Tip is also recognisable as an Afro-Arab exponent of empire, whose commercial ambitions could only be realised by means of Arab territorial control and colonisation. His colourful life culminated in his engagement as governor of a province in the ‘Congo Free State’ of the Belgian King Leopold, as well as his involvement in Stanley’s astonishing expedition to relieve Emin Pasha, governor of the Egyptian southern province of Equatoria.


Uniquely among Arabs and Africans of this era, Tippu Tip wrote an autobiography. Stuart Laing draws on this and other contemporary sources to give a graphic account of the life and times of this energetic, resourceful, ruthless but often humorous operator in his new book, Tippu Tip: Ivory, Slavery and Discovery in the Scramble for Africa.

Join the author and manager of the Centre of African Studies at SOAS, University of London as they discuss this fascinating period the role played by this most interesting of characters, Tippu Tip.

Purchase the book here.

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Room 4429, 4th Floor

SOAS University of London

London

WC1H 0XG

United Kingdom

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