Civilizing mission  

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"European manufacturers dream night and day of Africa, of a lake in the Saharan desert, of a railroad to the Soudan. They anxiously follow the progress of Livingston, Stanley, Du Chaillu; they listen open-mouthed to the marvelous tales of these brave travelers. What unknown wonders are contained in the “dark continent”! Fields are sown with elephants’ teeth, rivers of cocoanut oil are dotted with gold, millions of backsides, as bare as the faces of Dufaure and Girardin, are awaiting cotton goods to teach them decency, and bottles of schnaps and bibles from which they may learn the virtues of civilization." --The Right to Be Lazy (1883) by Paul Lafargue

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Mission civilisatrice (the French for "civilisatory mission"; in Template:Lang-pt) is a rationale for intervention or colonisation, proposing to contribute to the spread of civilization, mostly amounting to the Westernization of indigenous peoples.

It was notably the underlying principle of French and Portuguese colonial rule in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was influential in the French colonies of Algeria, French West Africa, and Indochina, and in the Portuguese colonies of Angola, Guinea, Mozambique and Timor. The European colonial powers felt it was their duty to bring Western civilization to what they perceived as backwards peoples. Rather than merely govern colonial peoples, the Europeans would attempt to Westernize them in accordance with a colonial ideology known as "assimilation".

See also

References

  • Robert Aldrich. Greater France: A History of French Overseas Expansion. Palgrave MacMillan (1996) ISBN 0-312-16000-3.
  • Alice L. Conklin. A Mission to Civilize: The Republican Idea of Empire in France and West Africa 1895-1930. Stanford: Stanford University Press (1998), ISBN 978-0-8047-2999-4.
  • Dino Costantini. Mission civilisatrice. Le rôle de l'histoire coloniale dans la construction de l'identité politique française, La Découverte, Paris 2008.
  • J.P. Daughton. An Empire Divided: Religion, Republicanism, and the Making of French Colonialism, 1880-1914. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2006), ISBN 978-0-19-537401-8.
  • Patrick Manning. Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa, 1880-1995. Cambridge University Press (1998) ISBN 0-521-64255-8.
  • Jean Suret-Canale. Afrique Noire: l'Ere Coloniale (Editions Sociales, Paris, 1971); Eng. translation, French Colonialism in Tropical Africa, 1900 1945. (New York, 1971).
  • Crawford Young. The African Colonial State in Comparative Perspective. Yale University Press (1994) ISBN 0-300-06879-4




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