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Shipping Subsidies and Railway Guarantees: William Mackinnon, Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean, 1860-93

J. Forbes Munro
The Journal of African History
Vol. 28, No. 2 (1987), pp. 209-230
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/181547
Page Count: 22
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Shipping Subsidies and Railway Guarantees: William Mackinnon, Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean, 1860-93
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Abstract

This article reassesses Sir William Mackinnon's role in the evolution of Victorian imperialism in Eastern Africa. It rejects the view that Mackinnon's activities in Eastern Africa were motivated by a desire for self-glorification and attempts, by contrast, to demonstrate the relevance of business considerations. A search for shipping subsidies and railway guarantees, spreading out from British India, accompanied the Mackinnon Group's development of steamshipping and mercantile interests in Africa, in support of investments in the Persian Gulf and western India. Promotion of these interests drew Mackinnon into schemes to lease the Sultan of Zanzibar's mainland territories and to consolidate British rule in the Transvaal by the construction of a railway from Delagoa Bay. During the 1880s the Group's shipping and commercial operations were threatened by the rise of foreign competition. Behind the formation of the Imperial British East Africa Company lay the hopes of Mackinnon and his business associates that public funds could be attracted to the defence of the Group's interests in Eastern Africa and to the reconstruction of its shipping services in the western Indian Ocean.

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