Essay on The Ambitious Dream of Cecil Rhodes: The Cape to Cairo Railway

Essay on The Ambitious Dream of Cecil Rhodes: The Cape to Cairo Railway

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The Cape to Cairo Railway was one of the most ambitious dreams of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Africa had been a target of the Europeans since as early as the seventeenth century, but the impermeable borders made it almost impossible for them to get inland. The discovery of quinine aided the Europeans in this effort, but not completely (Strage 24). Cecil Rhodes, an Englishman who lived in South Africa for most of his life, had earned all of his wealth on the treasure of South Africa. This made him question: “If South Africa has such treasures, how much money can fifty three other countries amount to?”. Rhodes was an extremely ambitious man whose dream was to gain control of Africa’s two most successful cities of the North and the South. Afterwards, he would build a railway connecting the two. The Cape to Cairo Railway was built to tighten British control over the entire continent, and rape the country of all of its treasures. “Despite its failure, the Cape to Cairo idea left a legacy of a string of railways throughout the continent. Many of which would never have been built without the grandiose plan to cross Africa” (Wolmar 173).
Until the late fifteenth century, Africa was basically left untouched. Many times, it was referred to as “The Dark Continent” (Wolmer 173). Contrary to the popular misconception that the nickname came from the color its inhabitants, “It was referred to as the dark continent because of the mysteries that surrounded it” (Wolmer 173). Nobody was sure of what the continent held, but what they were sure of was the potential that a great piece of land such as this had. By the mid nineteenth century, the rest of the globe “including the great landlocked mass of Asia, hidden corners of the ...


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... in the field, Her heart is sick with lust. The gold she wins is red with blood, norean it shield. Her name from tainted league with men of broken trust”(Carter 476). ;



Works Cited

Bigland, Alfred. "The Cape-to-Cairo Railway and Train Ferries: Discussion." The Geographical Journal. 2nd ed. Vol. 55. N.p.: Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers), 1950. 101-08. Print.
Cain, Peter, and Tony Hopkins. British Imperialism, 1688-2001. Harlow: Longman, 2001. Print.
Carter, Mia, and Barbara Harlow. Archives of Empire. Durham: Duke UP, 2003. Print.
Strage, Mark. Cape to Cairo. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973. Print.
Williams, Robert. The Cape to Cairo Railway. London: Macmillan and, 1921. 241-58. Print.
Wolmar, Christian. Blood, Iron, & Gold: How the Railroads Transformed the World. New York: PublicAffairs, 2010. Print.

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