‘A’ Level Tropical History Questions


  1. Assess the relative importance of the various motives for the European partition of Africa. (1992)
  2. Explain why the sea-borne slave trade from either west or East Africa survived into the second half of the 19th century and how it was eventually stamped out. (1991)

3              .Compare and contrast the contributions of Tewodros II and Johannes IV to the revival of Ethiopia after 1855.

  1. Account for and illustrate the emergence of new states in the Niger Delta in the second half of the 19th century. Explain why these were short-lived.
  2. Describe and explain the political and social results of the presence of Christian missions in Buganda between 1879 and 1900.
  3. “British Intervention in Egypt in 1822 was the most important influence in the acceleration of the scramble for Africa” How far do you agree with this claim?
  4. With reference to Malawi or to West Africa, explain why and with what results African Christians developed independent churches in the last 20 years of this period.
  5. Explain the reactions of any two of the following African rulers to European pressure encroachment on their territory and sovereignty: Bai Bureh in Sierra Leone, Behanzin in Dahomey, Mkwawa of the Hehe, Mumia of the Wanga, Lewanika of Barotseland, and Lobengula of Matabeleland. What were the results of the policies of the chosen rulers?
  6. For what reasons did some African rulers welcome Christian missionaries to their territories and others ban them? Illustrate these different attitudes with specific examples from any part of tropical Africa.
  7. Why did direct rule “work” in northern Nigeria but not in Southern Nigeria?
  8. Describe and assess the effects of how the French administered their colonies in West Africa up to 1946.
  9. When and why did the French replace their policy of ‘assimilation’ by that of ‘association’ and how did the latter differ from the former.
  10. Compare and contrast methods used by Europeans to exploit or develop economically two different regions of Africa (East and Central Africa).
  11. How did some groups of Africans take advantage of the economic changes that occurred after the partition?
  12. Why was the transition from Slave Trade to Legitimate Trade achieved relatively quickly and

Successfully in Dahomey and the Niger Delta states (Dahomey, Brass, Opobo, Bonny, Itsekiri,

and Kalabari?)

  1. How did the pattern of Trade and its control change in the second half of the 19th century in

Dahomey and the Niger Delta states.

Colonial methods used by the British and the French in their colonies with special reference to West Africa.

Definition: Association-spend time or have dealings with a special group of people, Assimilation-take and absorb, indirect rule-the Europeans were ruling but using the African chiefs to implement their rule and direct rule Europeans were actually ruling African territories.

According to Adu Boahen: assimilation meant a “colonial policy of transferring to the colonies the institutions, culture and economic organization of the imperial country, of moulding the colony in the image of the imperial country and turning its people into Europeans in all aspects  except colour.”


QUESTION: Why did the French abandon assimilation for association?
Define: Association and assimilation

Explain how this method was implemented (i) who was in power, (ii) how did he rule the ordinary people, (iii) how did the Africans react, (iv) examples of areas where it was applied

Problems with assimilation

Assimilated people were expected to spread French education; a number of subjects would become citizens and enjoy rights of French political and judicial institutions.  The French carried assimilation further than the British.

Fell into two groups: Those who advocated personal assimilation of administered peoples and those who advocated for administrative, political or economic identity between mother country and the colony. Take and absorb, equality before the law, and accept Africans.



A level history Tropical Africa 2001 9021/13

  1. Why did the slave trade and domestic slavery persist in both East and West Africa well into second half of the 19th century?
  2. Assess the achievements of the Creoles in West Africa and explain the changed British attitude towards them after 1890.
  3. Analyze the reasons for, and the results of, the Ngoni invasions of Central and East Africa.
  4. Explain the warfare and unstable conditions in Yorubaland in this period with specific reference to the role of Ibadan.
  5. Why was the Berlin West Africa Conference called in 1884? What were the results of its decisions for the colonial powers and for Africa?
  6. Account for the growth of independent African Churches in this period and assess their achievements.
  7. Why did Africans generally respond more favourably and more readily to Islam than to Christian missionaries in many colonial territories in tropical Africa?
  8. Explain why the British invaded Asante in 1896 and why the Asante did not resist.
  9. Why, and with what results before 1914, did the colonial powers build railways in either East Africa or Central Africa?
  10. When and why did the French replace their policy of ‘assimilation’ by that of ‘association’? How did the latter differ from the former?

A level history Tropical Africa 9021/13 1998

  1. Why was the transition from the slave trade to legitimate trade achieved successfully in Dahomey and the Niger Delta states?
  2. Outline the careers and explain the importance in African History of two of the following: Jaja of Opobo; Lewanika, King of the Lozi; Mirambo of the Nyamwezi; Mwanga I of Buganda.
  3. Explain Samouri Toure’s long resistance against the French and his final defeat in 1898.
  4. What were the results for east Africa and its peoples of the establishment of the capital of the Omani sultanate in Zanzibar?
  5. What do you understand by the term ‘informal empire’? When, how and why was this replaced by ‘formal empire’?
  6. Analyze the factors which account for the spread of Islam and Christianity in either East or West Africa between 1885 and 1914.
  7. With reference to the Ndebele-shona Rising and the Maji Maji Rising identify the main features of post-pacification primary resistance movements. Compare and contrast the results of the two risings, both for Africans and the colonial powers.
  8. “Tewodros II, emperor of Ethiopia, was a ruler with a vision.” What was his vision and why did he fail to turn it into reality?
  9. Explain the emergence, and assess the achievements, of nationalist organizations and activities amongst the educated elite in British and French colonies in West Africa before 1914.
  10. When and why did the British adopt the system of Indirect Rule to administer most of their African colonies? What were the strengths and weaknesses of this system?

A level history Tropical Africa 1999 9021/13


  1. Show how and why developments in trade brought political, economic and social changes to the Niger Delta and the Lower Niger regions between 1855 and 1900.
  2. Assess the importance of two of the following in the history of Africa in this period:    Sultan Seyyid Said of Zanzibar, Sir Georgie Goldie; Mkwawa of the Hehe; William Wade Harris.
  3. Why did Dahomey become ‘perhaps the most efficient state in Black Africa’ under the rule of Kings Gezo and Glele?
  4. What were Prempeh I’s aims when he became Asantehene in 1888? Why, and to what extent, did he fail to achieve them?
  5. “He was largely successful in preserving Buganda’s position as East Africa’s strongest state’ How far do you agree with this comment on Kabaka Mutesa II?
  6. Explain, with examples, the growth of independent African churches in either Malawi or West Africa and assess the importance of this development.
  7. With reference to their causes and results, compare and contrast the Ndebele-Shona Rising (1896 -1897) and the Maji Maji Rising (1905 -1907).
  8. How, why and with what results did the British system of colonial administration change between 1890 and 1914?
  9. Describe and explain the achievements of Menelik II of Ethiopia.
  10. ‘Britain achieved greater success than Germany as a colonial power in East Africa between 1885 and 1914.’ How far do you agree with this claim?

A level history 9155/4 Tropical Africa 2003



  1. Account for the relatively quick transition from the slave trade to legitimate trade in West Africa.
  2. What effects did the Nguni incursions have in Central Africa during the period 1855 to 1914?
  3. Account for Samouri Toure’s long resistance to French imperialism. Why he was finally defeated in 1898?
  4. Explain Buganda’s position as the most powerful interlacustrine state in East Africa.
  5. What social, political and economic conditions in Europe and Africa encouraged the Partition of Africa?
  6. Why and how was Ethiopia successful in resting external threats to her independence?
  7. Examine the activities of Christian missionaries in Malawi in the period 1860-1914. Show how these activities affected the people of Malawi.
  8. Compare and contrast the causes of the Ndebele – Shona (1896-1897) and the Maji Maji (1905 -1907) Uprisings. What were the effects of these Uprisings on the indigenous people?
  9. “The British system of indirect rule had more advantages than disadvantages as compared to assimilation in governing Africa”. Discuss.
  10. Explain the development of early nationalist activities among the educated elite in West Africa up to 1914

 A level history 9155/4 Tropical Africa 1996

  1. How did trade between west Africa and Europe change during this period? Show how and with what success different peoples responded to the change.
  2. Analyze the impact of the Ngoni invasions on Central and East Africa.
  3. Who were the Creoles in West Africa? Assess and explain their achievements in this period.
  4. Analyze the aims and the nature of Lobengula’s response to European demands and threats and explain why he eventually lost his kingdom to the British.
  5. Why was Menelik II successful and Samouri Toure unsuccessful in resisting European encroachment and invasion?
  6. “The objectives and policies of European powers in Africa changed dramatically between 1875 and 1885”. Show how and why this happened.
  7. Explain the outbreak and assess the success of the Mahdists movement in Sudan.
  8. With reference to its impact in two different regions between 1880 and 1914 show how Christianity was both a destructive and a constructive force in Africa.
  9. “To protest against colonial rule before 1914 Africans turned to religion rather than politics”. How far is this claim justified?
  10. Analyze the similarities and the differences between British and French methods of colonial administration in this period.(1855-1914)