Colonial Encounters

The First World War threw together people from all over the world. Anna Maguire considers images of these chance meetings and the light they shed on a global conflict.

The First World War is often thought of as a clash of empires. Over four million troops of colour served during the war as part of the Allied forces. The British Empire mobilised troops from India, the West Indies, South Africa, China, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Newfoundland and Africa and recruited along the moving front in Germany’s imperial territories. As well as the familiar battlegrounds of Belgium and France, the war would spread throughout East and West Africa, Egypt, Palestine and Mesopotamia. Enlisting empires and fighting globally meant the war threw together diverse groups: combatants and non-combatants, soldiers and civilians, men and women of different nationalities and ethnicities. The movements of war created fresh spaces for colonial encounters and clashes of cultures, as well as of empires. 

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Colonial Encounters