Why a Greek? An East African Frontier in 1905

Charles Chevenix Trench describes how an adventurous Greek in British Service played a large part in the trade and politics of the Horn of Africa.

Lord Delamere was, as usual, far from satisfied with the Government, especially with its policy, or lack of policy, on the frontier between British East Africa and Abyssinia.

He expressed his views with warmth and displeasure at a dinner in 1907 in honour of Mr. Winston Churchill, then visiting Nairobi as Under Secretary of State for the Colonies.

On this frontier, complained Delamere, “A Greek upholds the prestige of the Empire. Why a Greek? Is it because Government would not hold itself responsible for the death of a Greek? Or is it because we are so effete that we have no one who will undertake the work?”

He suggested that the Juba River be opened to shipping and colonization; and that a railway be built to Lake Rudolf, where a flotilla of steamboats would keep the peace and develop trade with the naked savages who inhabited its barren shores.

Mr. Churchill’s views on these ambitious proposals are not recorded; but nothing could be more abhorrent to the Liberal Government that he adorned than expensive adventures in Africa.

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