1 SEPTEMBER

EAST INDIA COMPANY MERCHANTS PROFIT FROM BENGAL’S FAMINE

[ 1 September 1771 ]

Today in 1771, the Scots Magazine published an account from a ‘gentleman’ in Bengal describing an unprecedented famine. It has been provoked by a combination of a prolonged drought and the rapacity of Britain’s East India Company which, despite the wretched condition of the population, continued to ruthlessly extract high levels of taxation. 

DEATHS FROM BRITAIN’S SLAVE TRADE ESTIMATED AT 30,000 A YEAR

[ 1 September 1772 ]

Exactly one year after the Scots Magazine reported shocking revelations about mass starvation in Bengal caused by the unprecedented rapacity of the East India Company, the magazine published an article by American abolitionist Anthony Benezet on ‘The Rise and Progress of the Slave Trade, its Nature and its Lamentable Effects,’ which confirmed what many among his readership already suspected or knew, that every year the nascent British Empire was also bringing misery and death to tens of thousands of Africans.

FIRST BRITISH SHOTS OF THE WAR DIRECTED AT JEWISH REFUGEES

[ 1 September 1939 ]

Before dawn on the 1 September 1939, Hitler’s Wehrmacht commenced the invasion of Poland, triggering Number 10’s declaration of war two days later. 

BRITISH GOVERNMENT INDIFFERENT TO GADAFFI’S COUP AS LONG AS THE OIL FLOWS

M. Gaddafi (Stevan Kragujević  – CC BY-SA 3.0 – Wikimedia) and H. Wilson (Y. Okamoto – LBJ Library – crop – Wikimedia).

[ 1 September 1969 ]

On 1 September 1969, Muammar Gaddafi, along with several young army officers, staged a military coup in oil rich Libya. The country’s petroleum wells were producing three million barrels a day, surpassing even the output of Saudi Arabia. British foreign secretary Michael Stewart reassured the Cabinet that ‘there has been no interruption in the flow of oil’ and suggested the best action was no action because ‘it is important to be on good terms with whatever government controls Libya,’ since ‘BP and Shell have an investment in the country of about £100 million.’1 Prime Minister Harold Wilson cheerfully concurred as he saw no reason to object to such a pragmatic and convenient view.

FOOTNOTE

  1. Michael Stewart cited in Paul Kenyon, Dictatorland: The Men Who Stole Africa, Head of Zeus, London, 2018, p. 167.

Please feel welcome to post comments below.  If you have any questions please email alisdare@gmail.com

© 2020 Alisdare Hickson All rights reserved

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