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6 FEBRUARY

BRITAIN SIGNS TREATY WITH MAORIS ONLY TO RENEGE ON IT

[ 6 February 1840 ]

On this day in 1840, a treaty was signed between representatives of the crown and five hundred Maoris chiefs, which while recognising ultimate British sovereignty over New Zealand, promised in return that “Her Majesty confirmed and guaranteed to the chiefs and tribes of New Zealand the full, exclusive and undisturbed possession of all the lands which they collectively and individually governed as long as it was their wish and desire to retain the same in their possession.”[1]

The treaty promised that native lands would be protected from encroachment by settlers. However, as the number of European immigrants continued to increase, the Foreign Office relented to pressure to renege on the treaty and in 1846 declared it could no longer be observed because it constituted “a bar to sound colonisation.”[2]

BRITAIN SUPPLYING ARMS TO BOTH SIDES OF CONGO’S CIVIL WAR.

[ 6 February 2002 ]

On this day in 2002, Tony Blair had to admit in the House of Commons that Britain was supplying arms to both sides of the civil war in Congo. He defended Britain’s blatant profiteering from the conflict, adding “Don’t forget there are jobs at stake !”[3]

FOOTNOTES

  1. The Treaty as quoted by Lord Russel in parliament and cited in The Morning Post, 20 June 1845 p3
  2. Piers Brendon, The Decline and Fall of the British Empire, Jonathan Cape London 2007, p90-91.
  3. Quoted in Ruth Winstone (editor), Tony Benn, More Time for Politics: Diaries 2001-2007, Arrow Books, London p30

 

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