It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand why Black people around the world, and especially Africans, would not be mourning the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. Queen Elizabeth passed at 96 after reigning for 70 years. She became queen while visiting Kenya in 1952 after her father’s passing.
The British empire is responsible for the colonization of dozens of countries and the death and suffering of millions of people around the world. Queen Elizabeth was the modern day face of that empire. However, she is also the face of a changed empire.
So let’s get to our top 5 reasons, starting with the obvious,
The United Kingdom at one time controlled at least 17 countries in Africa, ruling 30% of Africans. During colonization, the British empire enslaved Africans, controlled the wealth of those nations, and followed the good ol’ motto, “divide and conquer.”
In the early years, British traders brought weapons to Africa and exchanged them for raw materials and slaves. British colonization in Africa was not always a product of master plans executed by armies. Oftentimes, the empire was expanded using explorers, missionaries, and businessmen.
The British suppressed uprisings against colonization in a brutal manner. In Kenya, for instance, the Mau Mau rebellion broke out against British rule in the 1950s and was violently suppressed. That movement contributed to the independence of Kenya.
Role in slave trade
Britain officially got involved in the transatlantic slave trade, with the approval of the royal family, in 1663. Millions of enslaved Africans were transported to the Americas. Plenty of British politicians in the parliament had a business interests in plantations, slave trading companies, and commodities like cotton and sugar. A portion of this wealth went into the preservation of the British royal family. Queen Elizabeth is believed to have been worth $500 million.
The British justified slavery claiming the enslaved Africans were barbaric savages who would acquire civilization on the plantations. Slavery was abolished by Britian through the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833. More than 800,000 slaves were freed in the Caribbean, South Africa, and in Canada in small numbers.
Supporting African Dictators Violently Crush Uprisings
It is no secret that countries make alliances with other countries for military support. Even after several African countries gained their independence, the British empire still had massive influence over these countries. That influence stretched even to countries that Britain did not colonize, giving military support to dictatorships.
Two examples of this is Britain’s support to the Ethiopian government in the 1940s and to the Nigerian government in the 1960s. In Ethiopia, King Haile Selassie was facing an uprising from the Tigray province over taxation and self-rule questions. The Tigray rebellion was succeeding over the Ethiopian government until British air force got involved on behalf of the Ethiopian government and bombed several cities in Tigray. The rebellion was crushed and thousands of civilians were killed.
A similar British involvement crushed the Biafra rebellion in Nigeria in the 1960s. It is estimated that a million people died in the three year civil war. So it is safe to say those who were victims of these dictatorships that received full British support are not fans of the Royal family.
Queen Elizabeth Never Publicly Apologized
Queen Elizabeth was the head of the British royal family for 70 years. In this time, the world went through a massive transformation. Ten African countries gained their independence under Queen Elizabeth and an African American even became part of the royal family. So it is fair to assume the Queen would finally make a public acknowledgment and apology for the monarchy’s racist and violent past. But no such apology was ever publicly issued. Prince Charles, now King Charles III, however, has made several public speeches condemning the sins of the past, which his family was a part of.
Black twitter is Team Princess Diana
The relationship of Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana has long been a source of gossip and controversy. It is widely believed that Queen Elizabeth was cold towards Princess, who is loved and adorned globally. She was an outsider in the royal family and a compassionate philanthropist.
The true story of the relationship between the two women was more complicated than popular opinion. There were good times, there were sour times, and everything in between.
There’s no doubt that Queen Elizabeth’s legacy will face massive criticism for years to come.