The most prominent colonies of white settlement in tropical Africa were Kenya and Southern Rhodesia. It used to be assumed that these were the only ones ‘chosen’ for extensive white settlement because of their favourable highland climate. The implication of this notion of choice was that the lowland west and central African zones were deliberately avoided by white settlers because of their uncomfortable heat and humidity and the prevalence of tropical disease. In fact, Europeans did try to establish white settlement in most tropical African colonies. Where European settlement failed to become the dominant economic force, it had more to do with African initiative than with European discomfort.
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