The Creation of French Africa: Officialdom at Work

True, the British colonized the Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Nigeria, but for all practical purposes, like a roll of the dice, West Africa fell to the French. And it wasn't an easy roll of the dice, either. Carton after carton of documents from the late 1800s arrive at my assigned reading space in the…

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Codfish Tales and Codfish Bones: Woe is Us

Glo'ster girls they have no combs, Heave away, heave away! They comb their hair with codfish bones, We're bound for South Australia. ~~ Old sea shanty ~~ Bacalhau, bacalao, cabillaud (from the Dutch kabeljauw), morue (and the marvelous brandade* resulting therefrom). Gone with the waves? Maybe. A disturbing story in the December 15, 2008 New…