The Influence of "King Solomon's Mines" on Africanist Literature and European Perceptions of Africa

TLDR "King Solomon's Mines" by Henry Rider Haggard, although filled with stereotypes and cliches, was a groundbreaking adventure novel that introduced the trope of white explorers impressing natives and had a lasting impact on popular culture. The novel also reflected Haggard's views on Africa and the British Empire, and contributed to the belief that Africans were incapable of building advanced civilizations.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 "King Solomon's Mines" is an influential adventure novel set in late 19th century Africa, following the quest of Alan Cortemane and his fellowship to find the treasure mines of King Solomon, encountering various challenges and villains along the way.
05:37 "King Solomon's Mines" is a novel filled with stereotypes and cliches, but it is also the first to feature the trope of white explorers impressing natives with their knowledge of eclipses, and the author, Henry Rider Haggard, was influenced by his own experiences in South Africa.
10:04 Henry Rider Haggard's attitude towards Africa was that it was primeval, unspoiled by modernity, and more savage, and he viewed the formal British empire as bureaucratic and disappointing.
14:46 Henry Rider Haggard returns to Britain after five years in Africa, becomes a lawyer, and is inspired to write his own adventure novel after reading Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island.
19:13 Henry Rider Haggard's novel, "King Solomon's Mines," becomes a massive hit and establishes him as a successful writer, leading him to write more books and become a prominent figure in Africanist circles.
24:03 The idea of a ruined city in the middle of Africa, specifically Great Zimbabwe, becomes a popular and potent idea among Europeans, leading to the belief that Africans were not capable of building such a civilization and the invention of theories involving Phoenician colonies in South Africa.
29:04 In 1890, Cecil Rhodes becomes obsessed with the idea that Great Zimbabwe was Phoenician and sets up a company called Rhodesia Ancient Ruins Limited, which claims exclusive tourist rights to the site, leading to the establishment of Rhodesia as a white settler country.
34:47 The idea of fellowship and brotherhood among imperial writers and characters, including in "King Solomon's Mines," is connected to a certain nervousness about women and a fear of racial degeneracy.
39:19 "King Solomon's Mines" explores themes of female power, racial anxieties, and the fascination with exploration and maps in the context of the British Empire.
44:19 Haggard's novel "King Solomon's Mines" criticizes the obsession of Europeans with diamonds and gold, and portrays African kings as noble and resistant to white influence, while also reflecting Haggard's own jingoistic and social Darwinist views.
48:57 "King Solomon's Mines" and the themes and traditions it embodies, such as hunting, the Wild West, archaeological discoveries, and lost worlds, have had a lasting impact on popular culture, from early Hollywood films to modern adaptations like Wilbur Smith's novels and the movie "Black Panther."
53:46 "Black Panther" draws upon the themes and legacy of "King Solomon's Mines" through its portrayal of a hidden, technologically advanced African civilization and its use of a powerful substance, Vibranium, much like the Phoenicians and their influence on the civilization in Haggard's novel.
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