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How did rivers contribute to the economic and political development of modern Africa? How did African and European notions of nature's value and meaning differ? And how have these evaluations of Africa's rivers changed between 1850 and the present day? Drawing upon examples from across the African continent, Developing the Rivers of East and West Africa explores the role African waterways played in the continent's economic, social, and political development and provides the first historical study of the key themes in African river history. Rivers acted as more than important transportation byways; their waters were central to both colonial and postcolonial economic development efforts. This book synthesizes the available research on African rivers with new evidence to offer students of African and environmental history a narrative of how people have used and engaged the continent's water resources. It analyzes key themes in Africa's modern history - European exploration, establishment of colonial rule, economic development, 'green' politics - and each case study provides a lens through which to view social, economic and ecological change in Africa.