European Memoirs and Colonialism in Equatorial Africa: Reflections on the Reminiscences of Alfons Vermeulen (1877-1965)

The ASCL Library recently acquired three books that constitute interesting sources for the colonial history of the Equatorial region. All three involve writings by Alfons Vermeulen, an employee of the ‘Nieuwe Afrikaansche Handels-Vennootschap’ (NAHV), the Dutch trading house active in the wider Congo region in the second half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth. Vermeulen began working as a company agent in 1899 and continued, on and off, in the NAHV’s employ for the next thirty years. Towards the end of his career he published two novels on his life in Equatorial Africa, loosely based on his own experiences and observations. His memoirs have now also been published, under the title De Memoires van Chicongo: Laatste Episode over het Uitzonderlijke Leven van Alfons Vermeulen, Nederlands Handelsagent in de Onafhankelijke Congostaat, Belgisch-Congo en Frans-Congo tussen 1899 en 1931. These memoirs were edited and annotated by a member of Vermeulen's family, Fred van den Hoek.
Klaas van Walraven wrote a paper about these acquisitions.

Read the full text.

This paper has been published as ASC Working Paper 151, 2021.

Photo from the discussed book. Copyright: Fred van den Hoek.

Author(s) / editor(s)

Klaas van Walraven

About the author(s) / editor(s)

Klaas van Walraven is a historian and political scientist who is currently working on the history of colonialism and decolonisation in French Equatorial Africa. He is particularly interested in biographical perspectives on history.