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Pioneer Merchant Trader: The Life and Times of Otto Markus
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Pioneer Merchant Trader: The Life and Times of Otto Markus (Hardback)

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The Scramble for Africa in the 1880s showed European interest in Africa at its most intense and today evokes a picture of the great European powers engaged in a frantic struggle for supremacy and for control of Africa and its resources. Eve Pollecoff here tells the story of Otto Markus - 'Pioneer Merchant Trader' - who established his East African Trading Company in the wake of growing British interest in East Africa: especially Kenya and Uganda. The influence of Markus's company stretched from East Africa to Europe, and to the USA and Brazil, embracing skins and hides, domestic goods, agricultural produce and the Ford Motor Company agency. The company survived two world wars, waves of anti-Semitism in Europe, and pioneered staple crops for which Africa became famous, especially cotton and coffee. Pollecoff paints an impressive portrait of Otto Markus as a dynamic international entrepreneur, the focus of a large and traditional family, and, above all, the embodiment - perhaps unwittingly - of informal empire.

Eve A. Pollecoff was born in Mombasa, Kenya and is the granddaughter of Otto Markus. She received early education locally, including Kenya High School, Nairobi, before Cheltenham Ladies College. After St Andrew's University and postgraduate work at Oxford University, she worked for the Economist Intelligence Unit and after a period living in the USA, taught history of ballet at Rambert Ballet School and at the Stella Mann School, before returning to the EIU. She has served as a JP on the Richmond Bench. Eve A. Pollecoff has written the life of her grandfather as a contribution to the economic history o East Africa, as a family history and especially as a fond debt to her grandfather's memory.

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