Missionizing and Transforming the Land: Alexander Merensky in Botshabelo



The Berlin missionary Alexander Merensky founded the missionary village Botshabelo. This involved a severe change to the landscape of the site, as well as the introduction of new plants and animals. This contribution uses two texts by Merensky to illustrate the environmental changes accompanying the mission’s works and is part of a new research field that combines colonial mission history and environmental history. The Botshabelo case shows the local, regional, and global entanglements of mission activities that transformed ecological habitats.

Author Biography

Helge Wendt, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Germany

Helge Wendt is a research scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and at the research center “Episteme in Motion.” His main research focus lies on the global history of knowledge about black coal from the sixteenth to the early twentieth century. He wrote his doctoral thesis on a global history of colonial missions from the late seventeenth to the late nineteenth century. Wendt has published on global histories of knowledge, mission, and historiography.