By James F. Searing

ISBN-10: 0521440831

ISBN-13: 9780521440837

The writer indicates how the societies of West Africa have been remodeled via the slave exchange. the expansion of the Atlantic exchange encouraged the improvement of slavery in the quarter, with slaves operating within the river and coasting trades or generating surplus grain to feed slaves in transit. a number of held pivotal positions within the political constitution of the coastal kingdoms of Senegambia. This neighborhood slave process had far-reaching effects, resulting in non secular protest and slave rebellions. The alterations in agricultural construction fostered an ecological problem.

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Extra resources for West African Slavery and Atlantic Commerce: The Senegal River Valley, 1700-1860

Sample text

7 The slave trade reduced the productive population, its wars devastated the economy and provoked famine, while the commodities imported by the aristocratic state and its slave henchmen served primarily to perpetuate state violence and provide luxury goods to the warriors. As a description of a historical period, this analysis sums up certain trends in the Senegambian region. This framework presents more problems when it comes to describing regional variation and the overall development of the economy.

The connection between aristocratic power and slavery was not new. The earliest Portuguese accounts emphasize the integration of slavery and polygamy in the households of the Wolof nobility. Each "seigneur" had several wives, each of whom controlled a separate household of female slave attendants, while other slaves worked in agriculture or tended herds of domestic animals. The great lords and kings differed from the lesser nobility primarily in the number of wives and slaves under their control.

The period of the monarchy was marked by a number of important developments. Kajoor emerged as the most powerful state in the region. This was partly the result of Atlantic commerce, and partly a result of the extension of Wolof state structures to the south and the east. The Faal patrilineage became the dominant royal clan, splitting into competing royal matrilineages which struggled for power by mobilizing kinsmen, slaves, and clients. The monarchy centralized power at the expense of the laman, who tended to become agents of the state at the local level with 16 Cosaan: "the origins" little independent power.

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West African Slavery and Atlantic Commerce: The Senegal River Valley, 1700-1860 by James F. Searing

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