Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-559fc8cf4f-67gxp Total loading time: 0.275 Render date: 2021-03-02T09:14:40.667Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true }

Land, Power, And Dependency along the Gambia River, Late Eighteenth to Early Nineteenth Centuries

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 December 2014

Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract:

The role of power over people and over land is an important issue in West Africa, with important implications for relationships between commoners and elites. Along with conquest, slave raiding, marriage, and procreation, control over land has enhanced the ability of chiefs and other elites to gain control over people, thus increasing their production and reinforcing social hierarchy and centralization of power. This article utilizes oral evidence and European documentary sources to examine the importance of the concept of “wealth-in-people” for understanding the significance of land in African societies. By focusing on the Gambia region, where both paddy and upland rice farming were practiced in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the article contributes empirical observations to support the argument that control over both land and people played a central role in the accumulation of wealth in many African societies.

Résumé:

Le rôle du pouvoir sur les gens et sur la terre est une question importante en Afrique de l’ouest, ayant des implications décisives pour les relations entre les roturiers et les élites. Avec la conquête coloniale, les raids d’esclaves, les traditions du mariage, la procréation, le contrôle des terres a renforcé la capacité des chefs et des autres élites à prendre le contrôle sur les gens, augmentant ainsi leur production et renforcant la hiérarchie sociale existante et la centralisation du pouvoir. Cet article utilise des preuves provenant de la tradition orale et des sources de documentaires européens pour examiner l’importance de la notion de “richesse en peuple” afin de comprendre la signification du rôle joué par le contrôle des terres dans les sociétés africaines. En se concentrant sur la région de la Gambie, où la culture du riz en paddy et en élévation était pratiquée à la fin du 18ième et au début du 19ième siècle, l’article contribue des observations empiriques pour soutenir l’argument selon lequel le contrôle des terres et des gens a joué un rôle central dans l’accumulation de la richesse dans de nombreuses sociétés africaines.

Type
ARTICLES
Copyright
Copyright © African Studies Association 2014 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

References

Parliamentary Papers. 1865. Reports from the Select Committee on Africa (West Coast), House of Commons, Gambia Treaties. Vol. 5, February 7–July 6.
NRS. 1824. CSO (Colonial Secretary’s Office). Report from Captain Alexander Findlay, November 1
NRS. 1893. ARP 28/1. Report of Cecil Sitwell, Traveling Commissioner for the South Bank Province.
NRS. 1896. ARP 35/2. Colonial Reports. Annual Report no. 195.
NRS. 1906a. CSO (Colonial Secretary’s Office) 2/94. The Laws and Customs of the Mandingoes.
NRS. 1906b. CSO (Colonial Secretary’s Office) 2/94. Reports on the Jolah People.
NRS. 1939a. CSO (Colonial Secretary’s Office) 10/71. Native Land Tenure. The Secretariat Confidential File, Gambia no. 2544, December 24.
NRS. 1939b. CSO (Colonial Secretary’s Office) 10/71.“A memorandum on Native Custom Regarding Land Tenure in the Kombo Districts of the South Bank Province,” Cape St. Mary, Gambia, April 30.
NRS. 1939c. CSO (Colonial Secretary’s Office) 10/71. Confidential Dispatch from Governor of Sierra Leone, Douglas Jardine, to the Secretary of State for Colonies, April 1940.
NRS. 1940 CRN 1/10. Land Grants, Commissioner’s Office South Bank, April 30.
NCAC/OHAD (RDD). 1973. Tape Catalogue # 223C: 50–70, informant Alkalo Bakary Kutu Jatta, Busumbala, Kombo North, Western Region, August 28.
NCAC/OHAD (RDD). 1976. Tape Catalogue #612, informant Alhagie Bai Konte, Brikama, Western Region, June 28.
Bah, ImamAlhagie Momodou Lamin. Serrekunda, Kanifing Municipal Council, June 30, 2006.
Bojang, Ba Sainey. Bakau, Kanifing Municipal Council, May 26, 2008.
Ceesay, Alhagie Faa. Mandinari, Kombo North, Western Region, August 8, 2008.
Fatty, Momodou. Serrekunda-Bundung, Kanifing Muncipal Council, June 9, 2006.
Jaiteh, Alkalo Luntang. Bakau, Kanifing Municipal Council, June 9, 2006.
Jaiteh, Kebba. Tankularr Village, Kiang West District, Lower River Region, August 7, 2008.
Jobe, Fafa. Kumbija Village, Sabach-Sanjal District, North Bank Region, December 14, 2008.
Jobe, Imam Siaka. Sinchu Paalen Village, Sabach Sanjal, North Bank Region, June 1, 2008.
Konateh, Musa. Bafuloto Village, Upper Niumi District, North Bank Region, July 23, 2006.
Sowe, Alkalo Dawda. Bafuloto Village, Upper Niumi District, North Bank Region, July 23, 2006.
Suso, Jali Kebba. Passimas Village, Wuli, Upper River Region, August 12, 2008.
Touray, Malick. Gunjur Village, Kombo South, Western Region, August 15, 2008.
Touray, Momodou Fatty. Serrekunda-Bundung, Kanifing Muncipal Council, June 9, 2006.
Touray, Tida. Serrekunda-Bundung, Kanifing Muncipal Council, June 9, 2006.
Achebe, Nwando. 2005. Farmers, Traders, Warriors, and Kings: Female Power and Authority in Northern Igboland, 1900–1960. Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann.Google Scholar
Amanor, Kojo S. 2008. “The Changing Face of Customary Land Tenure.” In Contesting Land and Custom in Ghana: State, Chief and the Citizen, edited by Ubink, J. and Amanor, K. S., 5580. Leiden: Leiden University Press.Google Scholar
Anonymous, . 1841. The Christian Traveller in Western Africa. London: Charles Knight and Co.Google Scholar
Austin, Gareth. 1995. “Between Abolition and Jihad: The Asante Response to the Ending of the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1807–1896.” In From Slave Trade to “Legitimate” Commerce: The Commercial Transition in Nineteenth-Century West Africa, edited by Robin Law, , 93117. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Boni, S. 2006. “Indigenous Blood and Foreign Labor: The Ancestralization of Land Rights in Sefwi (Ghana).” In Land and the Politics of Belonging in West Africa, edited by Kuba, R. and Lentz, C., 161–85. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
Barry, Boubacar. 1998. Senegambia and the Atlantic Slave Trade. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Baum, Robert M. 1999. Shrines of the Slave Trade: Diola Religion and Society in Precolonial Senegambia. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Beedle, Paul J. 1980. “Citizens and Strangers in a Gambian Town” Ph.D. diss., University of Cambridge.
Berry, Sara S. 1975. Cocoa, Custom, and Socio-Economic Change in Rural Western Nigeria. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
Berry, Sara S. 2001. Chiefs Know Their Boundaries: Essays on Property, Power, and the Past in Asante, 1896–1996. Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann.Google Scholar
Brooks, George E. 1993. Landlords and Strangers: Ecology, Society, and Trade in Western Africa, 1000–1630. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press.Google Scholar
Carney, Judith, and Watts, Michael. 1991. “Disciplining Women? Rice, Mechanization, and the Evolution of Mandinka Gender Relations in Senegambia.” Signs 16 (4): 651–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Curtin, Philip D. 1975. Economic Change in Precolonial Africa: Senegambia in the Era of the Slave Trade. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
Diop, Abdoulaye-Bara. 1981. La Société Wolof, Tradition et Changement: Les Systèmes D’inégalité et De Domination. Paris: Karthala.Google Scholar
Dorjahn, V. R., and Fyfe, Christopher. 1962. “Landlord and Stranger: Change in Tenancy Relations in Sierra Leone.” The Journal of African History 3 (3): 391–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dramé, Aly. 2009. “Migration, Marriage, and Ethnicity: The Early Development of Islam in Precolonial Middle Casamance.” In New Perspectives on Islam in Senegal: Conversion, Migration, Wealth, Power, and Femininity, edited by Diouf, Mamadou and Leichtman, Mara A., 169–88. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fage, John D. 1969. “Slavery and the Slave Trade in the Context of West African History.” The Journal of African History 10 (3): 393404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fox, William. 1850. A Brief History of the Wesleyan Missions on the Western Coast of Africa. London: Aylott and Jones.Google Scholar
Galvan, Dennis C. 2004. The State Must Be Our Master of Fire: How Peasants Craft Culturally Sustainable Development in Senegal. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
Gamble, David P. 2006. “Traditional Mandinka Agriculture.” Gambian Studies 49. Brisbane, Calif.: San Francisco State Department of Anthropology.Google Scholar
Glazier, Jack. 1985. Land and the Uses of Tradition among the Mbeere of Kenya. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America.Google Scholar
Green, Toby. 2009. “Architects of Knowledge, Builders of Power: Constructing the Kaabu ‘Empire,’ 16th–17th Centuries.” Mande Studies 11: 91112.Google Scholar
Green, Toby. 2012. The Rise of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in Western Africa, 1300–1589. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Guyer, Jane I., and Eno Belinga, Samuel M.. 1995. “Wealth in People as Wealth in Knowledge: Accumulation and Composition in Equatorial Africa.” The Journal of African History 36 (1): 91120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hawthorne, Walter. 2003. Planting Rice and Harvesting Slaves: Transformations along the Guinea Bissau Coast, 1400–1900. Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann.Google Scholar
Hawthorne, Walter. 2010. From Africa to Brazil: Culture, Identity, and an Atlantic Slave Trade, 1600–1830. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hill, Polly. 1963. Migrant Cocoa-Farmers of Southern Ghana: A Study in Rural Capitalism. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Jobson, Richard. 1623. The Golden Trade: Or, A Discovery of the River Gambra, and the Golden Trade of the Aethiopians. Whitefish, Mont.: Kessinger.Google Scholar
Kea, Pamela J. 2004. “Maintaining Difference and Managing Change: Female Agrarian Clientelist Relations in a Gambian Community.” Africa: Journal of the International African Institute 74 (3): 361–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kea, Pamela J. 2010. Land, Labour and Entrustment: West African Female Farmers and the Politics of Difference. Leiden: Brill.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Klein, Martin A. 1968. Islam and Imperialism in Senegal: Sine-Saloum, 1847–1914. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
Klein, Martin A. 1977. “Servitude among the Wolof and Sereer of Senegambia.” In Slavery in Africa: Historical and Anthropological Perspectives, edited by Miers, Suzanne and Kopytoff, Igor, 335–63. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
Klein, Martin A. 1998. Slavery and Colonial Rule in French West Africa. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Klein, Martin, ed. 1980. Peasants in Africa: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
Linares, Olga. 1981. “From Tidal Swamp to Inland Valley: On the Social Organization of Wet Rice Cultivation among the Diola of Senegal.” Africa 51: 557–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lovejoy, Paul E. 2000. Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery In Africa. 2nd Edition. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
MacGaffey, Wyatt. 2005. “Changing Representations in Central African History.” Journal of African History 46 (2): 193–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
MacGaffey, Wyatt. 2013. Chiefs, Priests, and Praise-Singers: History, Politics, and Land Ownership in Northern Ghana. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press.Google Scholar
Mann, Kristin. 1995. “Owners, Slaves and the Struggle for Labour in the Commercial Transition of Lagos.” In From Slave Trade to “Legitimate” Commerce: The Commercial Transition in Nineteenth-Century West Africa, edited by Law, Robin, 145–71. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Marks, Shula. 1986. The Ambiguities of Dependence in South Africa: Class, Nationalism, and the State in Twentieth-Century Natal. Johannesburg: Ravan Press.Google Scholar
McCaskie, T. C. 1995. State and Society in Pre-colonial Africa. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
McCaskie, T. C. 1980. “Office, Land and Subjects in the History of the Manwere Fekuo in Kumase.” Journal of African History 21 (2): 189208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Miers, Suzanne, and Kopytoff, Igor. 1977. “Introduction: African “Slavery” as an Institution of Marginality.” In Slavery in Africa: Historical and Anthropological Perspectives, edited by Miers, Suzanne and Kopytoff, Igor, 381. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
Miller, Joseph C. 1988. Way of Death: Merchant Capitalism and the Angolan Slave Trade, 1730–1830. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
Moister, William. 1866. Memorials of Missionary Labours in Western Africa, The West Indies and the Cape of Good Hope. London: Paternoster Row.Google Scholar
Mouser, Bruce L. 1975. “Landlords-Strangers: A Process of Accommodation and Assimilation.” The International Journal of African Historical Studies 8 (3): 425–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
N’Daou, Saidou Mohamed. 2005. Sangalan Oral Traditions: History, Memories, and Social Differentiation. Durham, N.C.: Carolina Academic Press.Google Scholar
Osborn, Emily Lynn. 2011. Our New Husbands Are Here: Households, Gender, and Politics in a West African State from the Slave Trade to Colonial Rule. Athens: Ohio University Press.Google Scholar
Park, Mungo. 1858. Travels in the Interior of Africa. Edinburg: Adam and Charles Black.Google Scholar
Pélissier, Paul. 1958. “Les Diola: Etude sur l’habitat des rizicultures de Basse Casamance.” Travaux du Départment de Géographie, Université de Dakar.
Pélissier, Paul. 1966. Les Paysans du Sénégal: Les Civilizations Agraires du Cayor à la Casamance. Saint Yrieix la Perch, France: Imprimerie Fabrègue.Google Scholar
Perinbam, Marie. 1997. Family, Identity and the State in the Bamako Kafu, c. 1800–c. 1900. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press.Google Scholar
Pierce, Steven. 2005. Farmers and the State in Colonial Kano: Land Tenure and the Legal Imagination. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
Quinn, Charlotte A. 1972. Mandingo Kingdoms of the Senegambia: Traditionalism, Islam, and European Expansion. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press.Google Scholar
Sanneh, Lamin O. 1989. The Jakhanke Muslim Clerics: A Religious and Historical Study of Islam in Senegambia. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America.Google Scholar
Searing, James F. 1988. “Aristocrats, Slaves, and Peasants: Power and Dependency in the Wolof States, 1700–1850.” The International Journal of African Historical Studies 21 (3): 475503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Searing, James F. 1993. West African Slavery and Atlantic Commerce: The Senegal River Valley, 1700–1860. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University PressCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Searing, James F. 2002. “God Alone Is King”–Islam and Emancipation in Senegal: The Wolof Kingdoms of Kajour and Bawol, 1859–1914. Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann.Google Scholar
Shipton, Parker. 1994. “Land and Culture in Tropical Africa: Soils, Symbols, and the Metaphysics of the Mundane.” Annual Review of Anthropology 23: 347–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shipton, Parker. 2009. Mortgaging The Ancestors: Ideologies of Attachment in Africa. New Haven: Yale University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shipton, Parker, and Goheen, Mitzi. 1992. “Introduction: Understanding African Land-Holding: Power, Wealth, and Meaning.” Africa: Journal of the International African Institute 62 (3): 307–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Snyder, Francis. 1981. Capitalism and Legal Change: An African Transformation. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
Swindell, Kenneth, and Jeng, Alieu. 2006. Migrants, Credit and Climate: The Gambian Groundnut Trade, 1834–1934. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
Thornton, John K. 1998. Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400–1800. 2nd edition. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Watts, Michael J. 1993. “Idioms of Land and Labor: Producing Politics and Rice in Senegambia.” In Land in African Agrarian Systems, edited by Bassett, Thomas J. and Crummey, Donald E., 157–93. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
Wright, Donald R. 2010. The World and a Very Small Place in Africa: A History of Globalization in Niumi, The Gambia. New York: M.E. Sharpe.Google Scholar

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 14
Total number of PDF views: 76 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 2nd March 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Land, Power, And Dependency along the Gambia River, Late Eighteenth to Early Nineteenth Centuries
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Land, Power, And Dependency along the Gambia River, Late Eighteenth to Early Nineteenth Centuries
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Land, Power, And Dependency along the Gambia River, Late Eighteenth to Early Nineteenth Centuries
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *