Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 13
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Castells-Quintana, David Lopez-Uribe, Maria del Pilar and McDermott, Thomas K.J. 2016. Geography, institutions and development: a review of the long-run impacts of climate change. Climate and Development, p. 1.


    Hannaford, Matthew J. and Nash, David J. 2016. Climate, history, society over the last millennium in southeast Africa. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, p. n/a.


    Fenske, James and Kala, Namrata 2015. Climate and the slave trade. Journal of Development Economics, Vol. 112, p. 19.


    Nash, David J. and Meadows, Michael E. 2012. Quaternary Environmental Change in the Tropics.


    Bhattacharyya, S. 2009. Root Causes of African Underdevelopment. Journal of African Economies, Vol. 18, Issue. 5, p. 745.


    BHATTACHARYYA, SAMBIT 2009. Institutions, diseases, and economic progress: a unified framework. Journal of Institutional Economics, Vol. 5, Issue. 01, p. 65.


    Bessems, Ilse Verschuren, Dirk Russell, James M. Hus, Jozef Mees, Florias and Cumming, Brian F. 2008. Palaeolimnological evidence for widespread late 18th century drought across equatorial East Africa. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, Vol. 259, Issue. 2-3, p. 107.


    Evans, E. W. and Richardson, David 1995. Hunting for Rents: The Economics of Slaving in Pre-Colonial Africa. The Economic History Review, Vol. 48, Issue. 4, p. 665.


    Chastanet, Monique 1992. Survival strategies of a sahelian society: The case of the Soninke in Senegal from the middle of the nineteenth century to the present. Food and Foodways, Vol. 5, Issue. 2, p. 127.


    Campbell, David J. 1990. Strategies for coping with severe food deficits in rural Africa: A review of the literature. Food and Foodways, Vol. 4, Issue. 2, p. 143.


    Barker, Graeme 1988. Cows and Kings: Models for Zimbabwes.. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, Vol. 54, p. 223.


    Newitt, M D D 1988. Drought in Mozambique 1823–1831. Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 15, Issue. 1, p. 15.


    Fleurett, Anne 1986. Indigenous responses to drought in sub-Saharan Africa*. Disasters, Vol. 10, Issue. 3, p. 224.


    ×

The significance of Drought, Disease and Famine in the agriculturally marginal zones of West-Central Africa1

  • Joseph C. Miller (a1)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0021853700020235
  • Published online: 01 January 2009
Abstract

Some 170 references to drought and disease along the south-western coast of Central Africa between 1550 and 1830 suggest that climatic and epidemiological factors motivated the farmers and herders of West-Central Africa in historically significant ways. Nearly all references come from documentary sources and so bear primarily on conditions in the drier and less fertile areas near Luanda and to the south, where African reactions would have been strongest.

While minor shortages of rain occurred too frequently to receive much explicit attention in the documents, longer droughts spread more widely every decade or so and attracted notice. Major periods of dryness, extending for seven years or more and touching all parts of the region, occurred perhaps once each century and produced comments throughout the documentation.

Localized minor droughts hardly disrupted the lives of Africans, who had presumably devised agricultural and pastoral strategies to take account of such ordinary climatic variation. Two-or three-year rainfall shortages produced banditry and warfare that often attracted Portuguese military retaliation. Major droughts disrupted polities and societies and hence coincided with major turning points in West-Central African history in the late sixteenth and late eighteenth centuries. In the earlier case, agricultural failures produced the famed ‘Jaga’ or Imbangala warriors, who elevated pillage to a way of life and who joined the Portuguese in establishing the Angolan slave trade. The later, protracted drought from 1784 to 1793 coincided with the historic peak of slave exports from West-Central Africa.

Copyright
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Journal of African History
  • ISSN: 0021-8537
  • EISSN: 1469-5138
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-african-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×