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Book Book Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Prelude to the Mahdiyya: peasants and traders in the Shendi Region, 1821-1885
Author:Bjørkelo, AndersISNI
Series:African studies series
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
Geographic term:Sudan
Abstract:During the first colonial period (the Turkiyya, 1821-1885), the Shendi region of the northern Sudan was inhabited by peasants, traders and nomads. This book analyses socioeconomic change among the Ja'ali peasants and traders during this formative period of Sudanese history. Administration, agriculture and trade in transition from a precolonial to a colonial economy are discussed. The author argues that Turkish demands for cash crop cultivation and taxation in cash ruined the villages and towns and undermined the local subsistence economy, and that the role of traders as mediators in the process of monetization contributed to stagnation and rural indebtedness. By combining a mastery of the travel literature with examination of previously unknown manuscript sources, notably the private papers of a prominent Sudanese merchant, the author is able to offer a closer view of the situation of trader and peasant families. For the first time it is possible to consider the period from a Sudanese point of view. The author concludes that General Gordon's policy of driving back to the impoverished north the waves of emigrants to the southern Sudan was instrumental in triggering off the Mahdist movement, and also suggests points of comparison between reactions to Muslim, as against European, imperialism.