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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Horse in Fifteenth Century Senegambia
Author:Elbl, Ivana
Year:1991
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Volume:24
Issue:1
Pages:85-110
Language:English
Geographic terms:Senegal
Gambia
Subjects:Jolof polity
imports
horses
history
1400-1499
1500-1599
History and Exploration
Link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/220094
Abstract:It has been suggested that the overseas supply of horses through the Atlantic trade may not only have changed the character of warfare in fifteenth-century Senegambia, but that it also resulted in a disruption of the existing balance of power and in the decline of the Jolof empire, the main political body in the area. This article explores this hypothesis through an examination of the historical role of horses in West Africa, the effect of the Portuguese horse trade, and the specific role of horses in political changes within Senegambia. It argues that the distribution of Portuguese horses cannot have affected fundamental political developments in Senegambia or, more specifically, the downfall of Jolof. Not only did Jolof have good access to horses throughout the 15th century, but it continued to have access to horses after its downfall in the 16th century. It appears that the degree of Jolof's control over the coastal States fluctuated as a matter of course, without necessarily entailing major historical consequences. It was arguably the growing power of Fuuta Tooro that sealed the demise of Jolof's hegemony in Senegal. Notes, ref.
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