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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Technology, Trade and 'A Race of Native Capitalists': The Krio Diaspora of West Africa and the Steamship, 1852-1895
Author:Lynn, MartinISNI
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Geographic term:West Africa
mercantile history
inland water transport
maritime transport
History and Exploration
Economics and Trade
Development and Technology
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/183140
Abstract:This article examines the impact of the introduction of the new technology of steam power into West African trade in the second half of the nineteenth century. One of the changes that the introduction of steam power was expected to lead to was the opening up of the trade to small-scale African traders such as the Krios, the descendants of the liberated African community of Sierra Leone. Many Krios did make use of the steamships to extend their trading activities and entered areas previously ignored. Many used the steamship services to develop a coastwise trade; others, particularly in the Niger Delta, used them to enter the export trade to Britain. Yet others pioneered the use of steam launches, particularly on the River Niger and along the Slave Coast. In time, however, such Krios found their ability to utilize the opportunities provided by the steamships under assault, partly from the European traders' counterattack and partly from the general depression in the West African trade - itself indirectly caused by the introduction of the steamship - that set in by the 1870s. By the end of the century the position of traders from the Krio diaspora in the export-import trade of West Africa was being severely squeezed, just as it was in other areas of West African life. For them, steam power did not prove to be the boon it had been anticipated as being. Notes, ref., sum.