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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Trade and Commercial Attitudes in Burundi before the Nineteenth Century
Author:Wagner, Michele D.
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Geographic term:Burundi
Subjects:mercantile history
long-distance trade
Economics and Trade
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/219189
Abstract:The Kingdom of Burundi has often been portrayed as isolated and impenetrable, a highland buttress against foreign invasion and the last kingdom of the region to be penetrated by long-distance trade and colonialism. This article argues against this 'isolationist' view of Burundi, focusing on the issues of trade and commerce. Drawing on linguistic and ethnographic evidence, it shows that Rundi participated in a regional trade system that was much older and broader in scale than has been previously thought. This system was well-established in the 19th century, prior to the arrival of Arabs, and its participants regarded their activity within the system as 'commercial' in the sense that in many cases their explicit objective was realization of material profit. Preliminary indications suggest that trade across and around Lake Tanganyika was especially important and one can expect that along with the exchanges of goods, economic and other ideas and practices also travelled to and from Burundi, especially southern and western Burundi. App. (some examples of Kirundi words relating to exchange behaviour), notes, ref.