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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Borgu and Economic Transformation, 1700-1900: The Wangara Factor
Author:Adekunle, Julius O.
Periodical:African Economic History
Geographic terms:West Africa
Subjects:Borgu polity
long-distance trade
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
Economics and Trade
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3601665
Abstract:This article analyses the role of the Mande-speaking Wangara merchants who migrated from Songhai to Borgu in the development of the economy of the Borgu kingdoms (Bussa, Illo, Nikki) in the 18th century. It shows that their extensive commercial experience enabled them to evolve a new pattern in Borgu's economy, establishing long-distance trade links with Hausaland and the Western Sudan through the booming trade in gold and kola nuts. In this highly profitable commerce, the Wangara acted as middlemen between production bases in the north and the south. Not only in Borgu, but also in other parts of West Africa, they became known as a wealthy and influential group. The 18th century saw the height of Wangara prosperity. Political developments in the early 19th century - the fall of Old Oyo and the rise of Sokoto - caused an influx of Yoruba and Hausa traders in Borgu, just as Asante began to restrict Wangara access to the kola nut producing region. While these alien traders seized the long-distance trade from the Wangara, local trade came to be dominated by Borgu women. Notes, ref.