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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Individual and Communal Forms of Land Tenure on Echo Island, 1820-1901
Author:Spaulding, Jay L.ISNI
Periodical:Northeast African Studies
Geographic term:Sudan
Subjects:customary law
land law
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
External link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/northeast_african_studies/v002/2.2.spaulding.pdf
Abstract:This paper examines forms of land tenure on Echo Island (Jazirat Abu Ranat, formerly Abranarti), an island near the west bank of the Nile in northern Sudan, during the Turkish colonial period from 1820 to 1901. It is based on data from an archive of private legal documents. The 19th century was an age of rapid commoditization in the northern Sudan, to which the Echo Island community was not immune. During the first half of the Turkish colonial period (1820-1861), spatially defined individual 'maqsuma' tenures gained ground at the expense of communally held 'rawka' tenures in which ownership rights meant claims to a share of the crops. With the closing of the temporary internal frontier of settlement at midcentury, however, the Echo Island elite found it advantageous to reinstitute the 'rawka' system because it distributed widely the burden of paying taxes in coin at a moment when they, as founders of the date export industry, had money; that allowed them to subordinate ever-wider networks of client 'rawka' shareholders through debt. Preservation of numerous family tenures under the 'rawka' system best suited the trend toward a pervasive substitution of slave labour for female labour in the conduct of agriculture. The resurgence of the 'rawka' system on Echo Island represented a further stage in the elaboration of capitalist society. Notes, ref.