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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Sahara Reconsidered: Pastoralism, Politics and Salt from the Ninth through Twelfth Centuries
Author:McDougall, E. AnnISNI
Periodical:African Economic History
Geographic terms:West Africa
Subjects:mercantile history
salt industry
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Economics and Trade
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3601328
Abstract:The ninth through twelfth centuries saw the emergence of a distinctive political economy in the southern Sahara-Sudan region roughly following the desert-edge through present-day Senegal, Mauritiana, and Mali. In the analysis of the factors which shaped this early desert-side society, such abstract and historical notions as 'nomadism', 'sedentarism', or 'ethnicity', have little to to offer. Rather the author addresses such questions as: What constituted wealth? What was the significance in this respect that most people raised animals? What were the channels through which wealth could be transformed into political power? How could such power be maintained or augmented? What implications did this have for intertribal relations and for relations with the Sudanese? The single most valuable commodity was salt, which the Sudan agriculturalists needed as much as the Saharan pastoralists needed grain. Both Sudanese rulers and Saharan pastoralists attempted to manipulate salt trade and marketing to their own best advantage. Map, notes.