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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Conflicts Over Property in the Middle Niger Valley at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century
Author:Roberts, Richard
Periodical:African Economic History
Geographic terms:Mali
property rights
law of inheritance
Law, Human Rights and Violence
History and Exploration
Abstract:This article examines evidence of social and economic conflict among African litigants, derived from property cases brought to the newly established courts in the French Soudan in 1905. This evidence is contained in registers of cases of the 'tribunal de province', the second tier of courts introduced throughout French West Africa by the promulgation of the new legal system on 3 November 1903. Three linked questions are addressed: 1) what impact did the cognitive grid of European ideas about property, African social evolution, and legal procedure have on the practice of dispute resolution in the new courts; 2) how did this grid impact the way in which the evidence was recorded; and 3) how can we know what ideas about property prevailed in the Middle Niger valley at any time in the past, especially around 1905 when the disputes discussed in the article were recorded? Three court cases brought before the 'tribunal de province' of Segu (Mali) are dealt with in particular, a land dispute case and two inheritance cases. Notes, ref.