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Title:Drought in Lesotho: political and demographic consequences in the nineteenth century
Author:Eldredge, Elizabeth A.ISNI
City of publisher:Los Angeles, CA
Publisher:African Studies Association
Geographic term:Lesotho
Abstract:Recurrent droughts hindered stable population settlement in the region of Lesotho in the 19th century. The incidence of drought was high throughout the century: southern Africa suffered from a prolonged drought in every decade but one. Drought caused crops to fail and pastures to dry up, and often brought famine to both people and livestock. These droughts were almost invariably associated with population dislocation and migration, which caused border conflicts and the spread of epidemic disease. This strong correlation suggests that drought in Lesotho had political as well as economic consequences. The high correlation between drought and epidemic disease indicates the serious social effects of drought. An analysis of the data suggests that Lesotho suffered from several cycles of famine, migration and epidemic disease which coincided with major droughts. The author attempts to interpret the relationship among these phenomena and to explain the recurring pattern. (Rev. version in: Afr.Econ. Hist. - No.16 (1987); p.61-93.