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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Place of Mahrams in the History of Kanem-Borno
Author:Aminu, Muhammadu
Periodical:Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria
Geographic terms:Northern Nigeria
Subjects:social classes
Bornu polity
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
Abstract:A mahram as used in Borno (Lake Chad Basin) can be generally described as a document stipulating privileges and exemptions, granted as a reward for services to the state. The origin of the practice is obscure, but it had been integrated into the political system since the 11th century. Mahrams applied mainly to personal effects and civic duties and very rarely to land. Groups that appear to have benefitted most from the system are the ulema (scholastic) class and the Tura, a group of white merchants. The Tura's mahram made special exemption from military service and taxation. At the beginning of the 19th century the privileges of the Tura ware limited to the leaders, as the Borno administration needed the manpower and the tax-money of the commoners to fight their wars. Notes.