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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Nourishing a Stateless Society During the Slave Trade: The Rise of Balanta Paddy-Rice Production in Guinea-Bissau
Author:Hawthorne, Walter
Year:2001
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Volume:42
Issue:1
Period:March
Pages:1-24
Language:English
Geographic term:Guinea-Bissau
Subjects:Balanta
slave trade
rice
history
1500-1599
1600-1699
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
Link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3647213
Abstract:This essay examines the impact of the Atlantic slave trade on stateless societies in Africa, focussing on Balanta populations of present-day Guinea-Bissau. It demonstrates that some decentralized groups located on the 'slaving frontiers' of States managed not only to survive but also to thrive. In the 16th century, Balanta were dispersed across upland areas upon which they produced yams and other crops that required relatively small inputs of labour. At the end of the 16th and start of the 17th century, the patterns of life in coastal Guinea-Bissau changed dramatically as violence associated with an expanding Atlantic slave trade proliferated. Balanta retreated to isolated and riverine areas near mangrove swamps, where they established defensive villages and developed highly sophisticated paddy-rice production. Although the Balanta resided near a powerful slave trading centre - Kaabu, they were able through their households to maintain political independence. From the mid-17th century, they produced and traded large quantities of paddy rice by organizing workers into age grades. Notes, ref., sum.
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