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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Elephant Hunting in 19th Century Kenya: Kamba Society and Ecology in Transformation
Author:Steinhart, Edward I.
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Geographic term:Kenya
long-distance trade
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/220652
Abstract:The last few decades before the beginning of the colonial era in Kenya witnessed a period of rapid social and political change as Kenyan peoples were drawn into the web of international commerce culminating in the scramble for Africa. The Kamba peoples of Kitui and Machakos districts appear to have been decisively influenced by long-distance trade and the opportunities and challenges which it presented. The Akamba emerged as major participants in the caravan trade, operating at every level of this commerce as porters, caravan leaders, and organizers. At the base of the transformation of Kamba society was the production, transportation, and sale of elephant ivory. The key to Kamba success on the 19th-century frontier was the adaptation of their local and interregional trade practices to the opportunities presented by merchant capitalist penetration. The expansion of elephant hunting was able to follow the path of development beaten by the expansion of trade. The article focuses on changes in the methods and organization of the hunt, paying attention to Kamba small-scale hunting traditions, elephant hunting for ivory in Kitui, ivory harvesting and trade, and the complex crisis of the late 1890s, caused by a combination of factors including the tightening of imperial control, the rinderpest epizootic, and the 1898-1899 famine. Notes, ref.