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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:View from the village: changing settlement patterns in Sisalaland, northern Ghana
Author:Swanepoel, NatalieISNI
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:settlement patterns
local history
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/40282454
Abstract:The Sisala of northern Ghana are often classified as having a nucleated settlement pattern and stronger than average village allegiance. This is understood both as a result of their being raided for slaves in the past as well as their agricultural system. Yet, the history of the Sisala village of Dolbizan shows that there is nothing inherent in Sisala culture, history or economy that dictates a nucleated settlement pattern. Rather, the village probably re-aggregated in the early to mid-20th century as a direct result of a combination of factors characteristic of the colonial period. These include severe droughts and water shortages, the desire of colonial authorities that villages be manageably situated, and, most importantly, the population decline and abandonment of small villages and sections due to disease, environmental factors, migrant labour and enlistment in the army during the Second World War. Thus, while those Sisala villages that have been continuously occupied since the 19th century might retain some aspects of the defensive architecture that was necessary during the slave-raiding era, there are others that adapted to fit the new circumstances of the 20th century. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]