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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'White coronations and magical boycotts': Omyènè political strategies, clan leaders, and French rule in coastal Gabon, 1870-1920
Author:Rich, JeremyISNI
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies (ISSN 0361-7882)
Geographic term:Gabon
trade boycotts
political history
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/25741428
Abstract:This essay investigates varied efforts to incorporate Europeans into Omyènè clan political systems in Gabon. Omyènè-speaking peoples occupied coastal Gabon and controlled the Ogooué River, the main trade route in 19th-century Gabon, from its entrance into the Atlantic Ocean to Lambarènè over 100 miles from the coast. Between the mid-19th century and 1918, Omyènè clans appointed Westerners as leaders to build trade alliances and to act as intermediaries with the encroaching colonial government. Another tactic that proved more effective was the use of boycotts backed by recourse to supernatural power. Omyènè clan chiefs used recourse to supernatural threats to ensure that Gabonese people respected the boycotts. These boycotts arose in response to high prices at European stores and taxes. While most Omyènè clans gradually abandoned the coronation of whites by the early 20th century, boycotts continued to serve as a vehicle of protest, particularly in the face of increased French taxes and the establishment of concessionary companies. Boycotts and white coronations show how Omyènè clans tried to overcome the economic and political challenges that came with French colonization between 1860 and the 1920s. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]