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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Stealing the way' to Mecca: West African pilgrims and illicit Red Sea passages, 1920s-50s
Author:Miran, JonathanISNI
Year:2015
Periodical:The Journal of African History (ISSN 0021-8537)
Volume:56
Issue:3
Pages:389-408
Language:English
Geographic terms:West Africa
Eritrea
Red Sea
Saudi Arabia
Subjects:pilgrimages
Islam
travel
border control
colonial history
Link:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021853715000304
Abstract:West African participation in the pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj) grew considerably throughout the first half of the twentieth century. This article examines the causes and consequences of failed British and Saudi efforts to channel, regulate, and control the trans-Sahelian flow of pilgrims and enforce a regime of mobility along the Sahel and across the Red Sea. Focusing specifically on Red Sea 'illicit' passages, the study recovers the rampant and often harrowing crossings of dozens of thousands of West African pilgrims from the Eritrean to the Arabian coasts. It examines multiple factors that drove the circumvention of channeling and control measures and inscribes the experiences of West African historical actors on multiple historiographic fields that are seldom organically tied to West Africa: Northeast African regional history, the colonial history of Italian Eritrea, and the Red Sea as a maritime space connecting Africa with Arabia. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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