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The economics of the ‘Second Slavery’ in the Jihad states of West Africa

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This paper argues that an understanding of the Atlantic world during the Age of Revolutions from the late eighteenth century through the middle of the nineteenth century must take account of the jihadist revolutions that swept most of West Africa during the same period. The paper specifically focuses on the political economy of the jihad movement and the economic transformation of the region that ensued with the foundation of the jihad states, particularly the Sokoto Caliphate, by far the largest of the new states. The Sokoto Caliphate, established in 1804-1808, in what is now northern Nigeria and parts of neighbouring Niger, Burkino Faso, and Cameroon, developed an economy based on slave plantations and a vibrant textile industry. It is argued that the economic ramifications of the jihad movement challenge many recent interpretations of the economic history of Africa.

This talk is part of the Core Seminar in Economic and Social History series.

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