West African Kingdoms in the Nineteenth Century 9780815387138, 9780429488139, 9781138589445, 9780429491641, 9781138589452

Originally published in 1967 this volume presents studies of 10 West African kingdoms which have played an important par

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West African Kingdoms in the Nineteenth Century
 9780815387138, 9780429488139, 9781138589445, 9780429491641, 9781138589452

Table of contents :
Cover page
Halftitle page
Title page
Copyright page
Frontispiece
Title page
Copyright page
CONTENTS
LIST OF MAPS
LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES
INTRODUCTION Daryll Forde and Phyllis Kaberry
THE KINGDOM OF BENIN R. E. Bradbury
THE YORUBA KINGDOM OF OYO Peter Morton-Williams
THE KINGDOM OF DAHOMEY J. Lombard
A HAUSA KINGDOM: MARADI UNDER DAN BASKORE, 1854-75 M . G. Smith
THE KINGDOM OF KOM IN WEST CAMEROON E. M. Chilver and P. M. Kaberry
THE MOSSI KINGDOMS Dominique Zahan
THE OVER-KINGDOM OF GONJA Jack Goody
ASHANTI GOVERNMENT Ivor Wilks
THE MENDE CHIEFDOMS OF SIERRA LEONE Kenneth Little
THE WOLOF KINGDOM OF KAYOR Vincent Monteil
INDEX

Citation preview

AFRICAN ETHNOGRAPHIC STUDIES OF THE 20TH CENTURY

Volume 26

WEST AFRICAN KINGDOMS IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY

WEST AFRICAN KINGDOMS IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY

Edited by DARYLL FORDE AND P. M. KABERRY

First published in 1967 by Oxford University Press for the International African Institute. This edition first published in 2018 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 1967 International African Institute All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN: ISBN: ISBN: ISBN:

978-0-8153-8713-8 978-0-429-48813-9 978-1-138-58944-5 978-0-429-49164-1

(Set) (Set) (ebk) (Volume 26) (hbk) (Volume 26) (ebk)

Publisher’s Note The publisher has gone to great lengths to ensure the quality of this reprint but points out that some imperfections in the original copies may be apparent. Disclaimer The publisher has made every effort to trace copyright holders and would welcome correspondence from those they have been unable to trace.

Sketch M ap of W est Africa showing Location of Peoples

W E S T A F R IC A N K I N G D O M S IN THE N IN E T E E N T H CENTURY Edited, with an Introduction by

DARYLL F O R D E and

P. M. KABERRY

P u b lis h e d f o r th e

IN T E R N A T IO N A L A F R IC A N I N S T I T U T E b y th e

O X F O R D U N IV E R S IT Y P R E S S 1967

Oxford University Press, E ly House, London W 1 GLASGOW NEW YORK TORONTO MELBOURNE W ELLINGTO N CAPE TO W N SALISBURY IBADAN NAIROBI LUSAKA ADDIS ABABA BOMBAY CALCUTTA MADRAS KARACHI LAHORE DACCA KUALA LUM PUR H ON G KONG TOKYO

© International African Institute

1967

Printed in Great Britain by Richard Clay ( The Chaucer Press), L td., Bungay, Suffolk

CONTENTS

Page IN T R O D U C T IO N a r y l l F o r d e . P rofessor o f A nthropology, U niv ersity o f L o n d o n ; D irecto r, In tern atio n al A frican In stitu te , a n d P . M . K a b e r r y . R ead er in A nthropology, U niversity C ollege L o n d o n

By D

T H E K IN G D O M

ix

O F B E N IN

R. E . B r a d b u r y . L e c tu re r in Social A nthropology, C en tre o f W e st A frican S tudies, U n iv ersity o f Bir­ m in g h am By

T H E Y O R U B A K IN G D O M

O F OYO

B y P e t e r M o r t o n - W i l l i a m s . L e c tu re r in Social A n th ro ­ pology, U n iv ersity College L o n d o n

THE

K IN G D O M

B y J. L

om bard

36

OF DAHOM EY D irecto r, IF A N , St. L ouis, Senegal

.

1

70

A H A U SA K IN G D O M : M A R A D I U N D E R D A N B A S K O R E , 1854-75 By

M .

S tu d ie s

G . S m i t h . P rofessor o f A nthropology, A frican P rogram , U n iv ersity o f C alifornia, L os A ngeles

T H E K IN G D O M CAM EROON

OF

KOM

IN

93

W EST

E . M . C h i l v e r . P rin cip al, B edford College, L ond o n , P . M . K a b e r r y , R ead er in A nthropology, U niversity College L o n d o n

By

and

123

T H E M O S S I K IN G D O M S o m i n i q u e Z a h a n . P rofessor, In s titu t d ’Ethnologie, U n iv ersité d e S trasb o u rg

By D

T H E O V E R -K IN G D O M B y Jack G

C am b rid g e

oody

.

152

O F G O N JA

L e c tu re r in A nthropology, U niv ersity of 179

vi

CONTENTS

ASHAN TI GOVERNM ENT B y I v o r W i l k s . P rofessor in A frican S tudies, In s titu te of A frican S tu d ie s, U n iv ersity o f G h a n a

206

T H E M E N D E C H IE F D O M S O F S IE R R A L E O N E B y K e n n e t h L i t t l e . P ro fesso r o f Social A nthropology, U n iv ersity o f E d in b u rg h

T H E W O L O F K IN G D O M By V

in c e n t

IN D E X

M

o n t e il

.

239

OF KAYOR

D ire cto r, IF A N , D akar, Senegal

260 283

L IS T

O F M APS Page

Sketch M ap of W est A frica show ing L ocation of Peoples F r o n tis p ie c e

T h e K in g d o m o f B enin

4

T h e K in g d o m of O ld O yo a n d its N eig h b o u rs c. 1800

38

T e rrito ry h eld b y th e O yo Y o ru b a at th e D e ath o f A tiba

47

T h e K in g d o m o f D ahom ey

71

S ketch M a p o f M arad i

94

S ketch M ap o f B am enda G rassfields

124

S ketch M ap o f K o m

126

S ketch M ap o f M ossi K in g d o m s T h e S tate o f G onja a n d its N e ig h b o u rs (1875)

153 180

T h e D ivisions o f G onja

189

T h e A sh an ti E m p ire show ing M ain L ines o f E xpansion

208

S ketch M ap of S o u th e rn S ierra L eone

240

S ketch M ap of K ayor (1883)

261

L IS T

OF

TABLES

AND

F IG U R E S Page

1. T h e B e n in D y n a s t y ( f r o m 1 7 0 0 )

2

2. T h e P r in c ip a l O r d e r s o f C h ie f ta in c y in O v o n r a m w e n ’s r e ig n 14 3 . G o v e r n m e n t in A t i b a ’s O y o

52

4 . T h e R u le r s o f M a r a d i 5 . G e n e a lo g y o f t h e K o m D y n a s t y 6. K in s h ip L in k s b e t w e e n M o s s i K in g d o m s a n d p a litie s

97 130 P rin c i­ 155

7 . L in k s b e t w e e n R u l in g D y n a s tie s o f K u m a s i, J u a b e n , a n d M am pon

209

8. T h e S y s te m o f S u c c e s s io n in A s h a n t i

224

IN T R O D U C T IO N D

aryll

F

orde

and

P

h y l l is

K

aberry

T h is collection o f stu d ies b rin g s to g eth er in a single volum e som e o f th e resu lts o f th e considerable b o d y o f recen t research on th e later developm ent an d organization o f th e larger states w hich played so g reat a p a rt in th e earlier econom ic, political, an d cu ltu ral life o f W e st A frica. W e h o p e it will b e useful to a w ide range o f readers. P ow erful kingdom s w ith com plex political organization and elaborate state ritu al h ad early developed in th e w ide region th a t lay betw een th e W e ste rn S ahara an d th e G u in ea C oast. Som e w ere am ong th e earliest societies o f T ro p ical A frica to becom e know n to th e M ed iterran ea n an d W estern W orld. T h e y w ere also th e first w ith w h ich e n d u rin g external relations w ere established. F ro m th e te n th c e n tu ry onw ards, A rabic-speaking m erch an ts an d Islam ic p roselytizers regularly crossed th e S ahara in caravans to th e courts an d cities o f G hana, M ali, Songhai, an d K anem , an d celebrated jo u rn e y s w ere also m ade to N o rth A frica an d M ecca b y som e o f th e ru lers of these states. A ccounts of th em in th e w ritings o f A rab travellers and geographers filtered th ro u g h to M ed iterran ean E urope. F ro m th e late fifteenth cen tu ry , w hen th e P ortuguese established th e ir first trad in g stations on th e G old C oast and in th e B ight of Benin, frag m en tary know ledge o f o th er kingdom s lying in the fo rest an d savannah h in terlan d s o f th e G uinea C oast began to flow directly to C h ristian E urope. O ver th e nex t centuries, as the slave trad e b u ilt u p to considerable dim ensions, som e accounts w ere p u b lish ed n o t only o f th e trad e b u t of som e of th e kingdom s involved in it. W e have su ch classics as th e w orks of P ereira (1505-20), D a p p e r (1668), J o h n B arbot (1732), C lapperton (1829), an d R. an d J. L a n d e r (1832) relating to w hat was later to be N ig eria; of B osm an (1704), Snelgrave (1734), W . S m ith (1744), N o rris (1790), D alzel (1793), and M ’L eod (1820) for w hat is now D ah o m ey ; of Bow dich (1819), H u tto n (1821), D u p u is (1824), and F ree m a n (1843) for th e G o ld C oast; o f O gilby (1696), A stley (1745-47), an d J. M atth ew (1788) for S ierra L eo n e; and of M ollien (1820) for Senegal an d th e G am bia.

x

INTRODUCTION

B u t it w as n o t u n til th e later n in e tee n th cen tu ry , w h en th e sea traffic w ith W e st A frica, w h ich h a d reach ed considerable d im en ­ sions over m ore th a n th re e centuries, h ad b een revolutionized by th e su p p ressio n o f th e slave tra d e a n d th e com ing o f th e steam ­ boat, th a t th e increasing involvem ent o f E u ro p ean s o n th e C oast w ith th e political an d econom ic am b itions o f pow erful centres in th e in terio r, led to th e series o f explorations, em bassies, p u n itive expeditions, an d p ro tec to rates th a t culm in ated in th e im position of colonial gov ern m en ts. T h e estab lish m en t o f colonial adm inis­ tratio n s created b o th th e n ee d a n d o p p o rtu n ity to investigate th e character and organization o f th e m any com plex chiefdom s w hich w ere now in co rp o rated in th e vario u s territo ries. W h e th e r once p o w erfu l chiefdom s h a d b een already d isru p te d b y in tern ecin e strife, as am o n g th e Y oruba, o r w ere forced into subm ission like D ah o m ey an d A sh a n ti; w h e th e r th e indigenous political system co n tin u ed to p ro v id e th e basis fo r adm in istratio n as in th e F u la n i em irates o f N o rth e rn N igeria, o r w as v irtually ig n o red as in B enin an d am ong th e M ossi an d B am bara, th e efforts for pacification, ord erly ad m in istratio n , and th e developm ent o f peaceful trad e all called for an u n d e rsta n d in g o f th e econom ies and in stitu tio n s o f th ese h ith e rto in d e p e n d e n t polities. M oreover, th e ir exotic character an d q u estio n s co n cerning th e earlier h isto ry an d significance o f th e ir ow n trad itio n s aroused an d su stain ed th e cu rio sity an d scholarly in tere st o f som e o f th e early E u ro p ean ad m in istrato rs. A vast m ass o f a d h o c docu m en tatio n o f varying detail, objectivity, an d p e n e tra tio n also accum ulated in th e ad m in istrativ e files. A lth o u g h th e m u ltitu d e o f chiefdom s an d th e few er large hegem onies in W est A frica w ere not, o f course, equally well served, tw o g en eratio n s o f sch o lar-ad m in istrato rs an d a few in d e p e n d e n t eth n o g rap h ers, in th e earlier years o f th is century, laid th e fo u n d atio n s for fu rth e r studies in th e ir detailed accounts an d in terp re tatio n s o f th e political organization, religious life, and h isto ry o f som e o f th e g reat kingdom s. D elafosse’s H a u t - S é n é g a l N i g e r in clu d ed a m o n u m en tal conspectus o f th e eth n ic diversities an d th e trad itio n s of origin o f th e M an de-speaking peoples. R ich­ m o n d P alm er an d U rvoy, from th e ir respective po in ts o f vantage, so u g h t to do th e sam e for th e em p ire o f K anem -B ornu, as d id C. K . M eek for th e Ju k u n , an d earlier b o th Jo h n so n and F ro b en iu s fo r th e Y oruba. U n fo rtu n ately , th e trad itio n s o f p ast glories an d th e q u est o f rem ote origins d istracted som e o f th e w riters o f this

INTRODUCTION

xi

period from presenting and analysing both contemporary political and economic life and also the evidence of the immediately pre­ colonial situation which was available to them from living elders. Rattray, in his studies of Ashanti, was exceptional in his concen­ tration on the working of social institutions as he saw them, and he limited historical considerations to the immediate past for which his informants could provide direct evidence, although even here, as one of the studies in this book will show, his perspective was not adequate for the pre-colonial phase. New concepts and field research methods which were being developed in social anthropology during the thirties had little immediate influence on the study of the larger West African chief­ doms. They had been developed mainly with reference to the interpretation of custom and understanding of social processes in small communities, in which political obligations and status differentiation were predominantly determined by relations of kinship and affinity. Interest in uncentralized segmentary societies was fostered both by theoretical interest in the processes whereby social structures were maintained in the absence of any institu­ tionalized hierarchy of authority and by the practical problems posed for colonial governments in attempting to integrate such societies in their administration. The conceptual and field research problems involved in the study of complex centralized societies with marked economic and political differentiation were only beginning to be tackled. Only one comprehensive field study and analysis of a large West African chiefdom—Nadel’s work on the Emirate of Bida in Northern Nigeria—appears to have been attempted. But over the last twenty years detailed studies of the economy and of the political and religious aspects of institutions of West African kingdoms have multiplied. Focused initially on exploring in detail and in the field both the specific procedures and relations and the general processes and ideas involved in contemporary economic and political organization, they have been able, by the critical evaluation in the light of such knowledge of oral tradition, administrative records, and the earlier writings of travellers, traders, and of African scholars like Sarbah and Johnson, to recon­ struct the workings of the independent pre-colonial polities, extending them, in some cases, over considerable periods of time. We have also been able to obtain evidence for some particular

x ii

INTRODUCTION

developments and to document the emergence of new institutions, as well as changes in the scale and mode of organization and in the economic and political circumstances and objectives of ruling groups. It is thus becoming possible not only to describe and analyse convincingly the economic and political conditions in some of the West African kingdoms on the eve of the colonial phase at the end of the nineteenth century but also to work out in some detail the course of earlier changes and developments and the factors which underlay them. Such a task is, of course, far from completed. For some peoples and chiefdoms it has scarcely begun. And it must be expected that some of the reassessments of the history of particular states will themselves undergo substantial revision as a result of the researches which are being undertaken by a new generation of scholars, notably those who are working inten­ sively in the West African universities. The position is somewhat similar in East Africa, where we already have the first two volumes of a collective History of East Africa, to which anthropologists as well as historians have contributed, and a symposium by anthro­ pologists, East African Chiefs, edited by Dr. A. I. Richards, to which this book is in some respects complementary. The recovery and analysis of the working of political institutions in African societies before colonization involve a number of special difficulties and pitfalls. Some of these arise from the fact that the societies themselves have undergone substantial and often sudden and drastic cultural changes in their institutions, as a result of the establishment of the superordinate authority of colonial government. However acceptable and beneficial the actions of a colonial administration, they inevitably altered both the balance of political forces within a society and the means and range of political action. Thus, the political system that was open for detailed study during the colonial period was in greater or less degree something other than that which had existed before. Research, concerning the character and conditions of the earlier political system, which does not take fully into account the often considerable effects not only on current political relations but also on ideology and oral traditions concerning the past of changes in the situation under colonial government, will not succeed in recovering and presenting the former setting and the significance of earlier institutions and events, however well their mere occur­ rence may be documented.

INTRODUCTION

xiii

In the meantime, however, it can already be fairly claimed that the pre-colonial political and economic past of West African kingdoms has emerged from the realm of myth and vague specula­ tion. Through a combined operation of intensive field ethnography and documentary research, sound critical standards and techniques are now being established for further studies. Some of these have recently been discussed in The Historian in Tropical Africa, edited by Vansina, Mauny, and Thomas (1964). The studies in this volume present some of the results of these researches. Like all such collections of work by different hands, the coverage and the particular approaches have depended on the availability of relevant research and the special interests of those who have been good enough to contribute. Accounts of some of the larger and more famous kingdoms, for example among the Mande of the Upper Niger or in the Futa Jallon highlands, could not be obtained. And where, as in the case of the Fulani-ruled kingdoms of Northern Nigeria, studies were already available in the detailed monographs of Nadel on Bida and of M. G. Smith on Zaria, duplication has been avoided. Although his own special researches have been among the Bariba chiefdoms to the north, M. Lombard kindly agreed to write on the political development of the kingdom of Dahomey in view of its prominence and dis­ tinctive character. The scale and the cultural, economic, and political contexts of the kingdoms described in this volume are, as will be seen, very diverse. So, too, have been the range of field and documentary material available for their study. This, together with some differences in interests and conceptual background, has led to some inevitable limitation and specialization in the selection of the aspects presented by the different authors. But to render the volume more valuable for comparative study by those who will use it as a source in attempting to elucidate the more general conditions and processes, as well as the operation of specific factors in the later growth of state organizations in West Africa, the contributors were asked when preparing their several essays to include as far as possible consideration of a number of topics and aspects which would contribute to this end. Thus, an outline of existing knowledge of the earlier historical development of each kingdom has been called for as a background to the main emphasis on the character of its organization in the nineteenth

xiv

INTRODUCTION

century and of changes during that period. The territorial struc­ ture of the state and its economic basis in the control and exploita­ tion of resources, and their distribution through tribute and trade, provide a foundation for the analysis of politically significant social groups and categories, of the prerogatives of politically dominant elements, and of the modes of incorporation of subject peoples. The principles of succession and of appointment at the various levels in the hierarchy of offices, and the modes of com­ petition for power and the balance of power among offices and between different parts of the system, are also central themes. These involve consideration of the ideology and ritual of kingship, the administrative machinery of the state, the operation of judicial institutions, and the organization and control of military forces. External relations of a kingdom have also, in some cases, played a dominant part in determining internal organization, and have called for special emphasis as a factor in its internal development and change. Our thanks are due to the authors for co-operating in following, as far as the character of their sources and special knowledge allowed, this general plan in their expositions. As is well known, authors are often very much attached to par­ ticular styles of orthography. The contributors have varied in their concern for a close rendering of the phonetic values for words in African languages and in the conventions for expressing these. Some have kindly agreed to a simplification and, since this is not a linguistic study, we have not thought an elaborate and completely uniform orthography to be essential. Where, as in the case of Yoruba terms, some place names, as well as names of offices and persons, are spelled differently in various chapters, this should not give rise to obscurity or confusion and will we hope be excused, by purists, in a collection of studies by different authors.

T H E K IN G D O M OF BENIN R. E. Bradbury I. The Historical and Territorial Background The Dynastic M yth In March 1897 a British military expedition took possession of Benin City (Ɛdo); in the following September Ovonramwen, the thirty-fifth Ɔba (king) of Benin, was deported to Calabar. Thus ended the independence of what had been one of the largest and longest lived of the West African forest states. It was not the end of the kingship, however, for when Ovonramwen died in 1914 his son Aiguobasimwin was made Oba. Conscious that his acces­ sion marked the beginning of a new era, Aiguobasimwin styled himself Eweka II after the first king of the dynasty. According to tradition, it was in the reign of the fifteenth Oba, Ozolua, that European visitors had first set foot in Benin City. As this event probably took place in 1485, it is unlikely that the dynasty was founded later than the early fourteenth century. The Edo believe that it was preceded by other dynasties. We are told that when the last of these came to an end the country fell into chaos, so the elders of Benin—today identified with the Uzama nobles (see p. 14)— dispatched messengers to the Ɔghɛnɛ n 'Uhɛ, asking him to send them a prince. The Ɔghɛnɛ (Ɔmi, to give him his Yoruba title) was the ruler of Ile Ife, the cosmic metropolis of the Yoruba people to the west and, for most of the states of the Bight of Benin, the cradle of divine kingship. He sent his son Oranmiyan, who, however, found Benin uncongenial, so after a short stay he departed for home, but not before he had impregnated the daughter of an Edo village chief. She bore a son, who in the course of time was enthroned under the name Eweka. It is impossible to say, with assurance, what historical reality underlies this myth, but its symbolic meaning is plain. It states that the kingship is of alien provenance but that it came into being by the will of the Edo and was nurtured in Edo culture. The same assertions are expressed in other myths, and they are recurrent motifs in state ritual. At various points in the annual cycle of

2

WEST AFRICAN KINGDOMS

kingship rites, the Oba receives fictitious gifts from his ‘father’, the Ɔghɛnɛ. Before 1897 part of the remains of a dead king were sent ‘back’ to Ife by his son, who sought the Ɔghɛnɛ’s formal approval of his own accession. These and other symbolic acts,

Fig. 1. The Benin dynasty (from 1700)

and the myths with which they are associated, establish the roots of the royal line outside Edo society and link it up, through Ife, with the dynasties of other kingdoms. Thus, they make explicit the Oba’s apartness and his right to rule. In many contexts O ba’ and ‘Edo’ are opposed concepts. Yet in another sense the Oba is Edo, for while Oranmiyan was an alien, his son Eweka was Edo-

THE KINGDOM OF BENIN

3

born and the latter’s successors were bound to rule through Edo institutions and according to Edo customs. The dynastic myth links up the Benin kingship with the dynas­ ties of most Yoruba states, especially with that of the great Oyo empire, for Oyo, too, claims Oranmiyan as the founder of its royal line. Thus, the traditions of the two great empires, which for several centuries dominated the greater part of what is now south­ western Nigeria, converge in a single hero-figure. It seems certain that the political innovations which gave rise to these states were set in motion at Ife. Yet however similar the central political institutions of Ife, Oyo, and Benin may have been at the outset, they developed along very different lines. Though the political systems of the Yoruba states differ considerably in detail (Lloyd, 1954 and 1962), they share many common basic features. The Benin kingdom, however, is located among the Edo-speaking peoples, whose social institutions are in many respects more akin to those of the small-scale Ibo societies to the east. It has been suggested elsewhere (Bradbury, 1964) that the characteristic features of the Benin polity resulted from a lengthy process of accommodation between the central notions of divine kingship, that were current in this part of Africa, and the basic patterns of Edo culture and society. The Benin Kingdom It is useful to distinguish what we may call the Benin kingdom from the outlying territories which at various times accepted the Oba’s suzerainty. Roughly coterminous with the present-day Benin Division of the Mid-West State of Nigeria, the Benin kingdom was the area in which the Oba’s writ ran most strongly and consistently. It was not a single administrative unit, and its boundaries cannot be precisely drawn. The great majority of its inhabitants spoke Edo, the language of Benin City, with negligible dialect variations, but there were Ibo settlements on the eastern borders, Itsekiri and Ijaw lining the rivers in the south-west, and Yoruba villages on the north-west whose relations with the Oba were, in most respects, similar to those of the Edo themselves. Generally speaking, the Benin kingdom may be defined as the area within which the Oba was recognized as the sole human arbiter of life and death. Within it no one could be put to death without his consent, and any person accused of a capital offence had to B

4

WEST AFRICAN KINGDOMS

The Kingdom of Benin

be brought before his court. In accordance with this principle, he retained control over the administration of sasswood to sus­ pected witches. Outside the Benin kingdom authority to inflict capital punishment, make human sacrifices or order the sasswood ordeal was delegated to, or retained by, local rulers. The inhabitants of the Benin kingdom considered themselves to be the true eviɛn-Ɔba, ‘slaves’ of the Oba, that is free subjects of the throne. They wore the same body markings, and they regarded themselves as superior to all their neighbours. All male commoners in the Benin kingdom were the Oba’s retainers in that they were nominal, if not initiated, members of the associa­ tions that administered his palace. Finally, throughout the Benin kingdom virtually every community or domestic ritual of a con­ firmatory or periodic nature made reference to the worshippers’ allegiance to the Oba.

THE KINGDOM OF BENIN

5

The Extent and Decline of the Benin Empire In its heyday the boundaries of the Benin state stretched far beyond its solid core, taking little account of linguistic and cultural divides. The kingdom was bounded by Yoruba speakers on the west and north, Ibo on the east, Ishan and Northern Edo on the north-east, and Urhobo, Itsekiri, and Ijaw on the south. The Edo of the Benin kingdom, together with the Ishan, Northern Edo, Urhobo, and Isoko, make up the Edo-speaking peoples, and they share a basic cultural substratum (Bradbury, 1957: 13-17 and passim). In the late fifteenth century Benin was a well-established state with a large army conducting long campaigns far afield. It was already approaching the peak of its power and prosperity. By the late sixteenth century its frontiers had reached out westwards along the coast to beyond Lagos, north-west through the country of the Ekiti Yoruba to Ottun, where there was a boundary with Oyo, and eastwards to the Niger. Thus, it embraced considerable populations of eastern Yoruba and western Ibo. The former largely retained their characteristically Yoruba political systems. Their titles, regalia, and ceremonial forms were influenced by Benin, but these were matters of style rather than structure. Within a limited framework of controls exercised by the Oba—tribute, assistance in war, facilities for Edo traders—they enjoyed internal autonomy. Many western Ibo groups developed into small central­ ized states in which Benin-type institutions, copied with varying degrees of similitude, were superimposed on and accommodated to local social forms. Most of their chiefs (obi) accepted the Oba’s suzerainty, but others, some of them founded by dissident groups from Benin itself, lay beyond his control. While the Benin empire embraced non-Edo peoples, it is im­ probable that firm control was ever established over the whole Edo-speaking area. To the immediate north-east of the Benin kingdom were the Ishan chiefdoms (Bradbury, 1957: 61-80), whose chiefs (enigie, enije) paid tribute to the Oba, provided contingents for his armies, and required his consent for their accession. To the west of Ishan the non-centralized Ivbiosakon (Bradbury, 1957: 84-99) had a similar allegiance, as did some of the nearer Urhobo chiefdoms and village groups to the south. But, to the north, the open rocky hill country of Etsako (ibid.,

6

WEST AFRICAN KINGDOMS

100-9) and North-West Edo (Akoko-Edo) (ibid., 110-26) and, to the south, the swamp-encompassed lands occupied by the remoter Urhobo and Isoko (ibid., 127-64), were resistant to enduring Benin control. The last three centuries of Benin’s independence saw a gradual shrinking of the area from which its government could enforce delivery of tribute and military service and secure safe passage for Benin traders, though this decline was by no means uninterrupted. During the eighteenth century there were many campaigns aimed at maintaining control over the western Ibo area. In Osem­ wende’s reign, in the early nineteenth century, control over the Ekiti Yoruba to the north was reconsolidated. Throughout the nineteenth century this latter area was the most important, though not the only, hinterland for Benin traders. Overseas goods, such as guns, powder, salt, and cloth, were obtained at the river ‘beaches’ on the south-west fringes of the kingdom from European merchants and Itsekiri middlemen, who, in return, bought Benin palm-oil, kernels, ivory, vegetable gums, and, in earlier times, slaves. The European goods were head-loaded to inland markets along well defined routes, the return traffic being in slaves, livestock, stone beads (from Ilorin), leather, and other commodi­ ties. This long distance trade was controlled by various trading associations, each operating in a different direction. The most important of these associations was called Ekhɛngbo (ekhɛn, traders; ɛgbo, forest). It monopolized the route from Benin to Akure, which was the main base for trade in the north-east Yoruba country. Ekhɛngbo, and similar associations operating towards the east and north-east, were controlled by title-holders and other prominent men from Benin City. The Oba of Benin is said to have been a member of all of them. It was in the interests of the traders to uphold the integrity of the Benin polity in order to ensure a state of security in which trade could flourish. Com­ petition for power and prestige in the state itself provided a major incentive to engage in this trade. On the other hand, the interests of free trade were in potential conflict with the interests of the Oba, and the ruling policy had always been highly protect­ ionist. No ‘foreign’ traders from the interior were permitted to operate in the Benin kingdom itself, and stringent controls were exercised over the waterside commerce with European and Itsekiri merchants. Heavy dues were demanded from visiting ships, the

THE KINGDOM OF BENIN

7

Oba’s monopolies in certain exports were strictly enforced, and general trading was allowed only when he and his chiefs had completed their business. Disagreements between the palace officials, who supervised this commerce, and the European and Itsekiri merchants often led to the latters’ withdrawal or to the Oba’s placing an embargo on all trade with them. State control aimed at maintaining the economic power of the ruling élite and, by limiting the distribution of firearms and powder, at preserving the integrity of the kingdom. These aims were largely achieved, but at the expense of economic vitality. It was no accident that the immediate cause of the expedition which led to Ovonramwen’s deposition was the massacre of a British mission which sought to persuade him to facilitate free commerce. In the period leading up to the expedition Benin fortunes were at a low ebb. Protected by its forest environment, the kingdom itself had remained secure from Fulani attacks and infiltrations such as had helped to break up the Oyo empire. Indeed, the Benin kingdom had apparently suffered no serious external attack since the legendary war with Idah in the sixteenth century. But in the second half of the nineteenth century the NupeFulani swept down to the northern borders of Ishan and Ivbio­ sakon, forcing most of the Northern Edo groups to pay regular tribute to the Emir of Bida. Meanwhile, the penetration of Europ­ ean commerce through Lagos on the west, and up the Niger on the east was slowly whittling away the Benin trading hinterland and loosening the Oba’s hold over his subject populations. When the Ekiti states were beset by Fulani raiders from Ilorin and by the growing military forces of Ibadan, the Oba was able to afford them little protection. Benin warriors played some part in the Ekiti wars, but on a freelance basis; they took advantage of the confused situation to raid for slaves and loot. They sent gifts to the Oba, for they were dependent on the Benin route for their supplies. In return he occasionally dispatched reinforcements to help them, but his control over them was minimal. In the 1880s the official Benin army, under the Ezɔmɔ, was occupied subduing rebellious villages on the very north-west borders of the kingdom itself, no more than fifty miles from the capital. Some Ishan and Western Ibo chiefdoms continued to pay tribute, but payment was becoming more difficult to enforce and revolts more difficult to put down. By the 1890s the Oba and his chiefs were becoming

8

WEST AFRICAN KINDGOMS

increasingly apprehensive of the intentions of the British, who by this time were firmly established in the rivers to the south. In these circumstances it is indeed remarkable that the Benin kingdom suffered no serious internal collapse. The capacity for survival shown by the Benin polity can be put down partly to the immense value attached to the kingship, which, over the centuries, had accumulated a great aura of mystery, fear, and respect. These attitudes were deliberately fostered by the Oba’s retainers and priests and, though there is a hint of desperation in the apparently great increase in human sacrifice during this period, they were lar­ gely successful. But the strength of the state lay also in the struct­ ure of its central institutions and in the balance between competing power groups. The nature of these institutions and key role of the kingship form the main subject of this essay. Territorial Administration The population of Benin Division, which we equate with the Benin kingdom, was reckoned at about 292,000 in the 1952 census. Some 54,000 of these lived in the capital, Benin City, and the rest in several hundred compact villages, ranging in size from less than 20 to (in one case only) more than 6,000 souls. The great majority of villages had populations of less than 1,000; 400 or 500 may be taken as typical. Before 1897 Benin City probably had less than half its 1952 population. Even so, its urban, metropolitan character contrasted sharply with the small scale of village society. The village was made up of a number of households containing simple, compound, and patrilineally extended families. House­ holds were grouped into wards on a territorial basis, though a small ward might correspond to a descent group. Villages were not associated with kin groups, and all but the smallest of them contained members of many different clans. The kinship system had a marked agnatic bias, but the effective lineages (Bradbury, 1957: 30-31) were small, and neither at the village nor the state level was the balance of power conceived of in terms of lineage representation. The narrow range of Benin lineages can be partly explained in terms of a high incidence of population movements between village and village, village and capital, and between the Benin kingdom and neighbouring areas. The primary factor, however, was the unusual pattern of land rights, which itself may have been

THE KINGDOM OF BENIN

9

related to population movements. Outside the capital population density was low, land was abundant, and rights in its exploitation were vested in the village community rather than in its component descent groups. Along with this lack of lineage control of land went primogenitary succession. Those offices that were hereditary passed, in principle, from father to eldest surviving son. Lloyd has shown that common interests in land and political offices were the basis of lineage solidarity among the northern Yoruba. The absence of such common interests in Benin had far-reaching implications for the political as well as the land-holding system. In the village the predominance of community over kin-group interests was maintained through a three-tier age-grade organiza­ tion (Bradbury, 1957: 32). The oldest man, subject to ‘citizen­ ship’ qualifications, was in most villages the sole village head (ɔdiɔnwere). He and his fellow elders (ediɔn) made policy, control­ led access to village resources, kept order, settled disputes, and mediated with the central authority. The elders directed the warrior and executive grade of adult men (ighele) and the grade of youths (iroghae) which performed ‘public works’. Supernatural sanction for their authority came from their access to the spirits of past elders of the village (ediɔn-ɛbho) and from their collective superiority in magic. In many villages, however, the ɔdiɔnwere’s authority was shared with and limited by that of a chief (onogie) whose office descended by primogenitary succession. Most enigie were descended from the immediately junior brothers of past kings, but some claimed lines going back beyond the incorporation of their chiefdoms into the state; and a few were descended from non-royal appointees of the Oba. The chiefdom might consist of one or several villages. In the central area round the capital and in the territory to the west of it there were few enigie, and here each village dealt directly with the central authority through its ɔdiɔnwere, though it might combine with neighbouring villages for certain purposes. To the north and east a much larger proportion of the population was included in chiefdoms. The more remote they were from Benin, the larger the chiefdoms tended to be and the greater their internal autonomy. The more distant enigie might control up to a dozen or more villages, some of which themselves had hereditary enigie. The more important enigie conferred titles on their ‘palace’ officials and on their agents in the subordinate villages. They had

10

WEST AFRICAN KINGDOMS

rights to game and tribute and they held courts for the settlement of disputes between their subjects. Having some of the attributes of kingship, they were the focus of rituals patterned on, though less elaborate than, those which took place at the Oba’s palace. The onogie’s authority was checked both from above and below. Each of his villages had its own council of elders headed by the ɔdiɔnwere, and he could do little against their combined will. If his rule was oppressive they could appeal to the Oba to restrain him. To the Oba the onogie had such obligations as to collect and dispatch tribute, to supply labour and military recruits, and to refrain from and prevent hostile acts against the king’s subjects in other chiefdoms and villages. Some enigie held official positions in the state military organization. Unlike the Oba’s Ishan, Yoruba, or Ibo vassals, the enigie of the Benin kingdom lacked the authority to put their subjects to death; all capital offences committed in their chiefdoms had to be referred to the Oba’s court. Finally, they held their offices at the Oba’s will. It was he who settled cases of disputed succession, and the onogie’s heir could not be installed until the Oba had given him permission to carry out his father’s mortuary rites. Generally, the heir spent a period of instruction at the Oba’s palace before he was escorted home and presented to his people by palace officials. In the last resort the Oba could depose him. Twice yearly, every village in the Benin kingdom was required to send tribute to the Oba in the form of yams, palm-oil, and other foodstuffs.1 The more remote vassal chiefs sent slaves and live­ stock. Refusal to contribute, on the part of a village or chiefdom, was construed as revolt (isɔtɛ) and its headman or chief was desig­ nated ‘the Oba’s enemy’ (oghian-Ɔba). Such revolts were put down by force. Apart from regular tribute, ad hoc levies were raised for particular purposes. Thus, if the Oba needed palm kernels for export (one of his monopolies) he could send out his palace officials to organize their collection. For administrative purposes the Oba’s domains were divided not into major provinces but into a large number of tribute units—single villages, village groups, and chiefdoms. Most of these ‘fiefs’ (as for convenience sake we may call them) served the Oba through the agency of one of his appointed counsellors of the Palace or Town orders, but other fief-holders included the hereditary Uzama nobles, the Iyɔba (Oba’s mother), Edaikɛn (Oba’s

THE KINGDOM OF BENIN

11

heir), non-titled palace retainers, and, it is said, some of the Oba’s wives. The fief-holders’ main reward lay in their right to receive tribute, usually reckoned as half the amount passed on to the Oba. They could also demand labour services and received gifts from those who sought their aid and protection, but they had no direct control over land or resources. A fief-holder could arrange with the onogie or elders of his villages to settle his dependants or slaves there to farm for him, but this was not an exclusive right, for the village authorities could make similar arrangements with other residents of the capital. His chief functions were to see that tribute was paid and to conduct its carriers to the palace; to recruit labour for such works as the rebuilding of the Oba’s palace; and to assemble men for service in the state armies. Fief-holders were required to live at Benin City. They used their own servants and kin to carry instructions to the enigie and ediɔn­ were. From the point of view of his ‘subjects’ the fief-holder was their official sponsor through whom they could communicate requests, complaints, and disputes to the Oba. Benin villagers strongly maintain that their sponsors had no judicial authority over them, but, while they had no official courts, it is clear that they did often settle disputes without bringing them to the Oba’s notice. Though each of the higher-ranking counsellors controlled many fiefs, these were dispersed throughout the Oba’s territories. If this arrangement had administrative drawbacks, it also had the advantage of preventing any one chief from building up too much personal power in a large consolidated area. Since most fiefs were in the hands of non-hereditary officials, they did not become permanently controlled by particular aristocratic lines. Nor were fiefs and titles indissolubly linked. When a man was awarded a title he expected to be given the fiefs that his predecessor had controlled, but the Oba had the right to redistribute them and, used with circumspection, this right could be a powerful political weapon. It must be stressed that the fief-holders were not the sole channel of communication between the Oba and his subjects. Some enigie had the right of direct access to the king. In the more distant vassal chiefdoms the Oba stationed his own agents to watch over his interests and convey intelligence to him. Within the Benin

12

WEST AFRICAN KINGDOMS

kingdom his palace officials were constantly going out to the villages on a variety of secular and ritual missions. II. The Central Political Institutions The Capital T he Benin capital was encircled by a massive earth wall and ditch some six miles in circumference. Within the wall the town was divided into two unequal parts by a long, broad avenue running approximately north-west to south-east. This spatial divi­ sion corresponded to a Palace/Town dichotomy of great political significance. Ogbe, the smaller area to the south-west, contained the Oba’s palace (Ɛguae-Ɔba) and the houses of most of his Palace Chiefs (Eghaɛbho n’Ogbe). In Orenokhua, to the north-east, lived the Town Chiefs (Eghaɛbho n'Ore) and here, too, were located most of the wards of occupational specialists. There were forty or fifty of these wards, occupied by groups having special skills or duties which they performed, full or part time, primarily for the Oba. Each ward had its internal political organization, based on the grading of its male members, and headed by an ɔdiɔnwere, an hereditary chief, or an appointed leader. On the western and southern sides of the town were a number of settlements that lay outside the main wall but within a second wall, standing a mile or so farther out. Some of these were inhabited by groups of ritual specialists and must be considered wards of the capital. Idunbhun-Ihogbe, for example, contained one section of the Ihogbe, priests of the past kings and of the living Oba’s Head. In the same area were located the villages of six of the Seven Uzama ( Uzama n’I hinrɔn), hereditary nobles and ‘kingmakers’. The seventh Uzama was the Oba’s eldest son and heir, the Edaikɛn, whose court was at Uselu, just outside the second wall to the north-west. In fact, as we shall see, no Edaikɛn was installed during the nineteenth century. Uselu also housed the court of the Oba’s mother, who ranked with the Town Chiefs rather than the Uzama. The hereditary Uzama and the two groups of Eghaɛbho, whose titles were non-hereditary, constituted three great orders of chief­ tancy which, between them, were responsible for the continuity and government of the state. In order to understand the adminis­ trative system and the nature of political competition at Benin,

THE KINGDOM OF BENIN

13

it will be necessary to describe the manner of recruitment to these orders, their respective competences, and their relationship to each other and to the king. The Uzama n’I hinrɔn Tradition identifies the Uzama with the ‘elders’ whose request resulted in Oranmiyan being sent from Ife to found a dynasty at Benin.2 This is consistent with their role as ‘kingmakers’ (the Edaikɛn being excluded from this role) and with their position as the highest-ranking order of chieftancy. As the elders of the state they take up the position of greatest honour at palace rituals, directly facing the Oba. In the ceremonial ‘salutations’, through which all the chiefs reaffirm their loyalty, the Uzama are the last to make obeisance and the first to receive the Oba’s kola nuts and palm wine. Oliha alone does not kneel before the king, for it is he who speaks the words that inaugurate a new reign. When Oliha himself dies his heir is installed by the Oba in person, whereas all other state chiefs are inducted by the lyasɛ, as senior Town Chief, on the Oba’s instructions. In the last centuries of independence the Uzama’s power, as a group, was not commensurate with their exalted rank. Some of them, especially Ezɔmɔ and Ɛro, had important executive func­ tions, but collectively they played a smaller part in the day-to-day direction of the state than did either of the Eghaɛbha orders. They had few administrative duties, controlled relatively few fiefs, and attended policy-making and judicial councils at the palace only on the most critical occasions. Nevertheless, as guardians of custom and of the kingship, they retained considerable prestige and moral authority. An Oba could not be lawfully installed, nor could he properly worship his predecessors, without their participation; and new laws and major policy decisions required their formal con­ sent. Ritual sanction for their authority lay in the cult of their col­ lective predecessors, the Ediɔn-Uzama, whose worship, at a shrine in Oliha’s custody, was essential for the nation’s well-being. The authority of the Uzama was probably most effective in times of serious disagreement between the Town Chiefs and the Palace. Their ability to act as a ‘third-force’—sometimes allying themselves with the Town group against the Palace, sometimes identifying themselves with the Oba’s interests vis-à-vis his appointed counsellors—derived not only from their status as

Fig.

2

. T h e principal orders of chieftaincy in O vonram w en’s reign

THE KINGDOM OF BENIN

15

‘elders’ b ut also from the considerable autonomy that they retained in their own settlements. They were not the Oba’s equals; they could not sit in his presence nor put anyone to death without his consent. Yet in another sense they were his peers. Like the Oba, and unlike the Eghaɛbha, they were hereditary territorial rulers in their own right. Their territories consisted only of the villages or hamlets in which they lived with, in some cases, one or more villages farther afield ; but in the internal affairs of these territories the Oba ought not to interfere. Their inhabitants were subjects of the Uzama rather than of the Oba. Freemen of Uzebu, for example, were eviɛn-Ez ɔmɔ rather than eviɛn- Ɔba. E z ɔmɔ could make direct demands on their services and confer titles on them ; the Oba could not. The Uzama themselves had some of the attri­ butes of kingship. They had their own priests to bless their Heads, whereas the Eghaɛbho’s Heads were blessed by the Oba’s priests, Ihogbe. They lived in ‘palaces’ which, in principle at least, were organized along the same lines as the Oba’s palace, with associa­ tions of retainers bearing titles similar to those conferred by the Oba on his own courtiers. In the nineteenth century most of the Uzama’s courts were more nominal than effective, but some of them, especially Ezɔmɔ, were able to keep up impressive establish­ ments. The Uzama had not always been set apart from the management of the state, if reliance can be placed on traditions of a prolonged struggle waged by the early kings to assert their supremacy over them. Up to the reign of the sixteenth Oba, Esigie, Oliha is portrayed as the Oba’s main antagonist, but as time goes by this role passes to the lyasɛ, the leader of the Town Chiefs. Ritual expression is still given to the ancient opposition between the Oba and Uzama, in the irɔn rite, which forms part of the annual Festival of the Oba’s Father ( Ugie-Erha-Ɔba). Ir ɔn takes the form of a pantomimic battle in which the Uzama, after challenging the Oba by showing him their archaic ‘crowns’, are defeated by loyal warriors. Then they accept the Oba’s kola nuts and palm wine in token of their submission. This rite, and myths relating how various kings got the better of the Uzama, have a continuing social meaning in that they reassert the Oba’s unchallengeable supremacy over those who are closest in rank to him. But it is likely that they refer, also, to an historical decline in the power of the Uzama correlated, the evidence suggests, with the rise of the

16

WEST AFRICAN KINGDOMS

Eghaɛbho orders ; and with a shift towards a doctrine of automatic primogenitary succession to the kingship. The successful assertion, by the kings of Benin, of the right to assign major administrative and judicial functions to counsellors appointed by themselves gave them considerable power vis-à-vis the Uzama. The rule of primogeniture, though ineffective in eliminating succession strife, made the Uzama's role as kingmakers more ceremonial than political. They continued to receive the new king’s installation fees and to inaugurate his reign, but they had no more effective voice in determining his identity than did the Eghaɛbho. It is instructive to compare the nineteenth-century position of the Uzama with that of their analogues at Oyo (Morton-Williams, 1960: 362-7).3 T he Ɔy ɔ M isi formed the central policy-making council, played a major administrative role in capital and state, and had a decisive voice in selecting the Alafin (king) from can­ didates put before them by the royal lineage. Moreover, their ultimate authority over the king was complete for, if his rule proved unsatisfactory, their leader, the Bashɔrun, could order him to commit suicide. At Benin no one could claim the right to bring a reign to an end. Whereas the Ɔ yɔ M isi titles were vested in powerful landholding lineages, the Uzama titles descended by primogeniture through narrow lines of descent. Though it did not always prevent succession conflict, the rule of primogeniture at least set narrow limits on the range of possible aspirants, for, unless an Uzama died without sons, his brothers and the latters’ descendants were automatically excluded from a direct interest in the title. Nor, since land was not lineage-held at Benin, were they dependent upon him, nor he upon them, for access to resources. Thus, two strong motives for lineage solidarity present among the Yoruba were absent from Benin. Wealthy Uzama could extend patronage to their kinsmen but, on the other hand, succession disputes were destructive of lineage unity. Many Uzama collaterals evaded the authority of their noble kinsmen by, for example, moving into the capital and seeking the Oba’s preferment. Those Uzama who had many subjects seem to have recruited them mainly from slaves and clients rather than on a descent basis. A further difference between the two groups lay in the fact that, unlike the Ɔ yɔ M isi, the Uzama did not have administrative and judicial authority over major sections of the capital.

THE KINGDOM OF BENIN

17

Thus, the Uzama depended for their influence on personal wealth and following and, in this respect, their hereditary status gave them (with the Ezɔmɔ a conspicuous exception) no special advantages over the Oba’s appointed counsellors. In Benin great wealth was attained through fief-holding, control of political patronage, long-distance trade, and participation in war and slave raiding. Wealth was invested mainly in buying slaves, who were set down in villages to farm for their masters. Except for the Ezɔmɔ, the Uzama controlled relatively few fiefs—the result, probably, of deliberate policy on the part of the kings. Since they exercised few administrative functions, they had little patronage to offer. Successful traders needed to move about freely, making new contacts and closely supervising their agents. In this respect the Uzama were hampered by the dignity of their quasi-kingly offices, which demanded that they remain in their palaces rather than wander about in search of wealth. Nor, except for the Ezɔmɔ, did they have any special role in the state’s military organization. The Ezɔmɔ’s position was unique. Though third in rank in its order, this was one of the great offices of state, and its holder most nearly approached kingly status. The wealth and prestige of successive Ezɔmɔ, remarked by many European visitors in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, was derived from their function as war captains, in which respect only the Iyasɛ equalled them. It was the Ezɔmɔ who took charge of most national cam­ paigns, and their military activities enabled them to accumulate many slaves, subjects, and fiefs. However, this role had little to do with their Uzama status. They were directly responsible to the Oba, and there is no evidence that they regularly used their power in the interests of their order. The specific character of the Ezɔmɔ's military functions meant that his relationship to the king was sharply defined and lacked the element of polar opposition which bedevilled the king’s relations with the Iyasɛ or, in earlier times, the Oliha. The Ezɔmɔ's military power could be an important factor in succession disputes, but he had no monopoly of physical force, for there was no standing army at his command; when warriors were needed they were recruited by the Oba through his fief-holders, most of whom were Eghaɛbho. In at least one nineteenth-century succession dispute the Ezɔmɔ' s support for one of the candidates appears to have been crucial,

l8

WEST AFRICAN KINGDOMS

but he was not automatically in a position to dictate the succession. In the dispute which occurred when Adolo died, Ezɔmɔ Osaro­ giagbon seems not to have taken an overt stand. The Palace Organization The palace was the religious and administrative centre of the nation. The Oba’s living quarters were incapsulated in a vast assemblage of council halls, shrines, storehouses, and workshops surrounded by a high compound wall. Immediately behind this wall, where it bounded the avenue separating Ogbe from Oreno­ khua, stood rows of huge walled quadrangles containing the altars of past kings. Beyond these was the main palace block, where the Oba lived and conducted his government; and, behind it, the Ɛriɛ, where his wives (iloi) lived in strict seclusion. The main palace buildings comprised three major divisions— Iwebo, Iwɛguae, and Ibiwe. These were the names of three associa­ tions (otu) of freeborn retainers that administered the royal court and participated in the government. Access to the apartments of each otu was confined to its initiated members, except that a court in Iwebo served as a common forum for the chiefs of all three associations. The Oba could move freely through the palace. In one of the courts in each division there was a dais on which he sat when he met privately with its chiefs to discuss palace affairs or public policy. Other courts lay outside the jurisdiction of any otu, and in these the Palace Chiefs joined with the Oba, the Town Chiefs, and, on occasions, the Uzama, in a general council of state assembled for decision-making and judicial purposes. The three associations were characterized by their primary duties at court. First in rank were the Iwebo, who had charge of the Oba’s state regalia, including his throne and his ceremonial wardrobe and accoutrements. Unwaguɛ, as head of Iwebo, was head of the palace organization. This was one of the key offices of state, conferring great prestige and patronage on its holder. The Iwɛguae division contained the Oba’s private apartments. Its chiefs were his household officers, and his cooks and domestics were chosen from its lower ranks. It also included his pages (emada, lit. ‘swordbearers’), boys and young men who had been given to the Oba by their fathers and who were bound in absolute service to him until, well into manhood, he saw fit to give them wives and send them into the world as free men. They provided

THE KINGDOM OF BENIN

19

him with a small personal reserve of force and, as they moved about the palace on their errands, they used their eyes and ears to furnish him with intelligence about the intrigues of his courtiers. They also helped him to maintain direct contact with his subjects by arranging private audiences for people who wanted to see him, thus by-passing the official channels of communication through the fief-holders. Also associated with Iwɛguae were the Ewaisɛ, the Oba’s doctors and diviners, though in some contexts these were regarded as a separate otu. They lived in Orenokhua under their own chiefs, but had apartments in the palace, where they prepared and stored the medicines and magical paraphernalia used to protect the king and foster his vitality. The Ibiwe were the keepers of the Oba’s wives and children. Their chiefs were divided into two hierarchical series, Ibiwe and Eruɛriɛ. Inɛ n’I biwe was the senior chief, but Osodin, as head of Eruɛriɛ, had direct charge of the Ɛriɛ. He and his subordinates maintained discipline there, settled disputes between the wives, and reported to the Oba on their conduct and condition. The Ibiwe chiefs cared for them in their own homes when they were sick or pregnant and acted as guardians for the Oba’s sons, who left the palace in early childhood. Ibiwe, as a whole, were respon­ sible for provisioning the Ɛriɛ—a major task, for, including the servants of the Oba’s wives, it housed several hundred women. Apart from these retainer duties the palace associations per­ formed important political functions, which may be summarized as follows: (1) They were institutions for recruiting and training person­ nel for specific administrative, judicial, and ceremonial tasks and for the general exercise of royal authority. (2) They were organized into an elaborate system of grades and hierarchies which served to channel competition for power. (3) They were a powerful instrument of centralization and a force for stability in the state. Every freeborn man in the Benin kingdom considered himself a member of one of the palace otu. In nearly every village there were a few men who had actually ‘entered the palace’, that is had been initiated into an association, but the majority had only a nominal affiliation inherited from their fathers. Nominal c

20

WEST AFRICAN KINGDOMS

membership gave no access to the otu’s apartments, no voice in its affairs or share in its revenue. Nor, so far as one can tell, did differential palace affiliations give rise to regularly opposed groups within the village community. What they did was to afford each individual a sense of personal identification with the central institutions of the state, and thus they helped to maintain popular support for a highly exploitative political system. In its relation to the capital, the village had the quality of a peasant culture. Except for the heirs to enigie and hereditary priests of community cults, the ultimate pinnacles of ambition lay outside the village. Relatively few managed to transpose themselves from the age­ ascriptive hierarchy of the village to the achievement hierarchy of the state, yet virtually everyone had a kinsman or neighbour who had succeeded in doing so. When a man was made an elder (ɔdiɔn, ɔdafɛn) of his palace otu he automatically became an elder of his village and, to this extent, there was a measure of integration of village and palace hierarchies. Such men gained prestige and influence if they returned to their villages, for they had consorted with the great and might still be used to curry favour with them. The odd villager, even achieved a state title. By doing so he was lost to the village as a resident, but could use his influence at the centre on behalf of his kith and kin. To ‘enter the palace’ was the first step towards a state title in either the Palace or (but see above, p. 14) the Town order. Apart from the heirs to some hereditary offices and subjects of the Uzama, any freeborn commoner (but no close agnates of the Oba)4 could enter the palace, provided he could meet the ex­ pense of initiation. Many young men from all over the kingdom were initiated as ibierugha (‘children’ or ‘servants’ of the apart­ ments). The candidate spent an initial period of seven days in the apartments of his otu, during which he paid fees to its chiefs, swore oaths of loyalty and secrecy, and received instructions in his duties. He was then liable to be called upon to perform the more menial tasks that fell to his otu, to act as a servant to its chiefs, and to accompany the Oba’s emissaries on their missions. By paying additional fees, providing more feasts, and undergoing further rites of passage, the retainer could then seek promotion to the ɔdiɔn or ɔdafɛn grade and, subsequently, to the highest untitled grade of ukɔ (messenger, emissary). To the ediɔn, edafɛn, and ikɔ· fell more responsible tasks inside and outside the palace.

THE KINGDOM OF BENIN

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With increasing responsibility went emancipation from menial tasks, more perquisites, and a greater voice in the association’s affairs. Some, like the bead-workers of Iwebo, were craftsmen; others had organizational, ritual or ceremonial duties or undertook missions to the villages on the instructions of the Oba and the chiefs. Once a man became ukɔ he was eligible to apply for a title. All non-hereditary titles were at the Oba’s disposal when they fell vacant through the death or promotion of the previous holder. There was no constitutional means of preventing him awarding a title to whomsoever pleased him, simply by sending his messenger to inform the successful applicant. Nevertheless, the chiefs of the relevant order or association expected to be consulted, and any aspirant was well advised to seek their advocacy, for they exercised great influence with the Oba. Moreover, if they could not stop the Oba from awarding a title they could prevent its recipient from enjoying its privileges, for the latter had to pay fees to the king and both orders of Eghaɛbho, after which, at a public cere­ mony held in the Oba’s presence, he was formally inducted by the Iyasɛ. Until this was done he could not begin to exercise the pre­ rogatives of his office. Clearly the mechanism for awarding titles afforded much scope for the political arts of compromise and patronage. In each otu there were two main grades of titles—ekhaɛnbhɛn and eghaɛbho. The latter had precedence over the former, and in each grade of each association all the titles were arranged in a single hierarchical series. In a normal career a retainer would take one or more of the lesser titles before achieving eghaɛbho rank, and the senior eghaɛbho titles—Unwaguɛ, Ɛribo, Esere Ɔbazelu, Inɛ, Ɔbazuaye, Osodin—normally went to men who were already eghaɛbho. However, promotion was not automatic. The death of a senior chief did not mean that all those below him moved up one step. All titles were open to competition each time they fell vacant. Moreover, each time a man gave up one title for a more exalted one he had to pay increasingly higher fees and be installed afresh. On the other hand, a title was an investment, for it afforded its holder new opportunities for acquiring wealth. A high proportion of initiates were sons of retainers and Town Chiefs, and this proportion was undoubtedly higher in the senior grades. This was partly because courtiers’ sons were in a better

22

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position than most men to afford admission and promotion, but it was also because families resident around the palace main­ tained a continuing tradition of retainer service. Thus, wealth and family tradition combined to produce something in the nature of an hereditary aristocracy of retainers, through the generations of which administrative and political skills were passed down. Yet, at any one time, all ranks of the palace associations included a leavening of ‘new men’ who had risen from lowly origins. The strength of the palace organization as an instrument of centraliza­ tion and stability lay, in part at least, in the way it thus combined a solid core of continuity with an open system of recruitment. The sons of a senior palace official or Town Chief were distri­ buted between the various otu. The manner of their distribution was not rigidly fixed, though the first son and one or more others always joined the father’s association. What is significant is that brothers were assigned different palace affiliations. Particular associations did not become identified with particular descent groups, and the non-hereditary, competitive nature of palace titles was strongly maintained. The fact that a man entered his father’s otu did not imply that he would necessarily remain in it, for it was possible to transfer from one otu to another in pursuit of advancement. Once a man became ukɔ n'iwebo or ukɔ n’urhoɛriɛ (Ibiwe) he was eligible for either a Palace or Town title. Initiates of Iwɛguae did not transfer to Iwebo or Ibiwe because, it is ex­ plained, they were too closely acquainted with the mysteries of the Oba’s personal life, but they could take certain Town titles. Though most retainers probably remained in the same otu throughout their careers, many men held titles consecutively in different associations or orders. Thus, while most retainers were drawn from a limited section of the population of Benin City, the mechanism of transfer and the non-hereditary status of palace offices ensured that neither the otu as groups, nor particular offices within them, were directly representative of descent group interests. The unity of an otu was based on the common interests of its members in preserving their prerogatives, but unity was not always easy to maintain in the face of the obligations of individuals to their kinsmen and fellow members of other groups, such as trading associations. Competition between the otu existed, but it was limited partly by the need for the palace to present a common front to the Town

THE KINGDOM OF BENIN

23

Chiefs and Uzama, and also by a fairly strict segregation of admini­ strative competences. All three associations were concerned with palace revenues and stores. The Iwebo had charge of the Oba’s reserves of cowrie shells, beads, cloth, and other trade goods. Tribute in yams, etc., was stored partly by the Iwɛguae, who catered for the Oba’s personal household and for the feasts he gave his chiefs; and partly by the Ibiwe, who were responsible for the provisioning of the wives’ quarters. Certain commodities, such as fish, palm wine, and wooden utensils, were supplied to the palace by particular village communities, and certain ekhaɛnbhɛn were responsible for seeing that they met their commitments. Umoaguɛ and Ɛribo, the two senior Eghaɛbho of Iwebo, had the important and lucrative task of supervising trade with European merchants at the river port of Ughoton, and some of the ekhaɛnbhɛn performed similar functions at the river beaches where the Itsekiri came to trade. Among the Ibiwe were a group of ‘buyers’ (idenbhin) who pur­ chased goats, fowls, and other materials for sacrifice at palace rituals. Ibiwe were also ultimately responsible for the Oba’s own livestock, but most of their missions were concerned with girls betrothed to the Oba, some of whom became his wives, while others were bestowed on men whom the Oba wished to favour. Osodin controlled the igban oath. This was a custom whereby any subject could declare his own wife or any other woman to be ‘the Oba’s wife’. He might do this out of anger at the woman’s conduct, or as a means of bringing a personal dispute to the Oba’s notice. Once the matter had been settled, Osodin was called upon to revoke the oath, a service for which he expected remuneration from those concerned. Apart from these and other regular tasks, officials of all three otu were sent to the villages to organize levies, gather information, investigate complaints, represent the Oba at village rituals, and present enigie to their people. Assignment to these missions was keenly sought after, for they could be very rewarding. The emis­ saries not only received customary gifts from the recipients of palace favours but often lived for extended periods at the villagers’ expense, and they are said to have been adept at extracting presents from men who wanted to make use of their influence, or fines from those whom they held to have broken taboos and regulations. They could also use their missions to establish trading contacts,

24

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negotiate marriages, and make arrangements for loaning out animals, or for settling their dependants in villages to farm for them. The Palace Chiefs were also responsible for the special occupa­ tion groups in Benin City. Each ‘guild’ was affiliated to one of the palace associations, The craft guilds (such as the bronze-casters, smiths, carvers, leather-workers) were linked with Iwebo, the keepers of the royal regalia, as were most of the bands of musicians who performed at palace ceremonies. To the Iwɛguae, the keepers of the Oba’s person, were allied various groups of ritual specialists, while the Ibiwe, who looked after his wives and children, also controlled his sheep- and cattle-keepers. The Palace Chiefs mediated between the Oba and the guilds and received fees from the successors to hereditary guild heads in validation of their titles. The Chiefs were able to draw on the services of the guilds, and they also, no doubt, received their share of the gifts that the Oba bestowed on specialists who pleased him. Thus, there were many ways in which palace retainers could enrich themselves, and there was a constant flow of wealth from the lower ranks towards the chiefs who distributed tasks. However, the Palace Chiefs were not wholly dependent on these perquisites, for they, and many of the ekhaɛnbhɛn, were assigned fiefs from which they drew tribute and labour, and gifts for acting as sponsors and settling disputes. The number of fiefs held by a chief was broadly proportionate to his rank, and the senior Eghaɛbho each controlled many villages. They invested their wealth in trade and the purchase of slaves whom they set down in camps, or attached to existing villages, to farm for them under the surveillance of their own kinsmen. Finally, the Palace Chiefs were not mere executives carrying out the Oba’s instructions. They were his inner circle of advisers and had much influence over him, for he was largely dependent upon them for the exercise of his authority. This was especially the case in the early years of his reign, when the governmental and political experience of the palace staff who had served his father greatly exceeded his own. Together with the Town Chiefs, they formed a council of state which met frequently with the Oba himself to take decisions, try capital charges, and hear appeal­ ed disputes. Indeed, the only political sphere from which they were excluded was the military one.

THE KINGDOM OF BENIN

25

The Town Chiefs There were two main orders of chiefs associated with Orenok­ hua, the Eghaɛbho n'Ore and the Ibiwe Nekhua. According to tradition, the former order was constituted by the twelfth Oba, Ewuare, who included in it two already existing titles, lyase and Esɔgban, and two others, Esɔn and Osuma, of his own creation. By the 1890s there were thirteen titles, of which eight had been added by eighteenth- and nineteenth-century kings. Apart from Ologbosɛ, which was hereditary, all the titles were in the Oba’s gift, and any of his freeborn subjects (except the heirs to certain hereditary offices, subjects of the Uzama, and the Oba’s close agnates) could aspire to them. They were arranged in a single hierarchical sequence, the first four title-holders making up a senior grade. Variously known as Eghaɛbho n'Ene (the Four Eghaɛbho) or Ikadal'Ene (The Four Pillars), the latter were associated with the four days of the Edo week. On his own day each one performed, in his home, the rite of zematɔn, which corresponded to a similarly named rite that took place daily at the palace when, as the Edo say, ‘the king who is like the day gives food to the day’. It was an act of purification and a renewal and release of the Oba’s mystical power. That it had to be per­ formed by the Four Eghaɛbho is one manifestation of a constant motif in Benin ritual, namely that the Oba and the Edo are in a relationship of mystical interdependence. In many contexts, this mutual dependence is expressed through acts of ritual communion between the Oba and his predecessors, on the one hand, and the people and their dead, on the other; but the notion underlying zematɔn is that the mystical power of the living king has its com­ plement in the living community. As we have suggested, the conceptual opposition of ‘Oba’ and ‘Edo’ was linked up with the alien origins of the royal clan. It also had continuing political connotations. The Oba/Uzama opposition, as we have seen (p. 15), was expressed in a mock battle. The potential hostility between the Oba and Town Chiefs was also played out in ritual. For example, when the Town Chiefs, swords in hand, danced homage to the king they were shadowed by his palace retainers, swords upraised as if to strike them down should they attack him, Unlike the Uzama, who were hereditary nobles, the Town Chiefs were commoners who,

26

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by their enterprise and the Oba’s favour, had risen to positions of power. In many contexts it was they who were ‘the Edo’, in opposition to the Oba and the Palace, for they were held to embody the will and power of all the people. As the fingers are to the thumb, say the Edo, so are the Four Eghaɛbho to the Oba. In one context, the Oba’s authority, derived from his descent from Oranmiyan, was opposed to that of the Uzama, derived from their predecessor, the ediɔn- Uzama, originators of the state. In another, it was the ediɔn-Ɛdo, the collective dead elders of the whole people, that stood opposed to the line of dead kings. Every descent group, village and association had its cult of the ediɔn, the past elders who laid down its customs and continued to uphold its values. Just as the ɔdiɔnwere, the oldest man, was the village head and priest of the dead ediɔn of the village, so the Esɔgban was Ɔdiɔnwere-Ɛdo. In his official house, which directly faced the palace across the open space between Ogbe and Orenokhua, he kept a staff symbolizing the ediɔn-Ɛdo whom, with his fellow Eghaɛbho, he served on behalf of the Oba and the people. Why, one may ask, was Esɔgban and not Iyasɛ the Ɔdiɔnwere- Ɛdo? The Edo explanation is that the Iyasɛ was a war captain who was sent on long campaigns while Esɔgban, his deputy, remained behind to look after the town. Another explanation, perhaps, is that the Iyasɛ was seen as the chief protagonist of the people against the power of the Palace, a role hardly consistent with that of a priestly guardian of national peace and harmony. A Benin writer has described the Iyasɛ, with some truth, as ‘the prime minister and the leader of the opposition’. When the Oba wished to propose a new law, prosecute a war, or take important administrative action he was bound to seek the advice and approval of the Uzama and his Town and Palace Chiefs. After meeting separately to formulate their views, the three orders assembled with the Oba in a full council of state. The sole right to argue with or censure the Oba in public was held to lie with Town Chiefs and, more especially, with the Iyasɛ. When one of them died, the Oba sent his men to claim his lower jaw, ‘the jaw he had used to dispute with the Oba’. This act symbolized the ultimate supremacy of the king over the Edo. Except in this last symbolic act, it was difficult for the Oba to impose his will on the Town Chiefs. They controlled many

THE KINGDOM OF BENIN

27

fiefs, and he was dependent on them for tribute, labour, and troops. Many of them had great personal followings, since the people saw them as their main protection against the demands of palace officials. Apart from Iyasɛ, they included two other senior war chiefs, Ologbosɛ and Imaran, on whom the king regularly depended for the prosecution of his campaigns against rebel vassals. Since no state chiefs could be installed without their acquiescence, the Town Chiefs could render the Oba’s appointments ineffective. Finally, the king himself often needed their support lest he became too dependent on his Palace Chiefs. The best interests of the common people lay in the maintenance of a balance of power between the Town Chiefs and the Palace. Even in the present century, political factions have tended to gather round the Oba and the Iyasɛ, and popular support has swung from one side to the other. In tradition, the Iyasɛ is regularly portrayed as the focus of opposition to the Oba’s power. However, we must beware of over-simplifying. We cannot assume that the interests of the Oba and the Palace Chiefs always coinci­ ded, or that the orders themselves always presented unanimous fronts towards each other or towards the Oba. Kin and other loyalties cut across obligations to fellow chiefs. Moreover, it was in the Oba’s interests, as in his subjects’, to keep a balance between different power groups and to advance his own interests by dividing theirs. We have already seen that any man who had reached ukɔ rank in the palace was qualified for a Town Chief title. An alternative avenue of advancement lay through the Ekaiwe association, composed mainly of descendants of the Oba’s daughters. From Ekaiwe the Oba appointed men to titles in the Ibiwe Nekhua order, which had mainly military and ceremonial functions. These titles were regarded as a step towards Town Chief rank. Since it was customary for the Oba to marry his daughters to the Town Chiefs, many of the latters’ children became Ekaiwe and Ibiwe Nekhua. Thus there was a degree of descent continuity within the Town order. However, since Ekaiwe status was not the only qualification for Town titles, the Oba was able to inject men of his own choosing into the order. Frequently he filled these titles from the palace ranks, but others were given to men who had made their way in life independently, acquiring wealth through trade, farming, or the pursuit of crafts or war. It was in the Oba’s

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interests to bring such men into positions of authority and to bind them in oath and obligation to him. By allying himself with them he could strengthen his position vis-à-vis the palace estab­ lishment. Moreover, since there was always a danger that the Town Chiefs would grow too powerful and come into conflict with the king, it was useful to introduce among them men who were as yet little involved in political intrigue. It is worth noting that the Iyasɛ title was often given to men who, though Edo-born, had made their fortunes by trading or slave raiding on the fringes, or beyond the bounds, of the Benin state. The Oba It should already be clear that the Oba of Benin was neither a mere ritual figurehead nor a constitutional monarch, but a political king, actively engaged in competition for power. His main political weapon lay in his ability to manipulate the system of Palace and Town offices. By making appointments to vacant titles, creating new ones, transferring individuals from one order to another, introducing new men of wealth and influence into positions of power, and redistributing administrative competences, the kings tried to maintain a balance between competing groups and individuals. The distribution of authority was such as to prevent any one group from obtaining too much power in a particular adminis­ trative sphere. While the Oba depended on his fief-holders for the administration of his territories and the collection of revenue, these were not drawn from a single order, and the holdings of any one of them were fragmented. Moreover, the fact that a village or chiefdom ‘belonged to’ a chief did not prevent the palace staff entering it on specific royal assignments. The same principle of overlapping authority operated in other contexts. In Benin City the Town Chiefs were associated with and lived in Orenokhua, but they had no ex-officio authority in the ward-guilds that made up Orenokhua; the guilds served the Oba through the Palace Chiefs. Nor was there any concentration of military offices in one order. There were two alternative commands, one led by Ezɔmɔ (Uzama) assisted by Ologbose; the other by Iyasɛ with Edogun (Ibiwe Nekhua) as his second-in-command. Their warriors were recruited by the fief-holders on the Oba’s instructions. To take a last example, while Unwague and Ɛribo were in charge of overseas

THE KINGDOM OF BENIN

29

trade, the Oba appointed their assistants from all three palace otu. Though the Oba had considerable room for manœuvre in exercising his prerogatives, he was not free to act entirely according to the expediency of the moment. He had to operate within the framework of conventions sanctioned by tradition and sanctified by ritual. To a certain extent he could rearrange the hierarchical orders, but the uppermost titles in each series remain fixed. Their holders had indispensable ritual functions, and any attempt to displace them met with general opposition. Nor, once he had appointed a man to a title, could he lawfully remove him, except by ordering him to commit suicide, if a treasonable charge was made out against him. Moreover, though in principle the Oba was free to reallocate duties and privileges, if he did so too often, or too arbitrarily, he risked consolidating the chiefs against him. To prevent this he had to play them off against each other, and this could be done only by a judicious devolution of power. His interests lay in fostering competition for his favours, both within and between chiefly orders and palace associations, and competi­ tion for titles was worth while only so long as the relationship between rank, prerogatives, and privileges remained fairly constant. When a man applied for a title he did so in the expecta­ tion that he would succeed to the fiefs and perquisites that his predecessor had enjoyed. If these expectations had not been regularly fulfilled competition would have broken down. All monarchies have to face the problem of the succession, and their success in solving it has an important bearing on their continuity and integrity. The succession at Benin had a compli­ cated history, but by the nineteenth century the principle of primogeniture was firmly established. According to tradition, it had been introduced in Ewuakpe’s reign, in the early eighteenth century, with the purpose of avoiding succession conflict (Eghare­ vba, 1960: 40). This aim was not achieved, for two of the last three successions before 1897 involved civil war, and in the third it was avoided only because one candidate had secured overwhelming support. In theory there should have been no dispute, for it was the Oba’s right to make his heir apparent by installing him as Edaikɛn of Uselu. In fact, none of the nineteenthcentury kings did this, because, it is said, they were afraid that their heirs, once officially recognized, would begin to accumulate

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too much power. The result was that, in each case, factions formed round two of the Oba’s oldest sons. The rewards of success lay in the patronage that the new Oba could dispense, and in the influence that his backers hoped to exert through him. In the last resort force was the decisive factor, but each faction was concerned to validate its candidate’s right to succeed. The dispute was conducted in terms of the relative age and legitimacy of the rival brothers, the arguments employed being too complicated to detail here. What is significant is that the factions that emerged seem to have cross-cut rather than followed cleavages between the main power groups described above. Competition for the kingship was not, as in Fulani Bida (Nadel, 1942) or Zaria (Smith, 1960), between dynastic segments, but between two brothers. The royal clan had no corporate existence as a power segment and no say in the choice of a successor. The rival candidates had to assemble support piecemeal from each of the main chiefly orders and from influential men outside them. When the Oba died it was the senior Palace Chief, Unwaguɛ, who formally named his successor, in a public gathering of chiefs—the convention being maintained that the late king had disclosed the identity of the legitimate heir to him. But he did so in response to the Iyasɛ’s inquiry, and it was the latter who installed the heir as Edaikɛn, after he had paid fees to the Town and Palace orders. Before he could be enthroned he had to pay further fees to the Uzama, and it was they who inaugur­ ated his reign. Only then could he enter his palace, which, in the meantime, remained in Unwaguɛ’s custody. Thus, if civil war was to be avoided one of the candidates had to secure overwhelming backing in all three orders. The new Oba had no right to dismiss the chiefs appointed by his father, and since at the beginning of his reign they were more experienced in the direction of state affairs than he was, he was highly dependent on them, especially the Palace Chiefs. At the same time he had to satisfy his personal supporters, many of whom, up to the time of his enthronement, had lacked official positions. It was customary for a new king to create two new titles in the Town order and in each palace association, so he could give immed­ iate rewards to his closest and most ambitious henchmen. It was difficult, however, for him to place these new titles anywhere but at the bottom of the various hierarchical series. In the early years of Ovonramwen’s reign there was a bitter contest between ‘those

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who came with the Oba’ (iguɔmɔre) and the old palace guard. Between 1889 and 1897, as a result of this struggle, and through dissension within the palace otu, a number of chiefs were murdered and others put to death or ordered to commit suicide by the Oba. Ovonramwen was able to use the vacancies caused by these killings and by natural deaths to introduce and promote his favour­ ites into positions of power. Traditions suggest that this may have been the normal pattern of events in the early part of a reign and that, as time went by, the Oba was in a position gradually to in­ crease his personal power. The kings of Benin seem to have had more security of tenure than many of their African counterparts. It is true that two kings of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were removed by force, shortly after they had occupied the palace, and replaced by their brothers, but once the Oba had survived the initial succession crisis it became progressively difficult to remove him. It is conceivable that some kings may have been dispatched by secret regicide, but there was no instance of constitutional de­ thronement after the introduction of primogenitary succession. The explanation lies partly in the mode of succession itself, in the doctrine that succession can be validated only by the proper performance, by the senior son, of his father’s funeral rites. The dogma was that kings were chosen in ‘heaven’ not by men. This did not prevent violent conflicts for the throne, but it did ensure that the ideological issue in such contests lay in the age and legitimacy of the rival aspirants, not in their personal qualities. As the Oba was not, in theory, chosen on the basis of his fitness to rule—whatever happened in practice—he could not, in theory, be removed if his conduct did not live up to expectations. But the explanation lies, too, in the balance of right and power between the main orders of chieftancy. We have seen that no single order could, by itself, determine the identity of the legitimate heir. Nor could any of them claim undisputed right to bring his reign to an end. While the Uzama ‘owned’ the kingship, the Town Chiefs represented the people’s will, and the Palace Chiefs were both the king’s servants and the custodians of his person. Nor was there, in Benin, any institution corresponding to the Ogboni of Oyo (Morton-Williams, 1960: 364-6) which could co-ordinate public opinion and bind the chiefs to common action. The Oba may have feared that he would be secretly disposed of, yet his

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best chance of survival lay not in accepting the role of a passive constitutional monarch, but in using his power to maintain com­ petition and dissension between his chiefs. In emphasizing the more obviously political aspects of the Benin kingship, as we have done in this essay, we inevitably distort that institution. For the Oba was, of course, no ordinary political leader. In succeeding his father he gained access to power­ ful instruments of political control and manœuvre. But by that same act of succession he ceased to be a mere man. Once installed, dogma had it, the king needed neither food nor sleep, nor would he ever die. In short, he was a divine king, the living vehicle for those mystical forces by which his predecessors, from the inception of the dynasty, had ensured the vitality and continuity of the nation. His principal sacred functions were: first, to maintain the bonds of ritual communion between himself and his predecessors, on the one hand, and his people and their dead, on the other; and, secondly, to foster his own magical powers and to deploy them for the good of his people. The sanctity of his authority lay in the indispensability of these functions, which only a legitimately enthroned king could perform. In an essay of this length it has been impossible to do more than hint, from time to time, at the extent to which the political and mystical aspects of kingship interpenetrated. The key problem of the Benin polity—the relationship between political kingship and divine kingship—is left unresolved. Here we can only suggest some of the lines along which it might be approached. Firstly, we would need to consider how, in both organizational and ideo­ logical terms, divine kingship performed its general unifying functions; to show, for example, how the worship of past kings was interwoven, in contrapuntal fashion, with the worship of various categories of the dead, at all levels of the social system; and to consider the links between ideas and practices relating to the person of the living Oba, and the general Edo dogma of personality and its expression in ritual. We would have to explore the role of the kingship in Edo notions about the interaction of the natural with the social world ; and to show how local cults of nature deities were incorporated, by organizational and mytholo­ gical techniques, into a state pantheon in which the Oba, as ‘king of the dry land’, was identified with Olokun, ‘king of the waters’. More specifically, it would be necessary to demonstrate how

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mutual ritual obligations, sanctioned by the general world-view, served to counter disruptive tendencies in the pursuit of conflicting political interests. Every political role, we would find, implied ritual roles. The distribution of rights, duties, and privileges among the complex hierarchies of officialdom received constant expres­ sion in an endless series of palace rituals. The continuity of the state and the sanctity of its institutions were reiterated in ritual by linking each significant office and institution with the king who had created it or shown it special favour, and by giving it a part to play in the rites addressed to him. The loyalty of the chiefs to the king was constantly reaffirmed. One may mention here the Festival of the Beads, in which the regalia of the king and his chiefs, symbols of their authority, were brought together and re-dedicated, by human sacrifice, to the common purpose. At Igue, the central rite of divine kingship, the royal priests blessed not only the king’s Head but those of his Eghaɛbho too. Finally, it would be necessary to consider how the whole idea­ tional complex centred on the king’s divinity interacted with individual and group interests in the day-to-day political life of the kingdom. This would be the most difficult of our tasks. For it would be necessary to balance those factors which contributed to the strength of the Oba’s position against those factors which placed restraint on his freedom of action. On the one hand, we should have to try to assess the force of the universal belief in his supernatural powers, a belief sustained and fostered by the king himself, by the multitudinous ritual functionaries who were directly beholden to him, and by the chiefs themselves, whose authority, in the eyes of the people, derived from him. Attitudes towards the kingship were a complex of affection and awe, pride, and fear, but the overriding notion, I believe, was one of fearfulness. He was the giver of life but also the giver of death. ‘Death, Great One’, ‘Child of the Sky whom we pray not to fall and cover us, Child of the Earth whom we implore not to swallow us up’—these are the kinds of epithets most frequently used of him. One of the most important meanings of the human sacrifice, for which Benin became notorious, lay in its capacity to demon­ strate the sole right of the Oba to take human life. He was addres­ sed as Omo ‘Child’ to distinguish him from all other men, who, in relation to him, were eviɛn, ‘slaves’. On the other hand, we would have to take account of the fact that the Oba was unable

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to fulfil his ritual and mystical functions without the active participation, in their sanctified roles, of the representatives of the people. Refusal, on the part of the chiefs, to perform their ritual obligations was one of the most powerful weapons that they could use against monarchical tyranny, for, as we have suggested, the sanctity of the king’s authority lay in acceptance of his ability to control those mysterious forces on which the vitality of human society depended.5

NOTES 1. The yam was the basis of the subsistence economy, and its culti­ vation was mainly men’s work, each man with a yam farm being expected to contribute to the village tribute. Subsidiary crops, such as corn, groundnuts, peppers, melons, and beans, were planted and tended by women. Kola and coconut trees were individually owned, but oil palms belonged to the village collectively, any member being free to use them at will, except where they were growing on current farms. See Bradbury, 1957: 23-26, for a brief account of the economy. 2. Strictly speaking, this applies only to the first five titles, Oliha, Edohen, Еzɔто, Ero, and Ehɔlɔ n’Ere. The first Ɔlɔtɔn was a follower of Oranmiyan, and the Edaikɛn was added to the order by Oba Ewuare. 3. These comparisons were made before I had read the study on Oyo by Morton-Williams which appears in this volume. 4. It was a feature of the Benin political system that the Oba’s close male patrikin were excluded from political office at the centre and from membership of the palace organization. In theory, the Oba’s oldest legitimate son succeeded him, the next two or three sons being appointed enigie of villages outside the capital, where they were supposed to re­ main, taking no part in the central direction of state affairs. Younger sons were supposed to reside, after childhood, in a ward of the capital set aside for them under the supervision of a non-royal headman. Though membership of the royal clan conferred a measure of prestige, it afforded little material benefit. The lack of lineage-held land, the exclusion of royals from office, and the rule of primogenitary succes­ sion to the kingship meant that neither a single royal lineage nor a series of lineage segments existed as corporate power-seeking groups. The king’s daughters and sisters, who were married to senior chiefs, often enjoyed his favour and became rich and powerful. Their descendants were powerfully represented in the Ibiwe Nekhua and Eghaɛbho n’Ore orders (see p. 14). 5. The data used in this essay were gathered during field researches

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supported by the Royal Anthropological Institute (Horniman Student­ ship) and the International African Institute (Research Fellowship), and during the period 1956-61 when I was attached to the Benin Historical Research Scheme (Director, Dr. K. O. Dike), University of Ibadan. To all these bodies and to their relevant financial sponsors, my grateful thanks are due. REFERENCES 1957 The Benin Kingdom and the Edo-speaking Peoples of South-Western Nigeria. Ethno­ graphic Survey of Africa, Western Africa, Pt. XIII. London, International African Institute. 1964 ‘The Historical Uses of Comparative Ethnography with special reference to Benin and the Yoruba’, in The Historian in Tropical Africa, Eds. J. Vansina, R. Mauny, L. V. Thomas. O.U.P. for International African Institute. 1959 ‘Chronological Problems in the Study of Benin History’, Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria, Vol. I, 4, 263-87. Egharevba, Jacob 1960 A Short History of Benin, 3rd ed. Ibadan University Press. Lloyd, P. C. 1954 ‘The Traditional Political System of the Yoruba’, South-western Journal of Anthro­ pology, Vol. 10, 4, 366-84. 1962 Yoruba Land Law. O.U.P. for Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Re­ search. Morton-Williams, P. 1960 ‘The Yoruba Ogboni Cult in Oyo’, Africa, Vol. XXX, 4, 362-74. 1942 A Black Byzantium. O.U.P. for Inter­ Nadel, S. F. national African Institute. 1960 Government in Zazzau. O.U.P. for Inter­ Smith, M. G. national African Institute. Bradbury, R. E.

D

T H E YORUBA K IN G D O M OF OYO P

eter

M

orton

-W

il l ia m s

I. The Earlier Empire The nineteenth century was a period of turmoil, disaster, and shaky reconstruction for the kingdom of Oyo. Having enjoyed for perhaps three centuries, or even longer, a dominant and unchallen­ ged position among the Yoruba-speaking peoples, the Oyo Yoruba had in the late eighteenth century, under King Abiɔdun, extended their empire to the south-west to secure access to the Atlantic along a trade route of more than two hundred miles. The administration of new territory was conducted by officials of the palace of Oyo, and was thus in the hands of the king, or Alafin, whose powers were in consequence so greatly increased that the earlier constitutional balance of power in Oyo itself was destroyed. The Ɔyɔ Yoruba failed to evolve a new and adequate pattern of authority. Internal political rivalries opened their territory to Fulani invaders (the last thrust southwards of Usman dan Fodio’s jihad), who drove them far to the south. They regrouped themselves on the borders of the forest lands, where, in spite of many determined efforts of the Fulani to conquer them and of attacks from the various forest Yoruba states, they built a new capital, the present town of Oyo. There the Alafin Atiba in c. 1838 established a system of government which he intended to be very similar to that of the former kingdom. The ideas and institutions of government in Oyo in the middle of the nineteenth century had been formed, then, in an earlier period; and a review of the rise of the kingdom, concentrating on the pattern of territorial relations developed in its heyday, will make its structure in the nineteenth century more intelligible. Although a considerable amount of further research is now being undertaken, at the moment only tentative conclusions can be drawn from research into the Yoruba past. Ɔyɔ, and its archiac variant Eyɔ or Eyeo, is the name of a town, the capital of a kingdom also called Ɔyɔ, of the inhabitants of the kingdom, and of their dialect. There are legends of several

THE YORUBA KINGDOM OF OYO

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localities of the capital, the present town of Oyo (New Oyo) being the seventh or eighth to bear that name. The first three are said to have been north of the Niger; subsequent capitals (from perhaps the late fourteenth century) were still in the extreme north of the wide region occupied by Yoruba-speaking peoples. There is other evidence to support the view that the ruling dynasty of Oyo, if not the rest of the populace, had moved into the area from farther north. Old Oyo and its Empire Oyo asserted its power over its Yoruba neighbours, extending its conquests southwards down to the edges of the forest and indeed penetrating it to some extent. This expansion was achieved through the use of cavalry. Legends attribute the building of this empire to their earliest kings, who may have reigned at the begin­ ning of the fifteenth century. The territory of the early empire, which was some ten thousand square miles in extent, was not incorporated into a centrally administered unitary state, but consisted of a large number of internally autonomous kingdoms whose rulers were said to derive their crowns from Oyo and were the vassals of the Alafin. It was this area that Johnson, in his invaluable History of the Yorubas (1921: 16), called the ‘Metro­ politan Provinces’ or ‘Yoruba Proper’, and it formed—if we except its eastern and south-western extremities, far from Oyo—a region remarkably uniform in culture and dialect. The large and strong vassal state of Owu, almost due south of Oyo and just within the forest (and excluded by Johnson from Yoruba Proper), guarded the southern frontiers of the metropolitan provinces against the Ifɛ, Ijɛbu, and Ɛgba Yoruba, and, forty miles north­ east of Owu, the smaller kingdom of Ɛdɛ faced the Ijɛsha, who might otherwise have raided the open savannas of the Ɔyɔ from their wooded hills across the river Oshun. Oyo began to participate in the coastal trade in slaves with Europeans in the middle of the seventeenth century, using the port of Ouidah in the Gun (Popo) kingdom of Allada. There is a break in the forest belt here, and the terrain between Oyo and Ouidah is grassland, for the most part flat or gently undulating and, although there is a steep broken escarpment half-way along the old route, the Oyo cavalry could ensure the safety of the cara­ vans all the way to Allada.

T h e K ingdom of Old Oyo and its N eighbours c.

1800

THE YORUBA KINGDOM OF OYO

39

The eighteenth century saw the emergence of Dahomey to the west as a military power. In 1724 it conquered Allada, and Ouidah then became the port for Dahomey, while Oyo took to ports farther east. Oyo recognized the emergence of Dahomey as a threat, and the Oyo cavalry were sent on a series of devastating raids until, in 1747, Dahomey agreed to pay tribute to the Alafin. Nevertheless, the kings of Dahomey succeeded for a time in pursuit of a policy of crushing ports that were in competition with Ouidah, especially to the east (for these were fed with slaves from the same sources), until ordered by the Alafin to leave the last of them free. Dahomey’s eastward expansion was halted, leaving Oyo with access to the beaches of Offra, or Little Ardra (now the site of Porto Novo), in the rich little kingdom of Ardra, whose rulers eagerly bought the alliance and protection of the Alafin. A little later Oyo used Badagri as well. In the eighteenth century Oyo reached the height of her strength, and in the second half was one of the most powerful and wealthy kingdoms in Africa. It has not yet proved possible to make full historical reconstructions of the territorial relations between Oyo and independent neighbouring states at this period. Oyo had certainly for long secured the nearby frontiers of the nuclear kingdom against the large and powerful Nupe kingdom occupying the lands on the north bank of the Niger, little more than fifty miles to the north-west. Nothing can be confidently asserted about the relations between Oyo and her inland neighbours in the eighteenth century, although Johnson (1921: 197) claims that parts of Nupe and Bariba were tributary to Oyo. South of Nupe (and the Niger), Oyo had thrust deeply through the Igbomina Yoruba eastwards into the savannas of northern Ekiti and the Yagba, Gbɛdde, and Kabba Yoruba had probably suffered raids, if not the imposition of regular tribute. A frontier had been established, it seems, for at least a century with the Benin empire at Otun in northern Ekiti, though Benin can have exercised little effective military control. Farther to the south-east was the frontier with the Ijɛsha at the Oshun river; and southwards again Ifɛ and Ijɛbu were left unmolested in their forest territories by the Oyo and discouraged from breaking the peaceful relations by the military reputation of the Owu, who also guaranteed free access to Apomu in Ifɛ territory, where there was a large market for slaves and for goods imported through Lagos and Ijɛbu. Between Owu

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and the Sgbado trade corridor were the Ɛgba Yoruba, who had been subjugated by the Ɔyɔ perhaps only in the eighteenth century; and farther south were the Awori and Lagos. Lagos and the coastline as far west as the right bank of the Yewa estuary had earlier been held by Benin (Lander, 1832: 47-52), and there is some slight evidence to support the view that Oyo may have destroyed the last vestiges of Benin power in the area before establishing the trade route through Ɛgbado; by the end of the century Oyo had no contact with Benin on the coast. In the west, but north of Dahomey, were the Mahin people, who seem for a time to have been subject to Oyo (Labarthe, 1803: 105), though they were overrun later by Dahomey. Sadly little is known about the rule of Oyo over the ‘metro­ politan provinces’. The region was divided up into a number of areas of jurisdiction or ɛkun—four according to Johnson (1921: 68) ; three, according to Bowen (1858: xv); and six, according to Ajaye (1964: 4), but neither their boundaries nor their relation­ ships to Oyo are adequately known. Possibly their main function had been for the raising of armies in support of an army from the capital to fight local wars. Each consisted of a dozen or more vassal kingdoms, whose rulers were required to go in person once a year to the Alafin at the Bɛr ɛ festival (an archiac ceremony which involved presenting the Alafin with thatching grass—bɛrɛ—for the palace). Some of them had access to the Alafin only through lesser overlords, royal or other incumbents of high offices in Old Oyo. More is known of the newer territories in the south-west, through which the trade route passed to the coast. It was one of the major achievements of the Alafin Abiɔdun towards the end of the eighteenth century, that, in the face of the expansion of Dahomey, he had reorganized the 200-mile-long trade route to the sea by moving the southern part of it farther eastwards. He colonized an area separated from Dahomey by the rivers Oueme and Yewa and lying well within his own dominions, and he established members of the Ɔyɔ royal dynasty—his own sons, according to current traditions—as vassal rulers of the small towns that were the staging posts on the new road. Among the Ɛgba, across the Ogun river to the east of the route, he posted state officials of the ilari order (see p. 63) as overlords (Biobaku, 1957: 8); at Ijanna in the Ɛgbado area he stationed an officer of high rank and a large number of other officials to administer the

THE YORUBA KINGDOM OF OYO

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highway and toll stations (Clapperton, 1829: 4 ff., 39; Lander R. & J., 1832: 30, 68). The extension of the power of Oyo along this trade route ensured not merely its protection and the Alafin’s supplies of various commodities and valuables. It increased his revenues both directly, through his own commerce, which was mainly in the hands of royal wives and eunuchs, and through the revenues derived from the frequent toll gates (Lander, 1832: 68), and also indirectly through the tribute and accession fees paid him by the vassal rulers of the territories along the route, who had, of course, themselves been enriched by the commerce of the markets in their respective territories. When Abiodun died, c. 1810,1 he left Oyo an extremely prosperous kingdom with an empire which had been brought under a remarkable degree of centralized administration. In assuring Oyo safe access to its port he had set up an executive system to administer the route itself and to control the external relations of the petty kingdoms along it. The officials were all recruited from the staff of the palace in Old Oyo, many of them slaves and eunuchs and responsible through the administrative hierarchy to him alone. From this imperial expansion the Council­ lors of State, the Ɔy ɔ Mesi, did not gain territorially, for they were not made patrons of subordinate rulers; but they profited greatly from the share of booty and tribute and from the flow of wealth into Oyo. The Fall of Old Oyo In increasing the power and authority of Oyo over its dependen­ cies, Abiɔdun also strengthened the kingship. During the middle years of the eighteenth century there had been a long struggle for decisive control of the policies of the Oyo kingdom between a rapid succession of feeble kings and the Ɔyɔ Mesi, powerful hereditary office-holders, the most senior of whom was Gaa, the Bashɔrun of Ɔyɔ. His wealth and following enabled him to dominate the Ɔyɔ Mesi and to exercise arbitrarily the prerogative of the Ɔyɔ Mesi to demand the suicide of a king before the latter could gain firm enough control over his retinue and vassals and enough popular support to resist the demand.2 The struggle was conclusively settled, though for his lifetime only, by Abiɔdun, who slew Gaa and the men of his lineage. Thereafter he dominated the Council and directed the policies of the kingdom. This was a

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situation which members of the most prominent, non-royal lineages of Oyo could have viewed only with misgivings. Although the Yoruba could not conceive of government without kingship (they can hardly do so nowadays), they believed that kings in general had a tendency to exploit their immense powers to the disadvantage of their subjects. The powers of the Alafin, however, were limited in practice not only by the ceremonial and ritual restrictions hedging his activities but by opposing to them those of certain strong corporations. The Ɔyɔ Mesi was the most important of these. Second to it in its capacity to sanction the king’s rule was the Ogboni cult of the Earth, a priestly cor­ poration whose members mediated relations between him and the Ɔyɔ Mesi. A succession of strong kings would have menaced the capacity of these corporations to exercise their powers and check those of the king, and it seems to have been the practice, not only in Oyo but in other Yoruba kingdoms too, to choose as the successor of a strong king (however much his subjects might have gloried in his achievements) a man whose disposition was judged to be more amenable to pressure from his various bodies of councillors. Considerations of this sort must have influenced the Ɔyɔ Mesi in their selection of Abiɔdun’s patrikinsman, Awole Arogangan, to succeed him. The consequences were dire. He quickly forfeited the military power of Oyo by a series of political blunders during his short reign (1810/11-1816/17?). The first and capital mistake breached his northern and western frontiers. The office of K a­ kamfo, commander-in-chief of the Ɔyɔ armies, had fallen vacant at the beginning of his reign. Awole was deceived into giving the office to an ambitious kinsman, Afɔnja, thus breaking the accepted rule that it should not go to a royal (Johnson, 1921: 189). Afɔnja, who coveted the throne, insisted on stationing himself not on a frontier, as was proper, but in Ilorin, 35 miles SSW. of Oyo itself. There he increased his personal following into a body large enough to threaten the king, partly by coercing neighbouring villages to move into his town and recruiting their men into his army, but principally, and fatally both for himself and the Oyo, by attracting Hausa and Fulani from the north: among the Fulani who joined him was a priest named Alimi, to whom Usman dan Fodio had given a missionary’s tuta (standard), and who was resolved to carry the jihad into Yoruba.

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The Alafin also became locked in a struggle for power with the Ɔyɔ Mesi, creating a situation in which the ancient vassal king­ doms of the central metropolitan provinces near Oyo allied themselves to the King’s opponents. Misjudging his position again, the Alafin sent the Oyo army and Afɔnja on an expedition he had seen was bound to fail. He had hoped that Afɔnja, defeated, would follow convention and commit suicide; instead the army mutinied and the king’s own contingent was massacred. The Bashɔrun now demanded the king’s suicide, and Awole, after dramatically cursing Oyo, took poison and died (Johnson, 1921: 190 ff. ; Crowther, 1852: iv). The interplay between four factors dominated the politics of the next twenty years, ending in the evacuation of Old Oyo and the substantial depopulation of the surrounding area. These were: (1) the Fulani penetration; (2) an ambitious rival to the king; (3) the mistrust of the Ɔyɔ Mesi; and (4) fears of the rulers of the chiefdoms in the metropolitan provinces that their support of the Alafin would result only in their greater subordination to Oyo. The most important results of the interplay of these factors were, first, that the Alafin could never command at the same time the thorough-going allegiance of the Oyo town army under the Bashɔrun and of the provincial armies, which were led by the Onikoyi, the premier provincial king; and, second, that Ilorin was often aided in battle by disgruntled provincial rulers. Awole’s successor failed to subdue Afɔnja, whose plans to conquer Oyo and seize the throne ended only when he attempted too late to reassert his command over his indisciplined and rapa­ cious troops. He died fighting outside the doors of his burning house, and control of Ilorin passed to the Fulani. The attempts of successive kings of Oyo to drive them out failed, and instead the Fulani army entered Oyo and compelled the then Alafin to pay tribute. The prolonged warfare between Oyo and Ilorin led to immense changes in the areas far south of the battlefields, the results both of a vast flooding southwards of people from the devastated north and also of the termination of the Alafin’s power to influence the Yoruba-speaking peoples of the forest zone—the Ifɛ, Ijɛbu, and Ɛgba. Many thousands from the north went to settle in a suburb of the oldest Yoruba town, Ifɛ, considered sacrosanct until it was sacked later, in the middle of the century. Others went to

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the Ɛgbado town of Inubi, blind to the menace of Dahomey, which took it in 1841. Owu had fallen in the 1820s, her soldiers, skilled in hand-to-hand fighting, no match for the Ijɛbu and Ifɛ, now efficiently equipped with firearms. A large body of Oyo settled near the razed site of Owu, founding the town of Ibadan, soon to become the largest and most powerful Yoruba town, and others grouped themselves near by, at Ijaye. Both towns were organized on a war footing and ruled by re­ doubtable warriors, Oluyɔle in Ibadan, Kurunmi in Ijaye. Several Oyo adventurers camped on northern edges of the forest, where they were tolerably secure from attack by the Ilorin cavalry and able to raid for slaves on their own account. Among them was the warlike Ɔja, from a chiefly family of Oyo, who settled at a spot known as Agɔ Ɔja, Camp Oja. He was joined by another adventurer from Oyo named Gbenla, and soon afterwards by Atiba, a son of Alafin Abiɔdun. Atiba had determined to become Alafin. He had his father’s ability, and was also more cunning and ruthless than Afɔnja in pursuit of his ambition. He correctly saw that Old Oyo had be­ come untenable as a capital town. He bought the alliance of Oluyɔle of Ibadan with the promise that, after becoming Alafin, he would install him as Bashɔrun, a title that had been held by some of Oluyɔle’s ancestors, though it had been transferred to another lineage by an Alafin many generations before; and then he secured the alliance of Kurunmi, who had fought in Afɔnja’s army, with the promise of the title Kakamfo. According to current traditions, Atiba then instigated the deaths of Ɔja and of his lineal successor and assumed the chiefship of Agɔ Ɔja. Alafin Oluewu was now, in the middle 1830s, on the throne in Oyo. At his accession he had paid homage to the Fulani ruler of Ilorin, but rebelled when called upon to declare for Islam. He assembled a huge army from Oyo, Ibadan, Ijaye, and the metropolitan province, got the aid of Bariba allies, and routed the Fulani in the first engagement; but delayed three months before risking an assault on Ilorin. This was long enough for the leaders of the Yoruba forces to conclude that Oluewu and his Bariba allies would make intolerable masters and to resolve to betray him. In the battle for Ilorin, Oluewu was slain, largely, it is said, through the treachery of Atiba, who, with his supporters, retreated without firing a shot ; the Bariba were routed and Ilorin was safe.

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Atiba Creates Nezv Oyo Atiba, judging his time had come to seize the rule of Oyo, bought the body of Oluewu from the Emir of Ilorin, since without it he could not properly be installed Alafin (see p. 53). Yet the Ɔyɔ Mesi offered the throne to another royal son, and only after he had declined it in favour of Atiba, did they, too, consent to his being made Alafin (Johnson, 1921: 279). The Ɔyɔ Mesi and most of the court officials were in refuge in towns near Oyo: they reached an understanding with Atiba that he would join them and lead them back to Oyo (just as his ancestor Alafin Abɛpa had done two centuries earlier, ending an earlier period of exile in Igboho). They found themselves, how­ ever, no match for Atiba, who suborned their thirty-four royal and other emissaries, detaining them in Agɔ Ɔja, and making them install him Alafin there with proper ritual c. 1838. He next decreed that Agɔ Ɔja was now Oyo, interred the corpse of Oluewu in a new royal mausoleum, summoned the remnant of Oluewu’s court, filled those offices of state that were vacant, and dismissed and replaced any office holders who failed to join him at once. The royal leader of the emissaries who had installed him was rewarded with the title of Ɔnashokun (ranking as the king’s official father); while that of Bashɔrun went to Oluyɔle, Chief of Ibadan (and Atiba’s uterine nephew), and that of Kakamfo to Kurunmi, Chief of Ijaye, as Atiba had promised they should. Gbenla, his ally at Agɔ Ɔja, was given the title of Laguna, one of the Ɔyɔ Mesi, with the promise of succeeding Oluyɔle as Bashɔ­ run; and the head of Ɔja’s house was made Ashipa (Head of the Hunters’ Association and Leader of the Vanguard), now to rank as one, the most junior, of the Ɔyɔ Mesi. The pattern of political relations between New Oyo and its neighbours that was to last for the twenty years or so of Atiba’s reign formed quickly. The political situation was still hazardous. Although the New Oyo was 70 miles south of Ilorin, there was still danger from the Fulani, who continued to raid deep into Yoruba territory; but a large army attempting to take Oshogbo, 45 miles east of Oyo, was defeated by a combined IbadanOshogbo force in about 1841.3 After this exemplary defeat, vitally important to the Oyo, the Fulani confined their attacks to settlements close to their southern frontier with Oyo; but con-

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stantly intrigued with and allied themselves to other Yorubaspeaking groups (especially Ilesha and Ekiti) at war with Ibadan, which was thus engaged on more than one front. In the south, not far from Oyo, Oluyɔle and Kurunmi both ruled towns that were much larger than Oyo and organized on a war footing. Atiba had to keep both of them effectively loyal to him, ready to defend Oyo as well as their own towns against other Yoruba enemies, against the Fulani, and also against Dahomey. There was the further problem of the rivalry of Oluyɔle and Kurunmi. To safeguard the frontiers of the remaining Oyo provinces and to keep the rivals apart as far as possible, Atiba arranged with them a division of Yoruba territory for protection and tribute. Ibadan under Oluyɔle was to guard the territory from the south-east to the north, and thus to confront Ilorin ; while Ijaye under Kurunmi was to defend those to the south-west and west, confronting Dahomey. Both were free to launch offensives beyond their territories, gaining what had been exclusively the Alafm’s pre­ rogative. Finally, the Alafin was no more to go to war in person, but was to confine himself to religious, civil, and diplomatic affairs (Johnson, 1921: 282). A few towns in the north-west, including Igboho and Kishi, places of refuge for royals and other state officials from Old Oyo, were also permitted to be vassals directly of the Alafin. Unable either to aggrandize himself by conquests or to attract to the new capital more than a small proportion of the scattered population of the former one, Atiba had to content himself with enlarging his town through compelling the inhabitants of the smaller nearby villages to settle in it. Such power as the king had to influence political developments outside Oyo itself stemmed from the rivalry of Ibadan and Ijaye, which gave him some scope for diplomatic manœuvre; yet his policy, if fostering rivalry, had to prevent hostilities between them, lest one should destroy the other and then, as Afɔnja had attempted from Ilorin, seize the throne. Oluyɔle in the mid-forties did attempt just this, but the king managed to put an end to his siege of Ijaye and to restore the status quo. For the rest of Atiba’s life, that is, until 1859, while Ibadan and Ijaye were almost continuously engaged in wars or raids beyond the frontiers of the kingdom, within them there was, on the whole, peace. Oyo in the middle of the nineteenth century, on a different site from the Oyo of the beginning of the century, was no longer

T erritory held by the Oyo Y oruba at the death of A tiba

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the metropolis of a large empire commanding extensive trade routes and receiving the tribute of many vassals. Nevertheless, through the efforts of Atiba, who had done much to hasten the end of the old capital, the structure of government and organiza­ tion of his new Oyo duplicated as far as possible the pattern of the ancient kingdom. In relation to the needs of the smaller new capital and kingdom, whose inhabitants were converting to the Muslim faith, the structure was both over-elaborate and anachron­ istic, with its multitude of state officials whose offices had been important in imperial Oyo and with powerful sanctions vested in reinstituted cults of the traditional Yoruba gods. II. The Structure and Constitution of Mid-Nineteenth Century Oyo Atiba had most scope and success in his attempt to reconstruct the Oyo of Abiɔdun, in the organization of religion and of the palace, least in that of territory and of military affairs. During his sojourn in Ilorin, he had presumably behaved as a Muslim.4 As Alafin of the new Oyo he reinstituted the annual cycle of ancient rites for the principal gods and built temples or set up shrines in the palace for the gods important to the kingship, in this way legitimizing and guaranteeing his position. It has already been said that one of his first deeds was to bury the remains of Alafin Oluewu in a new royal mausoleum; in doing so, he re­ established the cult of the ancestral kings. Probably a substantial proportion of his subjects was Muslim, and he was by no means intolerant of their religion, but in recreating Oyo he carefully preserved the ritual side of kingship. He also, it appears, restored as fully as he could the complex palace organization of Abiɔdun’s day; though, with his small capital city and reduced territory, and the greater autonomy of the other towns of his kingdom, many of the host of palace functionaries can have had little more to do than reflect the splen­ dour of the king and emphasize the remoteness of the sacred kingship from the ordinary citizen. Territorial Organization On the territorial side, Atiba could not bring back the empire or even reproduce the old pattern of administration in what

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remained of the metropolitan provinces or towns where he was the acknowledged titular sovereign (see map). These towns needed military protection, and for that purpose were divided into two ɛkun, one including such large towns as Iwo, Oshogbo, and Ogbomosho, east and north of Oyo (with populations esti­ mated by contemporaries at 50,000 or more) under the Bashɔrun of Ibadan, and the other including Ado, Erin, Iseyin, Igana, and Irawo, west and north-west of Oyo (ancient kingdoms but with rather smaller populations) under the Kakamfo of Ijaye. The nature of the relationships of these towns with their respective military overlords is not known at present, except that Ibadan stationed political agents (ajɛlɛ), to whom travellers had to report before presenting themselves to the local ruler, in the towns of Oshogbo, Ejigbo, Ibukun, Abajo, Illa, Gbatedo, and presumably others (May, 1860: 212-30), and collected tribute from them, and also tolls on the Ilorin road. Both Ibadan (population c.100,000) and Ijaye (population c. 80,000) claimed exclusive and paramount military and political interests in their respective ɛkun, but how far their authority was regarded as legitimate on the grounds that their rulers were the Alafin’s officers of state is an open question. Some of the towns, indeed, such as Iseyin and Ogbomosho, still referred to the Alafin for the confirmation of their rulers in office. A number of the rulers had the title and insignia of ɔba (king) and governed a number of subordinate villages ruled by balɛ (land fathers) as well as their own towns (Lloyd, 1960:230-2). Commerce was carried on mainly by women, as far as the cir­ cumstances of war permitted, both within and beyond the area protected by Ibadan and Ijaye; but it is not yet known whether Ibadan or Ijaye asserted the right to collect tolls beyond their own walls or what income they derived from the towns in their respective ɛkun. The whole area had in any case become impoverished. When Old Oyo was deserted its role as a commercial centre was taken over, not by Ibadan, Ijaye, or Atiba’s Oyo, but by Ilorin.5 It is true that some trade still flowed intermittently through these towns, but the Ijɛbu and Ɛgba frequently closed the roads from the sea. Atiba could not even restrict all payments from vassals to himself: some palace officials were given the patronage of villages as benefices; Atiba’s son and official heir was given others; and among the State Councillors one, the Ashipa, already held several villages seized by his ancestor, another—

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Atiba’s ally Gbenla—was rewarded with the patronage of nearby Awe, and a third gained that of the town of Shaki because of its traditional links to his office. Before his accession Atiba had made a fortune from slave raiding and used it to attract a following; afterwards he had to supplement his income from tribute and fees and feed a large palace staff by setting a multitude of slaves to work on his farms. The organization of the new capital was dominated by a division into two sectors: the royal sector—inhabited by members of the royal lineage, their wives, slaves, eunuchs, and other retainers, and the families of some of Atiba’s former companions in arms— and the rest of the town, where the free Ɔyɔ lived with their own slaves. Both areas were subdivided into wards (adugbo), the royal wards headed by titled royals, and the others by some members of the Council of State. The largest wards were further sub­ divided into areas under the authority of the holder of the highest titled office living there, or else of a member of the pre-eminent lineage there, who would then be titled magaji. The smallest territorial units were the large walled structures (agbole) or ‘com­ pounds’ housing an agnatic group, its wives, and dependants. The heads of some large compounds, too, ranked as magaji. There were, besides the royal sector, two areas belonging to the Alafin, one being the royal mausoleum (bara), just within the walls of the eastern edge, and one known as Koso, where the Alafin’s temple for his deified ancestor Shango, the Thunder God, and the agbole of some of Shango’s priests, were.6 During Atiba’s reign this simple pattern of residence became modified by the inclusion of the inhabitants of the villages forced to settle in New Oyo : they were placed in separate localities attached to the existing wards, including the royal ones, and their heads (balɛ—‘land fathers’) ranked as magaji. Social Categories Four clearly differentiated social categories, forming status groups, as they may be called following M. G. Smith’s usage (1960: 37), existed in Oyo. They were royals (ɔmɔba), free people of Oyo (ara Ɔy ɔ), eunuchs (iwɛfa ), and slaves (ɛru). There were in addition, two other statuses so distinct and their occupants so separated from ordinary life that they, too, might be regarded as separate status groups: the one, the women called king’s wives

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(ayaba), and the other, the category of palace officials called in Yoruba ilari (lit. ‘scar heads’). Various orders of rank were recruited from members of all these social categories. Ranking was characteristic of all levels and forms of Yoruba social organization. In all corporate groups the most general organizing principle was that of seniority, i.e. ranking by order of admittance into the group (cf. Bascom, 1942 and 1951). For instance, in the agbole (compound) members of the agnatic group owning it were ranked by age; wives, in relation to them and to one another, were ranked according to the time of their marriage, that is, from the time they began to reside in it. In the field of kinship relations generally, all kin regarded one another as ranking in the order of seniority by birth; thus, kinsmen of the same generation called one another ‘senior sibling’ or ‘junior sibling’, irrespective of sex or of lineal or collateral relationship. In cult associations seniority was reckoned from the time of admission to a particular grade. In society at large the junior person had to show respect for the senior by obeisance (increasingly profound the greater the difference in seniority or rank, though influenced, too, by relative wealth) and use of the honorific plural pronoun. The highest ranks were restricted to state and cult offices. With such emphasis on rank differences, and the privilege and right to command service accorded to high rank, competition to achieve it was intense. Wealth was essential for attracting the following usually needed to contest succession to high rank and to maintain or increase the following once in office. The Yoruba themselves emphasized this, but they also recognized that part of an office holder’s ostensible wealth was committed to a process of centralized redistribution among his following. The process included making indefinite loans and taking one of the borrower’s children in pawn (iwɔfa ); the child’s labour was supposed to stand in lieu of interest, but, when it was a matter of keeping a following, the office holder usually maintained the pawn and educated him like his own children (Aderemi, 1956:17).Polygyny as a means of securing many children was also important for advancement, not so much because wealth could be increased through the labour of children while young, but rather because a wide network of affinal alliances could be set up through them. There were in Oyo as constituted by Atiba and surviving to the present day, several orders of rank, each order being usually E

Fig. 3

. G overnm ent in A tiba’s Oyo

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recruited from a single social category. The relations between these rank orders were conditioned in the first place by the struct­ ural opposition between the king and the Ɔyɔ Mesi (Council of State), which entailed a cleavage between the royal sector of the town, on the one hand, and the sector controlled by the Ɔyɔ Mesi, on the other. The King and the Council of State Something has already been said about the struggle for power between successive kings and the Ɔyɔ Mesi in the eighteenth century, with the Ogboni cult of the Earth occupying a mediating position in the political arena (see p. 42). Ideologically, there was no political arena. The king nominally held absolute power, the Ɔyɔ Mesi were his advisers,7 and the Ogboni added to his ritual powers. Moreover, the Ogboni priests played an important part in a series of rites during his installation which embodied in him the power of his ancestors. When a king died they were summoned to the palace, and after the corpse had been washed they were given its head and cleaned the flesh from the skull. A palace official removed the heart and put it in the charge of the Ɔtun Ɛfa, the titled eunuch responsible for the Shango cult (see p. 62). During his installation the succeeding Alafin was taken by the Ɔtun Ɛfa to sacrifice to Shango and was given a dish containing the heart of his predecessor which he had to eat. Later he was taken to the Ogboni shrine, where the senior priest, the Oluwo, handed him the skull of his predecessor, which had been filled with a corn gruel for him to drink. This rite was said to open his ears to dis­ tinguish truth from falsehood, gave his words compelling power, and assigned to him alone the authority to execute criminals and his enemies at home, and to make war on enemies abroad (Morton-Williams, 1960: 371; Johnson, 1921: 42-46). He was praised with titles that attributed omnipotence to him: he was called Alayeluwa, ‘Owner of the World and of Life’ (‘World’ here connoting all social activity); Onilɛ, ‘Owner of the land’ (Ilɛ, besides Earth, means also territory, and territory is equated to the people owning it: ‘The town and its territory, they are the same thing’) ; and Ekeji Orisha, ‘Companion of the Gods’ (referring to his status as sacred king and religious head of the Ɔyɔ Yoruba). The structural opposition, central to Ɔyɔ politics, lay in a division of roles. On the one side, the Alafin was head of the

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administrative and executive arms of government, entrusted with the implementation of external policy by diplomacy or war, the management of markets and trade, the investigation and punishment of crime, and the celebration of the principal annual rites in the state cults of the Yoruba gods and ancestors. Having to implement policy in all its aspects, he was in a strong position when arguing what it should be. On the other side, the Ɔyɔ Mesi, on the orders of Alafin, raised the citizen army of Oyo, and the Bashɔrun commanded it. The cults were in the hands of free Oyo, and their titled priests ranked among the subordinate officials of members of the Ɔyɔ Mesi, who were themselves civil lords of the non-royal wards, and who severally had some judicial control in them, adjudicating disputes between the component lineages, and generally in matters where arbitration rather than punishment was the aim. Finally, the Ɔyɔ Mesi could dissuade the Alafin from embarking upon rash adventures because they held his life in their hands. Collectively, with the Bashɔrun as their spokesman, they could pronounce his rejection, whereupon he would have to commit suicide.8 No Alafin has committed suicide since the death of Alafin Maku, c. 1820; but traditions of earlier suicides can be interpreted as indicating that, whatever the formal pretext, the main reasons for rejecting an Alafin were his insisting on an unpopular war, being defeated in battle after taking the field in person, or failure to prevent excesses of his Arɛ nɔ (Eldest Son) or of his high-ranking slaves, and especially for failure in the execution of policy agreed with the Ɔyɔ Mesi. After the death of an Alafin they decided upon his successor. While the Ɔyɔ Mesi held the ultimate power of life and death over the king he had no such power over them, for he could not dismiss them collectively from office. There were circumstances in which he could dismiss an individual member, who would then be expected to kill himself to remove the disgrace from his own lineage. He had also the right to alter the succession to the office of Bashɔrun; that is to say, he could vest the office in another lineage; and this right, according to Johnson, had been exercised four times. It is uncertain whether Atiba was also following precedent in altering succession to other offices in the Ɔyɔ Mesi, though it is likely that there were precedents for a change he made in the Council’s composition (see below). Successors to members

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of the Ɔyɔ Mesi were elected by their respective lineages and, if the election was shown by his Ifa oracle to augur well, confirmed by the Alafin. The Ɔyɔ Mesi met together twice daily and, after private discussion, went to the palace to pay homage to the Alafin and offer counsel. Its members had, besides their corporate relation­ ship to the king, individual relations with him. There were seven Ɔyɔ Mesi, each with a title, and they constituted a rank order which, in Atiba’s day, was as follows: The Bashɔrun, Agbakin, Shamu, Alapini, Laguna, Akiniku, and Ashipa. The Bashɔrun’s role was much the most important. He was not only the commander of the citizen army of Oyo, he was also principal kingmaker and diviner of the king’s spiritual condition. The Bashɔrun in Old Oyo had been the richest man in the kingdom, and Oluyɔle in Ibadan was the most powerful. His title was a contraction of Iba-ashe-Ɔrun, ‘the lord who performs the ɔrun’, which is related to his role of going once a year to the palace and presiding over the secret ɔrun rite to divine whether the king was on good terms with his own ɔrun, his spirit double, who was with God in the heavens. The divination might be made to show that the relationship between the king and his spirit double presaged misfortune, in which case further divination might reveal that the offering of sacrifice was needed to restore a favourable relation­ ship; but it could show that the king’s spiritual condition was so bad that he should no longer reign. The oracle was worked by casting, or letting fall, the pieces of a split kola nut, and could only give the answers ‘yes/no’ or ‘favourable/unfavourable’ or ‘silence’ to questions, which, although he did not himself throw the kola, were put to it by the Bashɔrun; hence the operation of the oracle could readily supply the Bashɔrun with a pretext for urging upon the Ɔyɔ Mesi the rejection of the king. The precedent that, in the absence of the Bashɔrun, the eunuch holding the state title of Ɔtun £fa should officiate in his place, was followed while Oluyɔle in Ibadan was Bashɔrun during the first part of Atiba’s reign; not until Atiba’s friend Gbenla succeeded to the title after Oluyɔle’s death in 1847 was the ɔrun performed in New Oyo by the Bashɔrun. Next in rank to the Bashɔrun was the Agbakin, custodian of the temple of Ɔranyan, the legendary founder of the Alafin’s dynasty. Ɔranyan had to be invoked with a human sacrifice as a

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pre-condition of success in war; hence, through the Agbakin’s role, the Ɔyɔ Mesi had some control over the sending out of a military expedition. The Shamu, the King’s Friend, was second in importance only to the Ogboni in trying to restrain other members of Ɔyɔ Mesi from calling for the death of the Alafin. His title meant Sha k ’o mu!’, ‘Pick your choice!’, and he had the privilege of first choice of gifts or booty the king distributed to the Ɔyɔ Mesi. His friendship also caused him to follow the king out of life. If the Ɔyɔ Mesi decided that the Alafin should be told to ‘go to sleep’ the Shamu would abide by the decision, go with them to the Alafin, and then afterwards, says the present Shamu, announce that the time had come for his own act of love (olofɛ) and he would take poison. His suicide was to be regarded as the exercise of love by a freeman, unlike the compulsory suicide required of certain palace officials. The Alapini controlled the hierarchy of priests of the powerful, masked, Egungun cult in Oyo, which dealt with witchcraft and sorcery and brought the gods and ancestors embodied in masks visibly into the world at its festivals. At the beginning of their annual festival they could arrange for the disappearance of reputed witches, sorcerers, and people who had shown themselves con­ temptuous of persons of higher rank (Morton-Williams, 1956: 90-103). The Alapini had custody of the mask J ɛnju, ostensibly the property of the Alafin, which was worn by a slave of the Arɛmɔ (Eldest Son) who publicly executed convicted wit­ ches and sorcerers. He was also patron of the Ɔkɛrɛ (ruler) of the town of Shaki, the centre of the cult (cf. Johnson, 1921 : 72,160), and was the only free Oyo, apart from the Bashɔrun, to be appointed patron of a subject ruler. The Laguna was described by Johnson as ‘the state ambassador in critical times’ (1921: 72). His traditional role seems to have been primarily a religious one as head of the cult of Orisha Oko, god of the fertility of the farm land and of the increase of game in the bush. He had charge of the first-fruits rite at the yam harvest, and until he had invoked Orisha Oko and sent a dish prepared with new yams to the Alafin, no one was permitted to taste new yams.9 The Akiniku’s public role was to praise the Alafin when he appeared in the palace forecourt at the principal annual festivals.

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Last in order of rank was the Ashipa, Ɔja’s descendant (see p. 44), head of the largest ward in Oyo and lord of extensive territories outside it which had belonged to villages which Ɔja had compelled to move into his settlement. He had charge of the cult of Ogun, the Yoruba god of the use of iron and of hunters and warriors. As such he was titular head of the guild of huntsmen, and hence of the vanguard in offensive war, which was recruited from it.10 Affinal alliances between members of the Ɔyɔ Mesi and the Alafin were set up through the convention, said to have been carried over from Old Oyo by Atiba, that each of them after his induction into office should send a daughter to be married to the Alafin. Ranking below the Ɔyɔ Mesi were two orders of rank, one military (Ɛshɔ), the other civil (magaji). Each of the Ɔyɔ Mesi was responsible for nominating ten Ɛshɔ to the Alafin, who would confirm them in office. Their duties were to raise troops for war, to lead them, and to organize their supporting groups of noncombatants and their supplies of food. Some of the Ɛshɔ were invested with the rank of Balogun (War-Father), head of a main division of the army. When necessary, the Alafin would appoint a head of the ɛshɔ, the Arɛ Ɔna Kakamfo, to be commander of military activities in some part of the kingdom under heavy threat of attack or at the base for a campaign of conquest, Kakamfo were not allowed to return to the capital, but lived in a frontier town. The office seems to have been introduced at the time of Oyo’s military penetration southwards and south-westwards towards the coast, perhaps at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Afɔnja of Ilorin was only the sixth Kakamfo to be appointed, though six more gained the office during the long period of warfare in the nineteenth century (Johnson, 1921: 25). Magaji, as heads of subdivisions of wards, or of large com­ pounds, were responsible to their respective ward heads for the good order of their charge and had to accompany disputants in matters they could not arbitrate successfully themselves to their ward heads. While in the sector of Oyo ruled by the Ɔyɔ Mesi, the magaji were free Ɔyɔ, in the royal sector they could be mem­ bers of the royal lineage, free Ɔyɔ settled in the sector as craftsmen or as ritual specialists, or titled slaves and eunuchs.

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Cults of the Gods The gods were worshipped through a number of cults, which were independent of one another. Each cult was organized round a hierarchy of titled priests, whose offices had political aspects of varying importance (Morton-Williams, 1964: 243-61). It was a dogma of the kingship in Oyo, as in other Yoruba kingdoms, that the king ‘owned’ all the cults, i.e. that he was titular head of them all, with the implication that it was the duty of the priest­ hoods to serve the gods for the satisfaction of his needs and to the public good. Each of the priesthoods was required to communi­ cate, through its appointed agent at court (see below), with the Alafin before performing any rites affecting the public interest, and also to perform whatever rites he might order on the advice of his diviners. The need for ritual action of some sort might, of course, have been suggested in the first place by the Ɔyɔ Mesi. In spite of the dogmatic assertion of the Alafin’s position, he did not in fact have untrammelled ritual, any more than secular, power. The Bashɔrun was priest of the Alafin’s ɔrun, the priest of Ɔranyan was himself a member of the Ɔyɔ Mesi, and the Alapini, Laguna, and Ashipa had charge of important cults. In the affairs of all those cults, the Alafin’s requirements were directly sanction­ ed by the Ɔyɔ Mesi ; his powers were further limited because the high priests of nearly all cults resided in wards of which the Ɔyɔ Mesi were lords and whom they were obliged to keep informed of their activities. It was, indeed, in the field of ritual that the structural relations between the Alafin and the Ɔyɔ Mesi were most complex. For instance, in the cult of Shango, God of Thunder, that represented in its imagery the epitome of the absolute power of kingship (see Johnson, 1921:34-36,149-52 ; Wescott and Morton-Williams, 1962: 27-33; Verger, 1957: ch. xii), the priest who exercised the most power was not the Magba, the hereditary high priest who resided in the precincts of the temple of Shango in the Alafin’s sector of New Oyo, but the Ɔdɛjin (head of the set of possessionpriests) who lived and served Shango within his own temple sited in the Bashɔrun’s ward. Whenever fines were paid in expiation of an offence against Shango, the Magba and Ɔdɛjin divided them, half for the Alafin, half for the Bashɔrun. Initiated possession priests in the Alafin’s sector did not serve the Ɔdɛjin; their

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activities centred on the Alafin’s shrine at Koso, outside New Oyo.11 From the political point of view, however, there is no doubt that the Ogboni cult of the Earth was of prime importance in moderating the relationship between Alafin and Ɔ yɔ M esi, since it could impose ritual sanctions on both. The fully initiated members of this powerful and dreaded association were recruited partly by hereditary right, partly by invitation from the Ogboni priests from free Ɔyɔ lineages on a basis of age, presumed wisdom, and some prominence in secular or religious life. As far as the general public was concerned, the known function in government of this cult was to punish the shedding of human blood, which, however slight the wound, was a sin as well as a crime and resulted in an inquiry by the judicial official of the cult, the Apena, who exact­ ed heavy payments in expiation from all parties to the affray, as well as referring the principal offenders to the Alafin for punishment. The cult was believed, too, to perform vitally important rites for the king and the community in the secrecy of its lodge in the palace forecourt, rites that gave its members such magical powers that any trespass on their activities or privileges was revealed to them and condignly punished. But, politically speaking, those of its activities that were most important to keep secret were its deliberations on government policy. All members of the Ɔyɔ Mesi were ex officio admitted to the senior grade of the cult, but were debarred from the highest ritual offices, which were vested in certain lineages (though successors had to be acceptable to the Ogboni and the king, and the choice confirmed by the Ifa oracle). The Alafin, too, was represented in the cult by a woman who heard all that was said and reported to him, but could not herself take part in the discus­ sions. Thus, while they attended the plenary meetings that were held at sixteen-day intervals, the Ɔyɔ Mesi did so in circumstances that placed them to some extent under the discipline of sanctions vested in a priesthood from which they were excluded and which bound all Ogboni members to accept decisions taken at the meet­ ings, even though the decisions might not have been unanimously reached. The Ɔyɔ Mesi’s knowledge that their opinions would reach the king provided them with a channel for warning him as well as perhaps causing them to moderate their opinions. It is also of significance that the Ogboni leaders were shielded from

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undue pressure from the Ɔyɔ Mesi because the holders of the highest titles (and the head of the women’s section) resided in the royal sector of Oyo and so were not subordinate chiefs of any of the Ɔyɔ Mesi. Finally, the Ogboni lodge was the scene of the Alafin’s secret rite for Ilɛ (Earth and her spirits), which took place during the Bashɔrun’s celebration of Ɔrun (Sky and spirits in the sky). The Alafin, with the woman who represented him there, and the Third Eunuch (Osi Ɛfa—Eunuch of the Left), joined the Ogboni high priest (Oluwo—Lord of the Mysteries) to divine whether Earth would sustain his rule during the coming year and if sacrifices were required in propitiation, or whether unconditional misfortune would befall him and the land. The Earth’s verdict, it is said, would be compared with that obtained by the Bashɔrun when he divined in the central rite of the Alafin’s Ɔrun. If both presaged disaster, the Ɔyɔ Mesi had grounds for demanding the suicide of the Alafin. It would, however, be unwise to conclude that the Alafin’s reign was necessarily liable to abrupt termination because of the forebodings of oracles, which in some degree might have been juggled by their operators. Special care was probably taken in appealing to the Ifa oracle before the king made decisions during the next months ; but if disasters did come about, or the antagon­ ism between Alafin and the Ɔyɔ Mesi increased, or the towns­ people grew disaffected, then in judging the time had come to call for the Alafin to ‘sleep’, a retrospective view of the oracles would strengthen the resolve of the Ɔyɔ Mesi and give them the concurrence of the Ogboni. If oracles were not of overriding importance in determining whether the Ogboni and Ɔyɔ Mesi should decide whether the king should or should not continue to rule, they were immensely important in the field of executive and administrative action that the Alafin controlled ; and the principal Ifa diviner, the Ɔnalemɔlɛ, lived in his sector of the town and was in constant communication with him. The Alafin needed to know the intention of the gods (orisha); to have oracular sanctions for appointments of officials of all ranks, from a new Bashɔrun to a titled priest or a slave-envoy (ilari) ; to be told what must be done to secure a favourable omen for enterprises of every kind ; and to have interpreted any events that were extraordinary and consequently portentous (MortonWilliams, 1964: 254 ff.).

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Royals and Palace Officials In the royal sector of Oyo the highest ranking men were five members of the royal lineage. Three were his ‘official fathers’, heads of the three principal branches of the royal lineage, two of the branches being debarred from putting forward successors to the throne. Of the three ‘fathers’, we need notice only the Ɔna­ shokun, head of the line within which succession was confined. He was himself head of a large ward in the royal sector ; and one of his principal duties was to bury deceased Arɛmɔ within his compound (Campbell, 1861: 50). In Old Oyo and, it seems, after Atiba’s death, they submitted to the Ɔyɔ Mesi the names of eligible candidates for succession to the throne. The fourth royal bore the title of Magaj’i Iyaji in the nineteenth century; today, he is known as the Baba Iyaji, ranking, with the Ɔyɔ Mesi, above the magaji. He was the official ‘Elder Brother’ of the Alafin, and his role was to ward off insults directed at his ‘Younger Brother’, that is, assume responsibility for his failings (Johnson, 1921 : 68 f.). On the other hand, he was the only man in the kingdom priveleged to rebuke the king. At the present day he joins the ‘King’s Father’ in naming possible successors; but formerly, and perhaps at Atiba’s death, the Magaji Iyaji died with the Alafin. But the most powerful of the royalty, next to the Alafin, was the Arɛmɔ—the Eldest Son—who shared many of the king’s powers and privileges, holding a large court, sharing market dues with him, and being lord of many towns and villages. Unlike the king, he was not secluded or confined to his palace. Although he was the official heir apparent, it had become the custom about two centuries before Atiba’s succession that he should die with the king, to ensure his support rather than his rivalry. Atiba ended this custom, persuading the Ɔyɔ Mesi that he should be succeeded by the Arɛmɔ. Constitutionally the change was important in strengthening the Alafin and Arɛmɔ vis-à-vis the Ɔyɔ Mesi. Other royals held offices of very minor importance, ranking with the magaji. Most of these offices, as far as has been ascertain­ ed, were confined to the section of the royal lineage headed by the Ɔnashokun, and they were given to heads of branches that in course of time had become excluded from the succession ; though one, the Atingisi, was the representative of Atiba’s uterine kin

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(iyekan—one mother). Another of them, the Agunpopo, Com­ pounder of Medicine for the pregnant wives of the Alafin, formerly vested in the royal lineage, was made over to one of Atiba’s non-royal friends, who became magaji of a large ward in Oyo. The principal function of the royal titles seems to have been that of binding the various branches of the royal lineage to the Alafin and preventing them from intriguing with the Ɔyɔ Mesi in the hope of a transfer of the line of succession. The Alafin’s eunuchs (iwɛfa ) were the highest grade of palace officials, and three of them he appointed to very high rank indeed to represent and personify his three administrative roles, judicial, religious, and executive. The Alafin might sit in judgement himself; but ordinarily he would be personated by the Ɔna Ɛfa, ‘Eunuch of the Middle’, or Principal Eunuch, who served too as his ‘spokesman’ (in the manner of the Ashanti Okyeame). The Ɔna Ɛfa was aided, just as the other leading eunuchs were, and deputized for, by a group of lesser eunuchs assigned to him. Judicial processes in Oyo may be here conveniently summarized. Homicide was the affair of the Alafin in the capital and was investigated and judged by the Ɔna Ɛfa. Bloodshed, because it polluted the Earth, was in the first instance the concern of the Ogboni association. Lèse-majesté was a matter for the Ɔna Ɛfa and was punished by decapitation, fines, or flogging, according to the gravity of the offence and the rank of the offender. Adultery with a royal wife, a special form of this crime, was punished by decapitation or by emasculation and incorporation in the palace eunuchs; this was so whether the adultery had been with a wife of the Alafin or of a vassal king. Territorial disputes between vassals were also referred to the Ɔna Ɛfa. Land disputes over farm boundaries or dwelling sites were investigated by compound heads, who might refer them to ward heads, and at this level the judicial process aimed at recon­ ciliation and mutual accommodation. But intractable disputes were taken to the Ɔna Ɛfa. Suicide was an abominable crime, and the corpse would be taken by a high-ranking palace slave, the Ari­ wo, who, with his following, would impound the property of the suicide. The Second Eunuch, the Ɔ tun Ɛfa (Eunuch of the Right), represented the king’s religious person. He was initiated into the priesthood of Shango, and played an important part in the ritual

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o f installation o f a n ew Alafin. H e h a d charge o f th e h am let o f K oso, w h ere th e A lafin’s S hango tem ple was, h e w as responsible fo r en su rin g th a t rites p re scrib ed b y th e king’s diviner w ere p e r­ fo rm ed , an d h e su p erv ised th e elaborate arrangem ents fo r th e an n u al cycle o f religious festivals. T h e T h ir d E u n u c h , th e O si Ɛ fa (E u n u c h o f th e L eft), re ­ p re se n te d th e king in h is executive an d m ilitary roles. A g ro u p o f h is su b o rd in ate eu n u ch s, th e A rɛ- Ɔja (M ark et envoys), collected th e dues to b e p aid b y retailers in th e K in g ’s M ark et ( Ɔja A kɛsan) in O yo. O th ers collected tolls o n th e tra d e ro u tes an d received trib u te for th e Alafin, an d in general executed fiscal an d trad e policies. T h e O si Ɛ fa m ig h t receive th e Ɔyɔ M esi as th e A lafin; if th e k in g w ere ill h e could perso n ate h im a t th e g re at p u b lic cerem onies, d ressed in full regalia; an d a t O ld O yo he h ad som e­ tim es p erso n ated h im in b attle. H e h ad access to th e king at all tim es, saw h im re tire a t n ig h t, an d w as th e first to visit h im in th e m o rning. B eing so close to th e king and exercising su ch im p o rtan t prerogatives, he, u n lik e th e o th e r p rin cip al eunuchs, w as re q u ired to die w ith him . O th e r h ig h -ra n k in g palace officials in clu d ed slaves w ith special­ ized duties, am ong th e m th e Ɔn a T ɛtu , an d his subordinates, th e k in g ’s executioners, w ho b eh ead ed crim inals in public, b e n e a th a p alm tre e o u tsid e th e palace; th e A riw o w ho dealt w ith su icid e; a n d Ɔ n a O nsheaw o an d h is subord in ates, w hose ritu al d u ties in clu d ed p re p a rin g th e b o d y o f th e A lafin fo r burial. T h e O lok u n - Ɛ sh in (M a ste r o f th e H orse), besides his d u ty o f m ain ­ tain in g th e royal stab le a n d p ro v id in g m o u n ts fo r th e Alafin, A rɛmo, an d th e ir p rin cip a l atten d a n ts, bore th e b o d y o f th e king to th e bara (m ausoleum ) a n d th e n en d ed his ow n life. T h e re w as a n u m ero u s grad e o f titled slaves, th e ilari (scar heads), w ho p erfo rm ed m an y ad m in istrative services. T h e y w ere selected b y th e O si Ɛ fa fro m th e palace slaves an d d istinguished w ar captives, a n d th e choice su b m itte d to th e Ifa oracle to divine w h e th e r each one w o u ld serve th e king well. In th e rite ad m ittin g th e m to th e grad e (Jo h n so n , 1921: 60-63) th e y received eig h t h u n d re d sm all incisions o n th e ir b reasts an d shoulders, an d tw o larger ones o n th e ir heads, in to w h ich ‘m edicines’ w ere ru b b e d th a t w ere believed to change th e ir characters so th a t th ey w ould display characteristics su itab le to th e specialized roles req u ired o f th e m ; an d th e y w ere th e n given new nam es. T h e choice o f a

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p artic u la r ilari for a d ip lo m atic assignm ent, or to m ake dem ands o n a vassal, w ould show th e A lafin’s feelings concerning th e occasion. In stan c es m ay be fo u n d in Jo h n so n (1921: 211, 468, 514, 531, 591, 627). T h e envoy’s initiative was th u s restricted to a degree th a t gave th e A lafin assurance th a t his in ten tio n s w ould be com m unicated. T h e ilari h ad an im p o rta n t role in th e adm in istratio n o f d ep e n d ­ e n t territo ry . T h e to w n s an d villages in th e A lafin’s territories w ere linked to Oyo b y m aking th e ir ru lers clients of th e Alafin or o th er p atro n s at th e capital. T h e relationship w as expressed in th e idiom o f fa th e r an d son. T h e ‘fa th e rs’ and th eir ‘so n s’ co m m u n icated th ro u g h agents called baba kekere (L ittle F ath ers). W h e th e r th e p a tro n w as th e Alafin, th e A rɛm ɔ , th e B asharun, or th e A lapini, th e baba kekere w as always an ilari delegated by th e A lafin to th e en to u rag e o f th e p atro n , living in th e p a tro n ’s co m p o u n d , b u t u ltim ately resp o n sib le to th e king for his conduct. T h e tw o senior ilari supervised, respectively, th e A lafin’s slaves co ncerned w ith m atters o u tside and w ith in th e palace. T h e m o st senior, A rɛ A peka ( ‘T h e y will call th e k in g ’s nam e everyw here’), w as title d olori ɛ ru, ‘H e ad o f th e Slaves’, and led th e arɛ an d o th er slaves in th e ir tw ice daily act o f greeting and subm ission to th e Alafin. I n p u b lic cerem onies h e dan ced in fro n t o f th e king carry in g an iro n ro d . H e w as responsible for th e co n d u c t o f th e ilari o u tsid e th e palace, an d was h im self magaji o f a large co m p o u n d . T h e second in ran k , A rɛ K u d efu , received all visitors to th e palace an d supervised th e w ork o f all ilari w orking w ith in th e palace, su ch as A rɛ T u ja n i, in charge o f all food, an d A rɛ M ap em ip a (‘D o n ’t call m e to kill’) in charge o f th e k in g ’s arsenal, o f th e discharge o f guns o n state occasions, an d also of th e slau g h ter o f all anim als sacrificed in th e palace. I n his choice o f w ives th e A lafin h ad to conform to th e Y o ru b a ru le p ro h ib itin g m arriage betw een kin. W om en h a d various roles of g reat im p o rtan ce in th e palace. T h e y w ere called in general ayaba (king’s wives), b u t th ey w ere o f various ranks an d grades. H ig h est in ra n k w ere th o se o f th e grade Iy a Afin, ‘M o th ers o f th e P alace’ ; n ex t w ere ayaba p ro p e r, w ith w hom th e king enjoyed conjugal relations, th e n th e o rd e r o f fem ale ilari, w ho w ere slave officials, an d low est in th e ran k th e o rdinary slave w om en. O f all th e people w ho lived in th e palace th e Iy a Afin (w ho w ere also know n as ayaba ijoye, ‘titled k in g ’s w ives’) w ere closest in rank

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to th e king. T h e ir n u m b e rs seem to have varied over th e p ast cen tu ry , b u t th e re w ere p ro b ab ly a b o u t tw en ty -fo u r o f th e m in A tib a’s palace. N o m an w as ever alone w ith th e king and, w hatever o th e r m en m ig h t b e th ere , a t least one ayaba w ou ld always be in atten d an ce, an d sh e w ould ran k senior to th e m an received in audience a n d co m m an d his deference. All palace officials h ad offic­ ial m o thers. T h e th re e ch ief eu n u ch s h ad for th eirs th re e o f th e Iy a A fin. T h e ilari w ere individually m atch ed b y a fem ale ilari as ‘m o th e r’ a n d w ere collectively u n d e r th e au th o rity o f th e Iy aoke Ile Ɔsanyin, w ho w as aided b y tw o deputies. T h e king h im self h ad a n official ‘m o th e r’ (his ow n m o th er h ad to die a t his acces­ sion) w ho ran k ed h ig h er th a n an y o f th e Ɔ y ɔ M e si an d was p re sen t w h en th e y h a d audience w ith th e A lafin; she w as p re sen t even if th e B ash ɔru n w ish ed to co n su lt th e A lafin by him self, an d how ever private th e m a tte r m ig h t be. T h e A rɛm ɔ h ad tw o ‘m o ­ th e rs ’, th e Iy a A dodo, his ow n m o th er, o r official step -m o th er if she w ere dead, an d th e Iya Ɔ lɔru n K u n m ɛfu n , w ho atten d ed and escorted h im w h enever he visited th e king’s palace. M o st o f th e Iy a A fin w ere priestesses, w ho w ere in charge o f sh rines in th e palace, an d w ere ‘m o th e rs’ of cu lt organizations in th e tow n, having iya kekere (‘little m o th e rs’), generally w om en ilari, to assist th em . O f m ost im p o rtan ce in th e k in g ’s political relations w ere th e Iy a N aso, ‘m o th e r’ o f th e cu lt o f Shango ; th e Iy a N kolara, ‘m o th e r’ o f th e O gboni cult and of th e Ɔ nalem ɔlɛ, th e P rincipal D iv in er, w ho also h ad charge o f th e room w here th e rite o f ɔ run was p e rfo rm ed ; an d th e Ɛ n i Ɔja (P erson o f th e M arket), w ho su p erv ised th e K in g ’s M ark et w ith th e aid o f th re e titled eu n u c h s fro m th e O si Ɛ fa’s g ro u p o f subord in ates, an d w as th e ‘m o th e r’ of th e O si Ɛ fa him self. A tib a d ied in M a rc h 1859, leaving to his son A delu, w ho suc­ ceeded him , a tow n o f a b o u t 40,000-60,000 inhab itan ts. T h e c o n stitu tio n b e q u e ath ed b y A tib a consisted, in sum m ary, of d istin c t fields o f go v ern m en t, th e political an d th e adm inistrative. T h e in tern a l ad m in istratio n o f O yo w as on tw o levels— a t w ard level it w as co n tro lled b y m em b ers o f th e Ɔ y ɔ M e si o r titled m em b ers o f th e royal secto r as w ard heads (the division into th e tw o sectors b ein g of political ra th e r th a n adm inistrative signi­ ficance), an d a t th e level o f th e k ingdom as a u n it it was adm inis­ te re d b y officials o f th e king. P olitics w ith in O yo lay in th e rela­ tio n s betw een th e Alafin, Ɔ y ɔ M esi, an d O gboni, b u t th ey w ere

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overshadow ed b y th e p ara m o u n t n ee d fo r th e A lafin to m ain tain th e precariously peaceful relations b etw een th e am bitious ru lers o f Ib a d a n an d Ijaye, w ho w ere m asters o f th e large te rrito ry th a t h ad b een saved fro m F u la n i co n q u est. A delu allow ed hostilities to break o u t b etw een Ib a d an a n d Ijaye, an d th ese resu lted in th e d estru c tio n o f Ijaye, follow ed b y th e v ictory o f Ib a d a n over Ijaye’s allies th e Ɛ gba Y o ru b a, w ho h a d aim ed to gain th e te rrito ry fo rm erly d o m in ated b y Ijaye. T h e re su lt w as b o th th e m ilitary ascendency of Ib a d a n o v er all th e Y o ru b a lands n o rth o f th e forest an d also th e extension o f th e territo ries d irectly attach ed to Oyo, th ro u g h its sh arin g th e Ijaye d ependencies w ith Ib a d an . A tib a’s co n stitu tio n later survived th e su p erim p o sitio n o f th e B ritish P ro tecto ra te (and its selection of Ib a d a n as th e seat o f g o vernm ent in w estern N igeria), th o u g h th e ju d icial roles o f th e Ɔ n a Ɛ fa— H e ad E u n u c h — an d th e O gboni w ere progressively tak en over b y new ly in tro d u ce d co u rts o f law. I t en d ed only in th e 1950s after A lafin A 1 H aj A d e n iran h a d denied th e sanctions o f th e trad itio n al cu lts, an d he an d th e m ajority o f th e Ɔ y ɔ M esi had q u arrelled an d h ad jo in e d o pposing natio n al political parties. T h e in terv e n tio n o f th e v ictorious p a rty resu lted in th e A lafin being exiled and deposed an d th e Ɔ yɔ M esi re co n stitu ted .12

NOTES 1. D r. I. A. Akinjogbin puts the death of Abiɔdun as early as April 1789. In an interesting unpublished thesis on Dahomey in the eight­ eenth century, he quotes a letter from a French Officer, Gourg, at Ouidah, to the M inistre de M arine, 8 June 1789:' . . . le Roy des Alliots est m o r t . . . en Avril dernier’ and continues 'I have taken into consideration all the events of this period, and have concluded that the “ Roy des Alliots” could be no other than . . . A biɔdun’ (Akinjogbin, 1963: 257). T here is no corroboration of the report, and putting A biɔdun’s death so early brings many grave difficulties into the chrono­ logy of the next three kings, conflicting with the traditions current in both Oyo and Ilorin of Yoruba relations with the Fulani. Assuming that the report does reflect some event in Oyo, among the possibilities is A biɔdun’s celebration of the bɛbɛ , or iku (death) festival. I t is a lengthy rite of thanksgiving, including lavish sacrifices at the graves of the ancestral kings and has been perform ed by only a few Alafin, whose reigns were regarded as exceptionally successful (Johnson, 1921: 163 f.).

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2. This analysis is based on the assumption that the traditions recorded by Johnson (1921: 178-185) are broadly true. 3. Samuel Crowther notes in his journal entry, 27 September 1841, that he was informed that the Fulani had been defeated at Oshogbo ‘about three years ago’ (Schӧn and Crowther, 1842: 318). Allowing for Yoruba time reckoning, the battle was probably fought in the dry season of 1839-40. 4. The present Emir of Ilorin says Atiba was brought as a captive from Oyo and adopted as a son by its Fulani ruler, Abdulsalami. Johnson (1921: 265) writes, ‘He was all Fulani in his manners’ (before he became Alafin). 5. Cf. T. J. Bowen (1858: x f.): ‘Ilorin . . . were defeated by the people of Ibadan since which time they have acted chiefly on the defensive . . . 'I lǫriŋ is one of the great marts of Central Africa, and is much frequented by people from beyond the Niger, and even by Moors and Arabs. The principal exports are fine cotton cloths of Nufe manufacture, and slaves or prisoners captured in petty wars with neighbouring tribes. The imports consist of Arabian and common horses, salt, trona or crude carbonate of soda from the Great Desert, kola or goorah nuts, guns, swords, and European goods. Much of this traffic is carried on across the Desert, although Ilorin is not two-hundred and fifty miles by the road from the Bight of Benin.’ 6. T he bara and Koso of Old Oyo had been several miles to the north and east, respectively, of the town. 7. In 1963 an elder of the Bashɔrun’s lineage gave me an etymology of Ɔyɔ Mesi. It is said to derive from Ɔy ɔ mɔ esi, ‘Ɔyɔ knows the reply’, implying how to answer to the king’s needs. This etymology, though said to be ancient, is not widely known (Morton-Williams, 1960: 364), and the Council is more often known as the Omesi or Ɔyɔ Misi, evidently through the influence of vowel harmony, which is potent in Yoruba. 8. T he procedure in intimating to the Alafin that his suicide was demanded seems to have varied, sometimes taking the form of hints that he had disgraced himself beyond redemption; sometimes of silently presenting him with an empty closed calabash (for his head), or one containing parrots’ eggs (a procedure used in other Yoruba kingdoms, a parrot’s egg being the customary vessel for a suicide’s poison) ; and sometimes of a formal speech of rejection. 9. T he present incumbent of the title considers that Johnson’s reference was to the exploits of his ancestor, the Laguna of Atiba’s day, a notable warrior whose ‘ambassadorial’ activities were restricted to telling the heads of neighbouring villages that they had the choice of moving into the new Oyo with their people or fighting. 10. It is said that the title had been vested in Ɔja’s lineage in Old Oyo, but it had not ranked among the Ɔ yɔ M esi there, where F

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the seventh mem ber had held the title Ɔnam ɔ deke, Head of the Young M en (ɔmɔde), organized there in an age-grade association, which carried out public works in the city. 11. In earlier times the Alafin had used possession priests at Koso, many of whom were his slaves, to add ritual sanctions to military co­ ercion in controlling his distant vassals. Alafin Atiba is said to have sent ‘priests of Shango’, in company w ith a eunuch representing himself, on two occasions to impose an armistice in the Yoruba wars (Johnson, 1921 : 301, 368 ff.), a sanction that was recognized by the Ijɛbu and Ɛgba, and later by the armies of Ibadan and Ijaye. 12. T his chapter is based on field and documentary research. Field­ work in Oyo Division, W estern Nigeria, occupied about nineteen m onths during the period 1955-58 and was supplem ented by a fort­ night’s visit to Oyo in 1963. Fieldwork in Egbado Division, for about twenty-seven m onths in 1950-54, provided material for the study of the trade route from Old Oyo to the Atlantic. T he documentary material available for the study of relations between Old Oyo and Dahomey, of the fall of Old Oyo, and especially of the Oyo Yoruba in the m id­ nineteenth century is m uch richer than my text references (scanty and rather arbitrary because of restrictions on space) may suggest. I t is nevertheless adm itted that the account of Atiba’s Oyo rests very much on inferences from statem ents of informants, and it is the more tenta­ tive because I went to Oyo only after Alafin A1 Haj Adeniran had been banished ; and I left before his successor, the reigning Alafin Gbadegesin, had fully established his court.

REFEREN CES Aderȩmi, Sir Adesoji (T he Ǫ ni of Ifȩ) Ajayi, J. F. A. & Smith, R. S. Akinjogbin, I. A.

Bascom, W. R.

Biobaku, S. O.

1956

'I wǫfa’, Odù, No. 3. Ibadan.

Yoruba Warfare in the Nineteenth Cenutry. London. 1963 Dahomey and its Neighbours, 1708-1818.

1964

U npublished Ph.D . thesis, University of London. 1942 ‘T h e Principle of Seniority in the Social Structure of the Yoruba’, Amer. Anthro­ pologist, Vol. 44, pp. 37-46. 1951 ‘Social Status, W ealth, and Individual Differences among the Y oruba’, Amer. Anthropologist, Vol. 53, pp. 490-506. 1957

The Ęgba and their Neighbours 18421872. Oxford.

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69

Bowen, T . J.

1858

Campbell, R.

1861

Clapperton, H.

1829 Journal of a Second Expedition into the Interior of Africa . . . London and Phila­ delphia. (Page refs, to London printing.) 1852 A Grammar of the Yoruba Language. London. 1921 The History of the Yorubas. Lagos.

Crowther, S. A. Johnson, S. (Johnson, O., Ed.) Labarthe, P. Lander, R. L. and Lander, J.

‘G ram m ar and Dictionary of the Yoruba Language’ ( Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge, x, 4). Washington. A Pilgrimage to my Motherland. New York and Philadelphia.

1803 Voyage à la Côte de Guinée . . . Paris. 1832 Journal of an Expedition to Determine

the Course and Termination of the Niger.

London. 1960 ‘Sacred Kingship and Government Lloyd, P. C. among the Yoruba’, Africa, Vol. XXX, pp. 221-37. 1860 ‘Journey in the Yoruba and N ú pe May, D. J. Countries in 1858’, J. Roy. Geog. Soc., Vol. XXX, pp. 212-33. Morton-W illiams, P. M . 1960 ‘T h e Yoruba Ogboni Cult in Ǫyǫ’, Africa, Vol. XXX, pp. 362-74. 1964 ‘An Outline o f the Cosmology and Cult Organization o f the Ǫyǫ Yoruba’, Africa, Vol. XXX IV, pp. 243-61. Schӧn, J. F. & 1842 Journals of the Rev. J. F. Schӧn and Mr. Crowther, S.A. Crowther, who, with the sanction of H.M.'s

Sm ith, M .G . Verger, P.

Government, accompanied the expedition up the Niger. 1960 Government in Zazzau. London. 1957

‘Notes sur les cultes des oriça et vodun. . . ’

Mém. de l’Inst. Français d'Afrique Noire, W escott, J. & M orton- 1962 Williams, P.M .

N o. 51, Dakar. ‘T h e Symbolism and Ritual Context of the Yoruba laba Shango', J. Roy. Anthropol. Inst., Vol, 92, pp. 23-37.

T H E K IN G D O M J.

L

OF DAHOMEY

om bard

I n earlier tim es ‘D a n h o m é ’ was th e nam e given to th e fabulous k ingdom o f A b o m ey ; an d it is b y th is nam e th a t th e m o d ern rep u b lic is know n. S om e o f th e first E u ro p e an travellers visited th e c o u n try an d left eye-w itness accounts o f th e sp len d o u r an d organization o f th e royal co u rt. A n em ployee o f th e A frican C om pany, B ullfinch L am b e , v isited th e D ahom ey capital in 1724. H e n cefo rth in n u m era b le m issions— E n g lish fo r th e m o st p a rt— arriv ed at th e capital o f th e A bom ey kings. N o rris (in 1772 an d 17 7 3 ), F orbes, R ich ard B u rto n , an d D r. R ép in (all in th e n in etee n th cen tu ry ) w ere a few o f th e travellers w ho left d etailed accounts o f th e ir jo u rn ey s. O n th e eve o f E u ro p e a n p e n e tra tio n th e D ahom ey kingdom stretch e d from th e im p o rta n t coastal p o rts o f W h y d ah and C o to n o u to th e e ig h th parallel, excluding Savé an d Savalou. Savalou fo rm ed a sm all allied kingdom . E ast to w est, it extended fro m K e tu , o n th e p re se n t N ig eria n b o rd e r, to th e d istrict aro u n d A takpam e in m o d e rn T o g o . T o w n s like A llada (th e capital o f th e fo rm er kingdom o f A rd ra), Z agnanado, P arah o u e (or A plahoué), an d D assa-Z o u m é cam e u n d e r th e suzerain ty o f th e D ahom ean kings. E v en th e P o rto N o v o k ingdom w as at one tim e th rea ten ed b y D ah o m ean forces at th e tim e o f th e treaty agreeing to a F ren c h p ro tecto rate. T h e D ah o m ey k ingdom th u s stretch e d alm ost tw o h u n d re d m iles fro m n o rth to so u th , an d one h u n d re d m iles from east to w est. Its p o p u latio n h as b ee n estim ated ro u g h ly a t tw o h u n d re d th o u san d . T h e fo u n d in g o f th e A bom ey k in gdom dates fro m a b o u t th e b eg in n in g o f th e sev e n te en th cen tu ry . A ccording to th e con­ sensus o f local trad itio n s, it w as established b y A dja invaders, m em b ers o f th e royal fam ily o f T a d o , an im p o rta n t to w n now in m o d e rn T o g o , w h ich fo rm erly d o m in ated certain E w e groups. T a d o w as nom inally a trib u ta ry state o f th e O y o -Y o ru b a em pire in th e six teen th an d sev e n te en th centuries. I t is n o t im probable th a t Y o ru b a elem ents h a d c o n trib u te d to th e developm ent o f th is

The Kingdom of Dahomey

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k ingdom (B ertho, 1949), A fte r a d y n astic q u arrel a g ro u p o f A dja nobles fled to th e east an d established them selves n ea r A llada. A fu rth e r fam ily d isp u te ensued, and th ree b ro th ers com peted for th e ir fa th e r’s th ro n e . T h e eld est succeeded, an d th e o th er tw o left th e co u n try , one to fo u n d th e k ingdom o f P o rto N ovo, an d th e o th e r to estab lish w h a t was to becom e in th e n o rth th e kingdom o f A bom ey. T h e re th e A d ja im m ig rants in term arried w ith people o f Y o ru b a provenance, th e G edevi, th u s originating th e F o n eth n ic g ro u p . T h e A d ja co n q u est w as n o t achieved w ith o u t fric tio n an d a n u m b e r o f conflicts betw een th e invaders an d th e indigenous chiefs, b u t b y th e sev enteenth c e n tu ry th e new kingdom was estab lish ed u n d e r W egbadja, considered b y D a h o ­ m eans as th e tru e fo u n d e r o f th e dynasty. N in e kings succeeded h im u n til th e F re n c h o ccu p atio n in 1892. I n th e course o f tw o an d h a lf cen tu ries th e y so u g h t to extend th e b o u n d aries o f th e k ingdom an d especially, u n til th e n in etee n th cen tu ry , to escape fro m th e tutelage exercised b y th e kings o f Oyo, w ho regarded th e kings o f A bom ey as th e ir vassals an d exacted an annual trib u te in goods, m oney, a n d slaves as a sym bol o f allegiance. In th e early p a rt o f th e n in e te e n th ce n tu ry th e collapse o f th e O yo em pire (see C h a p te r I I , p. 41) gave A bom ey th e o p p o rtu n ity to free itself com pletely fro m th e Y o ru b a yoke an d even to carry w ar in to territo rie s fo rm erly su b ject to Oyo. T h e h isto ry of A bom ey was th u s d o m in ated b y a series o f w ars designed to ‘m ake D ahom ey always g re a te r’ (th e m o tto o f th e ir kings), an d to acquire th e largest n u m b e r o f captives to sell to E u ro p ean slave trad ers. I n th e h isto ry o f th e A bom ey d y n asty tw o nam es have stood o u t in th e m em o ry o f D ah o m ean s b y v irtu e o f th e ren o w n an d th e co n q u ests o f th e kings w ho b o re th em . T h e first, A gadja, w ho reig n ed from 1708 till 1732, is co nsidered th e co u n try ’s greatest w arrio r king. D e sp ite a re cen t sacking o f th e capital b y an Oyo inv ad in g arm y, A gadja w as still m aster o f th e A bom ey plateau and was d eterm in ed to establish a d irec t ro u te to th e coast in o rd e r to reap th e gains o f a considerably a u g m en ted E u ro p e an trad e in th e B ight o f Benin. H is w ay was b a rred by th e kingdom s o f A llada an d W h y d ah . W ith an in v ad in g arm y he defeated th e fo rm er in 1724, an d in 1729 a second attack b ro u g h t th e W h y d ah kingdom to heel. By th e early e ig h tee n th c e n tu ry D ahom ey h ad conquered an im p o rta n t strip o f coastal te rrito ry an d was able to m onopolize th e slave tra d e th ere . T h is association w ith E u ro p e an trad ers

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m ade th e k in g d o m ’s fo rtu n e an d enabled th e D ahom ean arm y to becom e one o f th e m ost feared in W est Africa. A gadja’s successors all extended th e b o undaries o f th e kingdom . I n 1818 G ezo, th e king w ho w as to becom e th e m ost revered in D ah o m ean history, cam e to th e th ro n e. H e early proved him self a consum m ate politician an d a skilful w arrior and also established a close control over th e w hole kingdom by organizing a highly specialized ad m in istratio n . H e m anaged to w rest independence fro m his O yo suzerains, w ho w ere by now w eakened by the F u la n i invasions. H e co n tin u ed his predecessors’ m ilitary expe­ ditio n s against th e Y o ru b a chiefdom s and kingdom s to th e n o rth an d east o f his kingdom . D u rin g his long reig n th e arts an d crafts flourished at th e royal court, w h ich reached an u n p reced en ted splen d o u r. By 1858, th e year of G ezo’s death, th e kingdom had reach ed its apogee. T h e abolition of th e slave tra d e soon dealt a serious blow to th e co u n try ’s econom y. P alm -oil, how ever, was fo u n d to be a new source o f w ealth, an d G lele, th e n ex t king, co n tin u ed his fa th e r’s policy. H e extended th e eastern fro n tier bey o n d K e tu , fo rm erly a Y o ru b a kingdom w hich h ad suffered an attack fro m th e D ahom ey arm y. B u t G lele’s arm y was, in tu rn , ro u te d before th e ra m p a rts o f th e g reat N ig erian to w n of A beokuta. I n 1892, th re e years after th e accession o f B ehanzin, th e last A bom ey king, th e F re n c h con q u est b ro u g h t ab o u t th e collapse an d d isin teg ratio n o f th e m o n arch y (D unglas, 1957,

passim). The Dahomey People— Social Categories D e sp ite th e fact th a t th e A bom ey kingdom was established b y co n q u est b y foreign invaders, th e p o p ulation o f th e country ex h ib ited a h ig h degree of hom ogeneity. T h e F o n , in h ab itan ts of th e A bom ey plateau, w ere th e descendants o f th e conquering A dja an d indigenous Y oruba. Sm all colonies o f F o n w ere subsequently installed in all th e co n q u ered districts, p articularly in th e coastal tow ns, w here th ey took full advantage o f th e lucrative E u ro p ean trad e. By in term arriag e w ith local inh ab itan ts th e F o n achieved a dem ographic rev o lu tio n : over th e years th ey successfully assim i­ lated m ost eth n ic gro u p s in th e region. A p a rt fro m th e Y oruba, th ey all belonged to th e sam e stock. B ut despite th e high degree o f eth n ic hom ogeneity, D ah o m ean society w as highly stratified. T h e fo ur m ajor categories w ere: royals— descendants o f A bom ey

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k in g s; officials o r ‘caboceers’; free com m oners o r anato; and slaves. T h e servile class was re cru ited fro m w ar captives for th e m ost p art, th e ir large n u m b e rs b ein g d u e to th e aggressive policies o f th e kings. T h e y w ere foreign in origin since it was a rule th a t no free-b o rn D ah o m ean could be enslaved. A n d th ey w ere all, in th eo ry , th e personal p ro p e rty o f th e king. L arge-scale slavery was p ro b ab ly in stitu te d u n d e r A gadja w hen A bom ey first obtained a m onopoly o f th e tra d e in th is region. Slaves w ere differentiated according to th e ir roles. O ne category w as destin ed for th e royal sacrifices at th e ‘an n u al cu sto m s’ w hich th e king carried o u t in h o n o u r o f his an cesto rs; an o th er w orked th e royal plantations, u n d e r A bom ey overseers, an d p ro v id ed contingents for th e W h y ­ d ah slavers; a th ird , th e dom estic slaves, was in a m ore favoured position. T h e y w ere p re se n te d b y th e king to notables and successful w arriors as rew ards for th eir services. I n theory, th e m aster h ad no pow er o f life and d ea th over such a slave. A slave w orked in th e house o r fields and usually becam e accepted as a m em b er of his m a ste r’s fam ily; after th e second gen eratio n he becam e an unalienable D ah o m ean citizen. A p a rt fro m th e stigm a attach ed to his origin, th e lot o f a slave’s descen d an t h ard ly differed from th a t o f a fre e -b o rn D ahom ean. T h e n ex t ran k in society w as h eld b y th e anato o r free-b o rn com m oners : th ey w ere m o stly farm ers an d artisans descended from in d ig en o u s fam ilies. T h e y fo rm ed th e backbone o f th e arm y, and m any o f th e m h eld m in o r official posts. T h e g re at officials o f th e D a h o m e an cen tral organization ranked n e x t in th e social hierarch y . T h e se ‘caboceers’ o r gbonugan in clu d ed th e k in g ’s m in isters (all anato in theory), provincial a n d village chiefs, m ilitary com m anders, an d h ig h -ran k in g priests. A t th e to p o f th e D ah o m ean h ierarch y sto o d th e royal fam ily— all th o se d escen d an ts o f kings, p a st an d p resent. T h e y w ere ran k ed acco rd ing to th e ir genealogical p ro x im ity to th e reig n in g king an d enjoyed m an y privileges b a rre d to th e o rd in ary D ahom ean. O n th e o th e r h a n d — an d th is is typical o f despotic m onarchies— p rin ces w ere n o t p e rm itte d to h o ld im p o rtan t political o r ad m in i­ strativ e offices. T h is policy m in im ized th e ir o p p o rtu n itie s fo r rebellion against th e king. E n d o g am ous m arriages, alth o u g h fo rb id d e n th e com m oners, w ere o f fre q u e n t o ccurrence am ong royals. P rincesses w ere p e rm itte d w ide sexual liberty. M o st royals

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lived as parasites w ith in th e w alls o f th e palace ; all o f th e m w ere to som e ex ten t th e resp o n sib ility o f th e king (H erskovits, Vol. 2, C h a p te r 23). T h e exclusion o f royals from official fu n ctions d em on­ stra te d th e k in g ’s d eterm in a tio n to retain political pow er in his ow n h an d s. H is policy to w ard s th e assim ilation o f conquered gro u p s was indicative o f th e centralizing policy o f th e A bom ey g o vernm ent.

The Incorporation of Conquered Groups T h e F o n k ingdom o f A bom ey d id n o t rem ain confined to th e original plateau. I t in co rp o rated several sub ject provinces p o p u ­ lated b y people o f varying relatio nships to th eir conquerors. T h e se relations seem to have b ee n m ajor criteria in determ ining th e policy o f th e cen tral g o v ernm ent tow ards them . I f th e con­ q u ered te rrito ry was in h ab ited b y people dynastically o r ethnically related to th e F o n , how ever d istantly, assim ilation was th e rule. T h is was tru e o f th e region betw een th e capital an d th e coast, especially th e kingdom s o f W h y d a h and A llada. A llada w as a ‘b ro th er-k in g d o m ’ ; its king h a d earlier been considered senior to th e A bom ey m o n arch . A fte r th e con q u est th e defeated king retain ed h is im p o rta n t religious ro le; tem p o ral fu n ctio n s w ere strip p e d fro m h im , how ever, an d exercised by a provincial chief w ho w as ap p o in ted fro m th e capital a n d resid ed a t A llada. H e w as th e viceroy an d to all in te n ts an d p urposes w ielded absolute pow er in th e d istrict. I n W h y d a h ad m inistrative co ntrol was even m o re closely exercised. T h e defeated king w as forced to flee h is capital an d w as later killed. H is fam ily w ent into v o luntary exile, an d th e W h y d a h k ingdom cam e u n d e r th e con tro l o f th e all-pow erful Yovogan, provincial ch ief a n d m in ister a t A bom ey, w ho w as ap p o in ted b y th e king. I n b o th th ese im p o rtan t trad in g cen tres colonies o f F o n w ere established. T h e y in term arried w ith th e local in h ab itan ts, th u s greatly facilitating th e assim ilatory policies o f th e A bom ey kings. I n th o se regions w h ere th e people w ere o f Y o ru b a origin— m ainly in th e n o rth — th e in co rp o ratio n o f new provinces w as n o t follow ed b y colonization o n th e p a rt o f th e invaders. P rovincial chiefs w ere allow ed re stric te d pow ers. N evertheless, a practice typical o f D ah o m ean ad m in istratio n w as follow ed: indigenous village chiefs w ere p e rm itte d to rem ain in office, b u t th e y w ere ‘d o u b le d ’ b y D ah o m ey officials, w ho supervised th e ir political

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activities. I n all his co n q u ered provinces th e king p ractised a d u al m eth o d o f in co rp o ratio n — or assim ilation— religious as well as political. A ll village chiefs w ere placed u n d e r a provincial ch ief o r go v ern o r w ho was ap p o in ted fro m th e capital. Besides this, all local cu lts o f any significance fo u n d in co n q u ered areas w ere tra n sfe rre d to th e care o f a p rie st a t th e capital an d in co rp o rated in to th e state p a n th e o n u n d e r th e g reat cu lt o f th e m ythical an cesto r o f th e D a h o m e an kings, th e leopard A gasu. T h e dom inion o f th e A b om ey m o n arc h y w as th u s d o u b ly assured.

Territorial Organization T h e c o u n try w as d iv id ed in to p rovinces; an d provinces w ere d iv id ed in to villages, each w ith its ow n territo ry . I f th e province w as o f considerable e x te n t it m ig h t b e su bdivided into districts. A t th e en d o f th e n in e te e n th ce n tu ry D ahom ey consisted o f seven provinces. T h e y in clu d ed A bom ey, th e central province controlled m o st d irectly b y th e k in g ; W h y d a h , ad m in istered b y th e Y ovogan; an d A llada, u n d e r th e A kplogan, assisted by five d istrict chiefs. T h e se th re e p ro v in ces w ere th e m o st im p o rta n t an d cam e u n d e r th e co n stan t su p erv isio n o f th e king. T h e o th er fo u r w ere o f less im p o rtan ce, d u e to th e ir distance fro m th e capital o r th e ir eco­ nom ic insignificance, b u t w ere also ad m in istered b y representatives o f th e king. Z ag nanado b o rd e rin g th e Y o ru b a chiefdom s o n th e east, w as m ainly a m ilitary zone. T h e b o u n d aries o f th e o th er provinces w ere ill-defined. M ah i, th e n o rth e rn province, was situ a te d so u th o f Savi a n d S avalou; A takpam e w as to th e w est, n ow in T o g o ; th e A d ja region aro u n d A thiem e in th e sou th -w est re ta in ed a h ig h degree o f autom ony. T h e political influence an d econom ic resources o f a provincial ch ie f o r togan d ep e n d ed o n th e province h e governed. T h e Y ovogan w as th e rich e st an d m o st pow erful. H e controlled W h y ­ d a h tra d e an d h ad ju d icial fu n ctio n s, b u t h e w as u n d e r co n stan t sup erv isio n fro m th e capital an d could b e dism issed b y th e king o n th e slig h test p re te x t. T h u s , provincial governors w ere royal ag e n ts: th ey w ere resp o n sib le fo r p u b lic o rd er, collecting taxes, p ro v id in g m ilitary q uotas, m ain tain ing national highw ays, an d settlin g all lan d d isp u tes. C o n q u ere d chiefs cam e u n d e r th e ju d icial a n d political co n tro l o f th e provincial governor. T h e d eath penalty, how ever, re m a in ed a royal prerogative. T h e sm allest territo ria l u n it in th e kingdom w as th e village.

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A ll its in h ab itan ts, w h e th e r free o r servile, cam e u n d e r th e a u th o rity o f th e village head o r tohosu. T h e tohosu’s office was h ered itary , alth o u g h his successor w as obliged to accom pany th e provincial ch ief to th e capital an d b e confirm ed in office b y th e king. T h e village ch ief w as assisted in his fu n ctio n s b y a d ep u ty o r tonukwe, an d th e donkpegan, w ho w as in charge o f a b o d y o f y o u n g m en w ho carried o u t com m unal w ork: w eeding th e ch ief’s fields, o r m ain tain in g p ath s. L arg e villages w ere d ivided into w a rd s; an d w ard -h ead s (hagan), w ith th e tonukwe an d donkpegan, fo rm ed th e village council. T h e p o w er o f th e village ch ief w as far fro m b ein g ab so lu te; b o th th e cen tral g o vernm ent an d local lineage head s could in terv en e if h is decisions w arran ted it. I f th e ch ief o v erstep p ed th e b o u n d s o f his au th o rity lineage heads could take over in th e in terests o f th e ir m em bers. In d iv id u al villagers h a d th e rig h t o f appeal to th e capital. T h e king exercised direct co n tro l a t village level th ro u g h his royal m essengers ; occasionally officials fro m th e capital w ere ap p o in ted fo r longer periods. T h e village ch ief advised ra th e r th a n ju d g ed , arb itra ted ra th e r th a n laid dow n th e law. H is m ajor role w as settlin g land disputes an d lineage affairs, p articu larly divorce. W itnesses w ere essential before decisions could be reached. D u rin g epidem ics sacrifices w ere m ade at cu lt sh rin es w h ich w ere chosen by th e village chief an d villagers in concert. I n inter-village d isp u tes— after a com ­ m u n al h u n t or over th e division of a palm grove— a royal council­ lo r was asked to deliver ju d g em en t, w ith th e fu rth e r possibility o f an appeal to th e king. O n th e w hole, th e ju d icial role o f th e village chief was an im p o rta n t one, in spite of th e lim itation on th e sanctions he was p e rm itte d to w ield.

The King and the Central Organization A t th e to p o f th e D ah o m ey h ierarchy, d om inating all social categories an d w ielding absolute au th o rity over all officials, stood th e king. T h e re could have b een few A frican m onarchs w hose a u th o rity w as so great, an d w hose pow ers w ere so w ide. All state polities, in theory, possess a system of checks and balances: pow ers are shared w ith a b o d y o f officials residing at th e capital w ho succeed in influencing royal decisions ; or territo rial chiefs enjoy a degree o f political autonom y. In b o th centralized and decentralized states m o st kings w ere lim ited by som e kind of co n tro l from subjects o r royals. I n A bom ey, how ever, we are

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co n fro n ted b y a fo rm o f ab so lu te m o n arch y w hich reached its h ig h est dev elo p m en t in th e n in e te e n th century. A bsolutism m u st n o t be confused w ith ty ran n y , how ever. T h e k in g ’s pow ers w ere in fact lim ited b y age-old trad itio n s, established by his p re ­ decessors an d b o lstered b y th e g re at resp ect accorded th e royal ancestors w h ich p re clu d ed th e ir violation. O n e o f th e first ru les w h ich assured th e co n cen tratio n of political p ow er in th e h an d s o f th e king w as th e exclusion o f m em b ers o f th e royal fam ily fro m political o r adm inistrative office. S uccession ru les also c o n trib u ted tow ards th e stability and co n tin u ity o f th e m o n arch y . T h e k ingship w as h ered itary w ith in th e royal lineage, an d th eo retically prim ogenitive. I n practice, th e king w as free to choose as h e ir ap p a ren t th e son w ho show ed th e greatest ability. T h is sy stem o f succession gave stren g th to th e kingship an d assured co n tin u ity u n d e r kings w ho w ere fully in stru c te d in th e a rt o f g o v ern m e n t b y th e ir fathers, according to trad itio n ally san ctio n ed m ethods. A bove all, th e dangers in h ere n t in co m p etitio n w ere re d u ced to th e m in im u m : th e n u m b er o f eligible candidates was d im in ish ed b y excluding collateral b ra n ­ ches o f th e royal lineage an d sons n o t expressly designated by th e ir fa th e r to succeed him . T ra d itio n re q u ire d th a t th e king-elect sho u ld b e nom in ated b y th e tw o p rin cip a l m in isters, th e Migan a n d th e Meu. I n fact, th ese tw o officials w ere obliged to sta n d b y th e dead king’s choice in th is m atter. T h e essential co n d itions fo r eligibility w ere as follow s: to b e th e so n o f th e king, preferab ly th e eldest— th e m o th e r’s statu s w as irrelev an t, sh e m ig h t even b e o f foreign o r servile origin ; to possess a n am e w h ich did n o t exclude its b earer fro m th e kingship— in th e h isto ry o f A bom ey th e rig h tfu l h eir w as once su p p lan ted b y his b ro th e r an d his nam e rem ain ed cursed ever sin ce; to be th e so n o f a k in g w ho h a d d ied in office an d b een b u rie d in th e palace— in sp ite o f th ese elaborate p recautions th ere w as one case o f successful u su rp a tio n , b u t th e d escendants o f th is k in g w ere excluded fro m th e th ro n e ; an d , finally, to b e persona grata w ith th e royal ancestors— th e k in g ’s diviners acted as gobetw eens in th is m atte r. W h e n th e h e ir a p p a re n t ( vidaho) h ad b ee n chosen he was p re se n te d b y th e king to his councillors. H e w as ta u g h t th e secret tra d itio n s co n cern in g th e origins o f th e dynasty an d given a palace, w ith wives, slaves, an d farm land attached. T h e vidaho

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d id n o t exercise any political fu n c tio n d u rin g his fa th e r’s life­ tim e, ap a rt from accom panying th e king on his official tours o f th e co untry. O n th e k in g ’s d eath th e heir ap p a ren t was installed as quickly as possible. T h e in terreg n u m was always m arked b y several days of w ild an arch y : royal wives killed each o th er so th a t th e y m ig h t accom pany th eir h u sb an d to th e grave; o rd in ary subjects w ere at lib erty to indulge in all kinds o f delict— th e ft an d m ajor crim es— w ith o u t th e slightest in terv en tio n of the law. O nly th e accession of th e new king p u t an end to th is chronic d iso rd er— ad eq u ate p ro o f o f th e state’s need for a head.

Royal Absolutism I n ju d icial, m ilitary, an d political spheres th e king had absolute pow er. H e was su p rem e ju d g e, w ith pow er of life and d eath over his subjects. N e ith e r his ju d g em en ts n o r his p u n ish m en ts— often exceedingly severe— w ere ever questioned. P u n ish m en ts pro v id ed h im w ith a m eans o f coercion, n o t only o f th e victim b u t also o f th e p u b lic at large. T h u s , floggings an d executions w ere given th e greatest publicity, in th is w ay increasing th e ir exem plary character. T h e sam e p u b licity was evinced w hen loyal subjects an d successful w arrio rs w ere rew ard ed a t th e annual cerem onies. T h e people w ere given m odels fo r c o n d u c t; an d th e king’s p restige w as au g m en ted w h e th e r h e w as b ein g severe o r generous. A ll ad m in istrativ e officers w ere ap p o in ted b y th e king ; m inisters, provincial an d village chiefs, an d m ilitary officers. H e also con­ firm ed th e election o f p riests o f th e n ational cults and even lineage head s in th e A bom ey province. H is rig h t to dism iss th e m a t will sp ra n g logically fro m h is m onopoly o f all appointm ents. A p erm a­ n e n t system o f espionage w as organized fro m th e capital. C ertain chiefs w ere su p erv ised b y royal agents, an d in th is w ay th e king w as k ep t in fo rm ed o f political decisions tak en in every corner o f his k ingdom a n d w as assu red o f th e loyalty o f his territo rial officials. T h e slig h test d isp u te o r adm inistrative p ro b lem was re p o rte d to th e ca p ital; after th e king h ad b een inform ed th e m atter w as usually settled b y h is m inisters. T h e sam e policy w as p u rsu e d in th e religious field. I n m any A frican societies an e q u ilib riu m is established betw een secular chiefs an d p rie st chiefs. I n D ahom ey, how ever, national cults w ere closely su p erv ised b y th e king. T h e p riests o f th ese cults— w hich w ere o f g re at im p o rtan ce an d influence in th e co u n try —

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w ere his loyal su b o rd in ates. R oyal agents supervised th e ir activities constantly. T h e king w as also h ig h -p riest in a state religion. W ith th e political elab o ratio n o f th e k in g d om th e cults associated w ith th e royal dynasty quickly assum ed prim acy over o thers. U nlike th e chiefs o f som e W e st A frican societies, th e king w as never enstooled b y an in d ig en o u s ‘ch ief o f th e e a rth ’, a representative o f th e original in h ab itan ts, b u t b y th e p rie st o f th e royal ancestor cu lt. B esides th is, no religious ritu al, how ever dom estic or p riv ate in n atu re , could be p erfo rm ed before th e an n u al celebration in h o n o u r o f th e royal ancestors. I t is clear th a t th e king stood in no d an g er o f rivalry fro m affluent subjects, w h e th e r noble o r com m oner. T h e w hole g a m u t o f religious an d political elem ents o f society w ere su b o rd in ate to h is m ight. T h e king o f D ah o m ey w as also su p rem e com m ander o f th e arm y, w h ich he o ften accom panied in its cam paigns. I f in general he left th e d irec tio n o f m ilitary o p erations to th e officers resp o n ­ sible for th em , it w as h e nevertheless w ho ap p o in ted th e m to th e d ifferent posts o f co m m an d . T h is arm y, as w e shall see, w as com ­ posed in th e n in e te e n th ce n tu ry o f a large co n tin g en t o f fem ale soldiers, th e A m azons. T h is device w as an exam ple o f th e king’s skill in foiling in advance any m ilitary plot. H e placed in his arm y fem ale com panies w ho usually acted as his body g u ard , w ho w ere dev o ted to h im , an d ch arg ed in tim e o f peace w ith his p ro tectio n even w ith in th e palace. T h e kin g ’s m eth o d s o f rein fo rcin g his au th o rity and increasing his prestige w ere v ery subtle. A t his co u rt w ere in n u m erab le fam ilies o f craftsm en w hose p ro d u c ts th e king m onopolized: w oodcarvers, sm iths, w eavers, tailors, copper-w orkers, jew ellers, etc. A rtistic th em es served to increase th e glory o f th e king. D raw ings an d b as-reliefs sym bolized th e ‘stro n g -n am es’ o f th e m o n arch an d evoked th e g reat events o f his reign. C arved stools an d richly o rn a m e n ted figures w ere all designed to add to th e pow er an d w ealth of th e A bom ey kings and th e p restige o f th e dynasty. H isto ry was an o th er royal m onopoly. T ra d itio n s associ­ ated w ith th e state, th e kings, th e royal clans, and th e g reat lin e­ ages w ere confided to ce rtain royal relatives only an d a few o f th e k in g ’s wives. I n som e W e ste rn S udanic states th e king’s au th o rity was d im in ish ed b y th e influence o f a caste-like g ro u p of m instrels, ‘g rio ts’, w ho h ad acq u ired a m onopoly o f state trad itio n s. T h e D ah o m ean m onarchs, how ever, confided th e secret trad itio n s of

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th e ir k ingdom to a few people in th e ir ow n entourage. T h e exploits o f th e g reat kings w ere tran slated into song an d tra n s ­ m itte d fro m gen eratio n to g eneration w ith in th e bosom o f th e royal fam ily. R eligion was one sp h ere w hich escaped th e ir com plete control— especially divination, an a rt w idely p ractised in D ahom ey. D iv in ­ ers, bokonon, in te rp re te d th e w ishes o f th e royal ancestors w h en th e k in g co n su lted th e m before ap p o in tm en ts to p o sts in th e ad m in i­ stra tio n w ere m ade.

Officials of the Court T h e cen tralizatio n o f political activity a t th e capital re q u ired a h ig h ly specialized ad m in istratio n . O bviously th e king w as n o t able to cope w ith th e m in u tiae o f g o vernm ent him self. M o st g o v ern m en t bu sin ess w as d ealt w ith b y m in isters an d officials w ith w ell-defined fu n ctio n s, alth o u g h th ey w ere n o t p erm itted to m ake final decisions o n m ajo r questions w ith o u t th e royal consent. A ccording to F o rb es, w ho visited th e capital in th e m iddle o f th e n in e te e n th cen tu ry , th e royal re tin u e consisted o f 296 nobles. I n effect, how ever, m o st pow er w as concen trated in th e h an d s o f six h ig h -ra n k in g m in isters w hose fu n ctions w ere considerably varied. T h e first m in ister, th e M ig an (see p. 78), w as th e king’s ch ief councillor. H e h a d a u th o rity over all D ahom eans w ho w ere n o t m em b ers o f th e royal fam ily. H is original role had been th a t o f royal ex ecu tio n er; h e re ta in ed th e official title, b u t th e function w as lim ited to th e b eh e ad in g o f th e first sacrificial v ictim at th e ‘an n u al cu sto m s’. H is assistants decapitated th e rest. H e was alw ays seated o n th e k in g ’s rig h t; in theory, h e acted as reg en t d u rin g th e in te rre g n u m w h ich follow ed th e king’s death. H e an d th e M e u alone k n ew th e exact sp o t inside th e palace walls w here th e k in g w as b u rie d . T h e M ig an an d th e M eu p resid ed a t th e accession o f th e n ew king, w ho w as usually chosen b y h is p re ­ decessor. T h e M ig an h a d th e im p o rtan t role o f supervising th e affairs o f th e p ro v in ce o f A llada; th e resid en t provincial chief was resp o n sib le to him . T h e first m in ister o f th e ‘left’, so-called because he w as always seated o n th e k in g ’s left, w as th e M eu, th e second-ranking officer in th e kingdom . H e w ielded au th o rity over m em b ers o f th e royal fam ily; an d w as given th e task o f executing royals w ho

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h ad in trig u ed o r rebelled against th e king. A prince, convicted o f any crim e, was ‘given to th e M e u ’, w ho ‘lo st’ him , according to native parlance. T h e execution o f a royal m u st be k ep t secret; an d it m u st b e done so th a t no royal blood flowed. T h e M eu also acted as th e k in g ’s spokesm an in p ublic, since th e head of th e state w as n o t p e rm itte d to speak d irectly to his subjects. T h e royal speeches at th e ‘an n u al cu sto m s’ w ere rep eated b y th e M eu. T h e p rovisioning o f th e palace w as th e M e u ’s resp o n sib ility ; he also organized cerem onies co n cern in g royals, su ch as baptism s, m arriages, an d funerals. T h e th ird councillor— second o n th e king’s rig h t— w as th e Adjaho, overseer an d ad m in istra to r o f th e palace. T h e A djaho was also ch ief o f p o lice; in th is role he w as kno w n as th e legede. H e received re p o rts fro m th e k in g ’s spies o n political developm ents in th e co u n try . H e received visito rs to A bom ey an d ann o u n ced th e m in to th e k in g ’s presence. H e was responsible fo r those royal re ta in ers w ho resid ed o u tsid e th e palace walls. T h e Tokpo was th e second councillor o n th e left, an d ad m in istered th e royal p lan tatio n s an d ag ricu ltu ral affairs in general. H e w as co nsulted in lan d d isp u tes an d co n tro lled th e large m arkets. I n tim e o f w ar he g u ard ed th e palace. T h e office o f Yovogan b elonged to one o f th e m o st pow erful provincial chiefs, as w e have seen, an d w as created after th e co n q u est o f W h y d ah . A s go v ern o r o f W h y d a h th e Y ovogan was resp o n sib le for all com m ercial dealings w ith E uropeans. H e was a councillor o f th e left, an d as su ch cam e u n d e r th e o rders of th e M eu . T h e Akplogan, councillor an d governor o f th e province of A llada, was ch arg ed w ith th e m ain ten ance o f th e to m b s of fo rm er kings o f A llada, cradle o f th e A bom ey dynasty. I t is alm ost im possible to discover w h e th e r o th er officials also h eld th e ran k o f councillor or m in ister ; we n eed m erely no te here th e titles an d fu n ctio n s o f th e m o re im p o rta n t officials at A bom ey. T h e Sogan w as h ea d o f th e royal cavalry, never a large co n tin g en t d u e to th e difficulty o f acclim atizing horses in th e fo rest zone. T h e Binazon, th e royal trea su rer, supervised th e palace stores, w h ere th e k in g ’s tra d e goods an d gold w ere kept. U n d e r th e B ina­ zo n w as a h o st o f m in o r officials w ho fulfilled m u ltip le fu nctions as stoolkeepers, b u tle rs, organizers o f royal cerem onies, etc. A ll th ese councillors an d officials w ere ap p o in ted b y th e king exclusively fro m co m m o n er fam ilies. I t w as n o t u n til th e eve o f

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E u ro p e an occupation th a t m em bers o f th e royal lineage w ere given h on o rary positions in th e adm inistration. A p a rt fro m exercising personal co ntrol over th e state adm inis­ tratio n , th e D ahom ey m o n arch also ru led an elaborate court, itself organized like a little state. I t consisted pred o m in an tly o f w o m en : relatives, wives, an d servants. T h e palace w as th e n erv e-cen tre of th e k in g d o m ; its very nam e— H o m e o r D an h o m é — was given to th e co u n try as a w hole. I t covered an area o f m ore th a n fifteen acres an d was enclosed b y tw elve-foot-high walls. Successive kings b u ilt th e ir ow n palaces beside th a t o f thenpredecessor, w hose h u ts, altars, an d to m b s th ey w ere obliged to m aintain. I n th is fashion each king m ade his co n trib u tio n to ‘m aking D ahom ey always g re ater’, since th e palace sym bolized th e kingdom , w hich sh o u ld ex ten d its frontiers d u rin g each reign. Several th o u sa n d people in h ab ited th e palace— all w om en, ap art fro m a few eunuchs, w ho exercised police fu nctions w ith in th e palace an d g u ard ed th e gates. T h e re w ere tw o official courts w here th e king gave audiences, p lu s innum erable ap artm en ts for his p riv ate use. T h e palace, as th e living sym bol o f th e kingdom , was organized along sim ilar lines. S enior w om en h ad th e sam e fu n c tio n s an d th e sam e titles as ‘o u tsid e’ m in isters: th e p rim e m in iste r’s fem ale c o u n te rp a rt w as th e Miganon, th e M e u ’s was th e Meunon, etc. O f th e th re e o r fo u r th o u san d w om en in h abiting th e palace, only a sm all p ro p o rtio n w ere actually w ives o f th e king. S om e w ere royal kinsw om en, b u t th e m ajority w ere servants or m em b ers o f th e royal b o d y g u ard . T h e kpodjito o r ‘q u een m o th ers’ in h ab ited a special section o f th e palace ; th ey rep resen ted m others o f p ast kings. T h e y h a d large re tin u es o f you n g girls an d servants to h elp th e m in th e ir fu n ctio n s, w h ich w ere m ainly h o norary and ritu al. T h e re w ere also a n u m b e r o f older w om en ( tasinon), m em b ers o f th e royal fam ily, w ho saw to th e upkeep o f th e royal to m b s an d offered th e re q u ire d p rayers an d sacrifices. T h e y p artic ip a te d in royal cerem onies an d enjoyed im p o rtan t privileges. T h e k in g ’s w ives w ere th e ahosi. T h e se w ere legitim ate wives, as d istin c t fro m sim ple concubines chosen from th e servant o r slave class, w ho could n o t ra n k as royal wives. A m ong th e ahosi w as a sm all g ro u p w ho enjoyed th e absolute confidence o f th e king. T h e y acted as h is perso n al servants and supervised all aspects o f his p riv ate life. T h e se w ere th e kposi o r ‘leopard w ives’ ; one o f th e m was usually m o th e r o f th e h eir app aren t. O th e r ahosi w ere G

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su b o rd in ate to th e m an d w ere fo rb id d e n access to th e king at o rd in ary tim es. M an y o f th ese w ere m ain tain ed at th e palace only u n til th e y w ere given aw ay in m arriage to councillors or o th er notables w hom he w ished to favour. T h e king also took wives fro m th is g ro u p . F inally, th e re w ere in n u m erab le w om en w ho saw to th e upkeep an d provisioning o f th e vast palace, collecting su p p lies o f w ater, food, w ood, etc. O ne section w as responsible for p ro v id in g th e royal table w ith gam e. T o u g h e n e d by th eir en d u ran ces in th e forest, th ey w ere chosen b y th e king to be his perso n al bo d y g u ard . T h is m ay have b ee n th e origin o f th e A m azon corps (th e n am e w as given to th e D ahom ean fem ale soldiers by E u ro p e an travellers), w ho occupied special ap artm en ts in th e palace an d saw to th e p ro tec tio n o f th e king’s person. I t is clear fro m th e foregoing th a t th e royal palace— w ith its o w n arm y, p riesth o o d , an d advisory council— w as a reflection o f th e D ah o m ey k in g d o m itself.

Ritual and Ideology of the Kingdom F ro m o u r d escrip tio n o f th e royal prerogatives an d th e organi­ zation o f th e kingdom , it w ill n o t b e difficult to appreciate th e im p o rta n t role played b y ideology and religious cults cen tred on th e p erso n of th e king. Dada— th e king— was an absolute ru ler w ith sacred attrib u tes. H e was th e sym bol of th e w hole kingdom an d th e in carn atio n o f th e royal dynasty— all those p ast kings w ho co n tin u ed to exercise a pro tectiv e role over th e land. H is subjects p ro stra te d them selves an d sm o th ered th eir heads in d u st w hen th ey g reeted him . A t official cerem onies th e area aro u n d th e k in g ’s th ro n e was delim ited b y b am boo poles w hich no o rdinary subject was allow ed to cross. W h e n he d ran k in p u blic everybody looked th e o th er way. O nly th e king was allow ed to w ear ornate sandals. O nly th e king could be follow ed b y a w om an carrying an um brella, richly em b ro id ered w ith sym bolic designs to p ro tec t h im from th e su n . H e never ap p eared in p u b lic w ith o u t his ‘stick’, a carved b ato n , slightly cu rved. T h e k in g ’s cloth w as th ro w n over one sh o u ld er; all lesser m en w ere obliged to w ear th eirs tied aro u n d th e w aist, at least in th e royal presence. O f th e g reat n atio n al cults, tw o dom inated all o th ers: one w as associated w ith th e A gasu leopard, m ythical fo u n d e r o f th e A bom ey dynasty, th e o th e r w ith th e royal ancestors. T h e se cults occasioned sp len d id an n u al cerem onies o f g reat significance and

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also played an im p o rta n t role d u rin g th e accession rites o f th e king. I n th e early days o f th e kingdom th e king-elect jo u rn ey e d to A llada, w here he was tatto o ed b y th e h ig h p riest o f th e cult, receiving five tin y m arks on each tem p le an d th re e on his forehead — sym bols o f a leo p ard ’s claws. S u b seq u en t kings, how ever, refused to m ake th e jo u rn e y to A llada, w hich h ad becom e som e­ th in g of a trial, an d a d ep u ty replaced th e m on th is ritu al p ilg rim ­ age. O n his en stoolm ent th e new king w as consecrated by th e A gasu p riest w ith holy w ater w h ich h ad b een b ro u g h t fro m A llada. A fter a b rie f p erio d of seclusion, w hich h e sp en t m ed itatin g on his new ly acquired responsibilities in a special recess o f th e palace w hich housed th e ancestral stools, th e king was p resen ted to his people. H is royal nam e was th e n publicly an n o u n ced : it always consisted of th e first syllables o f an allegorical sentence. T h e king was n o t considered p ro p erly enstooled u n til h e had paid due hom age to th e late king, his father. T h is involved th e execution o f th e ‘g ra n d cu sto m s’, cerem onies w hich have b een so well described b y visito rs to th e A bom ey court, su ch as B u rto n an d F orbes. T h e s e cerem onies w ere held each year an d lasted fo r th re e m o n th s, alth o u g h th e ‘an n u al cu stom s’ (anunugbome in F o n ) w ere o f d im in ish ed sp len d o u r com pared to th e ‘g ran d cu sto m s’ h eld after th e d ea th o f a king. T h e proceedings w ere p rim arily associated w ith th e royal dynasty, b u t th e kingdom as a w hole w as also involved. T h e im plications w ere political and econom ic as w ell as religious. L oyal subjects from d istan t corners o f th e k ingdom w ere u n ite d a t th e capital at th is tim e. T errito rial officers w ere rew ard ed o r re p rim a n d ed according to th eir desserts. T h e k in g ’s co u rt o f appeal w as in session. N ew laws w ere passed ex ten d in g th e royal prerogatives o r fu rth e r centralizing th e ad m in ­ istratio n o f th e co u n try . Sacrifices offered to th e ancestors infused th e k in g d o m w ith a n ew sp iritu al force. O ne o f th e m ajor fu n ctio n s o f th e ‘annual custom s’ was econo­ m ic. T h e exchange o f goods was intensified: lineages sen t trib u te to th e k in g th ro u g h th e ir village chief o r th e provincial governor. I n th e days before th e first cerem onies gifts p o u re d into th e palace an d , in th e en su in g m o n th s, w ere re d istrib u ted am ong the soldiers, officials, priests, dancers, an d subjects. T h e extent o f th e king’s w ealth an d his illim itable generosity increased his prestige and occasioned his su b jects’ g ra titu d e. D u rin g th e cerem onies D ah o ­ m eans w ere given th e o p p o rtu n ity to adm ire th e w ork o f th e royal

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craftsm en — cloths, carvings, jew ellery, etc. I t all exalted th e pow er of th e m o n arch y an d consolidated th e feelings of attach m en t betw een ru le r an d ru led . T h e king d id n o t display only th e m aterial w ealth o f th e co u rt. D u rin g th e th re e m o n th s o f cerem ony th e trad itio n s o f th e k ingdom an d th e royal dynasty w ere inculcated in to his subjects o n in n u m era b le occasions by th e guardians of D ah o m ean h isto ry —th e co u rt m in strels an d royal wives. T h e ‘annual cu sto m s’ w ere a co nvenient m eans o f assuring th e k in g ’s absolute ascendancy in th e country. H e inspected his officials, received re p o rts, ap p o in ted an d dism issed chiefs, an n o u n ced new laws to his assem bled subjects, h eard com plaints, ju d g e d im p o rta n t cases, gave ord ers, b ro u g h t his soldiers’ a tte n ­ tio n to th e n ext cam paign, an d instilled into th e people th e h isto ry o f th e ir country. T w o kinds of ‘an n u al cu sto m s’ altern ated annually. B oth w ere organized in five stages : th e p re p ara to ry stage, d u rin g w hich th e people assem bled at th e capital an d a tten d e d th e initial sacrifices m ad e over th e k ings’ to m b s— th e fam ous ‘p latfo rm cerem ony’ ( ato) w hen slaves w ere th ro w n dow n to th e executioners to have th e ir th ro ats slit before travelling bey o n d th e grave to serve p ast kings— th e p arad e o f m en w ho m arch ed an d m anoeuvred fo r th e k in g ; m ilitary exercises an d d em o nstrations b y th e A m a­ zons, w ho feigned attack o n an enem y to w n ; and, finally, th e p arad e of th e k in g ’s w ealth th ro u g h th e tow n. A t th e en d o f th e ‘an n u al cu sto m s’ p re p ara tio n s w ere p u t u n d e r way for th e n ex t m ilitary expedition.

The Military Organization and External Relations Social cohesion an d a feeling o f u n ity in D ahom ey w ere re in ­ fo rced b y a universally held h a tre d o f an ancient enem y— the Y oruba. T h e w ars th a t re su lted also benefited th e royal treasu ry th ro u g h th e acquisition o f large n u m b ers of captives w ho w ere sold at th e coast in exchange fo r arm s and a variety o f E u ro p ean goods. By th e en d o f th e n in e te e n th cen tu ry th e D ahom ean stan d in g arm y c o n stitu te d a considerable force, due to its n u m b ers an d its arm am en ts. F o rb es, th e E n g lish traveller, estim ated in 1845 th a t th e arm y consisted o f tw elve th o u san d soldiers, five th o u sa n d of w h o m w ere w om en. T h e first kings h a d led th e ir ow n arm ies to w ar. I n th e n in e­ te e n th cen tu ry th ey w ere c o n ten t to follow in th e w ake o f th e

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m ain b o d y w ith th e ir retin u es, sp u rrin g on th eir officers fro m th e rear. F irearm s w ere first in tro d u ce d tow ards th e end o f th e seven­ te e n th cen tu ry ; in th e eig h tee n th ce n tu ry th e arm y even possessed a few cannon. R apidly a g u n b ecam e th e indispensable p a rt o f a D a h o m ean so ld ier’s eq u ip m en t, replacing th e bow an d arrow en tirely except for one o r tw o com panies. I n th e second h a lf o f th e n in e te e n th ce n tu ry th e re w ere tw o arm ies: a stan d in g arm y o f m ale an d fem ale w arriors, an d a reserve arm y o f all ad u lt m en an d w om en capable o f b ea rin g arm s. T h e y w ere m obilized b y th e king in tim e o f w ar. T h e reg u lar arm y consisted o f fo u rteen regi­ m en ts o f a b o u t eig h t h u n d re d m en strong, and th re e brigades of A m azons am o u n tin g alto g eth er to th re e th o u san d . T w o officers, ran k ed as councillors, co m m an d ed th e arm y. T h e Gau, th e com ­ m an d er-in -ch ief, led th e rig h t w ing. D u rin g th e cam paign he sh ared th e prerogatives o f th e king. T h e Kposu, second-in-com ­ m an d , led th e left w ing. I n p eace-tim e th e G au cam e u n d e r th e M igan, o n th e k in g ’s rig h t ; th e K p o su cam e u n d e r th e M eu, on th e k in g ’s left. R egular soldiers w ore b lu e-a n d -w h ite tu n ics an d w ere organized in to reg im en ts an d com panies, u n d e r th e com m and o f an officer, each w ith its ow n d ru m s an d stan d ard . V eterans w ore indigo tu n ics an d w ere called atchi. A m ong th e others, th e m ore n um erous w ere th e fusiliers, w ho fo u g h t w ith bayonets, and th e b lu n d erbussm en , o r agbaraya. T h e A shanti com pany was th e élite corps, fo rm ed o f th e k in g ’s h u n te rs. L astly, th ere w ere com panies of archers, arm ed w ith poisoned arrow s, a cavalry com pany, and a few artillerym en. T h e A m azons w ere organized into tw o separate corps : a p erm a­ n en t arm y an d a reserve. T h e reserve com pany gu ard ed th e capital, an d especially th e palace, in w ar-tim e. I n th e n in eteen th cen tu ry th e A m azons w ere h ig h ly organized. T h e y w ore uniform s sim ilar to th e m e n ’s: sleeveless tunics, w ith b lu e-an d -w h ite stripes, reached to th e knees; baggy breeches w ere held in at th e w aist b y a cartrid g e belt. M em b ers o f th e k in g ’s b odyguard w ore a b an d o f w h ite rib b o n a b o u t th e forehead, em b ro id ered w ith a blue crocodile. A m azons lived a t th e palace an d belonged to th e king, w ho re c ru ite d th e m fro m free D ah om eans an d captives. T h e y w ere celibate an d w ere fo rb id d e n to m arry u n til th e y reached m id d le age, w hen th ey still n eed ed th e king’s consent. I n peace-tim e th e y saw to th e ir ow n needs b y m an u factu rin g

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p o ts o r carving calabashes; b o th crafts w ere th eir exclusive m onopoly. D u rin g th e cam paign th e A m azon arm y was organized into th ree g ro u p s: th e F a n ti com pany— royal bo d y g u ard — co n stitu ted the m ain body, an d th e left an d rig h t w ings cam e u n d e r fem ale officers w ho co rresp o n d ed to th e G au and K p o su o f th e m ale arm y. In d iv id u al com panies w ere d istin g u ish ed by th e arm s th ey c a rried : bayonets, m u sk ets (each m usketeer was accom panied b y a carrier), an d bow s an d arrow s (b o rn e by th e youngest recru its). T h e élite corps, th e F an ti com pany, consisted o f th e fam ed elep h an t hu n tresses, th e b o ldest an d to u g h est o f th e A m azons. I n spite of th e efficiency an d th e size o f th e stan d in g arm y, th e w ars of th e n in e te e n th cen tu ry necessitated th e m obilization o f a large p ro p o rtio n o f th e civilian population. A census system was in stitu te d to achieve th e re c ru itm e n t o f th ese m en. B efore each annual ex pedition lineage heads th ro u g h o u t th e co u n try w ere req u ired to in fo rm th e ir village chiefs o f th e n u m b e r o f m ales aged over th irte e n years in th e ir gro u p. E ach m an w as rep resen ted b y a pebble, an d a sh o rt tim e before m obilization th e village chiefs sen t bags o f p eb b les to th e capital e m b ro id ered w ith th e sym bol associated w ith th e ir village. P eb bles corresp o n d in g to th e n u m b e r of arm s-b earin g m en w ere co unted at th e palace and carefully d istrib u te d am ong th e divisions of th e reg u lar arm y. E ach village head was expected to send at least o n e-h alf of th e available w arriors. W h e n th e arm y was assem bled th e cam paign began. B ut first th e ancestors h ad b een co n su lted ab o u t th e op p o rtu n en ess of the expedition. T h e king an n o u n ced th a t ‘his palace needed th a tc h ’, m aking an allusion to th e skulls of enem ies, w hich w ere tra d itio n ­ ally placed on th e roofs o f certain porches. T h e arm y left the capital, tak in g on d ep a rtu re a d irection opposite to th a t of th eir destination. T h e y w ere gu id ed b y scouts w ho knew th e cou n try and w ho h ad often b ee n sen t previously as ‘tra d e rs’ to acquaint them selves w ith th e situ atio n an d possibilities of defence. W h en n earin g th e place o f attack th e arm y advanced b y night. D u rin g th e day any enem y farm ers w ho h ad v en tu re d into th e forest w ere cap tu red . T h e m ain assault was lau n ched at daw n w hen th e p o p u ­ lation was asleep: th e object w as to collect captives, b u t those killed in b attle w ere b eheaded, th e king giving a rew ard for every

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h ead b ro u g h t back. H ow ever, th is form of razzia was no t always em ployed. W h e n th e D ah o m ean arm y was fighting a pow erful an d w e ll-en tren ch ed enem y it was necessary to lay siege to a tow n o r village, som etim es w ith serious losses. T h u s , b y its aggressive m ilitary policies and by its un lim ited need for slaves, th e kingdom of D ahom ey h ad w ith its neighbours only relations of w ar ; scarcely any alliances w ith foreign kingdom s en d u red . T h e only possibility of escape for n eig hbouring p o p u ­ lations was flight into th e lagoons or th e m o untainous districts, refuge areas w here th e D ah o m ean arm y could n o t pen etrate easily. By th e en d of th e n in etee n th century, at th e tim e of E u ro p ean in terv en tio n , D ahom ean expansion did n o t seem to have reach ed definitive lim its.

Judicial Institutions T h e king, as w e have seen, was suprem e jud g e, w ith pow er of life an d d eath over his subjects. T h e re was, how ever, a w ellorganized hierarch y of courts. Village chiefs dealt only w ith civil disputes. C rim inal cases w ere adjudicated by th e provincial governor or th e k in g ’s councillors. A t village level th ere w as a co u rt o f first instance o n ly ; sanctions w ere lim ited to fines and sh o rt p erio d s o f im p riso n m en t. Village chiefs supervised trials by ordeal. T h e provincial ch ief h ad w id er pow ers. H e could inflict th e b astin ad o o r im pose len g th y perio ds o f im prisonm ent. I n all cases, how ever, th e d e a th p en alty w as th e king’s prerogative. C apital crim es in clu d ed recidivist housebreaking, arson, rape, an d ad u ltery w ith a royal wife— in th e latter case th e w om an was also executed. I f th e convicted m an was also head o f an extended fam ily his co m p o u n d w as d estroyed an d his people sold as slaves. P u n ish m e n ts w ere always executed in public, usually in th e m ain m arket-place in A bom ey.

Trade and the Economic Resources of the State T h e king possessed a n u m b e r o f econom ic m onopolies. H e h ad certain trad itio n al sources o f incom e, w hich in clu d ed : a capitation tax, in stitu te d by th e first king— it was paid in ju s t before th e ‘an n u al cu sto m s’ ; an in h eritan ce tax, aim ed p articularly at g o v ern m en t officials; a palm -oil ta x ; tolls p aid to local collectors installed on th e m ajor trad in g ro u tes (the king d id not receive

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d u ties o n goods an d slaves); m ark et d u e s; special red u ctio n s m ade b y all th e E u ro p ean s o n goods sold to th e k in g ; elep h an t tusks an d p a r t o f gam e ca u g h t b y h u n te rs ; th e lab o u r o f royal slaves an d th e incom e fro m th e ir sale; im p o rt d u ties p aid o n certain goods. T h e s e taxes an d dues fo rm ed a considerable p a rt o f g o vernm ent re v en u e; m o st o f th e m o rig in ated in com m ercial transactions. T h e king m onopolized th e tra d e in slaves, w ho w ere sold at th e coast— m ainly a t W h y d a h — b y royal trad ers. Besides th is, goods leaving E u ro p e an w arehouses w ere tax ed b y royal officials statio n ed at th e gates of th e ir factories— a k in d o f royal tith e b ein g exacted o n each tran sactio n . T ra d e w as facilitated b y th e w ide use of cow ries, an d occasionally iro n b a rs a n d gold du st. T h e slave tra d e p ro v ed profitable u n til a b o u t 1830, w h en th e em b ark atio n o f slaves fro m th e Slave C oast becam e m ore an d m ore difficult due to th e stric t w atch k e p t o n coastal p o rts by B ritish w arships d eterm in e d to sto p th e traffic. I t w as th e n th a t th e A bom ey kings beg an selling oil p ro d u c ts w h ich w ere in g reat d em an d in E u ro p e. In e v ita b ly th e oil tra d e w as m u ch less lu cra­ tive. I n re tu r n fo r slaves o r oil th e D ahom ean tra d e r received arm am en ts (guns an d cannon), cloth, alcohol, and precious m etals. Royal co n tro l o f th e tra d e w as strict, b u t th e general p ro sp erity w h ich re su lted allow ed th e d evelopm ent o f a w ealthy com m ercial class— descendants o f th o se officials an d royal trad e rs w ho w orked fo r th e king o n com m ission and also m anaged to tra d e on th e ir ow n account. T ra d e also b o o sted th e d ev elo p m ent o f a n etw ork o f com ­ m u n icatio n s in th e so u th e rn p a rt o f th e kingdom . M essages betw een th e capital an d W h y d a h w ere incessant. T h e d irect ro u te betw een th e tw o tow ns could b e covered in th re e days b y relays o f royal m essengers. I n o th e r regions com m unications w ere less efficient. L o cal m ark ets served as cen tres o f exchange fo r tw o o r th re e villages only. P rovincial capitals w ere linked w ith th e capital b y fairly w ell-kept p ath s. T h e A bom ey k in g d o m in th e n in e tee n th cen tu ry co n stitu ted an alm o st p erfec t exam ple o f absolute m onarchy. E ven in such A frican kingdom s as B uganda o r Z u lu lan d th e re w as n o th in g ap p ro ach in g th e co n c en tratio n o f pow ers in th e h an d s o f th e sovereign. I n W e st A frica th e A sh an ti king ru led over a con­ fed eratio n o f provinces, w h ich enjoyed a certain am o u n t of au to -

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nom y. T h e M ossi king p resid ed over a m ore or less decentralized em pire. I n b o th states g ro u p s o f nobles, related in som e way to th e king, enjoyed w ide prerogatives as provincial chiefs. I n D a h o ­ m ey th is was n o t so : th e policy of centralization p e rm itte d n eith er any significant degree o f regional au tonom y n o r th e particip atio n o f m em b ers of th e royal fam ily in th e governm ent o f th e kingdom . T h e people h ad no m o re influence at th e seat o f pow er th a n th e nobles. C o m m o n er m in isters w ere in no sense representatives o f th e people. O n th e contrary, th ey rem ained loyal retain ers o f th e king, w ho h ad absolute co n tro l o f th e ir careers an d th eir lives. I n D ahom ey th e k ingdom was co n c en trated in th e person o f th e king an d his ancestors.

REFEREN CES Barbot, John

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A Description of the Coasts of North and South Guinea, and of Ethiopia Inferior . . . ,

Bertho, J.

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London. ‘L a parenté des Yoruba aux peuplades de Dahomey et Togo’, Africa, Vol. X IX , N o. 2.

Bosman, W .

1705

B urton, R.

1893

A New and Accurate Description of the Coast of Guinea . . . , London. A Mission to Geleh, King of Dahome. 2 vols. London.

Dalzel, Archibald Duncan, John Dunglas, E.

1793

1847 195758

Elbée (d’)

Foà, E.

The History of the Dahomey. London. Travels in Western Africa, in 1845 and 1846. 2 vols. London. ‘C ontribution à l’histoire du M oyenDahomey’. 3 vols. Etudes Dahoméennes, X IX , XX, X X I, IF A N , Porto-Novo.

Journal de voyage du Sieur d’Elbée, com­ missaire général de la Marine, aux îles de la coste de Guynée; pour l'établissement du commerce dans ces pays en Vannée 166g et la présente, avec la description particulière du royaume d’Ardres. 2 vols. Paris. 1895 Le Dahomey— Histoire, géographie, mœurs, coutumes, commerce, industrie (1831-1834). 1671

Paris. Forbes, F. E. Herskovits, M . J.

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Dahomey and the Dahomans. London.

1938 Dahomey. An Ancient West African King­

dom. 2 vols. New York.

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L a b o u re t, H . 1929 e t R iv e t, P . (E d s .)

le H e ris s é , A . M a c le o d , J. N e w b u ry , C . W .

1911 1820 1961

Le

ro y a u m e

d ’A r d r a

ou

A lla d a

et

so n

é v a n g é lis a tio n a u X V I I e siè cle, T r a v a u x e t

M é m o ir e s d e l ’I n s t i t u t d ’E th n o lo g ie , V I I . P a ris . L ' a n c ie n r o y a u m e d u D a h o m e y . P a ris . A V o y a g e to A f r i c a . L o n d o n . The

W e s te r n

S la v e

C o a s t a n d i t s R u le r s .

O x fo rd . N o rris, R .

1790

M é m o i r e s d u rè g n e d e B o s s a A h a d e e , r o i d e D ahom é,

é ta t

situ é d a n s

l ’i n té r ie u r

de

la

G u in é e , e t v o y a g e d e l ’a u t e u r à A b o m é , q u i e st la c a p it a l e ( tr. f r o m t h e E n g lis h ) . P a ris .

R é p in , A .

1863

S k e rtc h ly , J . A . S m i th , W . S n e lg r a v e , W .

1874 1744 1734

‘V o y a g e a u D a h o m e y ’, L e T o u r d u M o n d e , N o s . 162 a n d 163. P a ris . D ahom ey as I t Is. L o n d o n . A N e w V o y a g e to G u in e a . L o n d o n . A

N ew

A c c o u n t o f S o m e P a r t s o f G u in e a

a n d th e S la v e T r a d e . L o n d o n .

A HAUSA K IN G D O M : MARADI UN D ER D A N B A S K O R E , 1 8 5 4 -7 5 M .

G.

Sm

it h

I W h e n th e F u lan i u n d e r U m a ru D allaji finally overcam e the K a tsin a H au sa an d took th e city after a b itte r struggle and p ro ­ tra c te d siege in 1807, th e defeated H au sa ru ler, M agajin H alidu, fled w ith som e o f his close kin an d servants north -eastw ard s to T sirk a u in D a u ra territo ry , w here he is said to have thro w n him self dow n a well in a fit o f despair (B arth, 1890; Vol. 1, 261; D aniel, passim ; U rvoy, 1936: 238; P alm er, 1928: Vol. 3, 8). O n M agajin H a lid u ’s death, those K atsinaw a p resen t im m ediately selected as th eir ru ler D a n K asaw a, th e son of A gaw aragi (1752-69), an d he m ad e su ch ap p o in tm en ts as w ere essential fo r form al co n tin u ity of th e K a tsin a state to those positions th a t had becom e v acant in th e defeat an d confusion o f flight. T h is done, th e K atsinaw a co n tin u ed n o rth -eastw ard s to D am agaram , w here th ey m e t A b d u , th e defeated H au sa ru le r o f D au ra. A fter tw o years in Z in d er, th e capital o f D am agaram , D a n K asaw a an d his e n to u r­ age m oved w est an d settled at G afai n ear th e b o u n d ary betw een D am ag aram an d M arad i (see m ap). M arad i h ad form erly b een a province o f H au sa K atsina, b u t, follow ing F u lan i victory, cam e u n d e r F u la n i ru le. D u rin g th e n ex t eight or te n years, w hile D a n K asaw a rem ain ed at G afai, th e defeated H au sa o f G o b ir regrouped them selves u n d e r S alihu, G u m k i, an d finally A li (1817-35), an d co n tin u ed th e stru g g le against th e F ulani. M eanw hile m any K a tsin a H au sa w ith d rew to G afai; b u t th ere is no evidence of co u n ter-attack s b y D a n K asaw a. H e was evidently too weak to m o u n t th em . T h e p ro v in ce o f M arad i w as th e n u n d e r th e F u la n i official, M an i, w ho lived at M arad i an d ad m inistered th e d istrict directly o n b e h a lf o f th e S arkin Suleibaw a o f K atsina. T h is territo ry stretch e d w estw ard fro m th e b o rd ers o f D am agaram tow ards T sib iri. O n its so u th -eastern lim its lay D au ra, th e n u n d e r F u la n i control,

S k e tc h M a p o f M a r a d i

A HAUSA

k in g d o m

:

m aradi

und er

d an

baskore

95

directly so u th lay F u la n i K atsina. M o st o f th e indigenous people w ere pagans w ho w o rshipped sp irits (iskoki, bori) b y sacrificial rites, w hich in clu d ed possession. T h e se pagans ( arna) w ere g ro u p ed in settlem en ts u n d e r re sid e n t local h eadm en (masugari, s. maigari). M arad i itself, th e largest settlem en t in th e territo ry , w as fenced w ith a stockade an d h ad long been ad m in istered u n d e r th e H au sa kings o f K a tsin a b y a H au sa lineage from R ano, in w hom th e title of M arad i was vested. T h e th e n h o ld er o f th is office, M arad i W agaza, h a d retain ed his p o st d esp ite F u la n i con q u est an d adm inistration. S om e tim e after D a n K asaw a’s m ove to G afai, W agaza conspired w ith h im to o v erthrow th e local F u lan i, an d invited h im to com e to M arad i as its ru ler. D a n K asaw a, fearing treachery, is said to have d em an d ed M a n i’s h ead first. A lth o u g h th e F u la n i had disarm ed th e co n q u ered p o p u latio n an d h a d p ro h ib ited th e m an u ­ factu re o r u se o f w eapons, W agaza p re p are d a successful revolt in secret an d took M an i an d his m e n b y su rp rise at n ig h t. A ccord­ ing to trad itio n , M an i w as beh ead ed at his prayers, an d his head was duly d isp atch ed to D a n K asaw a, w ho m oved to M arad i w ith som e D a u ra H au sa an d a slave escort from D am agaram (L a n d e r­ oin, 1911: Vol. 2, 4 6 1 -2 ; U rvoy, 1936: 280-2). T h e revolt organized b y W agaza sp read rapidly th ro u g h o u t the d istrict. T h e F u la n i w ere cau g h t off guard, th e ir rule was over­ th ro w n , th e ir p ro p e rty an d perso n s placed at th e pleasure of th e ir erstw hile subjects. U m a ru D allaji, th e F u lan i E m ir of K atsina, re p o rted th e disaster to S u ltan M am m an Bello at Sokoto, w ho at once led his arm y to jo in D allaji in an attack on M arad i tow n. W ith G o b ir su p p o rt, D a n K asaw a w on a handsom e victory an d large b ooty in tw o b attles n ear M aradi, follow ing w h ich he co u n ter-attack ed an d cap tu red G arabi, M araka, R um a, an d Z andam , th u s freeing M arad i and a large section o f n o rth ­ w estern F u la n i K atsina, w hich h ad b een form erly u n d e r th e F ulani S ark in Suleibaw a. In th ese struggles D a n K asaw a enjoyed the sy m p athy an d su p p o rt o f those K atsina H au sa w ho chafed u n d er F u la n i dom ination, an d he also received help from H ausa G obir, D au ra, an d th e T egam aw a T u a re g u n d e r th e ir chief, T a m b a ri G ab d a (P é rié : 6 ; L an d ero in , 1911: Vol. 2, 462). W h e n D a n K asaw a died in c. 1831 (U rvoy, 1936: 280-2), about ten years after th e M arad i revolt, th e H au sa dom inion at M arad i was assu red ; an d th u s M a ra d i becam e th e site o f th e successorstate o f H au sa K atsina. I n accordance w ith this, D an K asaw a and

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his successors are still en title d C hiefs o f K atsina, n o t o f M aradi, w hich is th e tow n governed b y th e R ano lineage w ith th a t title. By 1830 th e allies an d th e enem ies of th e successor-state w ere w ell defined. W ith active su p p o rt from adjacent G o b ir an d H au sa D au ra, an d passive su p p o rt fro m Z inder, th e K atsinaw a o f M arad i w ere co m m itted to expel F u lan i from K atsin a territo ry an d to inflict as m u ch h arm as possible on adjacent F u lan i d o m in ­ ions su ch as D au ra, Zam fara, an d Sokoto (form erly G obir). T h e F u la n i for th e ir p a rt u n d ersto o d th is clearly. D a n K asaw a’s successor, R auda, w as slain in 1835 w ith his ally, S arkin G o b ir Ali, at G aw akuke or D akaraw a b y S u ltan M am m an Bello in a b attle w hich finally assu red F u la n i rule in Sokoto and Z am fara (H aj S aid: 6 ; M ission T ilh o : Vol. 2, 462). R au d a’s successor D a n M a ri (1835-43) was co n strain ed to accom m odate th e d e ­ feated G obiraw a in M arad i tow n, so heavy w ere th eir losses (see p . 97). F o r th e n e x t y ear th e G o b ir an d K atsin a H ausa lived at M arad i to g eth er, each g ro u p su b ject only to its ow n ru le r an d officials. D isp u tes inevitably arose. T h e G o b ir chief, Bakiri, w as replaced by his y o u n g er b ro th e r M ayaki w ith D a n M a ri’s su p p o rt, an d th e tw o ru lers th e n agreed to establish th e G o b ir re m n a n t in a tow n o f th eir ow n n ear by. D a n M ari and M ayaki tu rn e d o u t th e ir subjects in a jo in t corvée to b u ild th e new capital o f G o b ir at T sib iri, five m iles n o rth -w e st o f M arad i on th e sam e w a te r­ course. T h is sep aratio n preserv ed th e fratern al alliance w hich co-residence h ad th rea ten ed to destroy. D a n M ari com pleted th e new palace at M arad i w hich R auda h ad b eg u n , an d h e also p u rsu e d th e w ar against F u lan i K atsin a an d S okoto. W h en th e S u ltan A tiku of Sokoto attacked th e new to w n o f T s ib iri to destroy it, D a n M ari assisted M ayaki to a victo ry at K a tu ru . A tiku died sh o rtly after (H aj S aid: 19-22). D a n M ari th e n led th e m ost su stain ed effort to overthrow F u lan i ru le in K atsina. M oving in stren g th to th e R um a district betw een K a tsin a city an d Z am fara, he organized a general revolt against F u la n i in th e environs (G ow ers, 1921: 19; M ission T ilh o : Vol. 2, 463). In su p p ressin g th is revolt, th e K atsina F u lan i u n d e r th e ir E m ir, Sidiku, received su p p o rt from th e F u lan i states o f K ano, D au ra, Sokoto, and Z am fara. S id ik u’s revenge was to co n v ert th e R um a d istrict in to a w ilderness, th e dajin Rubu, w hich it has rem ain ed u n til recently, m any tow ns being destroyed and th e ir resid en ts killed ra th e r th a n enslaved.

Fig. 4

. T h e rulers of M aradi

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S h o rtly afterw ard s S idiku was deposed by th e S u ltan for co n tu m acy an d h arsh n ess. H e fled to M arad i, w here B inoni (1844-1849) h a d succeeded D a n M a ri, an d so u g h t help fro m th e K a tsin a H a u sa to reco v er his F u la n i th ro n e. B inoni pro v id ed S id ik u w ith h o sp itality b u t little su p p o rt. Sidiku th e n m oved to T assaw a to seek aid fro m D am agaram , b u t was finally p ersu ad ed b y th e S u lta n to re tu rn to Sokoto, leaving his b ro th e r M am m an Bello in charge o f K a tsin a (H aj S aid : 31 ; D a n ie l: 1 8 -1 9 ; M ission T ilh o : op. cit.). F ro m D a n M a ri’s defeat in R um a u n til th e acces­ sion o f R au d a’s son, D a n B askore, in 1854, th e S u ltan o f Sokoto, A liyu B abba (1842-59) b o re th e b ru n t o f th e w ar w ith H au sa G o b ir a n d K a tsin a him self. A liyu w on im p o rtan t victories over th e K a tsin a an d G o b ir H a u sa at K o to r K w oshi, so u th o f R um a, a n d b ro u g h t th a t d istric t (K a tsin a L aka) u n d e r tem p o rary F u la n i co ntrol, b u t his vario u s efforts to take T sib iri an d M arad i w ere unsuccessful. T h e H a u sa co n tin u ed th e ir raids, and so did F ulani, b u t b y 1854 a co n d itio n o f m ilitary stalem ate h a d b een reached. W hile n e ith e r side co u ld re d u ce th e o th er, each was vuln erab le to th e o th e r’s attack s; a n d th ese w ere no longer d irected only at vital po in ts, such as th e capitals w h ere th e con test could b e deci­ sive, b u t also at sm aller tow ns or villages w hich could be quickly su rp rise d an d o v erru n , an d w hich yielded convenient booty o f cattle and slaves. D a n B askore (1854-75) is cred ited w ith eightyth re e raid s against F u la n i K atsina, Z am fara, an d Sokoto, including tw o unsuccessful sieges o f K a tsin a C ity (M ission T ilh o : Vol. 2, 4 6 3 -4). T h e re a fte r th e ru lers o f M arad i raid ed fa rth e r afield in K ano and Z aria, w hile th e recovery o f K atsin a rem ained th e ir aim. F o r his p art, D a n B askore suffered setbacks, su ch as th e b u rn in g o f T assaw a b y S u ltan A h m ad u R u fa’i; b u t w ith G o b ir assistance he defeated R u fa’i sh o rtly after at G id an Sarkin A rn a in Sokoto (M ission T ilh o : V ol. 2, 464). D a n B askore’s long successful reig n m arks a w atersh ed in th e h isto ry o f M arad i. A t th is tim e th e successor-state was m ost p ro sp ero u s an d fully developed. Its stability, in tern al an d external, seem ed assured. T h o u g h incapable o f m u ch fu rth e r expansion at F u la n i expense, it w as ap p a ren tly too stro n g fo r th e m to overthrow . Its in tern a l organization m ay also have seem ed to assure an orderly fu tu re . D a n B askore h a d b u ilt a large w all aro u n d his capital at M arad i. H e seem s to have ru le d his dom inions firm ly, and m ain ­ tain ed effective alliances. P erh a p s few th en alive could have fore-

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seen th e in tern al dissensions an d conflicts by w hich th e K atsinaw a o f M arad i w ere rep eated ly sp lit in th e years betw een D a n B askore’s d eath an d th e F re n c h occupation. Since it is n o t possible to discuss these developm ents here, I shall describe M arad i u n d er D a n Baskore, th re e generations after th e jihad , w h e n its in stitu ­ tions and policies seem ed secure.1 In th is account I em ploy in fo rm atio n p erta in in g to later o r earlier periods, w here it p ro ­ b ab ly holds tru e fo r th is p erio d also; b u t m y reco n stru ctio n re ­ m ains p relim in ary an d h y p o th etical.2 II U nlike its sister successor-states o f A buja an d D au ra, K atsin aM arad i was able to p u rsu e a vigorous co u n ter-attack on th e F u la n i ru le in its h o m elan d ; and, far m ore th a n th e ir G o b ir allies, th e K atsin aw a initially expected an d m e t w ith success. T h e ir co n q u ered hom e h ad b ee n w eakened b y p artitio n am ong th e F ulani. T h e y h ad at M a ra d i a n d R u m a already recovered large sectors o f K atsina. B eing adjacent to F u la n i K atsina, th e y h ad excellent in fo rm atio n ab o u t th e ir enem ies’ m ovem ents an d plans. T h e y enjoyed w ide s u p p o rt from th e K atsin a H a u sa ; and, despite perio d ic defeats, th e y u n d o u b ted ly h ad th e b e tte r o f th e exchange. F o r raison-d' être th e ir state h ad one p rim ary objective— th e re ­ estab lish m en t of H a u sa ru le in K atsina, b u t as a p re-co n d itio n M arad i h ad to m ain tain its in d ep endence an d in tern al o rder. T h is in tern al organization was influenced b y its historical an te­ cedents an d co n tex t; as far as local conditions allow ed, it was m odelled on th e fo rm er H au sa k ingdom at K atsina. I n e ig h tee n th -cen tu ry K atsin a th e fo u r senior titles after th e S arki w ere th e K au ra, G aladim a, Y an D aka, and D u rb i. T h re e o f these offices w ere vested in noble patrilineages. T h e K aura, a nom inal slave, com m anded th e state’s m ilitary force and had d irect co n tro l o f its cavalry. H e alone resided outside th e capital. T h e G aladim a, a eu n u ch , was th e senior civil ad m in istrato r and supervised th e territo rie s so u th of th e K araduw a R iver, including th e vassal states o f M aska, K ogo, and B irnin G w ari. T h e Y an D ak a’s te rrito ry lay d u e so u th -w est of K atsin a City. T h e D u rb i traced descent from K u m ay au an d th e earliest kings o f K atsina. T o g e th e r these fo u r nobles, th e rukuni, form ed th e senior council of state an d exercised im p o rtan t checks on th e pow er o f the H

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Sarki (chief). T h e rukuni selected an d ap p o in ted th e new Sarki. I t is possible th a t th e y could also depose h im for constitutional breaches, su ch as refu sal to h ee d th e ir advice, o r fo r certain o th er faults. T o g e th e r th e y m ay have controlled m o re m ilitary force th a n th e ru le r in d ep en d en tly . T h e Sarki an d rukuni w ere th e m u tu ally ind isp en sab le elem ents o f th e H au sa K atsin a state. W ith o u t th e Sarki, rukuni co u ld n o t ru le; b u t w ith o u t rukuni n e ith e r could th e Sarki. F o r th is reason, after his ap p o in tm en t as S ark in K a tsin a b y th e w ell a t T sirk au , D a n K asaw a is said to have filled th ese essential offices as b est he could. T h e e u n u c h G inga w as m ad e G aladim a, a n d th e slave M ainasara D u b a u , K au ra. D a n K asaw a’s D u rb i, K u ray e, is said to have b een o f K u m ay au ’s lineage; h is d escen d an t, th e p re se n t D u rb i, has th e distinctive facial m arks b o rn e only b y th e D u rb a w a and th e royal lineage. D a n K asaw a’s Y an D aka, M u h a m m an , w as a nom inal slave o f th e trad itio n al lineage. U n d e r D a n K asaw a’s successors K a u ra rem ain ed a royal slave office, an d th e G aladim aship a eu n u ch office u n til th e tim e o f D a n Baskore.

Territorial Organization T h e K a tsin a H a u sa settled a t M arad i as liberators resu m in g th e ir rig h tfu l in h eritan ce, w ith su p p o rt fro m th e local chiefs. T h e ir initial successes attra c te d im m igrants fro m F u lan i K atsina, an d S id ik u ’s harshness drove m an y natives o f R um a to M arad i. F ro m fa rth e r afield th e fam ily and su p p o rters o f Alwali, th e d e ­ feated H au sa king o f K ano, cam e for p ro tec tio n an d help. F ro m these im m igrants th e K atsinaw a o f M arad i selected persons fo r th e trad itio n al K atsin a titles an d replicated th e official stru ctu re o f th e ir fo rm er state as b est th ey could u n d e r th e new conditions. A m ong th e p rin cip al differences betw een th e original and succes­ sor states are te rrito ria l arran g em en ts and d istrib u tio n s o f titles b y statu s category an d descent group. E v en before th e F u la n i jihad, th e indigenous pagan pop u latio n o f M arad i was ad m in istered b y re sid en t chiefs (hakimai or sara­ kunan kauye), each o f w hom controlled several contiguous villages u n d e r local h ea d m e n re ferred to as masugari (‘ow ners’ o f th e village). T h e H a u sa reo ccu p atio n o f M arad i owed m u ch to th e initiative an d loyalty o f th ese hakimai and th e ir subjects. D an K asaw a an d his successors retain ed th e m in office as rew ard, and preserv ed th e ir fo rm e r privileges. M o st masugari and hakimai

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w ere pag an s; all h eld th e ir office b y h ered itary rig h t and lived in th e ir ad m in istrativ e areas, rarely visiting th e capital unless su m m o ned . A ll hakimai, of w h o m th ere w ere twelve, excluding the T a sa r at T assaw a, w ere placed u n d e r th e supervision of one or o th e r o f th e senior H a u sa officials. A m ong th e latter w ere th e K au ra, w ho alone as w as custom ary lived away fro m th e capital, an d th e G aladim a. T h e ru le r’s senior slave, M agajin B akebbi— a title created b y D a n K asaw a on his arrival in M arad i— was th e channel of com m unication for th e Barazaki in charge of Agai an d th e T a s a r in charge of T assaw a. T h e history and position of T a s a r fa rth e r to th e east gave h im considerable independence. H e belongs w ith th e vassals o f M arad i ra th e r th a n w ith th e hakimai. I n 1851 B arth (1890: Vol. 1, 250) described h im as: ‘in certain respects an independent prince, though . . . a powerful vassal of the king or chief of M aradi. Every head of a family in his territory pays him three thousand kurdi (cowries) as kurdin-kay, head money or poll tax ; besides there is an ample list of penalties (kurdinlaefi), some of them very heavy, for . . . illicit paternity, 100,000 kurdi . . . (for) wilful m urder, the whole property of the m urderer is forfeited . . . Every village has its own mayor who decides petty m atters and is responsible for the tax payable within his jurisdiction. T h e king or param ount chief has the power of life and death, and there is no appeal from his sentence to the ruler of Maradi. However, he cannot venture to carry into effect any measure of consequence without asking the opinion of his privy council.’ T assaw a (estim ated p o p u latio n 15,000 in c. 1851) subsequently broke away fro m M arad i follow ing o n dynastic splits at M aradi. O th e r hakimai did n o t have an y th in g like th is degree of freedom . S o u th o f T assaw a lay K w orgum , originally claim ed b y D au ra an d K atsina, b u t at th is tim e trib u ta ry to Z in d er and M aradi (J. F . S chӧn, 1885: 23-29). K w o rg u m was supervised by D u rb i, an d K w auna b y th e Sarki th ro u g h a slave. M arad i tow n was u n d e r th e titleh o ld e r M a ra d i (th e m ost senior o f th e hakimai), w ho had th re e title d assistants, each in charge of a couple of villages near M arad i to w n an d d irectly responsible to him . O f these settle­ m ents, only M aradi, as capital, was w alled ( birni) ; m u ch o f th e c o u n try was u n in h a b ite d w aste th ro u g h w hich arm ies could m ove freely, w ater supplies p erm ittin g. T h e fo rm er vassal states o f K a tsina at C hafe, K o to r K w oshi, K w o to n K oro, Bena, an d B irnin G w ari m aintained th eir allegiance

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as fa r as conditions allow ed, sen d in g irreg u lar trib u te o f horses, slaves, an d kyenkyendi (bales o f robes), as w ell as troops w hen needed. M o st o f these d istan t trib u taries com m unicated th ro u g h K au ra, an d som e also p aid trib u te to an o th er state to avoid m oles­ tatio n . T h o u g h d e p e n d e n t an d in th eo ry su b o rd in ate to M aradi, th ey rem ain ed in tern ally au tonom ous u n d e r h ered itary dynasties. T h e S arkin K a tsin a at M arad i levied no tax therein , n o r did he exercise any su p erio r o r appellate ju risd ictio n fo r th ese areas. T h e ru lers w ere all ap p o in ted locally b y th e ir ow n electoral councils, an d w ere free to fight th e F u lan i in d ependently. T h e y w ere only su b ject to th e th re a t o f dism issal or attack fro m M arad i fo r disloyalty o r treach ery , o verdue trib u te being in terp re ted in th is way. O n th ese occasions th e p u n ish m en t was often severe, as th e sack o f C hafe c. 1897 show s. I n re tu rn , vassals could call o n M arad i fo r aid against any F u la n i attacks, as B irnin G w ari d id w hen ra id e d b y S ark in K o n tag o ra Ib ra h im N agw am atse. T h e S arki a n d his rukuni selected th e hakimai o f M arad i te r­ rito ry fro m th e official lineages, an d ap p o in ted th e m form ally in M arad i w ith tu rb a n an d gow n. T h e se hakimai lacked ju ris ­ d ictio n in m atters p u n ish ab le b y m u tilatio n o r im p riso n m en t— th a t is, crim e o r serious to rts. E ac h w as free to select o r dism iss th e masugari o f th e various villages th ey controlled, b u t only w h en ra id e d b y F u la n i co u ld th ey in d ep en d en tly take u p arm s. T h e ir people w ere su b ject to d irec t taxation and levies from th e Sarki, an d , w hen su m m o n ed , tu rn e d o u t as bow m en o r cavalry to sw ell his force. T h e se hakimai w ere freely dism issible b y th e E m ir in th eo ry , b u t in p ractice h e dism issed th em only on political g ro u n d s o f disloyalty or disaffection, choosing a collateral k insm an to replace th em . E ach hakimi ap p o in ted his ow n titled staff ( lawanai) an d h eld a sm all co u rt fo r local cases o f divorce, d eb t, an d th e like. E ac h could levy fines fo r certain offences on his subjects, giving th e S ark in K a tsin a half. A s req u ired , th e y also su pplied th e S arki w ith corvée lab o u r o r levies an d assisted his tax collectors in g ath erin g vario u s tith e s an d special taxes. O f these, th e zakka o r g rain tith e collected annually in th e ru le r’s nam e was p erh ap s th e m o st im p o rtan t. O n e b u n d le o f g uin ea-co rn o r m illet in every te n w as d u e th e ru le r; it w as th e d u ty o f th e hakimi assisted by th e ru le r’s officials to collect this. T h e b u n d led g rain w as th en sto red in special g ran aries a n d re co rd ed b y th e ru le r an d th e hakim i separately. F ro m th ese stores, th e ru le r m ade annual

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d istrib u tio n s to his officials, in am o u nts w h ich varied w ith rank. As secretary, th e M agajin B akebbi re co rd ed th e ru le r’s donations an d reserves, th e la tte r b ein g k ep t as security against fam ine o r loss th ro u g h w ar. M a ra d i te rrito ry also co n tain ed b an d s o f n o m ad pastoral F u lan i an d im m ig ra n t M u slim H au sa. T h e F u la n i w ere adm inistered th ro u g h F u la n i officials h o ld in g th e titles o f S ark in F u lan i, Y erim a, an d H asau, th ese b ein g d ra w n fro m a p artic u la r lineage. A n o ld er K a tsin a title, D a n Y usufa, w as form erly reserved for F u la n i scouts, b u t th is was rarely filled a t M aradi. A s p a rt o f his duties, th e S arkin F u la n i m ed iated betw een pastoralists a n d th e settled farm in g p o p u latio n , su p erv ising grazing rig h ts w ith th e local h a k i m a i an d investigating d isp u tes over dam age to crops o r beasts. T h e S ark in F u la n i a n d his staff also collected th e an n u al cattle tith e (j a n g a l i ) o f one b east in te n for th e ru ler. T h e se officials h ad p ow ers to settle civil issues o f divorce, inheritance, o r d e b t am ong th e F u la n i, giving th e ch ief a set p o rtio n o f th e receipts. T h e y w ere especially re q u ire d to re p o rt all F u lan i m ovem ents in to o r o u t o f th e territo ry , an d to p atro l th e cattle routes w hen re q u ired . A special set o f arran g em en ts know n as t a r a y y a o r ta r e w a ap p lied to H a u sa M u slim s, w ho w ere m ainly im m ig ran ts from K a tsin a o r D a u ra. O n arrival, th ey eith er re p o rte d to th e capital o r to th e h a k i m i in w hose area th e y h ad settled. I n eith er event th e r u k u n i w ere notified, an d th e im m ig rants w ere b ro u g h t to one o r o th e r o f th em . H a v in g identified them selves, th e new com ers m ad e allegiance ( c h a p k a ) to th e r u k u n i an d appealed fo r protection. H e th e n in fo rm ed th e C ouncil, w hich discussed suitable place­ m e n t fo r th e im m igrants. F ro m state reserves, th e ru le r provided su ch g rain, lab o u r, an d assistance as was necessary to sustain th eir fam ilies u n til th e follow ing harvest, an d th e r u k u n i p atro n th e n arran g e d w ith th e relev an t h a k i m i fo r fallow farm s an d a com pound for th e strangers. T h e s e provisions w ere w ell ad ap ted to accom m odate th e sporadic m o v em en ts in to M arad i, b u t th ey attach ed H ausa im m ig ran ts directly to individual r u k u n i despite th e ir dispersal th ro u g h o u t th e co u n try . I n consequence, h a k i m a i n orm ally ad m in istered areas w h ich co n tain ed a n u m b e r o f M u slim H a u sa subjects o f different r u k u n i over w hom th e y exercised no ju risd ictio n . S u ch H a u sa w ere d irectly responsible to th e ir

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M u slim p a tro n s at th e capital. T o these th ey p aid th eir tax and took th e ir com plaints o r re q u ests; from th em th ey received in ­ stru ctio n s an d orders. T h e relations th u s in stitu ted w ere n o t p erso n al: th e im m ig ra n t’s issue rem ained and still rem ain u n d e r th e ju risd ic tio n o f th e r u k u n i title. T h e se dispersed H au sa p ro ­ v id ed th e ir p atro n s w ith valuable in form ation ab o u t local condi­ tio n s u n d e r th e local h a k i m a i . T h o u g h perfectly free to change residence as th ey pleased, th ey could n o t change th eir r u k u n i overlord an d w ere obliged to a tte n d his sum m ons and orders directly. I n th e ir d isp u tes w ith local pagans b o th parties rep aired to th e r u k u n i at th e capital to settle th e case. T h u s, M u slim H ausa w ere ex em p t fro m local c o r v é e an d fines, th o u g h free to jo in th e local w ar levy, unless su m m o n ed b y th eir lord. T h e ir grain tith e was due to th e ir p atro n , w ho could also fine th e m judicially, retain in g th e proceeds. A s skilled craftsm en and trad ers, these M u slim im m ig ran ts w ere liable to occupational taxes. F inally, ce rtain ru ral tow ns w ith p red o m in an tly M u slim p o p u ­ lations w ere placed d irectly u n d e r senior M uslim officials. T h e G alad im a ad m in istered G aladim ci, w here th ere w as an official slave estate; th e K a u ra ad m in istered G ezaw a, w hose p o p u latio n B arth estim ated at 10,000 (B arth, 1890: Vol. I, 260). M agajiya, th e ch ief’s ‘y o u n g er siste r’ ad m in istered th e village o f L iyadi, an d th e D a n Z am bedi, a senior prince, M ad aru m fa. T h u s th e te rrito ria l organization as a w hole co m bined various m ethods b y w hich th e K atsinaw a accom m odated to th e ir situ atio n at M arad i. III S t a t e O ffic e s

E x clu d in g tw en ty -tw o title d princes, nin e princesses, an d nine title d wives an d concubines o f th e ru ler, th e state o f M arad i co ntained over 130 titled offices (s a r a u t u , sing, s a r a u ta ) d istrib u te d as follow s : 4 r u k u n i an d th e ir official staffs o f 45 ; th e ch ief’s free co u rtiers, 27; his eu n u ch s an d slaves, 34; his territo rial chiefs, 12; title d clerics, 9. O f th e p rin ces an d princesses, tw o each had ad m in istrativ e roles. T o g e th e r th ese officials re p resen te d th e m ain statu s groups in th e kingdom , M u slim an d pagan, im m ig ran t an d native, free and slave; b u t th e d istrib u tio n o f offices stressed statu s distinctions m ainly significant to th e M u slim H ausa, as was th e case in K atsina.

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Offices w ere reserv ed fo r th e dynasty, fo r th e ru le r’s w ives and kinsw om en, for his p rin cip al councillors an d th e ir kin, clients, an d slaves, fo r his eu n u c h s an d civilian o r m ilitary slave staff, fo r free clients an d M u slim clerics. E v en th e sem i-pagan h a k i t n a i h a d th e ir place as a sep arate ra n k -o rd er. T h e r u k u n i w ere th e pillars o f th e state (s h i k a s h i k a i ) : in local idiom , th ey su p p o rted th e ru ler as p o sts a roof. W h ile th e chiefship w as clearly hered itary , all o th e r offices w ere divided in to tw o groups, as h ered itary (g a d o , k a r d a ) o r o p en (sh ig e g e ). T h e offices o f K a u ra an d G aladim a w ere reserv ed fo r royal slaves a n d eu n u ch s respectively, an d w ere reg ard ed as k a r d a , th o u g h in th e la tter no succession by descent w as entailed. U n til D a n B askore’s reign, th e G aladim a at M aradi w as always a e u n u c h ; D a n B askore gave th is office to a free m an. S om e tim e later th e office re v erted to eu n u c h s; an d although th e last six h o ld ers have all b een free m en, th e G aladim a is still re ­ g ard ed as a eu n u c h office. A s th e senior eu n u c h officer, th e G aladim a w as often recru ited b y p ro m o tio n fro m o th e r royal eu n u chs, su ch as M arai, H oroce, an d Y ari, th e last b ein g th e p ro b ab le successor. A n d p erh ap s th e senior palace slave, M agajin B akebbi, w ho was literate in A jem ic an d served as th e ru le r’s secretary, w as a likely fu tu re K aura. T h e D u rb i title rem ain ed h ered itary , and so d id th e Y an D aka’s office th ro u g h o u t th is period. O f th e r u k u n i , G alad im a an d K a u ra h ad precedence an d m ost pow er. Y an D aka w as d escrib ed as ‘th e G aladim a’s younger b ro th e r’— th a t is, his d ep u ty , an d D u rb i’s relation to K a u ra was th e sam e. Civil an d m ilitary d u ties w ere sh arp ly d istinguished an d d istrib u te d betw een G aladim a an d K au ra. As senior civil adm inis­ tra to r, G aladim a ad m in istered th e kingdom an d capital d u rin g th e ru le r’s absence; h e was responsible fo r regulating dynastic affairs, th e m arriages o f princes, th e ir ap p o in tm en ts an d conduct. T h e installation of all officials ap p o in ted by th e ru le r took place in th e co m p o u n d o f th e G aladim a an d was p resided over b y th e la tte r’s m aster of cerem onies, Bagalan. Official com pounds, w ith th eir attach ed slaves, horses, farm s, an d o th er eq u ip m en t, w ere provided only for th e ru ler, th e K au ra, an d G aladim a. T h e tw o free r u k u n i , Y an D aka an d D u rb i, rem ain ed in th eir ow n fam ily com pounds ( g id a n t a la u c i ) after ap p o in tm en t, an d w ere installed w ith tu rb a n an d gow n only, n o t w ith an a lk y a b b a o r m an tle su ch as th e ruler, K au ra, and G aladim a received. O n installation, each r u k u n i m ade

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fixed p ay m en ts to th e ru le r a n d his colleagues— one m illion cow ries fo r K a u ra a n d G aladim a, h a lf a m illion fo r Y an D aka an d D u rb i. S h o rtly afterw ard s each received a fully caparisoned h o rse an d sw ord o f te m p e re d steel. T o g eth e r, th e r u k u n i and ru le r selected in dividuals to fill v acan t r u k u n i posts ; th e ru le r h ad n o a u th o rity to fill th ese in d ep en d en tly , n o r w as h e in th eo ry en title d to d ecide im p o rta n t affairs w ith o u t th e council. V arious successors o f D a n B askore w ere dism issed b y r u k u n i w ith m ore o r less violence fo r su ch co n d u ct. N o p ro m o tio n w as possible from o n e r u k u n i office to an o th er. T h o u g h th e ru le r’s office w as clearly senior, an d trad itio n ally d o m in an t, th e legitim acy o f its pow er w as conditional o n su p p o rt fro m th e council o f state. A s in eig h t­ ee n th -c e n tu ry K atsin a, th e political relations o f r u k u n i an d ru ler fo rm e d an im p o rta n t asp ect o f th e political histo ry o f M aradi. T h e co m m an d er o f th e M a ra d i forces, K a u ra, resided outside th e capital a t K effin K a u ra, G ezaw a, o r M ad a ru m fa according to his choice. H e w as th ere fo re ab se n t fro m th e ro u tin e council m eetin g s h eld o n w eekdays, an d took little p a rt in political decisions a b o u t m in o r civil affairs. H ow ever, on th e S ab b ath , w hen he g reeted th e ru le r, b y tra d itio n K a u ra enjoyed th e p re ­ rogative o f a p u re ly p riv ate audience fro m w hich th e o th er r u k u n i w ere all excluded. T h u s th e ru le r’s p o sition v is- à - v i s th e G aladim a, Y an D aka, an d D u rb i m ig h t be stren g th en ed b y his private consultations w ith K a u ra, w hose d ep uty, D u rb i, h ad th e d u ty o f keeping h im in fo rm ed a b o u t council discussions w hile he was away. W ith K a u ra ’s su p p o rt, th e ru le r could override th e council’s advice, an d if th is s u p p o rt was assured he m ig h t well be d o m inant. C onversely, w ith th e co u n cil’s backing, h e could override th e K au ra, even in m ilitary affairs, th e K a u ra ’s province. B ut, th ro u g h th e good offices o f D u rb i an d his rig h t to a tte n d any councils he w ished, th e K a u ra could also s u p p o rt r u k u n i to overaw e th e ru ler. I n certain spheres th e ru le r’s in dependence was acknow ledged. T h o u g h he did n o t select th e Iy a or M agajiya in d ependently, he could at his pleasure fill su ch offices as M askom e, Jesa, M araya, etc., fro m th e dynasty, th e G aladim a con d u ctin g th e ap p o in tm en t; an d he also d istrib u te d th e eight titles reserved for his wives and concubines as he pleased. T h e ru le r selected retain ers for ap p o in t­ m en t to th e sh ig e g e titles reserved for his staff. H e red itary (k a r d a ) offices at his disposal w ere filled after canvassing senior m en o f

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th e lineage in w h ich th e title w as vested. A gain, th e G aladim a m ad e th e fo rm al app o in tm en ts. I n like fashion, each r u k u n i selected from his ow n kin, free clients, o r slaves, su itab le perso n s fo r ap p o in tm en t to th e titles trad itio nally reserv ed fo r th e staff o f his office. A s a council, th e ru le r an d r u k u n i to g eth er selected successors to th e th re e h ered i­ ta ry p riestly offices o f M arad i— th e L im am Ju m a ’a, M agaji D an D oro, an d th e Alkali, w hose fam ily w as settled at T abaraw a. T h e y also chose su itab le m allam s fo r sh ig e g e clerical offices such as D a n M asani. H ow ever, th e office o f L im am in n a K yankyale, w ho read th e K o ra n to th e Palace w om en d u rin g R am adan, was filled b y th e ru le r’s choice. In d e p e n d e n tly o f th e ru ler, th e r u k u n i d istrib u te d princely titles. W ith few exceptions, th ese w ere p u rely honorific, and e n ­ tailed n eith er office n o r defined a u th o rity . P erh ap s as a fu n ctio n o f this, th ey m erely co n ferred an ill-defined an d u ndifferentiated ik o , recalling th e early im p e r i u m a t R om e, b u t h ere expressed in k w a c e (ap p ro p riatio n o f goods). T h e m ain benefits th a t princes derived fro m th e ir titles w ere tw ofold— p u b lic identification as possible chiefs an d p ro tec tio n against evil m agic (s a m a u ) th ro u g h w h ich th e ir K o ra n ic nam es could b e used to in ju re th em . P alpable benefits w ere o therw ise slight. O f tw en ty -tw o p rin c e ly titles, only tw o m erit notice. W hen vacant, th e D a n G alad im a title, w hose o ccupant h ad form al precedence as th e official h eir, w as always given to a son o r b ro th e r o f th e reig n in g Sarki. N o rm ally , since princes w ere n o t dism issible, h av in g n o ad m in istrativ e office, th is position w as o ften held b y a collateral o f th e chief. D esp ite its honorific character, th e D an G alad im a p aid a ku r d i n s a r a u t a o f 10,000 cow ries a n d received a tu rb a n a n d ro b e o n installation. B ut so d id th e D a n Z am bedi, w hose office gave h im co n tro l o f M adarum fa, one o f th e largest tow ns in th e state. A lth o u g h officially listed as th e C row n Prince, th e D a n G alad im a h ad no ad m in istrative role, an d m o st ru lers o f M a ra d i w ere ap p o in ted fro m o th e r royal titles. D a n Z am bedi alone o f all p rin ces h eld ad m in istrative office, an d th u s h a d th e resources w ith w h ich to canvass his candidacy w ith th e electoral council. O th e r senior p rin cely titles include D a n Baskore, Binoni, M agaji H alid u , an d M ayana. O n th e ir accessions, rulers retained th ese honorifics as shields against m agical m isfortune. O f th e fem ale titles, only tw o m e rit atten tio n , th e Iya an d the

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M agajiya. Iy a (M o th er), re g ard e d as th e Q ueen M o th er, was usually a senior royal kinsw om an selected by r u k u n i fo r h er disposition, m arital statu s, an d good sense. S he p resided over all m arriages an d k in sh ip cerem onials involving girls and w om en o f th e royal lineage. S h e w as usually single, th o u g h previously m arried , a n d w as th e official h ea d a n d p a tro n o f local p ro stitu te s a n d devotees o f th e p re -Isla m ic c u lt o f sp irit w orship ( b o r i ), w hom sh e led in to g re et th e ch ief o n th e M uslim sab b a th . She w as co n su lted in all b o r i in itiatio n s an d p u b lic cerem onies, su ch as m ark e t renew al rites. T h ro u g h h e r slaves, Iy a levied g rain from m ark et v endors, an d an n u al taxes fro m p ro stitu tes an d cu lt specialists. H e r co m p o u n d w as an official sanctuary. S he h ad h er ow n clients, h o rsem en , a n d a tte n d a n ts attach ed to th e office, w h o m sh e e q u ip p ed w ith w ar g ear an d from w hose boo ty she received a p o rtio n . T h e s e m ale clients w ere n o t h e r ju ra l subjects, th o u g h privileged b y h e r p atro n a g e; an d alth o u g h freq u en tly invoked b y r u k u n i to m ed iate b etw een th e m an d th e ru ler, she d id n o t d irectly take p a r t in th e council o f state. M agajiya was usually a ju n io r kinsw om an o f th e ru ler. She ad m in istered th e village o f L iy ad i th ro u g h h e r staff an d k ep t th e taxes an d fines levied th ere. A fte r R am adan she led th e w om en’s celebrations at th e palace. P resu m ab ly som e M agajiyas m ig h t be p ro m o ted to th e senior title of Iy a o n th e la tte r’s death. A t M arad i m o st royal title-h o ld ers w ere system atically divorced fro m ad m in istrativ e responsibility, ju ra l an d m ilitary pow er, an d econom ic resources. T h e y w ere th u s d ep e n d en t on th e largesse o f senior officials, on gifts (g a i s u w a ), or on app ro p riatio n s ( k w a c e ) fro m com m oners. D a n Z am bedi, Iya, and M agajiya excepted, no n e h ad any su b jects; an d all princes w ere u n d e r th e eu n u ch G alad im a’s ju risd ictio n , th e ir b eh av iour being review ed b y th e r u k u n i critically to select th e m ost suitable successor. R u k u n i stress th e qu alities o f patience, fo rb eara n ce, h um ility, selfreliance, energy, dignity, distance from t a l a k a w a (com m oners), lack o f ad u ltero u s o r o th e r ‘u n -ro y a l’ h ab its, an d resp ect for th e r u k u n i an d cu sto m as d esid erata in a ru le r; b u t, as th e ch a rt o n p . 97 show s, from D a n K asaw a to D a n D adi, th e succession passed to a collateral u n til th e sen ior generation d ied out. T h e u pheavals a t M arad i a n d T assaw a, w h ich follow ed th e ap p o in t­ m e n t o f M ijinyaw a as th e fo u rte e n th ru ler, are linked w ith th e ch an g e in th e p rin cip les re g u latin g succession w hich his ap p o in t-

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m e n t in tro d u ced . U n d e r th e ru le o f collateral succession, im m ed ­ iate candidacy h a d b ee n lim ited to senior royals. M ijinyaw a’s a p p o in tm e n t seem ed to define all titled princes as equally eligible. T h u s , r u k u n i , p erh ap s in ad v erten tly , w eakened th e chieftaincy. T o g e th e r, r u k u n i co u ld an d d id freely dism iss m o st o f th e ru lers a t M arad i w ho succeeded D a n B askore. T h e y also selected th eir successors. S eparately, th ey fo rm ed th e electoral council and, w ith th e ru ler, th e C ouncil o f S tate. T h e in tern al politics o f M arad i is a h isto ry o f stru g g le am ong r u k u n i , o n th e one h an d , an d betw een r u k u n i an d ru ler, o n th e o ther. I n asserting th e royal p ow er against local h a k i m a i , th e ru le r could norm ally rely on su p p o rt fro m h is r u k u n i , w hose in terests, th o u g h n o t identical w ith his, te n d e d to coincide in su ch cases. T h e r u k u n i w ere in n o sense p o p u lar rep resen tativ es; ra th e r, in th e ir ow n an d th e p u b lic eyes, th ey re p resen te d th e co n tin u ity o f K atsin a trad itio n . T o g e th e r w ith th e d y n asty an d th e ru le r’s staff, th e y w ere th e tru e K atsinaw a, th e custo d ian s o f th e greatness an d fu tu re o f th e fo rm e r state, an d p erh ap s its m o st cen tral in stitu tio n . M arad i th ey re g ard e d as a m in o r p ro v in ce o f th e ir legitim ate ancestral dom ains. W ith th e ir staffs, th e ir t a r a y y a subjects, th e ir supervisory roles over vassal chiefs a n d h a k i m a i , th e ir control o f th e succession, o f th e princes, an d in d irectly o f ap p o in tm en ts to territo rial office, th ey w ere, if u n ited , u n d o u b te d ly m ore pow erful th a n th e C h ief; and, given th e K a tsin a trad itio n , th e ir dissen t deprived his acts o f legitim acy. I n th eo ry an d in p ractice th e ru le r could dism iss one o f th e r u k u n i only w ith th e o th ers’ co n sen t; and, u n til th e em ergence o f K a u ra H asau, all r u k u n i died in office. Since in th eo ry th ey could veto th e ru le r’s plans w hen th ey all agreed, th e ru le r’s b e st chance was to solicit su p p o rt from K au ra an d G aladim a, or set th e m at odds. H ow ever, D an B askore’s dom inance was unchallenged. E ach r u k u n i h ad one or m ore titled princes w ho sought his su p p o rt for th e next succession, b u t, b eing econom ically d ependent, these princes could only offer prom ises o f fu tu re benefit, ra th e r th a n m aterial gifts, an d th e position o f r u k u n i was already such th a t th e ir custom ary prerogatives w ere n o t easily enhanced. I t seem s th a t r u k u n i often differed on th e candidates th ey su p p o rted for th e th ro n e, each having equal pow ers of nom ination. I f th e ir discussions revealed ag reem ent th e ap p o in tm en t was certain, alth o u g h th e council m ig h t p re te n d dissension in o rd er

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to s tre n g th e n fu rth e r its h o ld o n th e chosen candidate. I n th e event o f disagreem ent, o r even w ith o u t it, as ju s t show n, th ey called in th e L im am in J u m a ’a to divine th e ap p ro p riate choice. T h e L im am ‘m easu red ’ ( a u n a —w eighed) th e various candidates b y d iv in ato ry m eans in o rd e r o f th e ir sp o nsors’ seniority w ith o u t know ing th e can d id ates’ nam es. H e w ould first m easure th e K a u ra ’s choice, th is b ein g unsp o ken, th e n th e G aladim a’s, th e n D u rb i’s, th e n Y an D a k a’s. F o r th is p u rp o se th e L im am used e ith er o f tw o d iv in ato ry tech n iq u es, one w ith a M u slim rosary, th e o th e r w ith a w o o d en cu b e m arked w ith n u m b ers (M ission T ilh o : Vol. 2, 46 7 -8 ). I n eith e r case he d eterm in ed w h e th e r th e u n n am ed can d id ate sp o n so red b y a given councillor w as suitab le. I f th e resu lts w ere positive th e selection process sto p p ed ; if negative th e can d id ate o f th e r u k u n i n e x t in seniority w as ‘w eigh­ ed ’. By w ith h o ld in g th e nam es o f th e ir candidates, r u k u n i confined th e L im a m to a p u re ly tech n ical role, an d so p rev en ted h im from m an ip u latin g th e oracle to influence th e succession. T h e L im am ’s p artic ip a tio n le n t a ce rtain M u slim san ctity to th e proceedings, an d his tech n iq u es w ere plainly Islam ic. T h e selected p rin ce was th en installed in an elaborate cerem onial sup erv ised b y th e G aladim a an d th e r u k u n i . A fter a ritu al b a th o f h en n a in th e G alad im a’s co m p o u n d he w as secluded outsid e th e palace in a th a tc h e d shed for a week, d u rin g w hich he was in stru c t­ ed b y eu n u c h s in protocol, palace affairs, and chiefly m odes o f behaviour. N ew s o f th e accession was m eanw hile sen t to nearby ru lers, w ho w ould re p ly w ith h an d som e gifts. T h ro u g h o u t this w eek o f th e new ru le r’s seclusion, he received th e allegiance ( c a f k a ) o f his h a k i m a i an d su b o rd in ate officials, and guidance fro m th e r u k u n i . T h e tow nsfolk m eanw hile celebrated th e event w ith d ru m m in g , dancing, an d various gam es. O n th e seventh day, to g eth er w ith th e S arkin G o b ir, th e r u k u n i led th e new ru ler on horseback alone o u tsid e th e city to a special tree called K w aru, p erh ap s a su b stitu te for th e old tam a rin d in K atsin a C ity (D aniel : 2 an d fn. 5). T h is th ey circled th re e tim es, rid in g in silence, th en re tu rn e d to M arad i, w here th e ru le r received galloping charges o f allegiance fro m all officials o f state, as is usual at th e tw o an n u al M u slim festivals. N e x t cam e th e s a m a r i (young m en), th e n d ru m m in g , after w h ich th e new ru le r m ade a b rie f speech o f th an k s an d p ra y er fo r good fo rtu n e before w ith d raw in g to th e palace w ith th e r u k u n i to receive th e greetings o f his officials.

A HA U SA

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:

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u n d er

d an

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O n en terin g th e palace, th e new ru le r took over m any fam ilial roles fro m his predecessor. A n y th ing th e previous ru le r had given to h is ch ild re n rem ain ed th eirs, b u t all else p ertain ed to th e th ro n e u n d e r care o f th e palace eu nuchs— Y ari, Sarkin G ida, etc. S h o rtly a fte r en terin g th e palace th e new ru le r d ispatched a p ro p e rly caparisoned h o rse to each o f h is r u k u n i an d lesser gifts to o th e r senior officials. W ith in a fo rtn ig h t o f his installation th e new ru le r w as expected to take th e field, irrespective o f th e season, to w a n k a t a k o b i (blood th e sw ord). U n til th is w as done, th e accession w as n o t confirm ed. T h is fo rtn ig h t was th erefo re given over to p lan n in g th e expedition. O n th e ir ap p o in tm en ts, tu rb a n n e d officials received a horse fro m th e p erso n w ho ap p o in ted th em , th e ru le r’s k insm en and sen io r staff fro m h im , th e K a u ra ’s staff from K au ra, and so on. W h e n th ese officials died th e ir horses and eq u ip m en t w ere re tu rn e d to th e su p erio r w ho h ad ap p o in ted th em , as silent evidence. T h e dead m a n ’s successor norm ally rem ained in his ow n com ­ p o u n d ; b u t besides K a u ra an d G aladim a, it seem s th a t h a k i m a i in th e ru ra l areas also h ad official com pounds, o n e-h alf th e con­ te n ts o f w hich p assed w ith th e ir office, th e re m ain d er going to th e ru ler. T h e ru le r’s co u rt w as th e m ain ce n tre o f cerem onial activities, save th a t installations a n d p rin cely m arriages w ere held a t th e G alad im a’s. T h e r u k u n i cam e to g re et h im daily, except K aura, w ho cam e o n F rid a y o r as events req u ired . T h e r u k u n i w ould follow th e ru le r in to a special ch am b er w here th ey m et in council. A fte r th e ir d e p a rtu re o th e r co u rtiers an d p rin ces w ere free to e n te r an d g re et th e ru ler. H e m ig h t th e n m ove to th e z a u r e or e n tra n c e -h u t to h ea r an y law cases aw aiting h is atten tio n , being screened by his serv an ts w ith ex ten d ed robes so th a t none saw him sittin g d o w n ; o r h e m ig h t re tire to his p riv ate room s w ith in the palace. O n th e S a b b ath a n d a t M u slim festivals th ere w as a m ore elaborate gath erin g o f officials, w ith r u k u n i , r a w u n a (free tu rb a n n e d officials), slaves, eu n u ch s, a n d p rin ces all p resen t, d istrib u te d in se t po sitio n s b e h in d th e G aladim a an d K a u ra respectively, on th e rig h t an d left h a n d o f th e ru ler. T h e clerics, titled and u n titled , sat d irectly opposite him , at a distance. A t M a ra d i th e d istrib u tio n o f officials betw een th e rig h t and left h a n d (h a n n u n d a m a d a h a n n u n h a g u ) seem s b est to correspond w ith d istin ctio n s betw een w arrio rs an d civil adm inistrators, th e

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p rin ces b ein g g ro u p e d w ith h e red itary officials an d eunuchs, in co n trap o sitio n w ith slaves an d s h ig e g e officials ranged below th e K au ra. B u t various p lacem en ts w ere exceptional, and it seem s likely th a t th is division, w h ich does n o t exactly coincide w ith th e k a r d a - s h i g e g e classification o f M arad i, reproduces an o ld er K atsin a arran g e m e n t ra th e r im perfectly. B ehind G aladim a an d h is staff sat Y an D aka, his entourage, th e p rin ces, th e M arad i an d his staff, th e S arkin F u lan i, th e lesser eu n u c h s u n d e r D a n K arshe, an d th e h a k i m a i and th e ir atte n d a n ts w h e n p resen t. O n th e ru le r’s left, b e h in d th e K a u ra an d his staff, sa t D u rb i w ith his, follow ed by th e M agajin B akebbi an d th ro n e slaves, th e ru le r’s craft officials, clients, an d titled w arriors. N o fem ale official, even Iya, took p a rt in th is assem bly. E c o n o m ic B a s i s o f t h e S t a t e

F o r revenues th e s ta te d ep en d ed o n booty, fines, an d legal taxes, su ch as th e z a k k a (g rain tith e ) o r th e inheritance tith e ( u s h ir a ), trib u te from vassals, cu sto m ary fees p aid b y office hold ers on ap p o in tm en t, c o r v é e lab o u r, cattle tax paid b y F u lan i, and on a variety o f occupational taxes k n ow n oddly as h u r m u s h i (the ru le r’s share o f th e booty). T h e ru le r also h ad rig h ts to th e skins o f any lion o r lepoard slain in th e territo ry , to one large civet cat p e r year from th e local civet dealers, an d to th e larger tu sk o f local elephant. A charge averaging a b o u t 1,200 cow ries p e r year was levied o n all occupational specialists su ch as d ru m m ers, praise-singers, fisherm en, itin e ra n t trad e rs, leather-w orkers, tailors, dyers, blacksm iths, b arb er-d o cto rs, p o tash trad ers, h ab erd ash ers, w eavers, straw -w orkers, tan n ers, w oodw orkers, h u t-b u ild e rs, p o tters, civ et dealers, each item b ein g collected b y a sep arate official. Iy a levied h e r tax on all p ro stitu te s an d b o r i dancers. M erch an ts b rin g in g loads in to o r th ro u g h th e co u n try p aid 500 cow ries p e r cam el a n d 200 p e r ass. G row ers o f sw eet potatoes, cassava an d b am b ara g ro u n d n u ts also p aid 1,200 cow ries p e r an n u m . E ach y ear th e ru le r’s c raft officials w en t o n to u r w ith th e ir colleagues w ho serv ed th e r u k u n i , sto p p in g at each h a k i m i ’s h ea d q u arters, w here th e local craft heads tu rn e d over th e tax d u e fro m local craftsm en . P resu m ab ly th e r u k u n i ' s representatives collected tax fro m th e ir lo rd ’s M u slim H a u sa subjects. O n re tu rn ­ in g to th e city, th e ru le r a n d r u k u n i ap p ro p riated th e ir p o rtio n ,

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th e collectors keeping th e rest. T h is onerous task was carried o u t b y m enial officials, free an d slave. T h o u g h its direct re ­ w ards w ere p ro b ab ly sm all, th e n u m b er o f officials involved w id en ed th e ad m in istrativ e base, w hile th e m eth o d of collection increased th e cen tral executive’s know ledge o f th e territo ry and its pop ulatio n . In d ire c tly th ese royal collectors th u s helped to supervise th e h a k i m a i . I n ad dition, th e re w ere n u m ero u s custom ary levies. T h e gate­ keepers o f M arad i tow n, th ro n e slaves, w ere reim b u rsed w ith th re sh e d g rain tak en fro m th e tow nsw om en, w ho w ere req u ired to th re sh th e ir g rain outside th e city walls. M o st custom ary levies w ere directed at th e m arket, and involved th e collection of foodstuffs, antim ony, aphrodisiacs, cotton, etc. Slave officials au th o rized to collect these levies re p o rted to M asai, th e official m ark et head, w ho th e n escorted th em to th e v en d o rs each dealt w ith . As rem u n eratio n , M asai was authorized to levy salt fro m th e B ugaje an d T u areg . H e w as also em pow ered to settle any d isp u tes arising in th e m arket. H e could select certain v endors in each tra d e to supervise th e ir colleagues. T h ro u g h them , m ark et prices w ere efficiently co n tro lled on in stru ctio n s fro m th e ru le r an d r u k u n i . S om e title-h o ld ers w ho lacked subjects o r reg u lar m eans o f sub sisten ce exploited th e m ark et irregularly according to th e ir needs an d o p p o rtu n itie s; b u t su ch nobles d id n o t confine th e m ­ selves only to m arkets. B eing m ainly o f royal descent an d w ith o u t in d e p e n d e n t m eans, th ey exercised th is privilege o f k w a c e or a p p ro p riatio n w ith th e connivance o f th e ru lin g council if no t th e p u b lic ; b u t r u k u n i , d esp ite th e ir in d ep en d e n t ju risd ictio n s an d m eans, also periodically p ractised ap p ro p riatio n . T h e com ­ m o n ers w ere th e m ain losers. A p a rt fro m h u r m u s h i an d z a k k a , com m oners w ere re q u ired to p erfo rm c o r v é e an nually after harvest. T h e y w ere sum m oned to re p air th e walls o f M arad i o r th e stockade o f th eir h a k i m i ’s tow n, th e m o sq u e an d official co m p o u n d s o f th e ru ler, K a u ra an d G aladim a. D u rin g th e rain y season th e y also cultivated th e farm s o f th ese officials as w ell as those o f Y an D aka an d D u rb i. T h e h a k i m a i could also levy local c o r v é e fo r farm w ork an d repairs. B ooty tak en in w ar w as ap p o rtio n ed roughly according to M aliki L a w : o n e-fifth o f th e w a rrio r’s loot w as officially d u e to th e state, an d th is was collected in th e w ar cam p (s a n s a n i ) e n r o u te

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to M arad i. A t b e st th e ru le w as in terp re ted ra th e r strin g en tly ; it is said th a t, if som etim es a w a rrio r ca p tu red tw o cows, th e state took one. S pecial officers o f th e arm y com m ander, usually th e ru le r o r K a u ra, a tte n d e d b y staff o f o th er r u k u n i , supervised th is collection. Its d istrib u tio n w as lim ited m ainly to r u k u n i an d ru le r, th e K a u ra w h e n in co m m an d a p p ro p riatin g a p o rtio n for h im self an d h is r u k u n i colleagues, a n d sen d in g th e ru le r th e rest. M u c h o f th e ru le r’s sh are w as d istrib u te d to clerics w hose ch arm s a n d im p recatio n s w ere re g ard e d as indispensable fo r m ilitary success, an d w ho th u s received th e ir rew ard . T h o se w ho fo u g h t w ith o u t secu rin g b o o ty received n o th in g . T h e r u k u n i a n d ru le r m ig h t give som e b o o ty to p rin ces, w ho w ere p ro h ib ite d from fig h t­ ing, b u t th e y sold m o st o f it, especially slaves, in n earb y m arkets. S u p erio r captives w ere som etim es h e ld fo r ransom . M y in fo rm an ts, th e S ark in K a tsin a B uzu, th e G aladim a K w an ­ yau, Y an D ak a M u h am m an , a n d D u rb i Ib rah im , all stressed th e im p o rtan ce o f b o o ty a n d w a r in th e econom y o f th e M arad i state. I t w as to th ese sources a n d to th e irreg u lar trib u te fro m d istan t vassals o r d e p e n d e n t allies th a t th e ru le r an d nobles looked fo r th e w indfalls w h ich v alid ated th e m ilitarism o f M arad i, an d p ro v id ed occasions fo r overaw ing dissid en t allies o r vassals, w hile m obilizing w ide s u p p o rt. N o n e th e less, b o oty alone could n o t b e said to su p p o rt th e state. Its m ain use w as to p rovide eq u ip m e n t for m ilitary forces. C a p tu red horses w ere d istrib u te d to valorous m en, w ho u n d erto o k , o n receiving th em , to tu rn o u t w h enever su m m oned. O th e r b o o ty w as u sed to p u rch ase flintlocks, am m u n itio n , sw ords, a n d o th e r g ear from n earb y D am agaram , w h ere cannons w ere b e in g m ad e (M ission T ilh o : Vol. 2, 444, an d N o te 2). A rrow s, spears, daggers, an d in ferio r iro n sw ords w ere m ad e at M a ra d i u n d e r th e ru le r’s senior b lacksm ith by th e c o r v é e o f blacksm iths, th e ru le r p rov id in g large blocks o f locally sm elted iron. C o u rt fees a n d fines p ro v id ed o th e r sources o f incom e. T h e ru le r’s slave, S ark in D iya, collected a m arriage fee o f 1,000 cow ­ ries fro m h e r fa th e r o n every g irl’s first m arriage. O n th e d eath o f p ro sp ero u s M u slim s th e ru le r received as u s h ir a o n e-te n th th e value o f th e m ovable goods, th e in h eritan ce usually being ad m inis­ te re d b y som e cleric specially com m issioned fo r th e purpose. T h e ru le r received a larg er share, b etw een o n e-th ird a n d one-half, o f th e estates o f th e deceased a n d dism issed h a k i m a i .

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F in es levied b y local chiefs w ere shared equally w ith th e ruler, b u t besides levying a collective fine o f 1,200 cow ries p er house­ h o ld er in th e d istrict in cases o f hom icide, th e Sarkin K atsina im posed a fine of a m illion cow ries on th e offender, all o f w hich he re ta in ed him self. S u b stitu tes, su ch as horses, goats, cattle, or slaves, m ig h t be accepted. T h is fine included no com pensation to th e dead m a n ’s kin. Its value w as ro ughly equivalent to th e price o f tw en ty cam els (B arth, 1890: Vol. 1, 295). T h e offender’s kin w ere expected to c o n trib u te to th e paym ent, u n d e r pressure from th e ir h a k i m a i . U n d u e delays w ere m et by confiscation o f th eir p ro p e rty an d possible enslavem ent. F inally, th e ru le r received custom ary fees on th e ap p o in tm en t o f new m en to office. T h is was th e k u r d i n s a r a u t a (m oney of office), w hich S h eh u d an F odio also condem ned (H iskett, 1960: 568). O n his ow n accession, th e ru le r also m ade sim ilar prestations to th e r u k u n i electors. T h e se official revenues m ay have to u ch ed only a sm all segm ent o f th e M arad i econom y, w hich was p rim arily co m m itted to su b ­ sistence p ro d u ctio n , w ith th e local m ark et prov id in g necessary services an d com m odities, su ch as salt or fa rm tools. U n d o u b ted ly th e m o st su b stan tial p o rtio n o f official revenues w as th e grain tith e (w hich also ap p lied to lo cu st bean) an d c o r v é e , an d fro m these th e senior officials drew th e ir subsistence. M oreover, given official acceptance o f goods in place o f cash, th e elaborate m achin­ ery fo r collecting cash tax p ro b a b ly served also to increase th e ir incom es in kin d . M o st M a ra d i pagans m ad e lim ited an d irregular u se o f cash ; th e ir sta n d a rd o f living is even now typical o f a closed h o u seh o ld econom y. J u d ic ia l In s titu tio n s

A s form al M u slim s, th e K a tsin a H au sa m ade special provisions fo r Islam in th e ir g o v ern m en t b y various observances an d ap p o in t­ m en ts ; b u t in m an y spheres, such as law, M u slim rules w ere only p artially observed. T h e r e w as an alkali a t M arad i, an d he was au th o rized to h ea r cases betw een M uslim s, b u t his pow ers w ere lim ited an d n o t u n iq u e. T h o u g h his ju risd ictio n covered th e G reat an d L esser L aw ( S h a r i ’a M a n y a d a K a r a m i ) , th e alkali could only im pose fines a n d w hip p in g s. S u ch fines as h e levied w ere shared w ith th e ru ler. I n th e m ain , th e alkali h e a rd civil issues o f divorce, d eb t, co n tract, an d m in o r to rts. S u ch cases in ru ral areas w ere also I

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tried b y h a k i m a i , w hose ju risd ictio n s in clu d ed land issues, b u t as M u slim resid en ts o f ru ral areas w ere beyond the h a k i m ï s ju risd ictio n , issues involving th em w ere referred to th eir respective r u k u n i lords at th e capital. I can n o t say how th e M agajiya and D a n Z am bedi, w ho ad m in istered certain villages, h an d led legal m atters, b u t th e ir position w as p ro b a b ly like th a t o f th e h a k i m a i . T h e r u k u n i h ea rd all issues co n cerning th eir scattered subjects. T h e y could levy fines an d o rd e r ind ividual w hippings; and th u s th ey could destroy an in d iv id u al’s prosperity. O f th e r u k u n i , G aladim a acted as ju ra l su p erv iso r of ju n io r officials, especially princes, b u t n o t o f h a k i m a i . I n th is capacity as a th ro n e eun u ch , th e G aladim a p re su m a b ly re p resen te d th e ru le r and o th er r u k u n i . F o r such m atters he em ployed a special slave official, D a n N egaba, w hose police fu n ctio n s a t th e G aladim a’s o rd ers w ere confined en tirely to offending officials. P rin ces w ho co m m itted adultery, excessive k w a c e , an d th e like, w ere su m m o n ed by D a n N egaba to G aladim a fo r an ad m o n ito ry lecture. T h e y w ere n o t directly su b ject to p ro tests b y th e su b jects in ju red , n o r w ere th ey liable to fines, w h ip p in g , o r im p riso n m e n t, pro v id ed th ey w ere p o liti­ cally loyal ; b u t p re su m a b ly th e r u k u n i an d ru le r m ig h t ask G aladim a to confine a recidivist p rin ce in his co m p o u n d as a w arning. By su ch m isb eh av io u r p rin ce s fo rfeited chances o f royal favour an d fu rth e r p ro m o tio n . T h e ru le r’s co u rt could b e re so rted to fo r difficult issues b e­ tw een M u slim s an d pagans. A ppeals fro m lesser courts w ere ra th e r rare. T o th e ru le r w ere reserv ed all offences w hich m erited severe p u n ish m en ts su ch as ‘im p riso n m e n t’, execution, m u tilation, o r confiscation— th a t is, all political offences and any assaults w hich drew b lood o r inflicted w ounds, as w ell as th eft. T h o u g h rare, b an ish m en t som etim es o ccu rred in disguised form s as individual flight or sale ab ro ad in to slavery. T h e m ain issues w ith w hich th e ru le r’s co u rt w as con cern ed w ere r e n o n i k o n s a r a u t a — literally, rejectio n o f th e pow er (au th o rity ) o f th e office, i.e. treason, su b ­ version. T h is covered treach ero u s p lottin g , b reach o f custom ary duties, su ch as p ay m en t o f trib u te , any tam p erin g w ith official prerogatives, su ch as th e d ead w ood w hich belonged to th e G alad im a’s office, or refusal to execute orders. T h e ru le r also ad m in istered estates o f dead o r dism issed officials. T h e ru le r’s co u rt exercised discretionary pow ers consistent w ith th e M u slim d o ctrin e o f s iy a s a , especially as reg ards th e political behaviour of

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officials. T h u s, h a k i m a i w ere liable to dism issal or fine for failure to pass on in stru ctio n s, to p ro d u ce th e re q u ired c o r v é e or supplies, to tu rn o u t or a tte n d th e w ar levy, to re p o rt th e m ovem ents of im m igrants, or to observe th e lim its of th eir ow n ik o (authority). I n extrem e cases d issid en t h a k i m a i w ere lu red to M arad i and su m ­ m arily d isp atch ed along w ith any free w itnesses. W h en a subject, o rd e red to carry o u t som e task su ch as c o r v é e , failed to do so he could expect p u n ish m e n t a n d /o r confiscation of his property. T h e ru le r’s palace contained a p rison. T h is was a large p it set deep in th e floor o f a sto u tly w alled ro om well beyond su n lig h t in a separate co u rty ard . T h e royal w arders w ere slave officials: M aka­ m a, in charge o f arrest, D oka (Law ), th e executioner, and D a n T u ra , w ho p u sh ed th e victim s from b eh in d over th e edge and into th e p it. T h e last was also in charge of th e gates o f th e city. T h e p riso n e r’s fall into th e p it usually re sulted in som e injury, b u t aid, w ater, or food was w ithheld, som etim es for a week at a tim e, unless o rd e red fro m above. H e sh ared th e p it w ith o th ers n o t dead, unless his kin sm en could co m p o u n d his offence w ith an acceptable fine. N orm ally those im p riso n ed w ere n o t expected to survive. N o case o f fem ale im p riso n m e n t is know n to m e. E xecutions w ere ca rried o u t at a special m a r k e tree called th e M ark en D o k a b y th e m ark et-p lace in M arad i, th e head being im paled n ea r b y as a p u b lic w arning. L egislation w as also a n ­ n o u n ced in th e m ark et an d th ro u g h o u t th e tow n by p u b lic criers an d d ru m m ers— th e ru le r’s m a r o k a (praise-singers). S uch regul­ ations took th e follow ing form : ‘N o one is allow ed to c u t w ood in th e m arsh . T h is is an offence. I t is fo rb id d e n .’ P u n ish m en ts w ere left unspecified. O rd e rs to assem ble fo r w ork o r w ar w ere co m m u n icated in sim ilar fashion. T h e praise-singers w ere th u s to w n heralds. Ju d icial san ctu ary w as an archaic in stitu tio n o f M aradi, clearly in co n sisten t w ith Islam . W h atev er th eir offences, prov id in g it w as n o t political, once offenders to u ch ed th e walls o f th e ru le r’s co m p o u n d , th e Iy a ’s, o r an y o f th e r u k u n i ’s , th ey w ere th ereafter im m u n e from trial an d p u n ish m en t. T h o u g h I failed to in q u ire in to th e su b seq u e n t co n d itio n o f th ese persons, it seem s pro b ab le th a t b y su ch acts th ey enslaved them selves to th e offices w hich p ro v id ed reprieve. A n o th er archaic p ractice in co n sistent w ith Islam was k w a c e , m en tio n ed above. K w a c e differs fro m th e ft in th a t it is th e open

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ap p ro p riatio n o f an in d iv id u al’s p ro p e rty or lab o u r b y a titleh o ld er exercising an ill-defined ik o . D ifferences in status are basic to it. T h e officials m o st p ro n e to p ractise k w a c e w ere r u k u n i and princes, th e latter b ein g w ith o u t regular m eans o f su p p o rt. T a l a k a w a (com m oners) w ere th e m ain losers. O n occasion, such a h ig h official as th e D u rb i sim ply m arch ed in to a p ag an ’s co m ­ p o u n d an d co m m anded h im to deliver so m any b u n d les o f grain. I f th e fa rm er h esitated he w as b o u n d u p w ith ropes and forced to w atch its rem oval. I f he d e m u rre d he m ig h t be w hipped. T h e officials w ho acted th u s h eld th a t th ey w ere en titled to do so because th ey lacked sub sisten ce an d re p resen ted th e state. In d eed , th ere seem s to have b ee n a sh o rtag e o f r u m a d a (slave-farm ing) in M a ra d i; b u t late in th e last cen tu ry a d o m in an t F u lan i K au ra, H asau, w ho controlled an overw helm ing force, v irtually sto p p ed th is practice, to th e b itte r ch ag rin of his colleagues, by enforcing re stitu tio n o f th e a p p ro p riated goods to th e victim s. T h e se practices, co n d em n ed b y S h eh u d an F odio as k a m e , w ere clearly in co n sisten t w ith Islam . U n d e r M a ra d i law, ow ners w ere liable fo r offences done b y th e ir slaves to th e slaves o f o th ers. I f th e offending slaves w ere alienable— th a t is, if th e y w ere first-g en eratio n slaves, captives or p u rc h ased — th e y m ig h t b e tra n sfe rre d o r sold as com pensation. I f n o t alienable, failing com pensation, offending slaves w ere delivered to th e ru ler. I f a slave in ju red a free p erso n fu rth e r dam ages or fines w ere d u e as th o u g h th e offender w as free. A free m an killing an o th e r’s slave sim ply fu rn ish e d an acceptable re ­ placem ent. M i l i t a r y O r g a n iz a tio n

F o r r u k u n i , w ar w as th e p u rp o se o f th e M arad i state, in d is­ crim inately against F u la n i, b u t especially against F u lan i in K atsin a. As th ey p h ra sed it, M arad i was m erely th e ir s a n s a n i, a w ar cam p, in w h ich p re p ara tio n o f new expeditions was th e cen tral activity. T h o u g h th is em phasis m ay be m isleading, th e ir p rim ary in te re st in w ar can n o t b e d o u b ted . T o th is th ey looked fo r changes o f fo rtu n e , in clu d in g extra incom e; and th is p re ­ o ccu p atio n w ith boo ty was p a rtly responsible for th e red irectio n o f M arad i attacks from K a tsin a to K ano and Zaria, w hich offered m o re loot at less risk. T h e m ain forces o f M arad i w ere cavalry and infantry, th e latter

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in c lu d in g b o w m en ( m a s u - b a k a ). N obles, th e ir slave staff, free clients, an d a few self-eq u ip p ed w arriors pro v id ed th e cavalry. T a l a k a w a (com m oners), especially pagans, su p p lied th e bow m en, an d M u slim H a u sa y o u th s th e in fan try ( d a k a r u , ‘y a n k a r m a ). Official scouts, D a n Y usufa a n d Baita, p reced ed th e arm y to spy o u t th e ro u te in advance. T h e ru le r m ain tain ed storehouses o f w eapons, w ith w h ich h e e q u ip p ed h is ow n troops, courtiers, an d servants. O th ers jo in in g an ex pedition cam e eq u ip p ed fo r th e role th e y w ished to play, b rin g in g som e food also. O nly officials an d th e ir im m ediate staffs w ere obliged to a tte n d all cam paigns. T h e ru le r an d his r u k u n i councillors p lan n ed th e exp ed itio n in secret. O f these, th e G alad im a alw ays rem ain ed a t M arad i in charge o f th e capital a n d environs d u rin g th e arm y ’s absence. As a eu n u ch , th is w as h is ap p ro p riate role. T h e rem ain in g r u k u n i w ere all t i r i k a i , th a t is, officials w ho could b e placed in charge o f an ex p ed itio n ary force. H av in g selected th e ta rg e t an d ro u te, th e council calculated th e n u m b e r a n d ty p es o f force necessary, keeping th is in fo rm atio n to them selves. Officialdom w o uld be m obilized as cavalry; b u t in fan try an d bow m en w ere re c ru ite d as n eed ed th ro u g h th e h a k i m a i . I f necessary, th e G obiraw a, M arad i’s ch ief allies, m ig h t b e invited. T h e council ann o u n ced th e expedi­ tio n p u b licly th ro u g h th e ir heralds, them selves p re p arin g to jo in th e arm y at a n ap p o in ted tim e an d place. O n th e d ep a rtu re o f th e expedition, all m o v em en ts o u tside o r betw een th e various tow ns o f M arad i becam e su b ject to official co ntrol by th e G aladim a. T h e h e a d q u a rte rs o f each h a k i m i contained an inform al agegrad e o f y o u n g m en, s a m a r i, u n d e r a head ap p o in ted by the h a k i m i . T h is h ead , th e S arkin S am ari, was in stru cted to m obilize a co n tin g en t to m ove to M arad i b y a set day. N o penalties attached to th o se y o u th s w ho d id n o t a tten d , except ridicule and m ockery; b u t ru ra l chiefs w ho failed to tu rn o u t them selves as well as th eir forces w ere culpable. T h e se co n tin g en ts o f s a m a r i re p o rted th ro u g h th e supervisor o f th e h a k i m i to th e ru le r’s S arkin K arm a, w ho w as th e Sarkin S am ari o f th e w hole te rrito ry an d ca p tained its infantry. B ow m en w ere th e n disp atch ed to th e ru le r’s S arkin Baka, in charge o f archers. T h o se lacking eq u ip m e n t w ho so u g h t th is from th e ru le r’s captains w ere en ro lled in th e la tte r’s force. K a u ra was th e p erm a­ n e n t cap tain o f th e M arad i cavalry. T h e titleh o ld er M aradi, p erh ap s as a re w ard fo r W agaza’s bravery, b u t also because

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M a ra d i w as th e capital, co m m an d ed th e bow m en u n d e r K au ra, th e ru le r’s S ark in Baka co m m an d in g arch ers in th e re ar force a ro u n d th e ru ler. T h e w a r e q u ip m e n t o f M a ra d i in clu d ed spears, sw ords, ch ain m ail, q u ilte d c o tto n arm o u r, th ro w in g axes, o rd in ary axes, poiso n ed arrow s, flam ing arrow s, ankle chains fo r slaves, cavalry, a n d m u sk ets p u rc h ased fro m Z in d er. I n attacking a to w n , M arad aw a usually ad o p ted one o f tw o plans. E ith e r th ey relied o n darkness an d surprise, being excellent n ig h t fighters, o r th e y sh o t b u rn in g arrow s over th e walls to set th e th a tc h e d h u ts o n fire, th u s g en eratin g panic, d u rin g w hich th e y c u t fo o t-rests in th e w all fo r in fan try to clim b, th e archers firing volleys to keep th e w all clear. W h e n th e ir ow n to w ns w ere attacked th e M arad aw a p re fe rre d p itch ed b attles to sieges. F o r th is th e y generally relied o n su rp rise attacks in th e enem y’s re ar o r cam p. W h e n M a ra d i o r M ad a ru m fa w as th rea ten ed th e forces o f S ark in G o b ir o r o f K a u ra a t G ezaw a h ad th is relieving task. IV D e sp ite m any om issions, th is acco u n t adequately rep resen ts th e k ingdom o f M arad i d u rin g th e relatively stable reig n o f D a n B askore. T o focus a tte n tio n o n its p rin cip al featu res I have sim p li­ fied th e stru c tu ra l details. Its historical b ackground vividly ex­ plains th e cen tral m otifs o f D a n B askore’s state, b u t, as o u r account show s, th e g o v ern m e n t of M arad i was m ore elaborate an d com plex th a n th a t o f a w a rrio r b an d . I n its ov ert identification w ith Islam an d its historical d eriv ation fro m K atsina, w e find m an y in stitu tio n al featu res w h ich could no t otherw ise be accounted for : fo r exam ple, th e po sitio n s of r u k u n i and princes an d th e role o f Iya. T h e organs o f state, its councils, offices, p rocedures, m ilitary, ju d icial, an d religious org an ization are all evident legacies o f old K a tsin a ad ap ted to new conditions. W e have seen how th is old co n stitu tio n w as accom m odated to th e circum stances in w hich D a n K asaw a an d his successors fo u n d them selves. I n tu rn , these necessary m odifications w ere in stitu tionalized, an d so also w ere later deviations. T h o u g h th e K a u ra and G aladim a of old K atsina w ere free, an d are so now , th ey are still classified as slave and eu n u c h offices. T h u s , som e offices classified as h ered itary (k a r d a ) are d istrib u te d freely w ith in a given statu s category. T h e m odel

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to w h ich th is classification refers m ay b e th a t o f K atsin a before th e j i h a d , or M arad i u n d e r D a n K asaw a, ra th e r th a n D a n Baskore

an d his successors. I n no sense does M arad i or its an teced en t K atsin a correspond to W e b e r’s p atrim o n ial chiefdom , n o r is eith er governm ent feu d al (W eber, 1947: 317 ff. ; G oody, 1963). In b o th states a u th o r­ ity an d pow er w ere vested in th e ru lin g council, and w ere generally fused in th e u n d ifferen tiated concept of ik o , w ith o u t w hich various deviations from Islam as well as fro m K atsin a trad itio n s and pagan custom s can n o t be u n d ersto o d . D o m inance oscillated betw een the ru le r an d his r u k u n i, an d also am ong th e latter. As M uslim s ru lin g a pagan p o p u latio n , th e K atsinaw a o f M arad i ad m inistered a p lu ral society h eld to g eth er b y external th reats and in ternal sym biosis. E x p ect for ik o , th e n orm s of th is u n it, w ere u n certain an d n o t inclusive. A stro n g ru le r such as D a n Baskore, by his sim p le dom inance, was te m p te d to w eaken th e th ro n e ’s position, as w hen he ap p o in ted a free official already in charge o f th e bow m en to th e G alad im a’s office, an d gave th e office o f M arad i to th e new G alad im a’s son, th u s co n cen tratin g tw o im p o rtan t and h ith erto d istin c t fu n ctio n s in one fam ily. W h e n K a u ra H asau and M arad i Id i conspired to ap p o in t an d depose ru lers a t w ill su b seq u en t ru lers re g re tte d th is innovation. NOTES 1. N o population figures for the state of M aradi in the nineteenth century are available, b u t in 1938 the Canton of M aradi (in the Niger Colony, now the Republic of Niger) had a population of 48,282 dis­ tributed in 144 ‘villages’. 2. Fieldwork was carried out by the author in M aradi in M arch 1959, as one phase in a series of H ausa historical studies m ade during 1958/9. Since this paper was w ritten, Philippe D avid’s monograph, M a ra d i, l' ancien é ta t e t l ' ancienne v ille : site, p o p u la tio n histoire (Documents des études nigériennes, N o. 18, IF A N -C N R S, Niger, 1964) has been published. R EFEREN CES Barth, H. Daniel, F. de F.

1890

T ra vels a n d D iscoveries in N o r th a n d C e n tra l A fr ic a . Vols. 1 and 2. London. A H isto r y o f K a tsin a . Unpublished M S. in

n.d. (?19 3 8 ) Ibadan University Library.

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G o o d y , J.

W E ST A FRICA N K IN G D O M S

1963

‘F e u d a li s m in A fric a ? ’ J . A fric a n H isto ry V o l. IV , N o . X, p p . 1 -1 8 .

G o w e rs , W . F . H a j S a id

19 2 1 n .d .

H is k e t t, M .

19 6 0

L a n d e ro in , M .

1911

M is s io n T i l h o P a lm e r , H . R . P é rié , M .

S ch ӧn, J. P. U rv o y , Y . W e b e r, M .

G a zettee r o f K a n o P rovince. L o n d o n . H isto r y o f S o ko to ( t r a n s . W h it ti n g , C . E . J .) . N ig e ria . ‘K i t a b a l - f a r q : a W o r k o n t h e H a b e K i n g ­ d o m s A t t r i b u t e d to U t h m a n d a n F o d io ’, B u ll. S . O . A . S . , V o l. 2 3 , p p . 5 5 8 -7 8 .

D ocum ents scientifiques de la M issio n T ilh o (1 9 0 6 -0 9 ). V o l. 2. P a ris .

S ee L a n d e ro in , M . 1928 Sudanese M em oirs, V o l. 3. L a g o s . Cercle de M a r a d i: histoire com plète politique n .d . ( ? 194 8 ) e t a d m in istra tiv e des origines à 1 9 4 0 . C e rc le d e M a r a d i. 1885 M a g a n a r H a u sa . L o n d o n . 1936 H isto ire des popu la tio n s d u S o u d a n C en tra l ( Colonie du N ig e r). P a ris .

1947

T h eo ry o f S o c ia l a n d E conom ic O rg a n iza tio n ( t r a n s . b y H e n d e r s o n , A . M ., a n d P a rs o n s , T a lc o t t) . L o n d o n .

T H E K IN G D O M O F K O M IN W E S T C A M E R O O N E. M .

C

h il v e r

an d P . M .

K

aberry

T h e k in g d o m o f K o m (B ikom , B ekom ) is situ ated in th e open co u n try in th e m o u n tain o u s h e a rt o f B am enda, called b y its G e rm a n explorers th e ‘G rassfields’. I t w as one o f som e seventy sm all states an d village chiefdom s w ith allegedly T ik a r o r N d o b o d eriv ed dynasties in w h a t is now W est C am eroon. I n th e n in e­ te e n th c e n tu ry th e G rassfields fo rm e d p a rt o f a h in terlan d w hich in clu d ed th e so-called B am ileke chiefdom s (once in clu d ed in th e D sch a n g D ivision), th e k in g d o m o f B am um , an d th e T ik a r chiefdom s p ro p e r (K im i, B andam , N gam be, D itam , etc.), and w h ich w as designated b y tra d e rs o f C alabar an d th e C am eroons coast som etim es as ‘B ayong’, som etim es as ‘M b u d ik u m ’ o r ‘M b rik u m ’. I t w as d escrib ed to E u ro p ean s ap proaching it from th e n o rth across th e K a tsin a A la R iver o r from th e n o rth -e ast across th e M b a m (or L ib a) R iver as ‘B afum ’ o r ‘M b a fu ’ (B arth, 1857: Vol. 2, 631; Z intgraff, 1895: 310; T h o rb eck e, 1916: Vol. 2, 10). E x p lo ratio n o f th e G rassfields fro m th e n o rth w as difficult because th ey lay ju s t so u th o f w est o f th e disorderly m arc h o f th e rebellious A dam aw a g o v ern o rs; F legel w as th e first to approach th e ir n o rth e rn b o rd e rs in 1884. B etw een th e m an d th e coast lay som e tw o -h u n d re d m iles o f ra in forest. I n th e en d th ey w ere first p e n e tra te d b y E u g en Z intgraff, w ho reached Bali (a pow erful chiefdom w ith a C h am b a dynasty) from th e coast in Jan u a ry 1889; later in th e y ear h e trav ersed K o m .1 K o m h ad n o fu rth e r co n tacts w ith th e G erm an s u n til D ecem ber 1901, w h en p atrols, engaged in a p u n itiv e attack on its n eig h b o u r a n d rival B afut, crossed its b o rd e r an d accepted th e subm ission o f tw o K o m trib u ta ry chiefs, th o se o f M eju n g and M ejang, erro n eo u sly believed to b e B afu t vassals. I n Jan u a ry 1902 th e ‘ch ief o f B ekom ’ is said to have b e e n am ong th e first w ho com ­ p lim e n te d Pavel, th e co m m an d in g officer o f th e expedition, on his v icto ry over B afut a n d gave h im gifts an d prom ises to supply lab o u rers fo r th e new im p erial m ilitary statio n being established a t B am enda (a n am e d erived fro m th e sm all chiefdom of M an d a

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Sketch Map of Bamenda Grassfields N kw e, a few m iles to th e so u th o f B afut). (D . K bl. : Vol. 13, 162, 238).2 A m o n th later L t. S trü m pell visited th e chief’s palace at L aikom an d m ade th e first surveys in th e chiefdom . D u rin g 1904, w h en a revolt in th e U p p e r C ross R iver d istrict was occupying th e b u lk of th e B am enda garrison, K om appears to have rejected th e S ta tio n ’s d em an d s an d is re p o rted as being u n d e r m ilitary occupation in Ja n u a ry -F e b ru a ry 1905, w h en th e area was fu rth e r explored b y L t. H eigelin (D . K b l.: 16, 557). A head-tax, in fact a tax -q u o ta, b egan to be ap p lied in 1909, an d K o m su pplied th e p o rters an d statio n an d tax lab o u r d em an d ed o f it. I t lay ra th e r bey o n d th e sp h ere o f Basel M ission activity, b u t a t th e en d o f th e G e rm an régim e it was b ein g p ro sp e cted by th e S ittard F ath ers established in its eastern n eig h b o u r N so in 1913. T h e B ritish take-over from th e G erm ans an d th e policy of

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In d ire c t R ule in tro d u ce d in 1922 d id n o t p resen t K o m w ith any overw helm ing p ro b lem s o f accom m odation. T h e se cam e ra th e r fro m th e m issions, in p artic u la r th e R om an C atholic M ission, w h ich pro v id ed an alternative focus o f loyalty. T h e breakneck speed o f political an d social change after 1945 caused som e con­ vulsions, su ch as th e em ergence in 1958 o f an an tinom ian w om en’s m o vem ent o f p ro test em ploying som e traditio n al form ulae. N evertheless, in 1947 m an y o f th e trad itio n al kinship, econom ic, political, an d religious in stitu tio n s rem ained at th e core o f social life, an d even in 1963 h ad re ta in ed th e ir viability. I n its political in stitu tio n s K o m resem bles m any neighb o u rin g kingdom s an d village chiefdom s, m o st o f w hich have dynasties w h ich claim an origin in th e region o f th e U p p e r M b am R iver an d its trib u taries in w h at is now E ast C am eroon. T h is claim varies in expression: in som e cases, fo r exam ple in N so, N tem , N d u , an d N g u , a d irec t link is asserted w ith K im i (B ankim ), th e senior T ik a r chiefdom , o r w ith its coronation site, R ifum . (I n E ast C am eroon, B am um , D itam , B andam , an d B agham am ong o th ers also have K im i-d eriv e d dynasties.) I n o th ers th e claim is m ore vaguely expressed in term s o f origin in ‘T ik a ri’ o r in ‘N d o b o ’ — a te rm som etim es specifically ap p lied to th e T ik a r area n o rth o f F u m b a n an d ju s t so u th of B anyo, o r to th e people am ong w hom th e T ik a r dynasts them selves settled after th eir legendary exodus fro m th e M b u m area on th e N g au n d ere plateau (K aberry, 1962: 282-4). T h e ru le r of K im i still m aintains ritu al links w ith B am um , B andam , D itam , N tem , and N gu, and has recently revived those w ith N so. K om , B afut, N kw en (B afreng), and a n u m b e r o f chiefdom s in th e N d o p Plain, such as B am unka, Bam essi, an d N sei, claim a ‘N d o b o ’ orig in ; b u t th ere are others, n o tab ly M ankon, B abungo, an d M b o t, w hich have sim ilar in stitu tio n s b u t w hich den y a T ik a r or N d o b o origin for th eir dynasties. L in g u istic evidence lends no su p p o rt to th e broad th eo ry o f m igrations p u t fo rw ard in som e B ritish assessm ent an d intelligence re p o rts, in w hich it was p o stu lated th a t T ik ar o r T ik ariz ed peoples fro m th e n o rth -east m et an d m ingled w ith th e so-called ‘W id ek u m ’ peoples o f th e forested south-w est, and w ere follow ed b y in tru siv e C ham ba, T ra n s-D o n g a, and ‘M u n sh i’ g roups. T h e b u lk of th e people of th e G rassfields speak B antoid languages of th e g ro u p called N g k o m by R ichardson because they have m an y of th e featu res o f N gkom , th e language o f K om , as

Sketch Map of Kom

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d escrib ed b y B ruens (R ichardson, 1956: 42 ; B ruens, 1942-45). T ik a r (T u m u , N d o b ) dialects are n o t spoken except in N g u an d a few h am lets b o rd e rin g th e T ik a r area p ro p er. T h e people o f B am um speak a Bam ileke type o f language. T h e term T ik a r o r N d o b o as ap p lied in th e B am enda G rassfields has, th en , n eith er e th n ic n o r linguistic co n n o tatio n s: it im plies, ra th e r, a claim to th e legitim acy o f political in stitu tio n s an d to th e ir u ltim ate derivation fro m a legendary ce n tre w h ich sanctioned th e ir ado p tio n .3 I n m o st o f th e chiefdom s o f th e G rassfields th e re was a sacred kingship, a cu lt o f d ead kings, a d istin ctio n betw een royals an d com m oners, certain titles reserv ed to princes an d princesses, state councillors (usually hered itary ), an d a m ilitary organization based on village o r w a rd w a rrio r lodges. A distinctive in stitu tio n was a reg u lato ry society (know n variously as k w i f o y n , n g w e r o n g , n g g u m b a , etc.) w hich h a d its q u a rte rs in th e palace p recin cts and h ad am ong its duties th e re c ru itm e n t in boyhood o f palace re ­ tain ers fro m free-b o rn com m oners. (O nly in certain chiefdom s w ere royals ad m itte d to its q u arte rs.) A s th e executive arm o f g o v ern m en t, it could th ere fo re b e reg arded as a body o f recru ited retainers. B u t th e m em b ersh ip o f its in n er lodges m ig h t b e h ere­ d itary o r appointive o r a m ix tu re o f b o th , a n d it m ig h t have advisory, ju d icial, an d ritu a l fu n ctio n s. I t w as everyw here a secret society w ith s a c r a of gongs an d n am ed m asks. O ne day in th e eightday w eek was reserved to it: m em b ers m e t a n d no one else in th e capital m ig h t fire a g u n o r strike a d ru m o n p ain o f p u n ish ­ m en t. A t im p o rta n t n ational events o r th e d ea th o f a m em b er th e society p u t o n its m asked dances. I n th e execution o f its state d u ties its retain ers ap p e are d clo th ed in n e t gow ns w h ich m asked face an d b o d y ; its a u th o rity w as o f a n im personal kind, an d its agents could n o t b e h e ld to acco u nt b y th e populace. I t was everyw here seen as su p p o rtin g th e chief; w ith o u t it th e re w ould b e d iso rd er (K ab erry , 1962: 287). D u rin g th e n in e te e n th c e n tu ry five kingdom s w ith T ik a r- o r N d o b o -d e riv ed dynasties— N so, K om , B afut, B um , an d N d u — ex ten d e d th e ir b o u n d aries b y in co rp o ratin g an d m aking trib u ta ry n eig h b o u rin g village chiefdom s. B um th o u g h sm all (population 5,000 in 1953) was im p o rtan t, since it was th e en tre p ô t fo r th e kola tra d e w ith J u k u n an d H a u sa in th e n o rth -w est in th e later p a rt o f th e cen tu ry . I t was o n te rm s o f in te rm itte n t h o stility w ith its so u th e rn n eig h b o u r K om , b u t h ad pacts o f frien d sh ip w ith N so

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an d N d u (p o p u latio n 8,300 in 1953). N so (population 50,000 in 1953) w a s fo r th e m o st p a rt a t en m ity w ith N d u , b u t h ad an alliance w ith K o m ; w hile K o m itself (p o pulation 27,000 in 1953) co m p eted w ith B afut (p o p u latio n 19,000 in 1953) o n its so u th ­ w e ste rn b o u n d a ry for th e allegiance o f tin y village chiefdom s. A ll, w ith th e exception o f K o m , h ad patrilineal dynasties. P o litical in stitu tio n s received th e ir greatest elaboration in N so, b u t, as som e acco u n t o f th e m has b een given elsew here (K ab erry , 1952, 1959, 1962), K o m has b een selected fo r detailed tre a tm e n t in th is essay.4 I n th e first place, it can b e tak en as exem plifying m an y o f th e characteristics o f o th e r states in th e area; secondly, it has, u n til very re c e n t years, b ee n less affected b y d irect o r in d irect colonial p re ssu res as co m p ared , fo r exam ple, w ith B afut, w hich lay only sixteen m iles fro m ad m in istrativ e h ea d q u arters an d suffer­ ed heavy casualties at th e h an d s o f G e rm an tro o p s in 1901, 1904/5, an d 1907. T h ird ly , th e recency o f th e p erio d in w hich it ex p a n d ed its b o rd e rs m akes it easier to recover d ata on its grow th as a state ; an d , finally, it is th e largest o f th e chiefdom s w ith a m atrilin eal dynasty. S om e o f its in stitu tio n s are very sim ilar to th o se of th e sm all in d e p e n d e n t chiefdom s o f M m e (M eng), F u n g o m , K u k , N yos, an d K u n g to th e n o rth , w hich also have m atrilin eal d y n asties; indeed, a n u m b e r of th e larger m atrilineal clans o f K o m have b ran ch es in som e o f those chiefdom s and are said to derive fro m th em . O th e r clans, how ever, claim ancestresses fro m O ku, N so, B abungo, Baba, A ghem , an d n o rth e rn B afut, b u t they, too, are m atrilineal, w ith th e exception of th e K ijam clan, d eriving from th e fo rm er K ijam chiefdom in w hat was later to becom e th e so u th e rn sector o f K om . L ineage genealogies are shallow in d ep th , b u t clan trad itio n s collected in K om , B um , an d o th er p arts of th e W u m D ivision, to g eth er w ith th e m arked cu ltu ra l hom ogeneity o f th e area, suggest th a t a n u m b e r o f th e in h ab itan ts o f K o m p ro p e r an d its n o rth e rn trib u ta ry chiefdom s are descended fro m a p o p u latio n w h ich h ad long b een settled in th e n o rth e rn an d cen tral p a rts o f th e G rassfields. I t is doubtful, how ever, w h e th e r th e p re se n t dynasty o f K o m w as established m u ch before th e m id d le of th e eig h teenth century. A dateline is p ro v id ed b y Z in tg raff’s jo u rn e y th ro u g h K om to w ard s th e en d o f 1889, w hen he received a som ew hat hostile recep tio n at th e h an d s o f th e w arriors of its ru ler, Y u (Z intgraff, 1895: 317 ff.). T h e re w ere still, in 1963, individuals living in

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K o m w ho h ad seen Zintgraff, or w ho could recall th e excitem ent caused by his visit or w ho w ere able to say w h eth er th ey had been b o rn sh o rtly after th a t event. I f th e ir evidence, including th a t of P rin ce F o m b an g aged a b o u t eighty-five an d eldest surviving son o f Y u, can be accepted, Y u h im self h ad already been on th e th ro n e ab o u t tw enty-five years. Y u was th e seventh king (f o y n ) to reign a t Laikom , th e h illtop cap ital: h e h ad succeeded as a young m arried m an, possibly in th e early 1860s, an d he died a very old m an in 1912, a b o u t th re e years before th e defeat o f th e G erm ans by the B ritish. K om , as it existed at th e tim e o f Z intgraff’s visit, w as largely his creation, an d in th is it resem bled som e o f its neigh­ bo u rs, w here long-lived ru lers endow ed w ith intelligence, a gift for innovation, an d m ilitary leadership consolidated royal control an d ex ten d ed state boundaries.

T h e O r ig in a n d E x p a n s i o n o f t h e S t a t e

T h e fo u n d a tio n o f th e dynasty at L aikom is closely associated w ith th re e clans— E kw ü , A chaf, an d Itinelaa. T h e kingship becam e vested in one o f th e m atrilineages o f th e E kw ü clan, b u t an A ch af lineage an d a Itin elaa lineage pro v id ed th e enstoolers o f kings. (I n M m e, F u n g o m , K u k , N yos, an d R u n g th e dynasties all belong to th e A ch af clan.) T h e royal legend o f origin b rings th e ancestor o f th e royal clan from N d o b o to Bam essi (presum ably th e n in its o ld er location in B am um ), w here he settled w ith his people. L a te r m ost o f th e m w ere destroyed by a trick o f th e B am es­ si chief. T h e re m n a n t u n d e r a new leader crossed N so to Jo ttin on its w estern b o rd e r; fro m th e re th ey passed to A jung, w here th ey stayed aw hile an d en tered in to an alliance, still com m em or­ ated in th e royal installation cerem onies. L ate r Jina, th e fo u n d er of th e K o m dynasty, led his follow ers to Laikom , w here they su b seq u en tly displaced th e N d o n ale clan. T h e latter m oved the seat o f th e ir chiefdom to A chain (see p. 133). T h e in fo rm atio n for th e p erio d before Y u ’s reig n is th in , and trad itio n s conflict in th e a ttrib u tio n o f events, including conquests, to th e first rulers. I n ad d itio n to A ju ng and Ake, th ey controlled a scatter o f villages in A basakom (literally, side or area of K om ) in w h at is now th e n o rth e rn sector o f th e kingdom . W ith in th e royal clan of E kw ü th ere was alm ost certainly com petition for th e kingsh ip : one tra d itio n reco rd s su ch an instance follow ing on the

Fig.

5

. Genealogy of the K om dynasty

L im itations of space preclude the inclusion of all m em bers of the genera­ tion of L o ’o (the reigning fоуn in 1 9 6 3 ) and all of those of the succeeding generation. L o ’o, ten th ruler o f K om , died in M ay 1 9 6 6 and was suc­ ceeded by th e heir apparent, N som K ey: u.c. = m ales; l.c. = fem ales; italics = deceased; rgd. = reigned; V H = Village H ead

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d e a th o f th e second king, K u m an b o n g . T h e form alized genealogy fo r th e early reigns (see p. 130) lacks exam ples o f fraternal su c­ cession u n til th e tim e o f K am ang. T h is is suspicious, since th e k ingship sh o u ld go to th e eldest m ale in th e lineage, b u t it is possible th a t h alf-b ro th ers w ere som etim es passed over o r else h ad died d u rin g th e reigns o f long-lived rulers, su ch as th e fifth king T u fo y n . T h e fo u n d a tio n o f som e settlem ents so u th o f A basakom tow ards th e en d of th e eig h teen th cen tu ry is credited to th ree m em bers of th e royal lineage w ho, for one reason or another, w ere excluded fro m th e g ro u p o f likely successors : one o f these, N so m -S ü , established him self at F uli, another, K im o -S ü , a t A nyajua. L ate r, possibly in th e 1820s, A ya’a, w ho w as th e son o f N so m -S ü an d a K ijam w om an, fo u n d ed th e n eig h b o u rin g village o f A bo. T h e se villages gave th e royal house a foothold in th e fertile area know n as N g g w in -K ijam (the h u n tin g lan d o f K ijam ). P a rt o f it, as th e nam e suggests, at one tim e co n stitu ted th e chiefdom o f K ijam , w hich, in th e early decades o f th e n in etee n th cen tu ry , h a d its h ea d q u arters n ear N jinikijam . A ya’a, in h is early m an h o o d , h a d lived n ear his m o th e r’s people at N jinikijam , b u t in th e reig n o f T u fo y n — possibly in th e 1840s— th e K ijam ch ief left w ith m an y of his people after his defeat in w ar b y K o m . H e eventually established a successor chiefdom a t K ijәm -K әgu (B abanki) so u th o f th e p re se n t K o m b o rd e r. A lth o u g h trad itio n s and genealogical evidence suggest th a t o th e r people besides th e K ijam w ere living in th e area, th e d e p a rtu re o f th e K ijәm left lands vacant in to w hich th e K o m p ro p e r m oved. T h e king o f K o m ap p o in ted village heads (b o th m em b ers o f th e Itin elaa clan) at Belo and N jinikijәm a n d placed th e m in charge o f raffia stands. T u fo y n died a very old m an, c . 1850-55, and it seem s p robable th a t his elderly b ro th e r K ә m ә n g , w ho succeeded him , exercised little effective co n tro l over w h a t was now th e so u th ern p a rt o f th e kingdom , alth o u g h A ya’a, eith er in th e reign o f N kw ain or T u fo y n , h a d b ee n given in m arriage th e princess F u n k u y n , w ho gave b ir th to Y u (c . 1830-35) an d six o th er children. Y u, w ho was th e h e ir-a p p a re n t in K әm ә n g ’s reign, left his fa th e r’s village at A bo o n m arriage an d b u ilt a co m p o u n d n ear Belo. Cases w ere tak en to h im for settlem en t, an d th is, to g eth er w ith his p atern al link w ith th e fo rm er K ijәm chiefdom , m ay have b een regarded as a challenge to th e au th o rity of th e aged ru ler. K әm әn g , at all events, had h im escorted o u t of th e c o u n try b y k w i f o y n (the nam e o f th e palace

K

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reg u lato ry society in K o m (see p. 143), b u t after tw o years he re ­ called h im fro m b a n ish m e n t for a reconciliation an d died shortly afterw ards. Y u, th e n in his th irtie s an d w ith a re p u ta tio n as a w a r­ rio r, w as im m ediately e n th ro n e d an d was in a favourable position to consolidate his p o sitio n an d in co rporate N g g w in -K ijәm effec­ tively w ith in th e kingdom . H e h im self h ad already acq u ired in ­ fluence in th e area n ear Belo, his fa th e r A ya’a w as a m an o f w ealth an d village head in A bo, a few m iles to th e n o rth -east. A y a’a w as given h o n o u rs : he w as m ad e a titled m em b er in th re e sections o f k w i f o y n an d was p e rm itte d to establish lodges o f th e tw o h ig h ran k in g palace societies o f c h o n g an d a c h әm . H e w as endow ed w ith slaves an d th e rig h t to re ta in one tu sk o f any elep h an t killed by h im or his people. By v irtu e o f b ein g fa th e r o f th e F oyn, h e was sen t retain ers for th e clearance o f his guin ea-co rn farm s, an d he always received an anim al at th e d istrib u tio n o f gam e in th e an n u al royal h u n t. L astly, it was decreed b y Y u an d k w i f o y n (p robably at th e in stig atio n o f A ya’a him self) th a t h en cefo rth no w om en of th e royal m atrilineage w ere to be given in m arriage. T h e y w ere free to take lovers, b u t th e titu la r fath er o f all ch ild ren b o rn to th em was to be th e h o ld er of th e village headship o f A bo. A ya’a fo u n d e d th e K ijәm patrilineage, in w hich th e village h ea d ­ ship is still vested. T h is co n ferrin g of p erp etu al titu la r fath erh o o d u p o n th e village heads of A bo in relation to th e dynastic lineage gave th e m a u n iq u e p o sitio n in th e K o m polity. I t was also, one suspects, a m eans by w h ich Y u secured a strong ally in th e so u th ern p a rt of his kingdom . Y u was am b itio u s to expand his k ingdom : it was said of h im th a t w ars began w ith h im an d finished w ith him , th e last being th e b attle w ith th e G erm an s in 1904/5. T h e m o untainous terrain of K o m p ro tec ted it to a large ex ten t from external foes and p ro ­ vided san ctu ary for refugees, am ong th em th e chiefs of N sei (Bam essing) an d N k w en (B afreng), w ho fled from th e m o u n ted raid ers w ho ravaged so m u c h o f th e su rro u n d in g area in th e m id ­ cen tu ry . Y u revitalized th e village m ilitary lodges: he gave th e m w ar an d som e o f th e profits o f w ar and invited noted w arriors to d rin k w eekly at th e palace lodge. T h e m ost pow erful n eig h b o u r to th e so u th was th e co n q u est state o f Bafut, w hich in th e reign o f its king A m b u ’m b i (Z in tg raff’s G w alem ) or ju s t p rio r to it was h arry in g th e sm all village chiefdom s of M ejung, B aicham , M binkas, an d Baiso. T h e s e so u g h t th e p ro tectio n o f Y u, w ho

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in co rp o rated th e m into his kingdom , b u t p erm itted th em to retain th e ir h e red itary chiefs. H e raid ed B afut for slaves, b u t did not, ap p aren tly , seek to ex ten d his co n trol in th e area to th e w est, w here palm -oil was p ro d u c ed an d w here chiefdom s w ere m in i­ scule. T h e y w ere w ith in th e sphere of influence of A ghem (popula­ tio n 9,700 in 1953), to w hom th ey gave ren d ers o f oil, an d Y u m ay have th o u g h t it in ex p ed ien t to risk a w ar w ith th eir overlo rd . H e did, how ever, attack th e in d ep en d en t village chiefdom o f M m e on th e n o rth e rn b o u n d ary o f K om fo r slaves on at least th re e occasions. K o m w as on term s o f frien d sh ip w ith O ku on its eastern b o u n d ­ ary ; b u t th e n a tu re of its relations, initially, w ith A chain an d B um to th e n o rth is obscure, an d it is n o t clear w h eth er at th a t tim e A chain was already trib u ta ry to K om . Y u w aged w ar against th em at least tw ice: he gained com plete control o f A chain, b u t failed to red u ce B u m ; at a later stage relationships w ere sufficiently frien d ly for in dividuals to engage in trad e across th e b orders. K o m also raid ed for slaves in th e vicinity o f B abungo and over tow ards th e so u th -w e ste rn b o u n d ary o f N so, w ith w hom , how ever, th e re was a p act o f frien d sh ip involving royal g ift exchange and th e m u tu al re tu rn of ru n -aw ay w ives an d slaves. T h e E co n o m ic B a s is o f th e S t a t e

By his policy o f raiding, Y u consolidated con tro l along his b o rd e rs, b ro u g h t w ealth in to th e co untry, and stren g th en ed his h o ld over his ow n people, n o t least th e m em bers o f th e dynastic lineage. N ggam , a siste r’s son to Y u an d h eir ap p aren t, w as m ade village h ead o f F u li, w as given som e tw o h u n d re d slaves, an d w as responsible fo r organizing raid s so u th o f th e kingdom . N g g am ’s b ro th er, N d i, becam e village h ea d o f M b am in A basakom , h a d his ow n slaves an d w as resp o n sib le fo r w arfare across n o rth e rn and w estern fro n tiers ; an o th e r siste r’s son, K in ә-N engshia, w as ap p o in ­ te d village head o f A nyajua (see genealogy). T h e palace h ad a large co m p lem en t o f slaves, b u t n o ted w arrio rs an d favoured notables received w ar captives w h o m th ey could eith er use as labourers o r tra d e for guns, gu n p o w d er, an d oil. K o m becam e th e m ain p ro v id er o f slaves fro m th e G rassfields to th e m iddlem en o f th e escarp m en t edge. K o m trad e rs exchanged kola and slaves for J u k u n blue stencilled cloth, salt, an d beads w ith B um ; kola for oil w ith A ghem ; slaves, iron goods, an d livestock fo r oil, guns, and

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g u n p o w d e r w ith M an k o n , w ho, in its tu rn , obtain ed oil from M e ta chiefdom s to th e w est an d m ad e a m id d le m a n ’s profit. K o m itself also acted as m id d lem an fo r th e d istrib u tio n o f Ju k u n cloth, o b tain ed fro m B um , tra d in g it to N kw en an d som e o f th e villages in th e N d o p P lain , w ho w ere in to u c h w ith th e m arkets o f B agham a n d B am endjinda, su p p liers o f salt an d g u n s (see also, C hilver, 1961). T h e econom y w as a p ro sp e ro u s one. T h e re seem s to have b een n o elab o ratio n o f s u m p tu a ry law s, su ch as o ccu rred in N so, b u t th e re w ere differences in w ealth in so fa r as m em b ers o f th e d y n as­ tic lineage, sons o f th e king, fav o u red retain ers, titled elders o f th e palace, an d som e sm ith s w ere able to acquire slaves, livestock, oil, cloth, an d beads. A ll m en h ad farm s w h ich p ro d u ced a range o f crops— g u in ea-co rn , m aize, coco-yam s, plantains, an d pulses. K o m was fertile an d w as sp ared th e seasonal perio d s o f shortage w h ich afflicted som e o f its n eig h b o u rs. A s in m an y p a rts o f th e G rassfields, w o m en w ere resp o n sib le fo r m o st o f th e agriculture, th o u g h th e y received m ale assistance in th e clearing o f farm s an d at harvest. M e n b u ilt houses, h u n te d , re are d sm all livestock, grew kola trees, an d engaged in tra d e to o b tain salt and oil an d to accu m ­ u late w ealth to p ay b rid e-p rice, m eet th e ir dues to societies, and fulfil cerem onial com m itm ents. T h e palace at L aik o m w as n o t only a focus of political and ritu al activities b u t a ce n tre o f d istrib u tio n , w here notables w ere in fre q u e n t atten d an ce an d received gifts of cloth, guns, and wives from th e F o y n (king). T h e F o y n h ad his ow n m onopolies: h erd s o f d w a rf cattle w h ich w ere killed at festivals and also u sed to feed th e royal household, leopard, lion, an d o tter skins, tusks of ivory, an d th e first claim to w ar captives. T h e dry season provided th e conditions m o st favourable to th e pro secu tio n of h u n tin g an d w arfare an d w as in au g u ra ted by th e annual cerem ony of ib in h eld at th e capital at th e en d o f D ecem b er o r early January. T h e F o y n p erfo rm ed sacrifices to his ancestors; re n d ers of food, fish, oil, w ine, an d livestock w ere m ade by trib u ta ry chiefs; and th e w arriors o f village m ilitary lodges, eq u ip p ed w ith th e ir arm s, staged dances in th e palace piazza, th u s providing a display of th e arm ed stre n g th o f th e k ingdom an d its capacity to p u n ish dis­ loyalty. O th e r sources of royal revenues w ere a share in fines, levied a t th e royal co u rt, in fees p aid fo r titles in th e palace and k w ifo y n (see p. 145), an d b y retain ers at th e end of th eir period

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o f service at th e palace. T h e re w ere also royal raffia stands, kola trees, an d scattered farm s w orked by th e F o y n ’s wives. E ach village h ad th e d u ty of b u ild in g an d repairing one or m ore houses in th e palace; skilled carvers an d sm iths gave th eir services, b u t w ere well rew ard ed w ith food, livestock, and som etim es wives. R a n k a n d S o c ia l C a teg o rie s

T h e re are tw o m ain social categories in K o m p ro p e r: royals (including n o t only m atrilineal kin b u t also th e ch ild ren and sons’ ch ild re n o f kings) an d com m oners. P rio r to th e tim e of Y u a th ird category, dom estic slaves, was p robably of negligible im p o rt­ ance, and even d u rin g his reig n it is d o u b tfu l if th ey n u m b ered m ore th a n a few h u n d re d s. As com pared w ith th e kingdom of N so to th e east, th e re was little elaboration of rank in th e sense o f a hierarch y of h ered itary nobles an d titled palace retainers. A p a rt from fo u r h ered itary priests w ho w ere in charge of the state cults at th e capital an d w ho w ere chosen from four clans, A chaf, Itinelaa, E kw ü , an d E gayn, th e m en regularly em ployed a t th e palace an d its p recin cts as officers of k w ifo y n , as cham berlains and envoys, w ere all appointees of th e king. T h e re w as no con stitu ted council o f advisers, b u t all village an d com p o u n d heads w ho had p aid a fee could assist in th e ju d g in g o f cases in th e king’s court, e tw i. A m ong th ese a few w on th e fav o u r of th e king, w ere ap pointed leading elders in k w ifo y n , an d becam e his confidential advisers. T o a very gre at ex ten t access to th e k in g ’s counsels an d th e exercise o f political influence d ep en d ed o n services re n d ere d to th e th ro n e, ability, an d w ealth, th o u g h sons o f th e king w ho h a d intelligence an d h ad w on his tru s t enjoyed an initial advantage b y v irtu e o f th e ir b irth an d th e freed o m o f access it gave th e m to all p arts o f th e palace an d fam iliarity w ith its affairs. C lans w ere n o t ranked. E kw ü occupied a special positio n in th a t th e kingship w as v ested in one o f its com p o n en t m atrilineages. I t m ig h t th erefo re be reg ard ed as a royal clan, b u t, unless m em bers belo n g ed to th e dynastic lineage, th e y enjoyed no p articu lar p restig e in anyone’s eyes b u t th e ir ow n, an d it w ould, we think, b e a d isto rtio n o f local a ttitu d e s to speak o f th e m as collateral royals. T h e dynastic m atrilineage was called n d o - fo y n (house o f th e F oyn), som etim es n d o - F u n k u y n (F u n k u y n b ein g th e m o th er o f Y u), o r n d o - B o , after th e m o th er o f th e fo u n d e r o f th e dynasty at L aikom . Its m em b ersh ip m u st always have b een sm all: in 1963

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th e re w ere eig h t m ales an d six fem ales still alive ; o f th e latter tw o w ere p ast ch ild-bearing. M em b ers, regardless of generation, w ere referred to as w o y n je m te fo y n (sisters’ children of th e F o y n ); d u rin g th e ir childhood an d early adolescence girls lived at th e palace. Soon after p u b e rty th ey u n d erw en t a cerem ony o f em er­ gence called ‘w ashing aw ay th e cam w ood of th e palace’ ; th ey th e n lived in houses b u ilt ro u n d th e m ain piazza an d w ere free to take lovers fro m am ong th e notables w ho visited th e capital. W h en a prin cess fo rm ed a p e rm a n e n t relatio nship w ith a lover she eith er w e n t to live in his co m p o u n d or established one of h er ow n n ea r­ b y an d was endow ed w ith fem ale retain ers and som etim es slaves b y th e F oyn. A t h e r d ea th she w as b u ried in one o f th e royal b u rial gro u n d s at th e capital o r in th e village o f K ukfini (in N g g w in -K ijәm ), an d h e r co m p o u n d was in h erited by h er eldest son. A m ong princesses, th e n a fo y n (q u een -m o th er) enjoyed a ra n k second only to th a t o f F oyn. She form erly resided in th e royal grave sh rin e (e fu m ) at L aikom , w atched over th e children o f th e palace, an d received v isito rs.5 She had no sacrificial or political role, b u t was in a position to advise th e F oyn privately. O n h e r d eath th e F o y n ap p o in ted th e eldest w om an in th e m a tri­ lineage as n a fo y n , an d sh e was installed an d in stru cted in h e r duties b y th e b o b e -k w ifo y n , th e re sid e n t officer o f k w ifo y n . T h e eldest o f th e p rin ces o f th e blo od w as th e h eir ap p a ren t and, w ith one exception, h as alw ays b e e n village h ead o f F uli. O th e r p rin ces in o rd e r o f sen io rity o f age u sually succeeded to p articu lar village headships, w h ere th e office since th e tim e o f Y u, and before in som e cases, h ad b een v ested in th e dynastic lineage. T h is device m ain tain ed th e p restig e o f th e royal house an d gave royal in cu m b en ts a n o p p o rtu n ity to ac q u ire skill in th e a rt o f govern­ m en t. T h e h e ir ap p a re n t acted as th e F o y n ’s d ep u ty in th e N ggw inK ijәm sector, in so far as cases w ere re ferred to h im fo r ju d g e m e n t w h ich could n o t b e settle d a t th e village level. B u t rarely w ere he an d o th e r p rin ces o f th e blo o d p e rm itte d to becom e leading elders in th e lodges o f k w ifo y n , since th is w ould have placed th em in a p o sitio n w h ere th e y m ig h t th re a te n th e F o y n ’s authority. T h e p rin c e o f th e b lo o d w ho succeeded to th e kingship w as se t a p a rt fro m o th ers b y a ritu a l o f installation w hich identified h im w ith p ast kings an d b ro u g h t h im in to co m m union w ith th em . A w eek a fte r th e b u rial o f a k in g th e tw o new ly ap p o in ted p riestenstoolers each took an arm o f th e h eir ap p a re n t and seated h im

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o n a ston e in fro n t o f th e n d o - n tu l (house o f N tu l), w hich was associated w ith rites o f reconciliation and appeasem ent, an d was also said to re p resen t th e c o u n try o f K o m (see p. 146). H e was slap p ed an d buffeted for th e last tim e, an d was th e n led to th e royal grave sh rin e, w as placed o n th e installation stool, robed, an d ru b b e d w ith cam w ood b y th e p riests in th e presence o f ‘sons o f th e palace’ an d cham berlains. T h e re , to g eth er w ith his tw o enstoolers, he was secluded for eight days, visited b y notables, and th e n cerem on­ ially co n d u c te d aro u n d th e palace. T h re e o r fo u r days after this, w ith th e assistance o f h is p riest-en stoolers, he sacrificed a goat before th e grave sh rin e an d invoked th e nam es o f his ancestors. T h e re a fte r he was expected to do th is regularly; sacrifices w ere also m ade from tim e to tim e to deceased q u een -m o th ers by th e priest-enstoolers. C h ild ren o f a F o y n b o rn before his accession, to g eth er w ith th o se b o rn su b seq u en tly , ran k ed as ‘ch ild ren o f th e palace’ (w o y n to ) an d w ere reg ard ed as royals or, to use R ich ard s’ a p t p h rase ‘royal in eligibles’, since th e y could n eith er succeed n o r bear h eirs to th e th ro n e (R ichards, 1961: 144). D au g h ters w ere given aw ay in m arriage to notables b y th e F oyn, and fro m am ong th e sons o f such w om en som e m ig h t be b ro u g h t back into th e palace to act as pages and, in late adolescence, m ig h t be ap pointed to th e office of b o b e -k w ifo y n , one of th e m ost influential in th e kingdom . O f th e six m en w ho served Y u in th is capacity, one was his ow n d au g h te r’s son, an d an o th er d au g h ter’s son o f T ufoyn. F o y n ’s sons h ad access at all tim es to th e palace, and, as m entioned earlier, som e becam e tru s te d advisers of th e Foyn. T h e F oyn h ad th e rig h t to ap p o in t a son to each of th e tw o senior lodges of k w ifo y n . I t is significant th a t in th e list o f m en in th e A chaf clan w ho acted as king-enstoolers, several w ere sons of Foyns. In fo rm an ts said th is w as a coincidence, how ever freq u en t, b u t o u r evidence show s th a t som e of th e key offices in th e kingdom w ere h eld b y ‘royal in eligibles’ and by sons o f king’s daughters. I t was to th e su p p o rt o f su ch m en th a t th e F oyn could look, if n eed be, against th e p reten sio n s o f princes o f th e blood. T e r r ito r ia l O r g a n iz a tio n

M u c h o f K o m (c . 280 sq u are m iles in area) occupies a high m o u n tain te rra in at an average h eig ht o f 5,000 feet above sealevel; in th e h ea rt o f th e co u n try o n a sp u r at som e 6,300 feet is th e

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capital, L aikom , w here th e F o y n has his palace and th ere are a few com pounds occupied b y retain ers and priest-eld ers. In 1953 th e re w ere tw en ty -sev en villages in K o m p ro p er, w ith a total p o p u latio n o f 23,626; th e te n form er trib u ta ry chiefdom s accounted for an o th er 3,000. T h e g reat m ajority o f villages had p o p u latio n s of less th a n 1,000, an d m any of these u n d e r 500. T h e people o f K o m w ere divided into nam ed dispersed clans. T h e re w ere no clan heads ; th e clan ( isa sen d o , lit. b u ttocks o f th e house) w as n eith er a political n o r a ritu al u n it. E ach clan was com posed of a n u m b e r of non-localized sub-clans, am ong w hich th e re w ere no p o stu lated genealogical links, ap art fro m a belief in com m on descent fro m som e rem o te and usu ally u n n am ed ances­ tress. W ith in th e su b -clan ( ik u 'o ), th e m o st resp ected an d in ­ fluential eld er p resid ed at m o rtu a ry an d installation cerem onies fo r co m p o u n d heads, an d m ig h t b e in v ited on su ch occasions to settle o u tstan d in g d isp u tes w ith in th e su b -clan w ith th e help o f elders o f its co m p o n en t lineages. T h e lineage (ic h u 'n d o ), usually som e th re e to six g en eratio n s in d e p th , w as th e exogam ous un it. M arriag e was usually virilocal, an d if a m an h ad b een assisted by his fa th e r in o b tain in g a w ife h e w o uld m o st p ro b ab ly b u ild a co m p o u n d n ear h im , unless h e h a d rep resentatives o f his ow n lineage in th e village w ith resid en tial an d fa rm lan d to spare. I f he b u ilt on his fa th e r’s land he resid ed th e re u n til an o p p o rtu n ity o cc u rre d to in h e rit th e co m p o u n d o f a deceased lineage m em b er ; his fo rm er co m p o u n d was th e n tran sferre d b y h im to a b ro th e r or siste r’s son. I t follows from th is p a ttern o f residence th a t th e lineage in term s of its m a rrie d m ales was a dispersed u n it, b u t th e degree o f dispersal d ep e n d ed to a very great ex ten t on w h eth er or n o t th e fo u n d e r was one of th e early settlers in a village and th u s able to acq u ire considerable areas for build in g an d farm ing. W h e n th is h ad b een th e case th e heads of fo u r or five neighb o u rin g co m p o u n d s m ig h t belong to th e sam e lineage. P ro v id ed land was available, plots could b e allocated to sons, d au g h ters’ husbands, d a u g h te rs’ sons, an d even strangers. A ll lineage m em b ers h ad p o ten tial rights o f inheritance to the co m p o u n d s o f o th e r lineage m em bers, p reference being given to u te rin e b ro th e rs an d n ex t to th e sons o f u terin e sisters of th e deceased. A c o m p o u n d consisted o f an y th in g fro m tw o to ten dw elling-houses, rarely m ore, an d w as in h ab ited by th e com pound h ead (bobe ), his wives, u n m a rrie d children, occasionally a b ro th e r

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a n d m a rrie d son. A n h e ir (n z k in d o , lit. eater o f th e house) also in h erited fa rm plots, kola trees, raffia stands, and livestock; b u t w idow s, w ith certain exceptions, m ig h t b e in h erited b y any m em b ers o f th e su b -c la n o f th e deceased w ho w on th e ir fav o u r.6 I n m atters o f in h eritan ce a n d succession th e opinion o f th e sons o f th e deceased w as o f th e g reatest im portance. T h e y h elp ed to b u ry th e ir fath er, a n d th e eld est took charge o f his fa th e r’s sacrificial cu p an d w o u ld w ith h o ld it if th e com pound was in h erited b y a m an once disliked b y his fa th e r o r likely to sq u an d e r its resources. I f th e h eir-d esig n ate refu sed th e invitation to succeed h e h im self could, w ith th e approval o f ‘sons o f th e co m p o u n d ’ an d lineage m em b ers, n o m in ate an o th er h eir. O r, if th e re was no lineage m em b er o f th e a p p ro p riate age to succeed, one o f th e sons acted as caretaker ( w u l n c h i), a role retain ed u n til his death. I f th e d ead co m p o u n d h ead h ad b een im p o rtan t politically, eith er b y v irtu e o f h o ld in g a village h eadship o r b y receiving favours fro m th e F oyn, th e h eir sooner o r later w en t to th e palace w ith gifts, accom panied by h is ‘so n s’ ra th e r th a n by m em b ers o f his lineage. J u s t as th e F o y n looked to th e ‘ch ild ren o f th e palace’ for s u p p o rt an d assistance, so th e co m p o u n d head looked to his sons. A n d ju s t as th e F o y n h a d ce rtain filial duties to his ‘fa th e r’, th e village head o f A bo, so, too, com m oners h a d th e ir obligations to th e ir fath ers w hich w ere enforced b y m o ral, religious, an d legal sanctions. A gain an d again w e w ere to ld : T respect an d fear m y fath er m ore th an m y m o th e r’s b ro th e rs’ ; and, w h en w e asked for an explanation, w ere to ld : ‘W e are one b lo o d ’ or ‘M y fa th e r gave m e life, he reared m e .’ T h e K o m believe th a t th ey receive blood, flesh, an d bo n e from th e ir fathers, and th a t th eir m o th ers are m erely vessels. D isobedience an d failure to re n d er certain services w ere believed to be p u n ish ed b y th e m atrilineal ancestors o f th e father. D u rin g his fa th e r’s lifetim e a m an h an d ed over all gam e to h im — failure to do so was a legal offence— assisted h im in th e clearing an d h arv est o f gu in ea-co rn farm s, provided h im w ith firew ood and care in tim e o f sickness, consulted h im o n all im p o rta n t m atters, and, p rio r to m arriage, gave h im his earnings. W h e n a girl m arried , h e r fa th e r’s consent was essential, an d he received a su b stan tial p o rtio n o f th e brid e-p rice. As far as lay w ith in his m eans, he assisted a son to obtain a wife ; he co n tri­ b u te d en tran ce fees fo r societies an d en tru sted h im w ith th e secrets o f his m edicines.

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T h e ru les gov ern in g succession to a village head sh ip w ere, w ith th e exceptions discussed below , th e sam e as th o se fo r a co m p o u n d h ead sh ip . I n th e genealogies w e collected th e office was norm ally h eld in tu rn b y th e eldest m ale in th e lineage, b u t it w as som etim es asserted, m o re p articu larly b y royals, th a t any village h ead sh ip lay w ith in th e gift o f th e F oyn. S u ch claim s w ere no m ore th a n an assertio n o f th e F o y n ’s political p aram o u n tcy an d w ere o f th e sam e o rd e r as his claim to be overlord o f all land. H e h ad , o f course, th e rig h t to veto an u n su itab le choice an d to rem ove fro m office one w ho h ad acted treasonably o r w ho h ad flagrantly an d co n sisten tly failed in his d u ties; b u t in terferen ce in succession over th e h ead o f a legitim ate an d w o rth y h eir w as criticized as an abuse o f pow er. W h ere th e latter occurred, th e F o y n ’s ap pointee was freq u en tly succeeded by a m an o f th e ap p ro p riate lineage; th is w as m o re likely to h ap p e n in th e reign o f th e n ex t F oyn, w ho a t th e outset, at least, was concerned w ith m ain tain in g th e law an d rectifying injustice. I n A bo a n d th re e o th er villages, w here th e h ead sh ip was vested in K ijәm lineages, succession w as p atrilin eal an d w e n t to th e eldest m ale. I n th e th re e villages associated w ith th e royal house— M b am , F u li, and A nyajua— a p p o in tm e n t of p rin ces o f th e b lood w as m ad e d irectly b y th e F o y n w ith o u t referen ce to th e w ishes o f th e ‘sons’ o f th e p revious in cu m b en t. T h e co m p o u n d o f th e village h ea d ( b o n t ә) w as norm ally larger th a n m ost in th e village a n d co n tained th e house o f th e village reg u lato ry society, n d o - a k u m . F re q u e n tly th e re was also a p articu lar ty p e o f m edicine-lodge, n d o -n g g w in , w hose m em b ers w ere resp o n sib le fo r carry in g o u t ap o tro p aic rites to p ro tec t th e sp ro u t­ in g g u in ea-co rn a n d av e rt w itch craft a n d w ho also p u n ish ed p erso n s w ho m aliciously u p ro o te d crops an d trees. T h e annual perfo rm an ce o f th ese rites w as in itiated b y a m ore elaborate ritu a l sequence carried o u t b y th e F o y n an d h is priests at th e capital an d c e n tred o n th e th re e sh rin es called fe c h ә , n d o - n tu l, an d n d o - a z h e 'a (a ra in shrine). A t th e local level th e a k u m c o n stitu ted an im p o rtan t o rg an of go v ern m en t, in som e resp ects parallel in its fu n c tio n w ith th e palace k w ifo y n , an analogy o ften d ra w n by inform ants. All m ale m em b ers o f th e village b elonged to its a k u m , th e e n try fee being a fow l, b u t o ld er m em b ers w ere ex pected to m ake fu rth e r p ay ­ m e n ts o f goats an d w ine. T h e r e w ere no grades, b u t su ch pay-

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m en ts co n ferred p restig e an d en h an ced influence. T h e a k u m m et w eekly, w ine b ein g p ro v id ed b y m em bers, an d on occasion a lib atio n was p o u re d in fro n t o f th e house and th e blessing o f th e predecessors o f th e village h ea d invoked. N otice o f an extra­ o rd in ary m eetin g w as given b y a so n o f th e village head striking a gong th ro u g h th e village th e evening beforehand. W o m en w ere n o t p e rm itte d to see th is gon g ; an analogy w as draw n betw een it a n d th e in stru m e n t o f k w ifo y n , since it rep resen ted au th o rity w h ich m u st be obeyed. T h e village head norm ally p resided over m eetings, assisted b y tw o o r th re e d ep u ties selected by h im self an d freq u en tly d raw n fro m d ifferent clans. I t w as rare for h im to re ta in th e assistants o f his predecessor, th o u g h th ey m ig h t be consulted. W h e n th e F o y n w an ted an y thing done he sen t retainers to th e village head, w ho w as th e n responsible for tran sm ittin g in stru ctio n s. T o th e a k u m w as e n tru sted com m unal w ork, such as ro a d clearing an d th e re p air o f houses a t th e palace, and th e co n d u c t of th e an n u al village h u n t in A pril, w hich follow ed on th e royal h u n t organized b y k w ifo y n . A k u m deliberated village affairs, trie d civil cases, an d inflicted fines in m atters connected w ith land, m in o r assault, m atrim onial d isputes, an d failure to share in p u b lic w ork. In th e A basakom sector difficult cases w ere referred directly to th e palace co u rt ; in N g g w in -K ijәm th ey w ere taken to th e residence o f th e h eir a p p a ren t an d trie d b y his a k u m ; if no settlem en t was reached th ey w ere tran sferre d to th e palace. T h e a k u m also h ad a cerem onial role ; its m askers an d orchestra p erfo rm ed at m o rtu ary cerem onies for im p o rtan t m em bers an d notables o f th e co untry. O th e r im p o rtan t m en in th e village ‘ow ned’ associations w h ich also danced at an n u al o r m o rtu ary cerem onies, b u t th ese lacked governm ental functions. T h e m ost im p o rta n t o f th e w o m en ’s associations was a fa f, usually presided over by a sister o r senior w ife o f th e village h ead (K ab erry , 1952: 9 8 -1 0 1 ); b u t w h en th e w o m en o f a village w ished to re so rt to disciplinary action against a m an w ho h ad com m itted incest, ad u ltery w ith his fa th e r’s wife, b eaten his father, m o th er, a p reg ­ n a n t o r n u rsin g w om an, show n extrem e disrespect to th e old o r h eap ed vulgar abuse o n a w om an, th ey assem bled as a n lu ( - lu , to drive away). A n l u was greatly feared, an d against its ru lin g th ere was no appeal. I f it refused to p a rd o n th e cu lp rit h e was forced to leave th e country. E ac h village h ad its m ilitary lodge o r w ar-clu b (n jo n g ), p resided

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over b y a b o n d o n jo n g w ho was elected by m em b ers a n d assisted b y u n title d lieu ten an ts, am ong w h o m w ere scouts an d trick sters called g w e , renow ned for su p erio r cu nning. E ach n jo n g h ad its attach ed b o y s’ n jo n g . U nlike th e a k u m , w hich still plays an im p o rta n t p a rt in village affairs, n jo n g has n o t even survived as a d rin k in g club fo r m en. W e know th a t n jo n g leaders m e t a t th e palace to discuss offensive w a r; in defence o f its area each n jo n g seem s to have h ad a good deal o f initiative. T h e F o y n h im self som etim es visited villages an d m ig h t sp en d th e n ig h t in a h u t, w h ich th e n c e fo rth w as re ferred to as a palace, n to , an d w as reserv ed for his exclusive use. By th is m eans h e ac q u ain ted h im self d irectly w ith affairs in his co u n try an d m ade h im self accessible to individuals, w ho h ad b ee n u n ab le to p en e­ tra te b ey o n d th e re ta in ers an d pages w ho hedged his presence a t th e capital. V illage an d co m p o u n d s heads w ho h ad m atters to re p o rt to h im w ere, o f course, free to go to th e capital, w hich, at th e m ost, w as only a few h o u rs ’ w alking distance fro m any p a rt o f th e kingdom . A ce rtain day in th e w eek w as set aside for th e h earin g o f cases th e re , an o th e r fo r th e m eetin g o f cerem onial elders in k w ifo y n , a n d an o th e r fo r th e palace m ilitary lodge. T h e se occasions gave people an o p p o rtu n ity to give an d h ear new s; th e y w ere also a m eans b y w h ich th e F o y n ob tain ed in ­ fo rm atio n in ad d itio n to th a t b ro u g h t to h im b y retain ers and confidential advisers. T rib u ta ry chiefdom s enjoyed a large m easure o f autonom y u n d e r th e ir tra d itio n a l chiefs, each o f w hom h ad his ow n palace en to u rag e an d , usually, h is ow n k w ifo y n , th o u g h h e w as n o t p e rm itte d to inflict th e d e a th p en alty o r o rd e r enslavem ent. H e re n d e re d trib u te once a year, m ade his c o n trib u tio n to th e F o y n ’s ch ong society w h e n it w e n t o n circu it in M ay (see p. 147), an d sen t his su b jects to re p air houses at th e palace. T h e choice o f his successor w as d e te rm in e d b y h is ow n dynastic lineage; b u t, according to one versio n th e F o y n o f K o m se n t his ow n k w ifo y n to act w ith th e local k w ifo y n in th e installation cerem ony. W ith th e exception o f A chain, all h ad p atrilineal dynasties. C e n tr a l P o litic a l I n s titu tio n s

T h e F o y n ’s palace, n to , w as very sim ilar in plan to th o se in n eig h b o u rin g chiefdom s an d consisted o f a large n u m b e r o f dw elling h u ts, stores, cu lt lodges, and courtyards. In 1926 th ere

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w ere said to b e 252 houses, o f w h ich 88 w ere occupied by th e F o y n ’s 109 w ives. I n 1946 th e re w ere over 140 wives. I n th e p re G e rm an p erio d th e palace m u st have been m u ch larger, providing accom m odation fo r som e 300 wives, a re tin u e o f pages, an d over 100 retain ers in k w ifo y n q u arte rs. T h e F o y n ’s extensive rig h ts to claim w om en in m arriag e o r to dispose o f th e m to o th ers was one o f his m o st im p o rta n t prerogatives. Y oung girls w ere selected by his wives or retain ers fro m am ong all sections o f th e population, w ith th e exception o f royals an d th e ir children. Som e w ere reserved to th e F o y n a n d tra in e d in co u rt etiq u ette; o th ers w ere in th e care o f senior w ives o r princesses an d w ere later bestow ed b y th e F o y n on his sons, blo o d royals, an d those retainers, pages, an d w arriors w h o m h e w ished to rew ard. C om m oner recipients of wives w ere ex p ected to sen d back a son o r d au g h ter to th e palace; if th ey h a d m o re th a n one d au g h ter th ey consulted th e F o y n a b o u t th e ir m arriages. A m ong th e m ales attac h ed to th e palace in various capacities th e re w ere th re e categories: pag e-retainers (n ch isә n to ), k w ifo y n retain ers (n ch isә n d a ), an d m essengers o r envoys (w o y n d a n to ). T h e last w ere chosen fro m am ong y o u th s o f prom ise w ho w ere sen t to th e palace w ith m essages b y th eir fath ers o r accom panied th e m an d attra cted th e notice o f th e F oyn. T h e y lived n ear th e palace and, w h en proven, w ere en tru sted w ith carrying confiden­ tial m essages to notables in th e k ingdom and to n eig h b o u rin g chiefs. In ev itab ly th ey becam e m en o f influence, possessing a n u m b e r of wives, large com pounds, and som etim es m em bership in one o f th e senior lodges o f k w ifo y n . Pages w ere u n d e r th e o rd ers of tw o or th ree cham berlains, w ho h ad g rad u ated fro m th e ir ranks, m arried, and established com ­ p o u n d s in th e capital. C h am b erlain s supervised th e econom y of th e palace, sto red trib u te an d gifts, p resided at distrib u tio n s, and acted as interm ediaries betw een th e F o y n and those w ho sought audience w ith him . T h e y received a w ife or wives from him , w ere cerem onial elders in k w ifo y n , and som etim es m em bers of its in n er lodges, k w ifo y n n t u ’u and k w ifo y n n g g v u . K w i f o y n was th e in stru m e n t o f th e F o y n ’s secular au th o rity and, sh o rt o f his personal in terv en tio n , th ere was no appeal against its decisions. I t could n o t depose him , as it could in B afut, b u t it could fine h im and, if h e p roved recalcitrant, w ith d raw its services. Its officials c o n stitu te d an oligarchy w ith o u t w hose su p p o rt he

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w as largely pow erless. In e v ita b ly th e re w ere som etim es disputes, a n d riv alry betw een th e m a n d h is o w n sons o r those o f his p re ­ decessor. N evertheless, co m p ared w ith th e situ atio n in m any o th e r B am enda chiefdom s, th e F o y n exercised a very large m easure o f d ire c t co n tro l over k w ifo y n an d its lodges th ro u g h his rig h t to a p p o in t a n d rem ove officers. I n m an y chiefdom s th e chief w as re ferred to as th e ‘son o f k w ifo y n ’, an d alth o u g h senior a p p o in t­ m en ts in th e chiefdom w ere m ad e in his nam e after consultation, effective p ow er w as w ield ed b y its officials. T h is w as th e case in B afut, an d in th e chiefdom s o f th e N d o p P lain, w h ere th e ch ief’s h ere d ita ry councillors acted as th e in n er college o f k w ifo y n (K a b erry , 1962). I n K o m th e F o y n w as som etim es d escribed as th e ‘fa th e r o f k w ifo y n ’, w ith th e im plication o f th e o v erriding a u th o rity associated w ith fath erh o o d . T h e n c h isә n d a w ere th e palace re ta in ers w ho w ere th e m em bers o f k w ifo y n , w h ich h a d its q u a rte rs to th e re ar o f th e F o y n ’s a p a rt­ m en ts. T h e se w ere re c ru ite d b y its officers fro m nearly all sections o f th e p o p u latio n ju s t befo re th e age o f p u b e rty an d served fo r a p erio d o f six to n in e years. I t w as only in exceptional circu m ­ stances th a t a m a n could ‘b u y off’ a son selected fo r service. W h e n th e tim e cam e fo r a re ta in er to leave k w ifo y n com p o u n d his fath er, assisted b y kin, b ro u g h t goats, food, an d w ine to th e palace. C onnexion w ith th e palace w as m ain tain ed th ro u g h a tte n d ­ ance at th e w eekly d rin k in g sessions o f k w ifo y n an d b y h is con­ tin u e d liability to b e em ployed o n palace business. A favoured re ta in er m ig h t be endow ed w ith a w ife by th e F oyn. W h ile in residence in k w ifo y n co m pound, retain ers w ere u n d e r th e o rd ers o f a re sid e n t b o b e -k w ifo y n (lit. ‘fa th e r o f th e com pound o f k w ifo y n ’), w ho w as ap p o in ted b y th e F oyn from am ong th e old est in th e ir ranks or b ro u g h t in from outside. H e w as in charge o f its sa cra an d its m asks, w h ich w ere b ro u g h t o u t fo r th e m o rtu ary cerem onies o f its ow n m em b ers an d senior royals. A fte r leaving k w ifo y n co m p o u n d he retain ed his title, becam e a n influential eld er in k w ifo y n , in clu d in g its tw o senior lodges, an d sat in th e F o y n ’s co u rt o f justice. W h e n o rd ers w ere to be tra n sm itte d to th e people o r new regulations enacted it w as k w ifo y n w ho m ad e th e an n o u n cem en t in th e F o y n ’s nam e. Its m em b ers k e p t th e peace, a n d inflicted penalties o rd e red b y th e F o y n ’s co urt. K w i f o y n ’s fu n ctio n as a re g u la to r o f certain econom ic activities also sym bolized its role

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as g u ardian o f th e F o y n ’s p re-em inence. I t in au g u rated th e guineaco rn h arv est b y playing its in stru m en ts all n ig h t on th e eve o f th e first day on w hich harv estin g w as p erm itted . In th is w ay th e F o y n ’s influence over th e p ro d u ctiveness o f th e lan d an d th e staple crop was em phasized. P re m a tu re harvesting w as penalized by a fine payable to k w ifo y n . K w i f o y n also organized th e royal h u n t in A pril. T h is was th e occasion on w hich th e F o y n ’s titu la r fath er, th e village h ead of A bo, received a headless antelope as a m ark of th e F o y n ’s filial obligation. A week after th e royal h u n t each village h ead th ro u g h his ow n a k u m arran g ed a local h u n t; on th is occasion successful h u n te rs p re sen ted gam e to th e ir ow n fathers, w hile th e F o y n received only th e royal anim als. T h e re w ere tw o lodges in k w ifo y n ’s precincts. T h e n d o -n g g v u (house of sassw ood) w as an ordeal lodge, as it w as elsew here, and also seem s to have b ee n used fo r th e elim ination o f suspected traito rs. I t was head ed b y th e F o y n (w ho w as e x officio head o f all associations in th e co u n try ) an d all b o b e -k w ifo y n s. O th e r m em bers w ere ap p o in ted b y th e F o y n an d p aid a heavy en try fee o f tw enty goats an d w ine. T h e y invariably in clu ded an elder son o f th e F oyn, th e village head o f A bo, one o r tw o cham berlains, an d a few notables. T h e o th er lodge, k w ifo y n n tu 'u (k w ifo y n o f th e n ig h t), was said to b e even m ore im p o rtan t. T h e n atu re o f its activities w as k ep t a closely g u ard ed secret, b u t w ere believed to involve th e execution o f law breakers at night. Its m em b ersh ip w as sm all an d in clu d ed all b o b e -k w ifo y n s. In addition, th e F oyn ap pointed one o f his ow n sons, a senior cham berlain, and th e village head o f A bo. L astly, th e re w as a m u ch larger group o f p ro m in en t m en, th e nggangsә- k w i fo y n (cerem onial elders o f k w ifo y n ), w ho h ad access to its q u arte rs, m e t w eekly to d rin k w ine, shared in th e heavy fees o f new m em b ers an d in th e offerings m ade to k w ifo y n on occasions o f atten d an ce at m o rtu ary cerem onies. T h e F o y n was n o t assisted b y a co n stitu ted council, although th e king-enstoolers an d officials o f k w ifo y n form ed th e nucleus o f those he called u p o n fo r advice. M agistral d u ties w ere perform ed b y th e m an d b y o th e r n otables w ho h ad ta n g n to , th a t is, p aid th e fee o f tw o goats an d tw o d ru m s o f w ine, w hich entitled th em to ju d g e serious cases at th e circle o f stones called e tw i once a week at th e palace. V illage heads on accession w ere autom atically in v ited to jo in th is g ro u p know n collectively as ic h ü -әsәnto (elders o f th e palace). A fu rth e r paym ent, again m ade on th e invitation

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o f a sm aller g ro u p , en titled a m an o n th e F o y n ’s sum m ons to sit in th e F o y n ’s ow n d rin k in g hall an d take p a rt in private discus­ sions w ith h im . T h e re was one fu rth e r privilege restricted to a very few notables— th e rig h t to g reet th e F oyn by clapping hands. T h e p riest-en sto o lers h a d it b y v irtu e o f th eir office, b u t th e F oyn gave it to th re e or fo u r n otables o u tstan d in g for th eir w isdom and p ro b ity w ho h ad served h im w ell as a prin ce or after his accession. T h e privilege was n o t hered itary , and, although its enjoym ent re q u ire d p ay m en t o f very heavy fees, character, an d n o t w ealth, d eterm in e d th e F o y n ’s choice. E t w i w as th e h ig h est co u rt o f appeal, b u t m u ch civil litigation was, as w e have show n, h an d led at th e village level. T h e F oyn alone h ad th e rig h t to o rd e r th e d eath p en alty or enslavem ent, an d certain cases could b e trie d only by him and his co u rt : adultery w ith royal wives, su sp ected w itch craft, treason, refusal to h an d over royal p erq u isites, m u rd e r, grievous assault, selling a K om p erso n in slavery, an d in fractio n s o f k w ifo y n injunctions. T h e en fo rcem en t o f ju d g e m e n t w as th e d u ty o f k w ifo y n , w hich w as also responsible for keeping th e peace in lan d and p ro p e rty d isputes b y placing in ju n c tio n sticks (w hich tu rn e d a p riv ate in to a p u b lic d isp u te su b ject to its ru les) an d su m m o n in g contestan ts to e tw i. S t a t e R ite s a n d C e rem o n ie s

T h e cu lt o f th e royal ancestors was one o f th e central in stitu tio n s o f K o m . T h e F o y n w as a sacred king p erfo rm in g b o th secular an d p riestly fu nctions. T h ro u g h legitim ate succession (th a t is, d esc en t fro m th e ancestress Bo, th e m o th er o f th e fo u n d e r o f th e L aik o m dynasty, a n d in stallatio n a t th e palace), he w as able to b rin g peace a n d p ro sp e rity to his people. U su rp atio n , o n th e o th e r h a n d , was b eliev ed to b rin g d ro u g h t an d failure o f crops in th e co u n try , as in stan ced in th e trad itio n o f th e events w hich p re ced e d th e succession o f K w o. T h e royal grave sh rin e, w hich w as also u sed as a dw elling h u t, lay w ith in th e palace p recin cts a n d w as th e first h u t to b e re b u ilt in th e event o f fire. H e re th e F o y n was enstooled an d rem ain ed fo r a week in seclusion w ith his tw o priest-en sto o lers, h ere h e p erfo rm ed sacrifices to his predeces­ sors, h ere th e q u e e n -m o th e r resided. T h e o th e r im p o rta n t cu lt at th e palace, cen tred on th e n d o -n tu l, w as associated w ith peace, reconciliation, an d th e w arding off o f evil pow er. A ny m ale, b y p aying a fowl, h ad th e rig h t o f e n try

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an d th e re b y becam e n g g a n g -n tu l, b u t w h en a sacrifice w as to b e p erfo rm ed all left th e lodge except th e F o y n an d th e A chaf p riest. T h e re w ere tw o m ain occasions fo r sacrifice : one tow ards th e end o f F e b ru a ry o r early M arch , an o th er in M ay at th e new m o o n w h en it fo rm ed p a rt o f a sequence o f rites, f әch u , in augurating th e p lan tin g o f g u in ea-co rn . A w eek later all those villages w hich possessed n g g w in (see p . 140) p erfo rm ed sacrifices an d d istrib u te d ap o tro p aic m edicines. E veryone w as th e n free to p la n t guineacorn, b u t th e F o y n ’s farm was sow n first. F o r th e n ex t five weeks village head s an d o th e r notables w ho possessed th e tw o frictio n d ru m societies, a c h әm an d ch ong, p erfo rm ed dances weekly in th eir respective villages; th e palace chong, u n d e r an eld er son o f th e F o y n , m ad e its c irc u it o f all K om , collecting goats an d fowls w h ich w ere later sh ared betw een th e F o y n and m em bers. C o n clu sio n s

E x tern a l econom ic influences favoured th e em ergence o f K om as a p o w erfu l state. D u rin g th e second h alf o f th e n in eteen th c e n tu ry th e su p p ly o f d an e g u n s in creased ;8 th ere w as a grow ing d em an d fo r slaves in th e p alm -o il-p ro d u cin g areas in th e so u th ; to th e n o rth th e re w as th e ex ten sio n o f th e H au sa trad in g fro n tier to th e C en tral C am eroons an d , w ith it, new o p p o rtu n ities fo r th e acquisition o f goods in exchange for kola, ivory, an d slaves. K om , like o th er G rassfields states, took advantage o f these developm ents, b u t th e re is no evidence, for exam ple, th a t its w ars w ith B um w ere aim ed at su p ersed in g th a t chiefdom as a kola en trep ô t. A lthough K o m was a p u rv e y o r o f slaves, w e could find no evidence th a t its in stitu tio n s w ere affected b y th is role, except indirectly. T h is is in co n tra st to th e city state of M ankon, w here th e th em e of th e p u rch ase an d c a p tu re o f slaves recurs in any account given o f th e w orkings o f governm ent. N o r are th ere any signs th a t the palace in K o m was creating an extensive system of royal trade m onopolies su ch as h ap p e n ed in B am um ; n o r was th ere m u ch dev elo p m en t o f th e role o f th e king as en tre p ren e u r in p u ttin g u p capital for trad in g jo u rn ey s, as, for exam ple, th ere was in N so, O ku, an d B afut (C hilver, 1961: 241-2). R ath er, th e palace obtained a share o f p riv ate w ealth for its ow n co nsum ption and re d istrib u ­ tio n b y m eans o f p ay m en ts m ade b y notables for privileged en try to sections w ith in it o r to its associations. P erhaps Y u ’s m ain c o n trib u tio n to th e consolidation o f K o m w as n o t only m ilitary L

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leadership b u t also th e m obilization o f a system o f prestige-seeking focused o n him self. T h e k ingship w as so m eth in g m o re th a n a village head sh ip w rit large. Royal wives w ere sacrosanct, access to th e palace was hedged a b o u t w ith stric t ru les; as in o th er G rassfields kingdom s, th e F o y n was ap p ro ach ed w ith set g estu res an d addressed by praise nam es exclusive to him . C ertain anim als w ere royal m onopolies. T h e b eneficent an d p ro tectiv e aspect of kingship was m anifested in its p riestly an d cerem onial role, w h ich was held to b rin g peace, fertility , an d p ro sp e rity to th e k in g d o m ; th e m o re terrify in g aspect o f k in g sh ip associated w ith th e en forcem ent o f law and w ith p u n ish m e n t w as re p resen te d b y its in stru m e n t k w ifo y n . I n this, too, K o m resem b led m an y o f th e su rro u n d in g chiefdom s ; indeed, if w e w ere to single o u t a d istin g u ish in g featu re o f B am enda G rassfields political system s w e w ould locate it in th is in stitu tio n , re cru itin g its o rd in ary m em b ersh ip fro m freeb o rn com m oners, w ho th ere a fte r w ere categorized as ‘gu ard ian s o f th e palace’, an d m ain tain ed th e ir connexion an d h ad p artic u la r ties o f loyalty to th e palace. O n th e w hole, K o m cen tral political in stitu tio n s w ere relatively sim ple. U n lik e N so, it h ad no h ered itary re tain er gro u p , h ered itary palace stew ards, an d h ered itary councillors (K aberry, 1959). I n th is it resem b led th e village chiefdom s to th e n o rth , w hich h ad m atrilineal dynasties. B u t w hereas in those chiefdom s th e ch ie f’s advisers w ere so b y v irtu e of th eir positions as w ard and co m p o u n d heads, in K o m a d istin ction was b eginning to em erge betw een th e general advisory b o d y o f village notables an d those p riv y to th e k in g ’s counsel an d given special privileges by him . T h e latter consisted o f m en ap p o in ted to th e in n er lodges of k w ifo y n an d those w ho h ad th e rig h t to greet h im by clapping h an d s. T h e re was no sign, how ever, th a t su ch privileges w ere becom ing hered itary . A distin ctio n h ad also em erged betw een village h eadships filled b y th e descendants o f th eir founders in accordance w ith th e w ishes of th e deceased an d th e approval of his sons, and th o se village headships w hich, even w hen founded b y princes o f th e blood, lay w ith in th e gift o f th e king an d w ere b eco m ing royal app en d ag es an d ep icentres o f national govern­ m en t.

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NOTES 1. T h e documentary materials for any historical reconstruction in the Bamenda Grassfields in the m id-century are exceedingly slender. Such as they are, they record one significant series of events—the invasion of the trans-M bam region by the Bali (mixed bands of Chamba-led raiders) c . 1820-45, the beginnings of Bamum expansion in their wake (these can be derived from linguistic notes by Clarke, 1849, and Koelle, 1854), and the plundering of ‘M bafu’ by Ardo Sambo of T ibati, dated by Barth to the dry season of 1848/49 (Barth, op. cit. : 626). T hey also record the presence of long-distance traders on the northern borders, and the existence of well-defined slave-trading routes to Duala and Calabar. T here are, however, no firmly identifiable mentions of Kom ; and, according to oral traditions, Kom itself suffered only one major m ounted raid round about the m id-century. 2. Bamenda was also the name of the B e z i r k , which included the Grassfields, Bamum, parts of the Bamileke region, K entu, and western Gashaka. U nder British administration the name was first used for the Division, and later the Province. In 1954 Bamenda Province was divided into three Divisions—Bamenda, Nkambe, and W um (see map) —but the term Bamenda still has currency for the wider area. 3. A detailed analysis of traditions of settlem ent and social institu­ tions is given by the authors in N o t e s a n d D r a f t S e c t i o n s f o r C h a p t e r o n t h e W e s t e r n G r a s s f i e l d s (for L ’H i s t o i r e d e s p e u p l e s a n d d e s c i v i l i s a t i o n s d u C a m e r o u n ) , mimeog., 1964. F urther historical and ethnographic details are contained in an expanded mimeographed version of this paper, circulated locally and deposited in the International African Institute. 4. T his essay incorporates part of the material collected by one of us (P.M .K .) during four weeks in 1946/47, and by both of us during three weeks in 1963, when we enjoyed the hospitality of the Cameroons Baptist Mission in Belo. O ur warm thanks are due to the Government of W est Cameroon for its help and active interest. Mrs. Chilver’s re­ search was assisted by a travel grant from the Committee of Manage­ m ent of the University of London Institute of Commonwealth Studies, and D r. K aberry’s by a H ayter Travel Grant. 5. Since the time of Nggam, no n a f o y n has resided at the capital. T he inauguration of his reign was a troubled one. H e quarrelled with two princes of the blood, Aya’a Nkwain and Kina-Nengshia, and several sons of the late Yu. W e received conflicting accounts of the causes of the dispute : according to one version, Nggam as a prince had earned their enmity and, fearing opposition to his rule, accused them of treason to the Germans, who p u t them to death at Mamfe. Some of Y u’s widows

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committed suicide on learning of the death of their sons; the n a fo y n Naya fled the country and, when she eventually returned, refused to live at Laikom. 6. A woman, for whom bride-price had been paid by her husband’s father, was inherited by her husband’s uterine brother or, failing him, a m em ber of the matrilineage of her husband’s father. T h e rules governing m embership and inheritance in Kijәm lineages presented certain anomalies. A man, whose father was Kijәm and whose m other belonged to one of the matriclans, had potential rights to in­ heritance in the lineages of both his parents. But, if his father belonged to a m atriclan and his m other to K ijәm , he had neither rights of in­ heritance in his father’s lineage nor in the Kijәm lineage of his m other; nevertheless, he ranked as a m em ber of the Kijәm clan and potential founder of a lineage w ithin it. H e would, on marriage, obtain from a kinsman or village head a site for a compound, and this m ight subse­ quently be inherited by his male descendents. 7. T h e n tu l cult occurs in a num ber of chiefdoms in the W um Division. In Bum it is controlled by the ruler, a princess, and a college of nine hereditary members, who act as one of the two groups of state council­ lors, the m ost senior of whom is also king-enstooler. Ritually it is con­ cerned with success in hunting, fertility, and sacrifices of atonem ent for those who have accidentally shed blood. As in Kom, leopards brought to th e palace are skinned in front of the n tu l lodge. 8. D ane guns had reached the U pper Cross River area by 1842, but, to judge from datings derived from dynastic genealogies, were not num erous in the forties and fifties in the Grassfields.

REFEREN CES Barth, H .

1857

Bruens, A.

1942- ‘T h e Structure of Nkom and its Relations to Bantu and Sudanic’, A n th ro p o s, Tom e 45

Chilver, E. M.

1961

‘N ineteenth Century T rade in the Bamenda Grassfields, Southern Cameroons’, A fr ik a u n d Ü bersee , Bd. xlv/4.

Clarke, J. D .K bl. Kaberry, P. M .

1849 —

Specim ens o f D ialects. D a s D eutsche K o lo n ia lb la tt. W om en o f th e G rassfields, Col. Res. Pubs.

T ra v e ls a n d D iscoveries in N o r th a n d C e n tra l A fr ic a . Vol. 2. London.

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N o. 14, H .M .S.O . ‘T raditional Politics in A fr ic a , Vol. X X IX , 4.

Nsaw

(Nso)’,

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OF KOM

IN W EST CAM EROON

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‘Retainers and Royal Households in the Cameroons Grassfields’, Cahiers d'études africaines, Vol. I I I -ii (N o. 10). P o ly g lo tta A fric a n a . London. ‘African Kings and their Royal Relatives’, J . R o y . A n th . In st., Vol. 91, Pt. 2.

Koelle, S. Richards, A. I.

1854

Richardson, I.

1956

Thorbecke, F.

1916

L inguistic S u r v e y o f the N o rth e rn B a n tu B orderland. Vol. I. London. I m H o ch la n d von M itte l-K a m e ru n . H am ­

Zintgraff, E.

1895

N o rd -K a m e ru n . Berlin.

1961

burg. Vol. 2.

A D D IT IO N A L S O U R C E S Evans, G. V.

1927

Jeffreys, M. D. W.

1951 1952

A n A ssessm ent R e p o rt on the K o m (B ik o m ) C lan, B a m end a , MS. ‘Some Notes on the Bikom’, E astern A n ­ thropologist, Vol. IV, No. 2.

‘Some Notes on the Bikom Blacksmiths’, M a n , Vol. L II, 75.

Kwain, F. and Briggs, W. Nkwain, F. I. W.

19 5 8

‘T he Kom Legend’, N ig eria n Field, X X III, I.

1963

S o m e R eflections on th e ‘A n lu ’ organized b y th e K o m W om en in 1958, M S.

T H E M O S S I K IN G D O M S D

o m in iq u e

Z

ahan

T h e U p p e r V olta R epublic, w hich today incorporates th e M ossi kingdom s, covers approxim ately 100,000 sq u are m iles. T h e region is an arid one— d ry scru b land in th e n o rth w ith w ooded savanna covering th e so u th an d ce n tre; fam ines are n o t uncom m on, and th e re has been a long tra d itio n of b o th p erm a n en t and tem p o rary m igrations. T h e so u th ern an d cen tral d istricts are characterized b y larger aggregates o f p o p u latio n ; in th e n o rth th e p o pulation is p re d o m in a n tly F u lb e. T h e o u tstan d in g ch aracteristic o f th e M ossi states has b een th e rem arkable stab ility o f th e ir political organization over a period o f m an y centuries. A rab h isto rian s an d early E u ro p ean travellers w ere all im pressed b y its com plex n a tu re .1 T h e king, su rro u n d e d b y an elaborate co u rt, stood at th e to p o f th e hierarchy. H is co u rt co m p rised officials w ho ad m in istered th e provinces an d w ho w at­ ch ed zealously every action, every gesture o f th e royal person. T h is im age of th e king an d his co u rt w as faithfully rep ro d u ced b y all M ossi chiefs dow n to th e h u m b le st village head. T h e se revolved in th e o rb it of th e king an d w ere linked to h im by a n etw ork o f relations w hich achieved th e cohesion o f peoples o f diverse origin an d condition. T h e M ossi, to g eth er w ith th e B ura, B irifor, D agari, N ankana, G u rm a n tc h e, K ussassi, N am n am , T allensi, W ala, N an u m b a, D agom ba, an d M am p ru ssi, speak languages belonging to th e G u r group. T h e last tw o peoples share m any features of political organization w ith th e M ossi. A ccording to w estern historians, som e tim e betw een th e elev en th and th irte e n th centuries a D ag o m b a king called N edega, w ho ru led at G am baga, appeared on th e V olta political scene (D elafosse, 1912: 30 6 -1 2 ; T au x ier, 1917: 667-77 an d 1924: 16-24).2 N ed eg a’s only d au g h ter Y en_ n en g a m arrie d Riale, a M andingo h u n ter. O uidiraogo, a son of th is u n io n , becam e th e fo u n d e r of th e M ossi dynasty, w hich was to p ro liferate in all directions d u rin g th e ensuing centuries. H e h im ­ self fo u n d e d th e first k ingdom at T enkodogo in th e south. O ne

Sketch M ap of M ossi K ingdoms

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o f his sons, Raw a, established th e k ingdom o f Z andom a in the n o rth , w hich later, u n d e r his classificatory g reat-g ran d so n Y adega, becam e th e state of Y atenga. In th e east R aw a’s b ro th e r D iab a fo u n d e d F ad a n ’G o u rm a, w hile a nephew O u b ri founded O uagadougou in th e w est. W ith in five generations, according to th ese trad itio n s, th e M ossi kingdom s a n d princip alities attained th e fo rm th ey possess today, an d since th a t d istan t ep o ch in te r­ connexions have b ee n m ain tain ed am ong th e m an d are still recognized in te rm s o f k in sh ip (see d iagram on p. 155). T h e colonial régim e, d atin g fro m 1897, recognized th e different M ossi kingdom s a n d p rincipalities, b u t w ith little co n cern fo r an y ties w h ich existed betw een th em . W ith th e F re n c h occupation o f th e U p p e r V olta a n ew division o f th e old groupings resulted. T h e k in g d o m o f F a d a n ’G o u rm a rem ained m u ch as it was, alth o u g h T en k o d o g o , th e cradle o f th e royal dynasty, w as in ­ co rp o rated in O uagadougou. T h u s , at th e b eginning o f th is cen tu ry th e re w ere b u t th re e k in g d o m s: F a d a n ’G o u rm a, O uagadougou, an d Y atenga. T h e tw o la tte r in co rp o rated several sm all p rin cip al­ ities an d in d e p e n d e n t c a n to n s: Z iten g a an d R atenga w ere attach ed to Y atenga, w hile R iziam , Yako, an d B oussoum a cam e u n d e r th e aegis of O uagadougou. Still later, R iziam w as in co rp o rated in Y atenga (see m ap). W ith in each k ingdom th e kin sh ip ties betw een th e king an d th e heads o f prin cip alities w ere dissim ilar, b u t in each case th ey co n stitu te d a ju stificatio n for th e au tonom y o f th e principalities in th e ir relatio n sh ip to th e capital. I n O uagadougou, th e kinglets ( rim n a m b a ) o f B oussoum a, R iziam , and Yako regarded them selves as classificatory d a u g h te rs’ sons ( y a g e n g a ) o f th e king and enjoyed th e privileged freed o m en tailed in th a t status. I n Y atenga th e kinglets of Z itenga an d R atenga b ehaved w ith th e independence o f classificatory g re at-g ra n d fath ers tow ards th eir great-grandson, th e king, at O uahigouya th e capital. I t should now be ap p a ren t th a t th e degree of au to n o m y an d su b o rd in atio n o f th e M ossi principalities v is - à - v is th e g reat O uahigouya and O uagadougou kings entailed a re latio n sh ip w h ich w as q u ite distin ct from th a t betw een feu d al vassal an d suzerain. I t is very difficult to estim ate th e p opulations of th e th ree kingdom s in th e n in etee n th cen tu ry , although it is certain th a t O uagadougou co n tain ed th e largest, an d F ad a n ’G o u rm a th e sm allest. D e sp ite th e lack o f official statistics, th e approxim ate

Fig. 6. K inship links between M ossi kingdoms and principalities

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figures to d ay are as follow s: O uagadougou 2 ,6 0 0 ,0 0 0 , Y atenga 700,000, an d F a d a n ’G o u rm a 400,000, m aking a to tal o f a b o u t 3,700,000, re u n ite d since 5 A u g u st i9 6 0 in an in d ep en d e n t state called th e U p p e r V olta R epublic. S o c i a l C a teg o rie s

T h e in h ab itan ts o f a M ossi state are n o t an d w ere never all ‘tr u e ’ M ossi. S trictly speaking, th is nam e applies only to th e n o b ility (n a k o m b s e ; s. n a k o m b g a ) an d to state officials and th eir d escendants. I n fact, th e te rm M ossi refers to a concept w hich m ay b e st b e envisaged in th e fo rm o f a pyram id . I n th e u p p erm o st sectio n are co n tain ed th e lineages o f th e descendants o f fo rm er ru le rs (n a k o m b se) ; in a second, larger, section are th e descendants o f sta te officials. N e a re r th e b ase o f th e p y ram id are those M ossi com m oners (t a k e ; s. ta lg a ) w ho b ea r th e fam ily nam es o f n a k o m b se an d state officials b u t w hose lineages in fact include very h etero ­ geneous elem ents— foreigners (z e m b a ) o r freed slaves w ho for various reasons have becom e associated w ith th e aristocrats of th e M ossi kingdom . T h e n a k o m b se an d th e state officials are con­ stan tly re cru itin g new fam ilies w ith in th e ir sphere o f influence. T h e se are given M ossi p atronym ics and th u s becom e M ossi, soon to lose fo rm er fam ily an d religious ties. N o statistics will ever settle th e q u estion of M ossi n u m b ers and residence, alth o u g h th e n a k o m b se an d descendants o f state officials m ay be co u n ted , since th ey are g ro uped in villages and w ards w h ich are usually u n d e r th e co n tro l o f th e M ossi cavalry com ­ m an d er, w id i-n a b a . W ith these facts in m ind one begins to query th e trad itio n al explanation o f th e origin of th e M ossi em p ire: foreign co n q u est of a peaceful indigenous p opulation. T h e re are even m ore difficult questions to answ er : how m any w arriors w ere need ed to dom inate w hole p o p u latio ns and regions in th e course o f a few generations? A ccording to early w riters, th e invaders w ere a tin y p ro p o rtio n o f th e p o p u lation ; even today th e n a k o m b se are a sm all m in o rity in th e M ossi state, com pared w ith th e large F oulse, N yionyiose, Sam ogo, D ogon, R him aibe, F ulbe, Silm iM ossi, Y arse, D ioula, M aranse, and blacksm ith populations. A t a guess, th e M ossi p ro p e r com prised no m ore th a n 10 p er cent of th e total. F ro m th e sociological p o in t of view th e disparity in n u m b ers becom es u n im p o rta n t : th e social fu n ctio n in g of th e M ossi kingdom

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was assured b y th e co -o p eratio n o f all its m em b er groups. I n th is w ay th e ‘tru e ’ M ossi, th e possessors o f n a m (political authority), w ere th e pow er eq u iv alen t o f th e p riests o f th e E arth , th e te n g a so b a n a m b a (s. te n g a so b a), th e possessors o f ten g a so b u n d o . T h e people them selves differentiated these tw o controlling pow ers as fa r as possible. N a m an d ten g a so b u n d o w ere assigned to w ell-differen­ tia te d lineages, n a k o m b se and te n g a b isi (children o f th e E arth ). T h e term s expressed th e essence o f th e tw o m ajor social categories in M ossi society, defined th e essential cleavage w ith in th e ir social organization, an d expressed th e in terrelatio n betw een political chiefs an d p riests o f th e E arth . T e n g a so b u n d o w as deem ed th e m o re ancient, an d hence th e te n g a b isi w ere th o u g h t to have an h isto ric p rio rity over n a n a m se (political chiefs). I n kinship term s th e tenga so b a was like th e eld er b ro th er, th e n a b a (chief) like th e y o u n g er b ro th e r.3 T h e fo rm er played an indispensable role a t a ch ief’s fu n e ra l: he w rap p ed th e ch ief in a sh ro u d and co n d u cted th e ritu a l; he also p ro v id ed a new ly installed chief w ith eating utensils. B u t th e co n c ep t o f te n g a so b u n d o also in clu d ed som e n o tio n o f n a m in so far as a p riest o f th e E arth was in som e ways re g ard e d as a ch ief responsible fo r th e affairs o f his group. W h en he was ap p o in ted h e received insignia o f office an d rode a horse, an activity fo rm e rly d en ied h im an d all oth ers n o t endow ed w ith n a m . O n th e o th e r h an d , n a m co n tain ed no elem ent o f ten g a so b u n d o , since a political ch ief m ig h t exercise th e fu nctions o f an E arth p rie st only if h e was ritu ally invested w ith th is rig h t u p o n his accession to office. A m o n g th e M ossi it w as rare to find th is d o u b lin g o f roles, th o u g h it w as o f com m on occurrence am ong o th e r G u r-sp eak in g peoples. E ach o f th e tw o social categories fulfilled im p o rtan t an d com ­ p lem en tary fu n c tio n s w ith in th e global society. W ere th e king a n d th e n a k o m b se to fail in th e execution o f th eir fil ig a (N ew Y ear rites) in Y atenga, th e te n g a b isi w ould have felt th a t th eir association w ith th o se invisible pow ers co n tro lling th e rain and h arvest had b ee n u n d e rm in e d . A nd w ere th e te n g a b isi n o t to co n d u ct th e im p o rta n t bega ritu a l w h ich led th e sp irit of th e m illet across th e kingdom , th e k in g an d th e n a k o m b se w ould have felt th eir su b ­ sistence th re a te n e d . T h e re w ere o th er integ ratin g factors. T h e king m ad e his p resen ce felt at all im p o rtan t te n g a b isi rituals eith er th ro u g h his agents o r b y sym bolic p restations.

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T h e M o ssi E conom y

T h e M ossi w ere sub sisten ce farm ers cultivating a variety of cereals, roots, an d legum es. M o st households p ro d u ced enough fo r th e ir ow n needs, b u t those w h ich lacked sufficient labour w ere assisted b y th e village co-operative association form ed of young m en an d w om en. T h is association (N a m , n o t to be confused w ith n a m m eaning political pow er) was organized along th e lines o f a state sy stem ; it h ad its ‘p ara m o u n t ch ief’, ‘m in isters’, and su b o rd in ate ‘officials’. W ith in th is h o u seh o ld -b ased econom y th ere w as som e special­ ization. B lacksm iths p ro v id ed ag ricultural tools in re tu rn for sub sisten ce p ro d u c ts. W eavers, o n th e o th er hand, h ad th e ir ow n farm s, b u t sp e n t th e slack season m an u factu rin g cotton lengths, w h ich w ere sold in all M ossi m arkets. I n som e Y atenga villages en tire w ards specialized in th is activity. B efore th e F re n c h con­ q u est th ere w ere few large m ark e ts: th e re w ere only six in th e w hole o f Y atenga, b u t n in e years later C ap tain N o iré co unted forty-seven. T h is p h en o m en o n co u ld b e p artly a ttrib u te d to th e pacification o f th e co u n try an d p a rtly to th e increased d em an d fo r goods. V illage m ark ets, o cc u rrin g every th ree days, assured th e circu latio n o f goods o u tsid e th e dom estic econom y (Z ahan, 1954). M ark ets w ere u n d e r th e aegis o f b o th political an d p riest chiefs. I t w as th e n a b a w ho au th o rized th e estab lish m en t o f a new m arket, b u t it w as te n g a so b a w ho sacralized th e place b y p o u rin g libations o n th e m ark et sh rin e. A m ark et ch ief policed th e m ark et a n d collected dues o n th e n a b a 's behalf. T h is w as n o t a tax, b u t ra th e r a co u n terg ift to h im fo r th e benefit conferred b y th e m arket. A t th e tu r n o f th e ce n tu ry , an d certainly before th a t, th e V oltaic kingdom s enjoyed an extensive foreign trad e. T o th e so u th th e n etw o rk o f exchanges in clu d ed th e G o ld C oast, D ahom ey, an d th e Iv o ry C o ast; to th e n o rth , B andiagara, Jen n e, M o p ti, D ori, T im b u k tu ; to th e w est, S an, Segou, Bam ako, an d K ou ry . Bars o f salt w ere im p o rte d fro m th e n o rth , kola n u ts an d cow ries fro m th e so u th . H o rses, cattle, donkeys, an d sheep w ere ex p o rted to th e so u th . C o p p er b a rs an d co lo u red native cottons cam e in from O ual-O ualé. F a rm im p lem en ts an d axes, m an u factu red in large q u an titie s b y th e M ossi, w ere ex p o rted alm ost exclusively to th e so u th ; slaves w ere also sen t so u th (B inger, 1892, 1: 4 8 0 -5 0 6 ; I I : 5 0 -5 6 ; N o iré, 1904).

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159

O ne im p o rta n t aspect of th e M ossi econom y was th e practice o f m aking p restatio n s to th e king. T h e se gifts possessed a sym bolic significance w h ich m u st p re clu d e th eir being term ed trib u te. I t w as th e ch ief’s rig h t to receive gifts fro m his subjects, an d it w as his su b jects’ d u ty to m ake th em . E very n a b a an d ten g a so b a received th ese p re statio n s, b u t it w as o f course th e king’s treasury w h ich benefited p rim arily. A ny su b ject seeking a favour from th e king accom panied h is plea w ith a gift. D u rin g th e N ew Y ear festival o f fil ig a all th e village chiefs an d notables b ro u g h t m illet, chickens, a n d cow ries to th e palace, th e m illet being for th e king’s horses. T h e chiefs o f R iziam , Z itenga, R atenga, Boussou, and N iessega (in d ep e n d en t principalities) each sen t a child w ith a gift o f a sheep a n d cow ries. D u rin g th e k o m -filig a (a m ilitary cerem ony) th e fo u r arm y chiefs (O ula, K ossouka, L ago, an d G ourcy) each offered a sheep to th e Y atenga king. U p o n th e d eath o f each ‘c a n to n ’ ch ief ( k o m b e re -n a b a ) an d each provincial ch ief (m inister), th e k in g was en title d to receive th e ir horse, a donkey, a n ox, som e goats an d sheep, an d th o u san d s o f cow ries. T h e b irth o f tw in foals was a h ap p y ev en t to be sh ared w ith th e king b y p resen tin g one of th em to him . T h e king th u s enjoyed m an y m aterial advan­ tages, th o u g h w e m u st rem em b er th e re tu rn prestations he was obliged to m ake on m an y occasions. T h e k in g ’s revenues w ere su p p lem en ted by his ‘clients’. O f th ese th e m ain category consisted o f his slaves, those persons w ho h ad re n o u n ced th e ir personal lib erty in exchange for th e k in g ’s p ro tectio n . I n fo rm e r tim es th ey co n stitu ted his greatest source o f w ealth. T h e y w ere d istin g uished from o th er slaves by th e term s ba g a re an d ka n b o n se an d w ere lodged in th e o u ter palace at O uahigouya and O uagadougou. T h e fo rm er w ere of F u lb e provenance, th e latter w ere from A shanti. T ra d e rs, w h e th e r D ioula, Y arse, M aranse, or even M ossi, m u st also be in clu d ed am ong th e king’s ‘clients’. T h e ir security along th e trad in g ro u tes d ep en d ed on protection, and th e king accordingly levied a toll on all goods in tra n sit th ro u g h his country. W e possess scant in fo rm atio n on th ese dues, b u t th ey m u st have b ee n co n sid erab le; N o ire gives som e account o f th e character of goods exchanged in 1903 an d a glim pse o f th e clandestine n atu re o f m u c h o f th e trad e . T h e p astoral F u lb e co n stitu ted an o th er category o f royal ‘clien ts’. D u e s w ere paid in cattle an d given to th e king d u rin g th e trad itio n al cerem onies. O th ers, enjoying

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certain independence, w ere raid ed b y M ossi w arriors in order to o btain beasts for sacrifices. T h e royal ‘clien ts’ w ere th u s o f diverse origin, and th eir statu s was th e re su lt o f cen tu ries o f M ossi rule. T h e M ossi w ere p ast m asters in th e a rt o f in co rp o ratin g diverse groupings into th eir politico-religious system ; th ey w ere also experts in draw ing to ­ g eth er all th e invisible th rea d s o f th e econom y to th e centre of th e ir kingdom — th e king. In d e ed , th e w ell-being o f th e econom y was closely associated w ith th e w ell-being of th e king. T h e m arket, for exam ple, was n o t sim ply a place for th e exchange o f goods; it was an area o f secu rity an d o rder, th e equivalent o f th e w orld. T h is explains w hy at th e d ea th of th e king th e peace of th e m arket was violently d istu rb ed b y arm ed retainers from th e palace. T h e m arket was tran sferre d elsew here an d d id n o t resum e u n til a new king h ad b een installed. M ossi kings kept, th ro u g h th e ir m arket chiefs, an account of th e co u n try ’s w ealth an d th e ex ten t to w hich it could be d raw n u p o n in tim e of em ergency. In Y atenga a gift passed th ro u g h m any h an d s before reach in g th e B a lo u m - N a b a (see p. 168), w ho received at th e palace all p re sta tio n s o n b eh a lf o f th e king. B u t paym ents w ere su p erv ised b y a com plex h iera rch y o f treasu ry clerks, and th e re w as little o p p o rtu n ity for any diversion o f fun d s. E ach king h ad his ow n tre a su re r ( R a s s a m - N a b a ), w ho was responsible for th e actu al co n tro l o f royal revenues. T h e A d m in is tr a tiv e S y s te m

A lth o u g h th e king w as th e h u b , o f th e political system , th e M ossi state w as a d ecen tralized one, an d th e co u n try was, for th e m o st p a rt, ad m in istered w ith o u t any d irect in terv en tio n on his p art. T h e fram ew ork o f th e M ossi state system will be b est u n d ersto o d if it is envisaged as a g ro u p in g to g eth er o f five p atrilineal groupings o r categories (b u d u ). T h e te rm b u d u is u sed by th e M ossi fo r a collectivity o f p erso n s a n d th in g s w hich share a com m on ch aracter­ istic; in som e contexts, an d according to scale, it m ay be tran slated as clan o r lineage. T h e five m ajo r b u d u are th e n a k o m b se ; th e te n g ­ a b isi, th e blacksm iths ; th e b u g u b a (called tib so b a n d em b a in O uaga­ dougou), w ho are responsible fo r m illet rites (see p. 166), an d a g ro u p in g o f F u lb e , Y arse, D ioula, an d all o th ers considered m argi­ nal to th e fu n c tio n in g o f th e kingdom . F ro m a political a n d reli­ gious p o in t o f view these b u d u differed in im portance according

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l6l

to th eir origin an d th e degree of dom ination th ey w ere able to exercise over others in th e ir area (Z ahan, 1961), b u t only tw o of th e m have always played an im p o rta n t political role— th e ten g a b isi an d th e n a ko m b se. T o d a y th ese b u d u have an appearance o f m arked segm entation, b u t th is is u n eq u al. In Y atenga th e n a ko m b se and b u g u b a are th e least segm ented, th e blacksm iths m ore so, and th e ten g a b isi the m o st highly. A t th e p re sen t stage of our studies it appears th a t th e relative degree o f segm entation has som e connexion w ith fu n ctio n al im p o rtan ce ; w ith in th e system generational d ep th confers prim acy. A ny sm all section of a M ossi k ingdom revealed a confusion o f b u d u segm ents, each w ith th e ch aracteristics described above. B ut in th is kaleidoscopic p ictu re it was possible to delineate co­ h e re n t entities. T h e sm allest g ro u p was th e w ard (s a k a , p l. sa k se) ; several w ards c o n stitu te d a village ( te n g a ). T h e te n g a was p a rt of th e ‘c a n to n ’ (ko m b e re ), w hich was p a rt o f a province (so lu m ), w hich again was co ntained w ith in th e kingdom (rim ). F o r E u ro p ­ eans these term s have spatial connotations, b u t n o t fo r a M ossi. T h e etym ology o f th e w o rd s p o in ts to th e ir tru e m eanings. R im contains th e ro o t r i, w h ich m eans to eat ; one m ay say o f th e king a r i n a m — ‘he w ho eats th e k in g d o m ’. S o lu m im plies th e no tio n o f ow nership in its w id est sense. K o m b e r e signifies people placed side b y sid e; te n g a is associated w ith th e earth in its m ystical aspect, and s a k a expresses th e idea o f ‘extractio n ’. S trictly speaking, a s a k a in clu d ed those m en w ho belong to the sam e b u d u (here m eaning a lineage segm ent), plus th eir wives an d c h ild re n ; its head w as always th e eldest o f th e gro u p , and he was responsible for th e g ro u p shrines. H e w as assisted in th is d u ty b y lineage elders. I t was rare to find tw o or m ore contiguous sa k se w ho w ere of th e sam e b u d u , although it som etim es o ccurred w ith b lacksm ith an d te n g a b isi lineages, in w hich w ards were g ro u p ­ ed into villages, even if th ey w ere som e distance ap art.4 I n a sense a village was a m in ia tu re state, a political u n it p attern ed along th e lines o f th e rim . I n each village one w ard played a leading political ro le: it m ig h t be th e w ard w ith th e longest trad itio n s of settle­ m e n t ; m ore often it was th e w ard of th e highest ranking category w h ich h ad political precedence. M o st villages m ig h t be assigned to one of th re e ty p es: those consisting solely of n a k o m b se sa kse, those containing som e n a ko m b se segm ents, and those w ith no

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n a ko m b se sa k se. I n th e first category th e longest-established w ard ra n k ed h ig h est : in th e second th e n a k o m b se w ard took precedence

an d autom atically p ro v id ed th e village chief. I n th e th ird category th e longest established an d socially su p erio r lineage, th e ten g a b isi, took p recedence over th e b lack sm ith an d m arginal lineages. T h e village ch ief ( te n g a n a b a ) an d his re tin u e faithfully reflected th e im age o f th e king an d his court. H e h ad his ‘m in isters’ an d his pages, alth o u g h in th e Y atenga k in gdom th ere w as no R a s s a m N a b a (treasu rer). H e h ad his ow n trib u n a l an d settled civil d isp u tes w ith in th e village. H e w as installed in office at th e re si­ dence o f th e ‘ca n to n ’ ch ief (k o m b e re -n a b a ) in a cerem ony sim ilar to th a t for a M ossi king. T h e office m ig h t becom e h ered itary an d pass fro m eld er to y o u n g er b ro th e r .5 A lm ost every village h a d a te n g a b isi segm ent w hose head w as responsible for farm ritu al. R ites w h ich co ncerned th e village as a w hole, su ch as N e w Y ear renew al rites, w ere th e re sp o n sib ility o f b o th th e village ch ief an d th e p rie st o f th e E a rth , an d w ere ca rried o u t exactly along th e lines o f th e sam e cerem ony at th e capital. O n a h ig h er level lineage segm ents w ere g ro u p ed in to w h at th e F re n c h have called ‘c a n to n s’ ( ko m b e m b a ). T h e M ossi ad m in is­ trato r, how ever, was n o t co ncerned w ith territo riality , b u t w ith grou p in g s o f h u m an beings, th e segm ents o f b u d u dispersed in w ards an d villages. T a u x ie r (1917: 344) gets to th e b o tto m o f it: ‘T h e cantons are com posed of a certain n u m b e r o f villages, b u t one sh o u ld n o t im agine th a t th e w hole o f Y atenga is divided into reg u lar territo ria l d istricts w ith all th e in h ab itan ts o f a d istric t su b ject to th e ca n to n chief. O n th e m ap, in effect, th e re is an inextricable interlacing o f g roupings, an d it w ould be an im possible feat to draw an exact political m ap o f Y atenga. E ach canton im pinges on o th ers ; freq u en tly a village ap p aren tly situ ated in one can to n owes allegiance to a n eig h b o u rin g or even far d istan t o n e.’ T h e k o m b e re -n a b a was, th en , a ch ief o f an aggregation of lin e­ ages g ro u p e d in to a ‘c a n to n ’ or prin cipality. H e did n o t have to b elong to th e largest lineage; in fact, h e m ostly belonged to a n a ko m b se lineage. T h is situ atio n d id n o t im ply any w ish o n th e p a rt o f th e n a k o m b se fo r hegem ony over o th er lineages. All a d m it­ te d th a t n a k o m b se w ere ideally su ited to rule, in carn atin g th e b est qualities o f leadership. T h e y w ere traditionally vested w ith n a m . I t is fro m th is p o in t o f view th a t one should consider inter-lineage disputes. T h e n a k o m b se in d u lg ed in in ter-g ro u p w arfare in o rd e r

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to validate th e rig h ts o f th e m o re ancient lineages to a first rank in M ossi society. T h e in dependence m aintained b y certain principalities v is - à - v is th e central governm ent is best seen in th ese term s. I t also explains th e auto nom y of th e M ossi kingdom s in re latio n to D agom ba, w hence O uidiraogo, th e fo u n d er of th e M ossi dynasty, an d d a u g h te r’s son to its ru ler, derived (see p. 152). I n M ossi ideology, au tonom y was th e privilege o f th e d a u g h ter’s so n ; ‘parallel cousins’ w ere placed o n a footing o f equality. T h e fo rm atio n o f th e M ossi kingdom s an d th e ir so-called ‘vassal’ kingdom s can b est be u n d e rsto o d in term s o f th is k inship idiom . K in sh ip reg u lated relations betw een individual prin cip alities; it also re g u lated th e relationship betw een th e m an d th e central governm ent. A ‘c a n to n ’ ch ief w as selected b y th e ‘m in isters’ o f th e royal co u rt fro m am ong candidates in th e lineage in w hich th e office w as vested. H is prerogatives w ere n u m ero u s an d im p o rtan t, since his a u th o rity o ften ap p ro ach ed th a t o f th e king. H e was, how ever, pow erless to free slaves. F o r th is reason, too, h e h ad no official called th e R a s s a m - N a b a , since h e form erly h ad no th ro n e slaves (b in g o re m b a ) fo r w h o m th e R a s s a m - N a b a was responsible (see p. 164). T h is official, how ever, existed at th e in d ep en d en t courts o f B oussou, N iessega, Z itenga, Riziam , an d R atenga. B u t if th ese w ere th e principles w hich d eterm in ed th e organi­ zation of th e M ossi k ingdom o n th e ‘can to n ’ level, w e are still in th e dark as to th e rules regulating th e d istrib u tio n o f ‘lineages’ am ong th e various ‘c a n to n s’. T h e F ren c h adm in istratio n com ­ pletely d isru p ted th e system before it was u n derstood, and it is unlikely th a t we shall ever have com plete details of th e exact com position of th e M ossi kingdom s, of th e relations betw een ‘lineages’, an d o f those betw een subjects and rulers. H ow ever, if w e com pare th e ‘can to n s’ an d th e so lu m se (‘provinces’) it is clear th a t th e fo rm er g ro u p e d lineages according to kinship links, w hile th e latter organized lineages according to th e harm onious fu n ctio n in g o f th e global society. T h e title o f so lu m -n a b a (‘p ro ­ vincial ch ief’) th ro w s lig h t o n th is subject. T h e F re n c h ad m inis­ tra tio n d u b b e d h im a ‘m in iste r’, b u t th e M ossi te rm is n en so m b a (p l. n en so m b a n a m b a ), w h ich m eans literally ‘a p erso n w ho is good (ju st, h o n est)’. T h e n am e nicely reflects th e functional n atu re o f th e province (so lu m ), w h ich w as created to en su re peaceful relations betw een h eterogeneous elem ents in th e population.

M

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T h e ‘m in iste r’ was th e m ain sp rin g o f th e M ossi state system : his fu n ctio n was to in teg ra te in d iv idual lineages into th e global society. H e h ad to be n o t only ‘good, honest, an d ju s t’, b u t to possess a p ro fo u n d w orking know ledge o f inter-lineage relatio n ­ ships. M in isters w ere n o t chosen from n a k o m b se lineages. T h e king ap p o in ted w hom soever he w ished, and th e office was n o t h e re d ita ry .6 I n Y atenga th e fo u r m in isters w ere th e W id i- N a b a , th e B a lo u m - N a b a , th e T o g o -N a b a , an d th e R a s s a m - N a b a . T h e y h ad w ell-defined roles at co u rt an d also acted as interm ediaries betw een th e king an d his subjects. T h e y w ere said to ‘co m m an d ’ certain lineages. T h e W id i- N a b a was responsible fo r m ost o f th e n a k o m b se lineages, alth o u g h illu strio u s descendants o f p ast kings an d th e successors o f im p o rta n t m ilitary chiefs w ere exem pt from th is control. T h e n a ko m b se of D o u g o u ri, Rega, N in g a, Zogore, and Sogode cam e directly u n d e r th e Y atenga king. A section o f th e Sam ogo also cam e u n d e r th e W id i- N a b a . T h e R a s s a m - N a b a w as resp o n sib le fo r th e K o u ro u m b a, th e D io u la m erch an ts, blacksm iths, fo rm er slave villages o f th e Y atenga king, an d th e T o ro m b e b ra n ch o f F ulbe. T h e B a lo u m - N a b a w as th e in term ed iary betw een th e king and a section of m ilitary chiefs ( ta p so b a n a m b a ); th e principalities of R iziam , Z itenga, K ossouka, B oussou, an d G o u rcy ; th e D ialoube an d F ito b e b ran ch es o f th e F u lb e , a section o f th e Sam ogo, and th e Y arse. T h e T o g o -N a b a w as resp o n sib le fo r those villages w hich d ep en d ed d irectly o n th e king— fo rm er capitals an d royal m auso­ leum s (Ziga, Binsigay, Sissam ba, Rassogom a, B ougounam , G ourcy, Lago, K ossouka, an d Som niaga), w here th e w ives o f fo rm e r kings resided. I n ad d itio n , all villages ru led by a p riest of E arth , th e ‘c a n to n ’ of R atenga, an d th re e n a k o m b se lineages o f K alsaka, T o u g o u , an d Bem a, cam e u n d e r th e T o g o -N a b a . T h e com plex n a tu re o f provincial ad m in istratio n p recludes th e ir delineation on a m ap. T h e fo u r provincial m in isters often exercised a u th o rity w ith in th e sam e ‘can to n ’; occasionally th e au th o rity o f th e king an d his m in isters coincided w ith in one village. I n O uagadougou th e situ atio n was basically sim ilar, although th ere was one extra m in ister. P reced en ce at th e k in g ’s co u rt w as as follow s: th e W id i- N a b a , L a r a le - N a b a , G o u n g a -N a b a , B a lo u m N a b a , an d K a m s a o g o -N a b a . 7

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I n th e political h ierarch y o f a M ossi kingdom th e ‘can to n ’ ch ief ran k ed below th e m in iste r; in reality h e w as m o re im portant, since he was a v eritab le king (r im a ) in his ow n ‘can to n ’ an d was o ften th e d escen d an t o f a fo rm er ru le r o f th e state. T h e m inister, o n th e o th er h an d , exercised little positive au th o rity and acted ra th e r as a liaison officer betw een th e king and his subjects. M in isters w ere o ften b ase -b o rn an d could b e non-M ossi (D im D elobsom , 1933: 52). A re cen t R a s s a m - N a b a at O uahigouya was of D o g o n origin. I n th e course o f h isto ry certain principalities had acquired a prestige w hich en ab led th e m to cast off (som etim es b y force, som etim es b y peaceful m eans) th e ties w h ich b o u n d th e m to th e king. A lth o u g h th e F re n c h ad m in istratio n h ad red u ced th em all to th e ra n k o f ‘ca n to n s’, those o f B oussoum a, K onquizitenga, Yako, Riziam , an d R aten g a w ere form erly sm all in d ep en d en t p rincipalities. T h e au to n o m y o f th ese can b e explained b y th e classificatory ties o f k inship linking all lineages vested w ith n a m . O n one generational level all th e collateral m ale descendants o f a single ancestor are g ro u p e d to g eth er. T o d ay , fo r exam ple, all th e descendants of th e b ro th e rs o f O uidiraogo are designated by th e sam e te rm u sed fo r h im . A ll O u b ri’s collateral m ale descendants are called b y th e sam e k in sh ip te rm as O ub ri. T h u s in th e M ossi kingdom s w e have su p erim p o sed layers o f kin linked vertically an d horizontally, a s tru c tu re w hich elucidates th e o rd e r o f p re­ cedence am ong chiefs. I t also explains w hy th e O uagadougou an d Y atenga kings called T en k o d ogo (the nuclear kingdom ) b a - ir i (m y fa th e r’s house), an d th e king o f T enkodogo is considered a ‘fa th e r’ exactly like th e D ag o m b a king at Y endi. T h e sam e kings call th e M am p ru ssi d istric t o f N aleregou ‘m y g ra n d fath er’s h o u se’ (y a b ir i ), w hile Y endi an d T enkodogo people call it b a -iri.

F o r n a ko m b se th e consequence o f these kinship links are as follows. A ll th e m em b ers o f th e sam e generation avoid violent d isp u te ; even in th e case o f p ro x im ate generations, only th e senior im poses his will o n an o th er. A ll kin vested w ith n a m enjoy special prero g ativ es; th is explains w hy th e Y atenga principalities of B oussou an d N iessega once enjoyed th e sam e privileges as Riziam . T h e y are all ‘p arallel cousins’, descendants o f K in g Y adega and his b ro th e r K in g K o u d a (see p . 155). I t also th row s light on th e relationship betw een th e king an d certain ‘can to n s’. T h e king

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g ra n ts special privileges to his d a u g h ter’s son y a g e n g a , classi­ ficatory or not, if he is invested w ith n a m . H e w ould never n o m i­ n ate any of his ow n sons to a chiefdom w here his y a g e n g a is a title-h o ld er. R elations betw een te n g a b isi lineages are no less intricate. Briefly, in th e Y atenga k ingdom th e te n g a b isi lineage o f R onga (n o rth o f th e capital) is resp o n sib le for all rites concerned w ith holes, caves, an d hollow s. A te n g a b isi lineage in B ougoure is resp o n sib le fo r rites dealing w ith fru its o f th e earth, m ainly m illet, w hile a lineage in G am b o village controls all rites concern­ ing hills an d m o u n tain s. F o r th e im p o rtan t farm in g rites th e te n g a b isi are divided in to five g roups, each n am ed after a m o n th in th e M ossi calendar. T h e m ain role is th e perform ance o f th e bega, an im pressive ritu a l w h ich lasts five m o n th s an d serves to co n d u c t th e sp irit o f th e m illet across th e M ossi kingdom as far as G iw (so u th -east o f Y atenga). T h e re th e G iw -s a d -n a b a has a trial sow ing to o b tain p ro gnostications fo r th e fo rthcom ing crop. T h e sp irit o f th e m illet is th e re b y re tu rn e d to th e soil an d th e cereal is assured o f renew ed vigour. T h e bega originates in th e village of G am bo d u rin g th e m o n th o f th e sam e nam e. A fter a m o n th th e rite passes to O uom som , a m o n th later to B ougoure, th e n to G ourcy, an d finally to K o u n d o u b a. Six m o n th s after th e M ossi N ew Y ear sow ing begins th ro u g h o u t th e kingdom . T h e co n stitu en t o f th e bega, w h ich serves as a vehicle for th e sp irit o f th e m illet is th e yeast p lan t, w hich ferm en ts m illet beer (bega r a m ). T h e E a rth p riests use th is b eer fo r libations at the ea rth shrines. D u rin g th ese five m o n th s all th e villages u n d e r the aegis o f th e p riests o f th e E a rth pass from one to an o th er th e yeast p la n t o f th e bega ra m . T h e bega is fu rth e r com plicated b y th e tid o ritu al, w h ich is th e resp o n sib ility o f th e b u g u b a (s. b u g o) in th e last m o n th o f th e M ossi year. T h e b u g u b a have th eir ow n organization an d a p a ra m o u n t ch ief w ho resides at L ougouri. T h e y are responsible fo r th e ‘fu n eral rite s’ o f th e m illet. In th eo ry each p rie st o f th e E a rth has his ow n bugo, w hom h e treats as his superior. F inally, as w e have already p o in ted o u t (p. 157), th e M ossi conceive o f th e re latio n sh ip b etw een political chief and p riest o f th e E a rth as th a t betw een tw o b ro th ers, th e fo rm er being ju n io r to th e latter. B oth w ork w ith in th e sam e system for th e sam e ends an d w ith o u t any conflict.

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T h e P a la c e

A M ossi kingdom was eq u ated w ith th e w orld, and th e cen tre o f th e w orld was th e royal palace. A t th e palace o f th e Y atenga king at O uahigouya th e tw o m ajor cardinal po in ts w ere in co r­ p o ra te d into th e co n stru ctio n o f th e palace b y th e tw o m ain entrances. T h e east doorw ay was know n either as th e p a n d e -n o r e — th e door o f force— or b in g o -n o re — th e slaves’ door. I t was used by w om en, com m oners, an d stran g ers. T h e w est door (z a n g a -n o r e ), w ith its vestibule, was used solely by m en. T h e cen tre of th e kingdom was th e soko, th e king’s sleeping q uarters, w hence th e k ingdom was governed. T h e z a k a - y a n g a (east o f th e house) was sep arated from th e z a k a ta w r e (w est o f th e house) by a n o rth so u th wall. T h e fo rm er was th e dom ain o f th e w om en and con­ tain ed th e old w o m en ’s h u ts an d those o f th e young w om en, am ong w hom th e king chose his concubines. T h is h alf o f th e palace was associated w ith darkness, th e past, and death. I n th e o u te r co u rty ard w ere th e q u arte rs o f slaves an d th e ir chief, th e R a s s a m - N a b a (one of th e k in g ’s m inisters), an d th e king’s black­ sm iths an d jew ellers. S tran g ers, su ch as H ausa, B am bara, Sam ogo, an d Bobo, also h ad th e ir q u arte rs there. T h e o th e r h a lf o f th e palace, th e w estern, was reserved to th e k in g an d his personal retainers. T h e latter w ere lodged in th e so u th e rn corner. T h e k in g ’s sleeping q u arte rs a n d th e room s o f th e king’s favourites am ong th e w om en (ru m n a m b a ) w ere fo u n d here. T h e w estern p a rt o f th e palace w as associated w ith th e life an d w ell-being o f th e kin g d o m : h ere th e king lived a n d p ro ­ created , h ere lived th e royal horse, an anim al inseparable from th e k in g ’s soul. T h e o u te r co u rty ard (sa tn a n d e ) was an extension o f th e w estern section o f th e palace. T h e w est wall, w hich divided these tw o co u rty ard s, h ad a special significance.8 T h e o u ter w all w as opened only once d u rin g th e k in g ’s reign, w h en h is corpse w as carried o u t o f th e palace. S o u th o f th e w est do or th e wall h ad th e follow ing details: a sm all doorw ay, a circular m u d h u t em b ed d ed in th e actual wall, an d an o th er sm all en tran ce blocked u p b y m u d bricks an d called th e ‘golden d o o r’. T h is section of th e wall was in effect th e figuration an d p ro jectio n o f th e s u n ’s position in its progress betw een th e tropics. T h e first door rep resen ted th e so u th ern tro p ic ; th e ro u n d h u t m arked th e equator, th e golden door

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co n n o ted th e s u n ’s zen ith . T h e side door w hich gave access to th e vestibule sym bolized th e n o rth e rn tropic. T h e o u ter co u rty ard sym bolized th e ever-increasing n atu re o f th e k ingdom an d th e illim itable M ossi dom ain o f conquest an d pow er. I t com prised all th a t th e king h ad before h im as he tu rn e d his back to th e risin g su n and, o n horseback, gazed w estw ards. I t was h ere th a t th e king daily received greetings fro m his subjects. T h e im age o f an all-co n q u erin g king was in effect th a t of th e su n (w ho rules th e universe), daily sp an ning his w orld from east to w est.9 T h e K i n g ’s C o u r t

T h e M ossi state was a constellation of m in o r kings revolving in th e o rb it o f th e su p rem e ru ler. T h e la tte r’s en th ro n em en t, his daily life, an d his d ea th w ere all occasions for elaborate cere­ m o n y reflecting th e M ossi ideology o f kingship. H is functions w ere etern al; it was inconceivable to a M ossi th a t a king should die. S u ch an o ccurrence w ould presage th e end o f th e kingdom , th e en d o f th e w orld. T h e k in g ’s co u rt consisted o f a n u m b er of officials, each o f w h o m specialized in som e aspect o f palace activities. F irs t in p reced en ce w ere th e fo u r ‘m in isters’ o r provincial chiefs, w hose ro le as officials in Y atenga w ill now b e discussed. T h e B a lo u m - N a h a w as h ead o f all th e m ale servants em ployed in sid e th e palace, in clu d in g th e k ing’s personal retainers. H e in tro d u c e d visitors to th e k in g ’s a p artm en ts an d received all gifts se n t to th e k in g ; he also h an d ed o u t th e food an d d rin k w h ich th e k in g m ade available o n ce rtain occasions. T h e servants (sogonekam ba) u n d e r h is co n tro l lived in his w ard w h en th eir p erio d o f service at co u rt w as over.10 T h e T o g o -N a b a w as th e k in g ’s h erald an d spokesm an; h e also officially an n o u n ced th e k in g ’s d ea th and th e nam e o f his successor. In tim a te ly co n n ected w ith all m a tte rs o f d ea th a t th e court, the T o g o -N a b a co n tro lled th o se fo rm e r capitals o f th e kin g d o m w hich w ere trad itio n ally given to th e wives o f dead kings. (T h e w ord logo is derived fro m th e ro o t togse — to im itate o r rep ro d u ce th e w o rd s o f som eone.) T h e W id i- N a b a su p erv ised th e royal groom s, an d looked after th e k in g ’s horses a n d th o se horses belonging to dead nobles. O n th e k in g ’s d ea th h e looked after th e late king’s saddle u n til th e

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accession o f his successor ; he also led th e king’s horse to G am baga to be sacrificed on th e grave of Y ennenga, p rogenetrix of the M ossi dynasty. T h e R a s s a m - N a b a was th e royal trea su rer and responsible for th e th ro n e slaves ( b in g o re m b a ), w ho resided in special q u arters b e h in d th e palace. H e w as also chief executioner. H is nam e derives fro m raogo (m ale) an d sa g a (beautiful). R a -s a m s e (s. ra -sa g a ) w ere th e g ro u p of young m en w ho fo rm ed th e corps d ’é lite in th e M ossi arm y an d w ere co m m an d ed b y th e R a s s a m - N a b a . Besides th e fo u r m inisters, th e re w ere n u m ero u s o th er officials. T h e S a m a n d e - N a b a was chief o f th e o u ter co u rt and responsible for those retain ers w ho w ere n o t allow ed access to th e palace p ro p e r. H e played an im p o rta n t role d u rin g th e king’s accession cerem onies, an d he also d ep u tized for th e T o g o -N a b a w hen th e latter was indisposed. T h e re w ere tw o S o b a - N a b a : one d eputized for th e B a lo u m - N a b a in case o f sickness, th e o th er (a d ep en d an t o f th e R a ssa m ) supervised th e lab o urers on th e king’s farm s. T h e B u g u r e - N a b a , w ho also supervised th e royal farm labourers, was respo n sib le for th e king’s bodyguard. T h e tw o K o m - N a b a , one a d ep e n d an t of th e R a s s a m , th e o th er of th e T o g o , w ere resp o n sib le for th e ch ild ren an d w ives o f th e king. T h e fo rm er d ealt w ith th e ailm ents o f royal wives, w ho w ere tre a te d outside th e palace, since n o b o d y w as allow ed to lie ill in b ed or die in th e royal residence— th e cen tre o f life. T h e latter gave sh elter to royal w ives d u rin g c h ild b irth an d cared for th e you n g er royal ch ild ren . T h e P o e - N a b a cam e to th e palace every seven days to ac t as ju d g e in cases co n cerning th e royal wives an d pages. T h e B a g a r e - N a b a w as in charge o f th e b a g a re w ard, w here th e k in g ’s h erd sm e n re sid e d : h e su p p lied th e king w ith beasts for food, feasts, an d sacrifices. T h e Z a k a - N a b a w as in charge o f all sacrifices at co u rt, an d he cam e u n d e r th e R a s s a m - N a b a . Also u n d e r th e la tte r w as th e S a b a - N a b a , responsible for all th e palace sm ith s. B e n d - N a b a w as h ead o f th e royal d ru m m ers. T h e R a g a N a b a acted as ch ief o f th e m ark et a t th e capital and supervised all o th e r m ark ets in th e kingdom . T h e T o m - N a b a was th e keeper o f th e to m -v a d o g o , a sm all hole in th e o u ter co u rt filled w ith sand. N ew ly ap p o in ted ‘ca n to n ’ chiefs an d those selected d irectly by th e king ap p eared before th e hole an d placed d u st on th e head of th e T o m - N a b a . A p a rt from th ese officials, each w ith his specific function, th ere

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w as a large n u m b e r o f retain ers d ivided in to th re e categories. F irstly , th e b a le m b iy o o r sogone, w ho w ere pages w ith access to th e in n e r palace. T h e eldest, so g o nekasega, w as th e ir head and, w ith th e B a lo u m - N a b a an d Z a k a - N a b a , w as g u ard ian o f th e royal fire, w h ich w as never ex tin g u ish ed d u rin g th e king’s lifetim e. S econdly, th e re w ere th e w id ik im b a , w ho w ere in charge o f th e royal h o rse ; th ird ly , th e re w ere th e sa m a n k o a m b a o r z a n k o a m b a , w ho cleaned th e o u te r c o u rt a n d k e p t th e k in g ’s ap artm en ts in rep air. A ll retain ers o f th e king w ere u n m arrie d . T h e sogone dressed th e ir h a ir like w om en an d w ore w om en’s co p p er bracelets o n th e ir w rists an d ankles. I n O uagadougou th e org an izatio n o f th e co u rt w as basically sim ilar, b u t th e re w ere five m in isters: th e W id i- N a b a an d B a lo u m N a b a h ad th e sam e d u ties as th e ir co u n terp arts in Y atenga, th e L a r a le - N a b a w as in charge o f th e royal m ausoleum s, th e G o u n g a N a b a w as ch ief o f th e in fan try , a n d th e K a m s a o g o - N a b a w as chief o f th e palace eu n u ch s. A rem arkable featu re o f th e system was th e precise positio n in g o f th e dw ellings o f im p o rta n t co urtiers aro u n d th e palace ; an o th er was th e stric t protocol w hich allocated to each m in ister an d d ig n itary his exact positio n in th e o u ter co u rt w h en th e y assem bled to p ay th e ir respects to th e king each m o rn in g. I n th is co u rty ard th e re was a sem icircle o f stone seats, an d th e p erso n n el o f th e co u rt was called k u g z id ib a , ‘titled m en w ith stone seats’. J u d i c ia l I n s titu tio n s

T rib u n a ls w ere g ra d ed according to th e political divisions w ith in th e kingdom . T h e low est co u rt w as th a t of th e w ard head, w ho dealt w ith all cases co n cerning th e lineage segm ent u n d e r his au th o rity . T h e village head, w ith his ‘m in isters’ and w ard heads, c o n stitu te d th e n ex t grade an d also h eard appeals from th e courts o f w ard heads. T h e co u rt o f th e ‘c a n to n ’ chief dealt w ith in te r­ village disputes. T h e co u rt o f a ‘p ro v incial’ chief (palace m inister) w as concerned w ith d isp u tes betw een th e F u lb e, Y arse, D ioula, an d o th ers (see p. 160), an d b etw een th ese and th e M ossi proper. H e also exam ined appeals fro m th e low er courts. S uprem e ju d ic ia l a u th o rity w as vested in th e king, although in practice h e only gave ju d g e m e n t in crim inal cases, su ch as hom icide, and cases w hich pro v ed too difficult fo r su b o rd in ate trib u n als. H e also c o n stitu te d th e only co u rt qualified to try n a ko m b se .

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T h e se five types o f trib u n a ls w ere co n stitu ted on th e sam e hierarchical p a tte rn as th e ad m in istration o f th e kingdom , w ith no d istin ctio n betw een th e ju d iciary an d th e executive. Since they h ad ju risd ic tio n in all civil suits, th e ju d g es’ com petence was very w ide indeed an d only lim ited b y th e social ranking of th e parties concerned. M i l i t a r y O r g a n iz a tio n

E u ro p e an travellers have often recounted the w arlike exploits o f th e M ossi, y et no stu d y of th e ir m ilitary organization has been m ade. T h e re was never a reg u lar M ossi arm y, although th ere w ere, of course, p e rm a n e n t m ilitary chiefs. All ad u lt m en were liable for m ilitary service an d w ere m obilized in tim es of w ar. A sm all b o d y of reg u lar soldiers at th e k in g ’s court acted as his arm ed b o d y g u ard (k a m b o se ), m aintained o rd er in th e palace b u t nev er w en t to w ar. N evertheless, a m ilitary su b stru c tu re existed. T h e arm y con­ sisted o f tw o divisions: th e in fan try u n d e r th e T a p so b a (m aster o f th e bow ) an d th e cavalry u n d e r th e W id i- N a b a . T h e se tw o divisions w ere d istrib u te d in fo u r territo rial districts at th e four cardinal p o in ts o f th e com pass. I n O uagadougou these w ere M éguet, K okologo, N ah arten g a, an d T u ili; th is organization was concom itant w ith, o r p o sterio r to, th e foundation o f th e p resen t capital. I n Y atenga, on th e o th e r h an d , th e capital o f O uahigouya was geographically outside th e fo u r m ilitary districts, w hich w ere K ossouka (east), L ago (west), O ula (north), an d G o u rcy (south). In fo rm an ts explained th is anom aly b y th e fact th a t th e fo u r garrisons w ere organized like th is in th e tim e o f N ab a N assodoba (1475-1505, according to T au x ie r, 1917: 81), w ho h ad his capital at O um som , a village now situ ated in th e cen tre of th e m ilitary d istrict. L a te r th e capital was rem oved to th e n o rth ­ east. A ta p so b a lived eith er in one o f th e four m ilitary strongholds or in a separate village; at all events, he was fo rb id d en to have his h ea d q u arters in th e capital. T h e ta p so b a o f O uahigouya resided at O ula. H e was ritu ally p u t to d ea th at th e end o f th ree y ears’ office. T h e in fan try was com posed o f archers and of m usketeers (originally fro m A shanti). D u rin g m obilization th e ta p so b a n a m b a led th e archers, m usketeers, an d cavalry, although th e latter w ere d irectly controlled b y th e W id i- N a b a at th e capital. O th er chiefs

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p ro v id ed w arrio rs. T h e ta p so b a o f O ula becam e co m m an d er-in ­ ch ief o f th e en tire arm y in th e field and was assisted b y th ree o th e r ta p so b a n a m b a . In action th e in fan try w ere placed in th e cen tre o f th e com bined forces u n d e r th e S a m a d e - N a b a . I n Y atenga th e re w ere eleven sections : th e g u n b ea rers’ section was com m anded b y th e B u g u r e N a b a (chief o f th e pow der) ; th e te n o th er sections w ere com m an d ed b y th e tw o K o m - N a b a (chiefs o f y o ung m en), the tw o S o b a - N a b a (chiefs o f Bobo), th e K o m - N a b a an d th e S a m a d e N a b a o f Ziga, th e K o m - N a b a an d S a m a d e - N a b a o f Binsigay, an d th e K o m - N a b a an d S a m a d e - N a b a o f Sissim ba. T h e se last th ree tow ns w ere fo rm er capitals o f th e kingdom . T h e cavalry u n d e r th e W id i- N a b a an d his ad ju tan t, th e ch ief o f th e royal stables, was placed on th e tw o w ings o f th e infantry. A rm y chiefs an d captains k ep t in th e re ar d u rin g th e fighting, p ro tected by th e ir b o dyguards, w hose role it w as to p re v en t th em fro m falling into en em y hands. T h e m usketeers an d archers began an attack w ith th e cavalry su p p o rtin g th e action an d taking p risoners. I t appears th ere was no com m issariat; th e tro o p s eith er carried th e ir ow n food or lived off th e land, ra id in g villages th ey passed. L o n g sieges w ere n o t com m on. M o st territo ria l co n q uests consisted o f a m ilitary ram page to w h ich th e peaceable p o p u lations su b m itted w ith little show o f resistance. I n O uagadougou th e organization of th e arm y show ed little v ariation from th e above d escription, except th a t th e ta p so b a , co m m an d er-in -ch ief, received th e s u p p o rt o f four of th e king’s m in isters— th e W id i- N a b a , L a r a le - N a b a , G o u n g a -N a b a , and the K a m s a o g o - N a b a .11 R o y a l M o r tu a r y a n d I n s ta lla tio n R ite s

I n Y atenga th e k in g ’s d eath was announced seven days after his actual decease. In sid e th e palace th e corpse was g u ard ed by special officials an d an o in ted w ith sh ea -b u tte r and sew n into a fresh cow hide. T h e official an n o u n c em en t was m ade by striking a special fu n eral d ru m , th e skin o f w hich was sp lit by th e herald once th e m essage h ad b een relayed. Before th e b urial, th e n a -p o k o (fem ale chief) was installed. S he w as th e king’s eldest d au g h ter an d was invested w ith royal prerogatives d u rin g th e interregnum . S he w ore h e r fa th e r’s regalia an d m ig h t even w ear his clothes.

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T h is ru le also ap p lied to th e eldest d au g h ter o f any deceased M ossi chief, in clu d in g th e E a rth priests. D u rin g th e m o rtu a ry cerem ony th e n a -p o k o im m ediately p re ced e d th e royal b ie r along th e road from O uahigouya to Som niaga, a village five m iles aw ay w hich w as th e necropolis of Y atenga kings. O nly kings e n th ro n e d at G o u rcy m ig h t be b u ried th ere. A t th e h ea d o f th e procession th e king’s eldest son rode th e royal h orse, w ith o u t a saddle, an d seated so th a t he faced th e tail. A t Som niaga th e corpse w as given over to th e guardians o f th e m au so leu m : O uahigouya p eople w ere allow ed no farth er. T h e grave-diggers d u g tw o circu lar p its; te n feet dow n a h o ri­ zo n tal tu n n e l w as ch annelled betw een th em an d th e king’s body p laced in it, reclining an d facing east, th e u su al position adopted in th e b u rial o f all M ossi m en. B eside h im w as a b ar o f salt, a ja r o f honey, an d a ja r o f m illet beer. T rad itio n ally a king’s w ife a n d a co u rt je s te r w ere b u rie d alive w ith him , b u t th e m odern su b stitu te s fo r th ese are a live ca t an d a cockerel. T h e in te rre g n u m lasted a com plete year, d u rin g w hich th e n a -p o k o reigned. A t th e e n d o f th is p erio d th e second funeral rite s ensued. T h e n a -p o k o w as d eth ro n ed an d a k o u r ita (lit. ‘e a te r o f k o u r e ’) w as n o m in ated in h e r place. H e w as th e carrier o f th e k in g ’s soul an d was chosen fro m am ong th e king’s des­ cen d an ts : he lived in th e palace a n d enjoyed special prerogatives. T h e m o m en t th e new king w as elected th e k o u r ita im m ediately left th e palace an d nev er let th e king set eyes u p o n him . H e was usually m ade a ch ief o f a d istan t village.12 I n Y atenga k ingship w as n o t tra n sm itte d fro m fath er to son b u t fro m eld er b ro th e r to y o u n g er b ro th e r; failing th is, th e succession w e n t to th e eld est son o f th e eldest b ro th e r o f th e dead king. O n ly d escen d an ts o f th e kings installed a t G o u rcy m ig h t lay claim to th e th ro n e .13 D u rin g th e e n th ro n e m e n t cerem onies th e new king visited th e th re e villages o f Issigui, Binsigay, an d Bogoya, receiving from th e chiefs o f th e E a rth th o se eating u ten sils he w ould use fo r th e re st o f his life. A t th e sam e tim e h e m ad e sacrifices at th e shrines o f th e fo u n d e r o f th e p re se n t capital. T h e final cerem ony took place at G o u rcy th re e years later. A rriv in g a t th e tow n, th e king an d his su ite m im ed an assault o n th e walls, th u s sym bolizing his accession to pow er. T h e kin g -elect was placed on th e royal stone, u n d erw en t a ritu al o f segregation fro m o rd in ary m ortals, and received his

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regalia. F o r h is re tu rn to O uahigouya, h e w as given w ives a n d perso n al retain ers. S u rro u n d e d b y th e nucleus o f his household th e king— a creatu re ap a rt, a su n — arrived a t h is capital, w h ich h e w ould n ev er again leave d u rin g h is lifetim e. T h e ritu als o f th e royal c o u rt w ere elaborate, b u t only one— th e N e w Y ear rite o f renew al called b a sg a in O uagadougou— w ill be d escrib ed here. I t co rresp o n d ed to th e f il ig a o r k iw g u o f O u a h i­ gouya an d o cc u rre d a t th e tim e o f th e w in ter solstice. B a s g a d eriv ed fro m a w o rd m ean ing separation o r desertion, an d th e rites m ark ed th e sep aratio n o f th e old year fro m th e new . I n M o ssi ideology th e d ead y ear w as also associated w ith th e ir ancestors, an d th u s c o n stitu te d a c u lt o f th e dead. T h e w in ter solstice also coincided w ith th e m illet harvest, an d th e cerem ony o f basg a th u s celebrated th e d e a th o f th e m illet. I t w as th ro u g h libations o f m illet b e e r th a t th e M ossi co m m unicated w ith th eir ancestors, a n d n o n e o f th e n ew season’s crop m ig h t b e u sed u n til it h ad b ee n ‘ta ste d ’ b y th e ancestors. Closely associated w ith th e basga was th e idea o f renew al. T h e festival beg an w ith th e re tu rn o f th e su n fro m th e so u th to th e n o rth tro p ic. A ll p a th s leading to th e palace w ere cleared, h u ts in th e o u ter co u rt w ere repaired, an d 220 sheaves o f m illet w ere b ro u g h t fo r p resen tatio n to th e king. D u rin g th is tim e th e k in g played a m in o r role in th e b a sga. T h is w as significant, since th e s u n ’s p a th h a d first to b e o p en ed fo r th e king— th a t o th e r su n — in o rd e r to lau n ch h im tow ards th e renew al of his k ingdom an d th e w orld. D u rin g th e n ex t stage o f th e b a sga th e king ap p eared to ab a n d o n his palace. T h re e days before th e p u b lic festivities w h ich m ark ed th e conclusion o f th e b a sg a h e left his palace an d sp e n t th e first n ig h t w ith th e S a m a d a - N a b a , re tu rn in g to th e palace before sunrise. T h e second n ig h t h e sp en t in th e G o u n g a -N a b a ’s q u arte rs, th e th ird w ith th e B a g r e - N a b a (w ho co rresp o n d ed to th e Z a k a - N a b a o f Y atenga). T h e n ex t day he re tu rn e d to th e palace a n d p erfo rm ed th e im p o rtan t sacrifice in w h ich he h im self sta b b e d th e v ictim an d u tte re d th e ritu al form ulae. T h e places w h ere th e k ing slep t d u rin g th is ritu al w ere envisaged as th re e card in al p oints, w ith th e palace as th e cen tre. T h e th re e n ig h ts sp e n t o u tsid e th e palace rep resen ted th e renew al o f th e palace, th e kingdom , an d th e w orld. T h e p riv ate, sacred p a r t o f th e b a sg a w as now over, an d th e k in g ’s officials co n g ratu lated h im o n h is re tu rn to th e palace. H e d istrib u te d food a n d d rin k to his household. B oth th e b a sga

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a t O uagadougou an d th e f il ig a a t Y atenga w ere rites in th e an n u al cycle w h ich established th e v ital connexion betw een n a m an d tegasobun d o , th a t is, betw een political an d ritu a l au th o rity . T h ro u g h th is ritu a l cycle social distance te n d ed to d im inish betw een th e diverse categories o f p erso n s com posing th e k ingdom ; even stran ­ gers, su ch as th e Y arse, Sam ogo, a n d K ibissi, occupied im p o rtan t fu n ctio n s a t th e co u rt an d enjoyed special privileges d u rin g state festivities. C o n clu sio n s

D o w n to th e p re se n t day su ch te rm s as feudalism , vassalage, fief, an d trib u te have b e e n b an d ied a b o u t recklessly. T h e w ord ‘trib u te ’ h as b ee n ap p lied to th e p restatio n s m ad e to a M ossi k in g an d view ed as exactions im posed b y overlords. P atien t in q u iry , o n th e o th e r h a n d , has revealed th a t these gifts always re tu rn e d in one fo rm o r an o th e r to th e ir p o in t o f origin. T h e focal p o in t o f th is exchange o f goods was, o f course, th e king. H e also h a d his ow n sources o f w ealth, h is farm s an d g rain stores. Y et w h at was p ro d u c ed o n his ow n farm s w as n o t fo r his personal use. N e ith e r he n o r his w ives m ig h t p artake o f th e m illet grow n th ere. T h is was reserved for his subjects, w ho in tu rn w ere expected to feed him . A k in d o f co m p lem en tarity was forged betw een th e king an d his people. O u r investigations have only begun, an d a com plete analysis o f M ossi social organization w ill be no light task. T h is is due to reticence o n th e p a rt o f o u r M ossi inform ants, an d also to th e ra p id d isin teg ratio n o f trad itio n al in stitu tio n s.* A n o th er factor is th e infiltration o f E u ro p e an p attern s o f th o u g h t into native explanations o f th e indigenous w ay o f life. N o n e th e less, th e sm allest cru m b o f a u th en tic in fo rm ation will go fa r to enrich our know ledge o f these people, th e ir neighbours, and th eir kin.

NOTES I. Our earliest first-hand knowledge of the Mossi came from Joao de Barros (A s ia de J o ã o de B a rro s, dos fa c to s que os Portugueses fiz e r a m no descobrimento e conquista dos m ares e terras do orienta, Lisbon, 1552I 5 5 3 , 2 vol. in fol.) and the T a rik h -e s-S o u d a n , by Abderhaman es Saadi. * Fieldwork among the Mossi was carried out by the Author for several months in every year between 1948 and 1 958 .

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T h e latter work mentions Mossi razzias against T im buktu and Benka, and Songhai counter-attacks which led to Mossi defeats. 2. Historians of the Mossi are not all in agreement on dates. Accord­ ing to M arc (1909: 131, 136), the founder of the Mossi dynasty (Oubri) appears to have lived about the m iddle of the fourteenth century. Delafosse (1 9 1 2 : I, 306 ff.) places him in the eleventh century. Tauxier, first of all, suggests the twelfth century (1912: 458 ff.), later the be­ ginning of the fourteenth century (1917: 16 ff.). Recently J. D. Fage (‘Reflections on the Early H istory of the M ossi-Dagomba Group of States’ in T h e H isto ria n in T ro p ica l A fric a , E d s., J. Vansina, R. Mauny, L. V. Thom as, London, 1964) also proposed the fourteenth century as the date of the origin of the Mossi, Dagomba, and M am prussi states. 3. Among the Mossi—like some other peoples of Negro Africa— certain dyadic relationships between individuals or between groups, who constitute complementary halves of a social whole, are translated into kinship terms. T hus, the religious hierarchy between the priest of the E arth and the king is shown by the reciprocal use of the kinship terms for elder brother-younger brother. In the kingdom these two digni­ taries are envisaged as having a m other’s brother-sister’s son relation­ ship when it is im portant to define reciprocal rights and obligations of m utual aid. Legends accounting for the origin of the dynasty frequently use these term s as if the relationship were a real one, thus giving them m ore consistency. 4. In Yatenga, with a population of 700,000, there are approximately 800 villages (administrative units), thus giving an average village popula­ tion of 875. Before independence there were 34 districts (cantons) with an average population of 20,500. Skinner (1964: 24), whose study refers mainly to Ouagadougou, estimates the average village population at 500, and the district at 22,500. 5. According to Skinner (1964: 56-59), in Ouagadougou the dead m an’s eldest son was in a favourable position to succeed his father, although any m em ber of the lineage w ith a forceful personality might dispute his claim. 6. According to Tauxier (1912: 575), the M o ro -N a b a (king) of Ouagadougou chose the worthiest of the m inister’s close kin to succeed him. Skinner (1964: 67), on the other hand, says that, except for the K am saog h o -N a b a , a m inister’s office was hereditary. 7. Dim Delobsom (1933: 63) records a legend which states that the G o u nga-N a b a was originally prime minister. For reasons of amity he proposed to K ing Oubri that the two commoners, the W id i-N a b a and the L a ra le -N a b a , should be prim e minister and second m inister respectively, retaining for himself the rank of third minister. 8. T h e description which follows refers to the palace at Ouagadougou where architectural details still exist.

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9. T h e king made two appearances in the morning. In the first he was dressed in red, wore a silver bonnet, held a golden forked stick, and was seated in front of the ‘golden door’. H e represented the red sun of the rain season, and the ceremony symbolized the sun’s path from the north to the south tropic. In his second appearance he was dressed in white, symbolizing the dry season sun. H e was seated in front of the circular h u t em bedded in the wall, and his appearance represented the sun’s path from the south to the north tropic. 10. T he m inister’s name probably derived from the root bagh, from which comes the word for dog, bagha. Among the Dagomba there is a functionary called balo na, which, according to Rattray, is derived from ba logo , dog (Rattray, T ribes o f th e A s h a n ti H in te rla n d , Oxford, 1932, Vol. 2: 572). T h e derivation given by Bellot seems incorrect (1949: 63). T h e B a lo u m -N a b a ’s ward at Ouahigouya is called balogo. 11. For further details on this subject, see Skinner (1964: 93 ff.). 12. According to Dim Delobsom (1933: 126) and Skinner (1964: 51), the ko u rita was the dead king’s child. D im Delobsom refers to several chiefdoms with k ou r ta-chiefs : Boulsa, Poa, and Koupela. T he k o u rita institution resembles that of the Dogon n a n i. I t is of immense interest for the understanding of the chiefdom, whose major characteristic is its perennity. 13. In Ouagadougou succession to the throne went from father to son. T his principle, however, was not absolutely rigorous, since, as Skinner observed (1964: 36-7), one-third at least of the thirty-four kings suc­ ceeded their brothers. Tauxier (1912: 576) holds that the rule of lineal succession, which is now in force on all levels of Mossi chiefdoms, re­ placed the ‘true patriarchal principle’ of collateral succession after the conquest of Dagomba and Mossi by the original invaders. REFEREN CES Bellot, R. P.

1949

Binger, L. G.

1892

Delafosse, M. Delobsom, A. A. Dim Marc, L. A. Noiré, Capt.

1912 1933 1909 1904

‘Etude sur la toponymie des quartiers de Ouagadougou’, N o tes A frica in es, N o.42, Avril. D u N ig er a u G olfe de G uinée. 2 vols. Paris. H a u t-S é n é g a l-N ig e r. 2 vols. Paris. L ’E m p ire d u M o g h o -N a b a . Paris. L e P a y s M ossi. Paris. M onographie d u Cercle de O uahigouya,

M S. Skinner, E. P.

1964

T h e M o ssi o f the U pper V o lta : the p o litic a l developm ent o f a Sudanese people. Stanford, California.

170

Tauxier, L.

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1912 1917

1924

Zahan, D.

19 5 4

1961

L e N o ir d u S o u d a n . Paris, Larose. L e N o ir d u Y a te n g a . Paris, Larose. N o u v e lle s N o te s su r les M o s s i e t les G o u ro u n si. Paris, Larose.

‘Notes sur les marchés mossi du Yatenga’, A fr ic a , Vol. XXIV, N o. 4. ‘P our une histoire des Mossi du Yatenga’, L ’H o m m e , t.I. N o. 2. M aiAoût.

T H E O V E R -K IN G D O M O F G O N JA J ack

G

oody

T h e stu d y of indigenous A frican states has b een held back by tw o m ain factors. T h o se E u ro p e a n -tra in e d h istorians w ho have th o u g h t it w o rth w hile to pay m o re th a n a casual glance at these societies do n o t always show m u ch u n d ersta n d in g o f such social system s an d becom e easily m esm erized b y dates and events. O n th e o th e r h an d , th o se sociologists w ho have m ad e a serious a tte m p t to collect fro m co n tem p o rary sources th e m aterial necessary to analyse th ese societies an d th e ir change over tim e are o ften led astray b y th e ir involvem ent in th e presen t. F o r w hen a state succum bs to co n q u est b y a colonizing pow er th e govern­ m en tal system im m ediately u n dergoes a serious o f ra p id an d farreaching changes, in fu n ctio n , if n o t form . So th a t fieldw ork in a p o st-co n q u e st state, carried o u t along strictly synchronic, fu n ctio n alist lines, w ill give a p ic tu re o f a kingdom very different from th a t o f earlier tim es. A stu d y of th e dynasty itself has always provided som e co u n ter­ w eight to th e ten d en c y o f fieldw orkers to m ake assum ptions of co n tin u ity , to p ro ject th e p re sen t back in to th e past. T h e collection o f royal genealogies an d lists o f kings has given som e overall view o f a ru lin g g ro u p existing, an d changing, in tim e. I t is pro b ab ly in th e fields of econom ic an d ex ternal relations th a t th e m ost serious discrepancies arise. I n external relations, because fieldw orkers have inevitably con cen trated on th e w ith in ra th e r th a n th e w ith o u t; in econom ics, because com m ercial exchanges have often altered as radically as g o v ernm ent b u t w ith less noise. C ertain ly one can n o t u n d e rsta n d n in etee n th -cen tu ry G onja w ith o u t know ing so m eth in g of its external as well as its internal relations. So I begin b y describing its position w ith regard to n eig h b o u rin g peoples, th e econom ic system , w hich stretch ed far bey o n d its b o u ndaries, an d th e historical fram ew ork o f outside contacts.1

N

T h e State of G onja and its N eighbours ( 1 8 7 5 )

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G o n ja a n d its N e ig h b o u rs

G o n ja lay to th e n o rth o f th e w ide b en d m ade b y th e Black V olta, as th e riv er sw ings eastw ard fro m one side o f th e p re sen t state o f G h a n a to th e o th e r (p. 180). T h e kingdom stretch ed across th e fu ll w id th o f th e co u n try , som e 200 m iles in all, and rarely less th a n 90 m iles in d ep th . I t covered a to tal area o f som e 15,000 sq u are m iles, w h ich in 1960 h ad a p o p u latio n o f 118,000. Im m ed iately to th e n o rth -e a st lay th e kingdom o f D agom ba and, b ey o n d th a t again, th o se o f M a m p ru si an d M ossi— all ru led b y b ran ch es o f th e sam e d y n asty ; to th e east was th e N a n u m b a S tate, a sm aller offshoot o f th e D agom ba group. S o u th o f N a n u ­ m b a, o n th e hilly ea ste rn flank o f G onja, th e re w ere a n u m b e r of sm all-scale, stateless societies, w hose in h ab itan ts spoke an array o f different languages belonging to th e G uang, G u r, and th e T ogo R em n an t fam ilies. I n th e so u th -ea st w as th e G uang-speaking to w n o f K ra c h i; fo rm erly a n im p o rtan t m ark et an d religious centre, it co m m an d ed access to th e u p p e r reaches o f th e V olta (p articu larly im p o rta n t in th e A da salt trad e fro m th e coast) an d engaged in extensive com m erce w ith th e countries o f th e savannah zone. T o th e so u th lay A shanti, sep arated n o t only b y th e R iver V olta b u t also b y a co rd o n s a n ita ir e o f alm ost u n in h ab ited country. W h ile th e re are som e physical causes for th is ‘d esert o f G h o fe’, its em ptiness is also a testim o n y to th e effectiveness o f th e A shanti arm ies an d a rem in d er th a t th e econom y of m any kingdom s o f W est A frica, N u p e , an d H ausa, as well as A shanti, was bolstered by tra d e in h u m an as w ell as m aterial goods, and by p ro d u ctio n based o n a k in d o f p lan tatio n slavery. T o th e sou th -w est lay th e m ark et tow ns of B anda and B onduku, W enchi and K intam po, w hich w ere eith er anciently established o r successors to older tow ns, su ch as th e legendary Begho. T h ese forest m argins form ed th e key area in th e exchange of A sh anti gold and kola n u ts w ith th e p ro d u c ts of th e N ig er b en d — th e region o f th e great m edieval em pires of G hana, M ali, an d th e o th er states cen tred on tow ns such as T im b u k tu , D jen n e, Segou, and G ao. F o r it was here in th e gap betw een th e V olta an d th e forest th a t p rim ary pro d u cts from th e so u th w ere exchanged for th e salt and m anufactured goods b ro u g h t dow n b y th e tra n s-S a h ara n caravans. As a resu lt o f tra d e an d conquest, th e p o p u latio n of th e B anda area becam e

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very m ix ed ; an d it w as p ro b a b ly th ro u g h h ere (or som ew hat to th e n o rth ) th a t th e ru lin g elem ents o f G onja cam e on th eir jo u rn e y fro m M an d e. T h e w estern b o u n d a ry o f G onja w as form ed by th e Black Volta. A cross th e riv er lay th e sm all state o f B una, o f M an d e an d D ag o ­ m b a origin, set am id st a n u m b e r o f n on-centralized, G ur-speaking peoples, su ch as th e L o b i an d th e K ulango. T o th e n o rth -w est th e re was th e state o f W a, an o th e r offshoot o f th e D agom ba kingdom . A n d betw een W a an d D agom ba lay a belt o f stateless trib es, speaking languages o f th e G u r group (m ainly G ru si b u t also M ossi languages) th a t stretch e d fro m th e L o D ag aa in th e w est, astrid e th e Black V olta, to th e T allen si in th e east, close to th e W h ite V olta. L ik e sim ilar peoples of th e A sh an ti h in terlan d , th e ir social organization is m ark ed by stro n g p atrilineal descent g ro u p s an d parish es u n d e r th e ritu a l control o f an E a rth priest. T h e d istrib u tio n o f state an d stateless societies was o f fu n d a ­ m en tal im p o rtan ce to G onja. T h e states re p resen te d a n ever­ p re se n t th rea t. T h o se to th e n o rth could be m e t b y eq u al force an d , alth o u g h th e re w ere b o th victories an d defeats, a ro u g h balance o f pow er existed betw een G onja, D agom ba, W a, an d th e o th e r states o f th e M ossi g ro u p . T h e y h ad sim ilar w eapons, sim ilar m ilitary organization, an d th e co-operation o f all was re q u ire d in m ain tain in g th e tra d e -ro u tes o n w hich an im p o rtan t sector o f th e ir econom y d ep en d ed . B u t to th e so u th th e situ atio n was v ery different. T h e A sh an ti co n trolled th e ro u tes to th e coast, an d hence th e su p p lies o f E u ro p e a n g u n s an d pow der. Because th e y refu sed to allow th ese goods to pass beyond th e ir territo ry , th e ir n o rth e rn n eig h b o u rs w ere a t th e ir m ercy. A fter a successful ex p ed itio n in 1744, eastern G o n ja a n d D ag o m b a w ere h eld to pay an an n u al trib u te to th e A shanti, w ho k ep t representatives in th e m ain tra d in g tow ns o f Salaga an d Y endi. T h e ir in terests w ere in th e collection o f trib u te (m ainly in slaves) an d in tra d e w ith th e H au sa (m ainly in kola, cloth, and livestock). T h e n o n -cen tralized Societies to th e n o rth an d east form ed a pool o f m an p o w er th a t th e G o n ja raided to su p p ly them selves an d th e A sh an ti w ith slaves. T h e cavalry o f th e savannah states w as no m atch fo r A sh an ti firearm s, b u t it could easily dom inate people w hose only w eapons w ere bow s and arrow s. H ow was it th a t su ch societies rem ain ed outside th e ju risd ictio n o f states w ith su ch arm ed forces at th e ir disposal? P artly because th ey

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occupied refuge areas, like th e T o g o hills, w hich w ere difficult to p en e trate. P a rtly because, like th e L o b i an d K onkom ba, th ey p u t u p stro n g resistance an d m elted aw ay in defeat. P artly because th e b o u n d aries o f states w ere o f a flu ctu atin g kind, since ow ing to lim itatio n s in co m m u n icatio n , th e co ntrol o f th e p aram o u n t was inversely p ro p o rtio n al to th e distance from th e capital. A t tim es p e rip h e ral areas like T a le la n d w ere loosely linked to a centralized kingdom , b u t th e n a tu re o f th e lin k changed over tim e as th e influence o f p a rtic u la r states w axed an d w aned. A n d since th e b ase o f th e system w as subsistence agriculture, th e dynastic su p e rstru c tu re could b e rem oved, leaving b eh in d a co u n try o f viable farm in g com m unities. F inally, su ch acephalous peoples fo rm e d buffers betw een states, as w ell as a pool o f h u m an resources. T h e se areas could b e raided by parties o f soldiers w ith o u t trespassing u p o n th e rig h ts o f n eig h b o u rin g states; they fo rm ed regions o f free en terp rise fo r b an d s o f state-controlled w arriors, w hose p rize lay in people ra th e r th a n p ro p e rty (o f this th e re was little except food), w ho w ere th e n sold o r used as slaves. T h e E c o n o m y o f G o n ja

T h e tow ns o f Salaga in th e east an d Bole in th e w est specialized in tra d e w ith th e co u n tries o f th e n o rth and so u th ; in th e centre, D aboya, T u lu w e, G b u ip e, an d K afaba w ere also im p o rtan t centres at different periods. A lth o u g h G onja lay outside th e forest zone, it was to these to w n s th a t m any trad ers cam e to exchange th e live-stock, cloth an d m an u factu res of th e n o rth w ith th e kola, gold an d o th er p ro d u c e o f th e so u th . N o rth e rn trad in g co m m u n i­ ties h ad b ee n established in K u m asi by th e b eginning o f th e n in e­ te e n th century, b u t m an y travellers preferred to keep aw ay from b o th th e A shanti and th e rain forest, and to tran sact th eir business in th e savannah tow ns. I t was ju s t su ch exchange facilities th a t G o n ja provided. T h e to w n of Salaga h ad a n u m b er o f different w ards in h ab ited b y different g roups o f strangers, som e o f w hom specialized in th e p artic u la r com m odities th a t form ed th e basis o f th e external exchange, th e L ig b y in gold, th e H au sa in horses. S u ch trad in g was a very skilled business in th is highly m onetized sector of th e econom y. A n d it form ed p a rt o f a netw ork o f com ­ m ercial relations th a t linked th e trad in g com m unities of G onja w ith th e h in terlan d o f th e states o f D ahom ey and Y o ru b a (w hich, like A shanti, controlled th e E u ro p ean traffic from th e C oast),

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as w ell as w ith th e g re at m ark e t to w ns o f n o rth e rn N igeria, to w h ich cam e m erc h an ts fro m th e shores o f th e M ed iterran ean (C lap p erto n , 1829: 68, 7 5 -6 , 100, 1 3 7-8; L ucas, 1790). T h e in h ab itan ts o f G o n ja gained considerable benefit fro m th e tra d e rs w ho cam e fro m n e a r an d far. I t is clear fro m th e account o f early trav ellers su c h as B inger th a t stran g ers passing th ro u g h th e c o u n try w ere called u p o n to pay d u ty to divisional chiefs. T h is p ay m en t w as a k in d o f p ro tec tio n m oney and, pro v id ed th e charges w ere n o t ex o rb ita n t, tra d e rs u sually p re ferred to travel in relative secu rity th ro u g h su ch kingdom s ra th e r th a n ru n th e risk o f b ein g ra id e d in th e co u n try o f th e ir chiefless neighbours. T h e r e w as also m u c h sm all-scale tra d in g going on betw een th e se ttlem en ts; y o u n g m en fro m th e chiefly an d M u slim estates tra m p e d fro m village to village, carry ing cloth, kola, an d trin k ets. I n th e larg er villages w ere fo u n d craftsm en o f various kinds. In D ab o y a th e ex tractio n o f salt an d th e dyeing o f cloth fo rm ed im p o rta n t activities. I n th e larg er to w ns lived persons w ho sp en t m o re or less th e ir en tire tim e in sm ith in g (often N u m u ), in b u tc h e rin g (often H ausa), in w eaving, o r in m agico-religious activities co ncerned eith er w ith th e local cults o r w ith Islam . I n ad dition, th e re w ere p a rt-tim e specialists, su ch as b arb ers, and o th ers, like d ru m m ers, w ere em ployed m ainly b y chiefs. D e sp ite th e trad in g , raiding, a n d m an u factu re, th e basis o f th e p ro d u c tiv e system w as th e hoe cu ltivation o f yam s an d cereals. G o n ja farm s usually lie at a d istan ce o f one to five m iles from th e village. B in g er’s acco u n t o f th e reg ion ro u n d Salaga show s th e existence of fa rm en cam p m en ts w h ere m e n lived w ith th eir slaves. Slaves w ere fo u n d in o th e r p a rts o f th e co u n try too, and w ere ow ned b y all m em b ers o f all estates. T h e captives tak en am ong th e G ru sh i w ere n o t fo r ex p o rt o n ly ; th e y w ere also an im p o rtan t elem ent in th e econom y, p erfo rm in g b o th m ale and fem ale tasks on b e h a lf o f th e o th e r estates. T h e H is to r y o f G o n ja

T h e tale one m o st freq u en tly hears ab o u t th e creation o f th e G o n ja state beg in s w ith th e m ig ratio n o f a b an d o f w arriors from ‘M a n d e ’ (usually identified as th e M ali region o f th e u p p e r N ig er) som e tim e in th e six teen th o r sev en teen th cen tu ry . T h e se m ig­ ra n ts ap p ear to have follow ed th e trad e -ro u te leading fro m th e N ig e r to w n s o f th e S e g o u -T im b u k tu area (th e term in i o f th e

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tra n s-S a h a ra n caravans) dow n to th e gold-bearing areas o f B anda, Jam an, an d B una, situ ated in th e A sh an ti h in terlan d . I n th is region, ju s t n o rth o f th e forest, w ere to b e fo u n d m any o f th e fam ous trad in g tow ns— B egho an d B onduku, N am asa and N soko, B o n o -M an su an d T ec h im a n . T h e in h ab itan ts of th is m ixed area included sm all g ro u p s o f people w ho spoke languages o f th e M an d e (N o rth ern -W estern ) fam ily an d h ad long b e e n settled th e re ; fa rth er w est one finds o th er peoples w ho speak languages o f th e second m ain su b ­ division o f th e M a n d e g ro u p (S o u th ern -E astern ) and w ho seem to be au to ch th o n es. B u t th e re also ap p ear to have been indigenes w ho spoke G u a n g languages su ch as th e ru lin g estate now speak; an d it was possibly h ere (or fa rth e r to th e east above N koranza) th a t th e new com ers a d o p ted th e ir new language. A n d it was from h ere too th a t th ey co n q u ered , p erh ap s w ere d riv en to conquer, th e lan d th ey now occupy. P rese n t-d ay G onja w as th e n in h ab ited b y a n u m b e r o f sm all g ro u p s, speaking G u r and G u an g languages, u n d e r th e loose hegem ony o f th e D agom ba and N a n u m b a king­ dom s. T h e G o n ja invaders w ere accom panied b y M uslim s, also o f M an d e origin, an d b y som e follow ers o f com m oner status. T h e y established th e ir ru le over th e au to ch th o n o u s gro u p s an d created a polyglot em p ire th a t stre tc h e d across th e confluence o f th e Black an d W h ite V olta riv ers an d strad d led trad e -ro u tes to H au sa in th e east, th e M ossi states in th e n o rth , an d to M an d e in th e w est. T h e m ajor enem ies o f th e new G onja state w ere th e n o rth ern A kan ch iefdom o f B o n o -M an su an d th e ‘M ossi’ kingdom s o f W a, B una, N a n u m b a , an d D agom ba. I n th e ir struggles w ith th ese pow ers th e G o n ja w ere m o st successful. B u t in th e m id ­ eig h teenth c e n tu ry th e risin g p ow er o f A sh an ti spread its do m in ­ ion n o rth w a rd a n d estab lish ed trib u ta ry relations over D agom ba an d p arts o f G o n ja th a t e n d u re d in som e fo rm o r o th er fro m 1744 u n til th e A sh an ti them selves w ere defeated b y th e B ritish one h u n d re d an d th irty years later. T h e effect o f th e A shanti invasion o f 1744 was to loosen th e links betw een th e eastern an d w estern p arts o f th e co u n try . I t w as in th e east th a t th e A shanti influence was m o st stro n g ly felt, since th e ir m ajor in tere st (a p art from trib u te ) lay in th e to w n o f Salaga, w hich pro v id ed an o u tlet fo r th e ir kola to th e co u n tries o f th e n o rth -e ast; th e T o g o H ills

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m ade it essential for tra d e rs to cross G onja and D agom ba to get to H au salan d . T h e re su lt w as th a t som e o f th e divisions lying to th e east o f th e W h ite V olta te n d e d to look to K p em b e ra th e r th a n to N y an g a as th e ir capital. T h e organization o f K p em b e seem s to reflect th is state o f affairs, for, unlike o th er divisions, it has a series o f territo ria l subdivisions, each u n d e r th e co n tro l o f a specific ‘g ate’. I n th is w ay it d u p licates th e fo rm o f th e state itself and u n d o u b te d ly re p resen ts th e p o in t w here fissive tendencies have pro ceed ed th e farth est. T h e G o n ja are acutely in tere ste d in th e ir past, w h ich is recorded in d ru m histories, in A rab ic an d H au sa m an u scrip ts, an d in oral tra d itio n s h a n d e d d o w n fro m gen eration to generation. M o st o f th ese tra d itio n s are firm ly linked to th e nam e o f th e co nquering h ero, Jakpa, w ho is seen as th e fo u n d in g ancestor o f th e dynasty a n d th e creato r o f th e state. P articu larly in oral trad itio n , all localities a n d all estates lin k im p o rta n t an d m arvellous events to his nam e. T h e tan g led skein o f stories th a t su rro u n d s h im p resen ts th e h isto rian w ith a n im possible task, b u t it gives a sense o f u n ity to a sca tte red n atio n w hich h ad becom e highly decentralized in m an y aspects o f its organization. T h e S o c ia l E s ta te s

T h is b rie f account of th e h isto ry o f G onja is sufficient to indicate th e existence of at least th ree m ajor social groups, th e rulers ( N G b a n y a ), th e pagan com m oners (N y e m a s i ), an d th e local M u slim co m m u n ity (K a r a m o ), w ho fo rm a kind o f d e u x iè m e é ta t com prising th e congregation as w ell as th e priesthood. I n addition, th ere w ere stran g ers (bfɔ ), m any of th em M uslim s, an d slaves (a n y e ), m ost of th e m pagan. In each case g ro u p m em b ersh ip is p rim arily d eterm in ed by p atern al filiation, b u t fre q u e n t in term arriage, com bined w ith a stro n g cognatic em phasis at th e dom estic level (especially th e w idespread in stitu tio n o f fostering betw een kin), gave rise to a m easure o f concealed m obility. F o r th e M oham m edans, con­ version is a legitim ate m eans o f en try to th e co m m u n ity o f believ­ ers, b u t M u slim b o rn an d M u slim convert are distinguished fro m one an o th er in m an y social contexts, an d people always te n d to re g ard th e co n v ert as a p o tential apostate. T h e M uslim estate (th e local h ered itary elem ent as d istin ct from th e w ider co m m u n ity of believers) is divided into nam ed patro n y m ic u n its

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o n th e M an d e p a tte rn , an d m em b ership o f th ese ‘clans’ often influences a m a n ’s role w ith in th e com m unity. F ro m th e sta n d ­ p o in t o f th e political system th e b o dy o f M uslim s is view ed as b ein g re cru ited p rim arily on an h ered itary basis. D e sp ite th e g reater differences th a t existed in th e n in etee n th cen tu ry , styles o f life w ere n o t m arkedly d istin ct fro m one another, except fo r p artic u la r individuals. E v en th en , th e relative position o f th e th re e m ajo r g ro u p s could n o t easily be su m m ed u p on a single scale, since th e G b an y a w ere in terested in h o lding office, th e M u slim s in tra d e an d in religious grace, w hile th e com m oners h ad a closer b o n d w ith th e ea rth an d w ith its anim al an d vegetative p ro d u ce. E ach enjoyed a p o sitio n o f som e prestige in certain activities an d n o t o th ers, th o u g h in m ost situations th e chiefs w ere clearly m o re privileged th a n th e rest. M oreover, th e th re e m ajo r social categories differed b o th in th e w ay th e y w ere com posed an d in th e w ay th ey conceived o f th e m ­ selves. T h e ru lin g estate fo rm ed one u n it o f unilineal descent, all of w hose m em bers, b o th m ale an d fem ale, regarded them selves as descended in th e m ale line fro m th e co n q u erin g hero, N d ew u ra Jakpa, ‘L o rd o f th e T o w n s, C o n q u ero r w ith th e S pears’. T h e M uslim s w ere divided in to a n u m b e r o f d escent u n its, su b ­ divisions o f th e w idely dispersed M an d e patricians ( d ia m m o u ). M em b ersh ip o f th ese u n its plays som e p a rt in m atters o f succes­ sion to Islam ic roles a n d offices, b u t is o f lim ited significance, except in th e case o f th e S akpare, w ho belong to th e M an d e p atric ia n kn o w n as K am agte. T h e S akpare claim descent from F a ti M o ru k p e, th e W h ite O ne, w ho su pplied Jak p a w ith su p e r­ n a tu ra l aid in h is w ars o f conquest. Ju s t as th e G banya fill the m ajo r chiefly offices, so th e S akpare usually fill th e p riestly office o f L im a m th a t is attach ed to each division. T h e com m oners, o n th e o th er h an d , form a n u m b e r o f m ore or less d istin c t g roups, each w ith its ow n linguistic an d cu ltu ral trad itio n s. T h e nam es b y w h ich th e y know them selves are specific ‘trib a l’ designations, su ch as V agella o r A nga. B ut th e o th er estates lu m p th ese g ro u p s to g eth er as N y e m a s i, com m oners. S uch u n ity as th e y have derives fro m com m on subm ission to th e G banya, for w h o m th ey are sim ply a residual category o f n o n M uslim s, ineligible fo r chiefship. B u t th e com m oners are n o t h eld w ith in th e system b y force alone. M arriage an d ideology are also pow erful factors. T h e re is fre q u e n t interm arriage betw een

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m em bers o f different estates. Ideologically, too, th e com m oners are strongly linked w ith th e o th e r estates. A lth o u g h th e ru ling g ro u p is n o t M u slim , m an y o f th e state cerem onies are in fact feasts o f th e Islam ic calendar. A n d in these perform ances the com m oners too p articip ate ; alth o u g h each o f th e plebeian groups has its d istinctive features, a com m on G onja cu ltu re is to be found in th e dances th ey dance, th e songs th ey sing, and th e tales th ey tell. In term a rriag e an d co-residence on th is scale could p erm it no o th er outcom e. T h e T e r r ito r ia l S y s te m

T h e th re e m ajor estates are fo u n d th ro u g h o u t th e len g th and b re a d th o f th e land. T h e com m oners, o f course, are m ainly co n ­ ce n trated in ‘trib a l’ g roups, th e M u slim s are m ostly fo u n d in th e trad in g centres, an d th e ru lin g estate in th e divisional capitals. O ne of th e im p o rta n t featu res of th e G onja state is th e absence of any p e rm a n e n t co n cen tratio n of th e descendants o f Jakpa in th e national capital. T h e ru lin g dynasty is divided into a n u m b e r o f segm ents, each re sid e n t in one o f th e territo ria l divisions of th e co u n try . T h e re was no p rim ary dynastic segm ent o f th is kind in th e capital, N yanga, n o r any b u t tem p o rary representatives o f th e ru lin g estate, w ho w en t w ith th e p aram o u n t o n his ap p o in t­ m en t. I n each te rrito ria l division th e p rim ary segm ent o f th e ru lin g house was fu rth e r divided into tw o or th ree secondary dynastic segm ents, w h ich w ere som etim es identified w ith p articu lar w ards o f its capital. I n G o n ja political th eo ry chiefship o f a division passed in ro tatio n fro m one secondary segm ent to another. I n th e sam e w ay th e p aram o u n tcy o f all G onja (th e C hiefship o f Y agbum ) was occupied in tu rn b y th e heads o f th e m ajor divisions of th e co u n try — alth o u g h , even in political theory, th is process was recognized as m ore irreg u lar, as one of oscillation ra th e r th a n rotation. I n th e n in etee n th cen tu ry th e re w ere som e fifteen divisions of G onja (p. 189). A lth o u g h n early all w ere ru led b y chiefs w ho claim ed agnatic descent fro m Jakpa, n o t all o f th ese w ere deem ed eligible for election to th e p aram o u ntcy. T h e eligible or ‘gate’ divisions w ere b y far th e largest in te rm s o f po p u latio n ; th e d ead ­ en d or term in al divisions, w hose heads w ere ineligible for fu rth e r p ro m o tio n , w ere m u ch sm aller an d o ften acted as sanctuaries for

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T he Divisions of Gonja m en a n d w om en fleeing th e ju stic e o f th e o th er chiefs, o r even o f th e p a ra m o u n t him self. A s th e G o n ja see th e ir political system , any m em b er o f th e ru lin g estate, any agnatic d escen d an t o f Jakpa, is a potential o ccu p an t of th e h ig h est office in th e land. H ow , th en , is th is idea to be reconciled w ith th e dichotom y betw een eligible an d term inal divisions? T h e divisional ch ief w ho succeeds to th e param o u n tcy h ad to u p ro o t h im self fro m his natal hom e in o rd e r to go and live in th e sm all an d d ista n t village o f N yanga, th e n atio n ’s capital. Som e o f his kinsfolk w en t w ith h im , b u t th e m ajority stayed b eh in d . M o reo v er, in m oving fro m his division to th e capital a m a n w as ap p aren tly exchanging an active com m and for a ritual an d ju rid ical office. T h e d ispersion o f th e ru lin g estate m ade chiefs re lu c tan t to leave th e place th e y knew b est in o rd e r to take on th e b u rd e n s o f kingship in a stran g e area. T h e G onja saw th e ru lers o f term in al divisions as th e successors o f chiefs w ho in th e p ast h ad refused th e p aram o u n tcy w h en th e ir tu rn came. S u ch a view is u n d o u b te d ­ ly too sim plified. B u t th e relu ctan ce is a fact, and so, too, is th e d ich o to m y betw een eligible an d term inal divisions. In the

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n in etee n th ce n tu ry th e eligible divisions appear to have been Bole, T u lu w e, K ong, K p em b e, K usaw gu, and K andia, w hile D aboya supplies th e p re se n t p aram o u n t. T h e term in al divisions w ere G b u ip e, M angkpa, S enyon, K aw law , D eb er, Jang, and D am ongo, w hose head s w ere spoken o f as th e C ouncillors (B e g ­ b a n g p o) o f th e Y ag b u m W u ra. B u t it seem s highly unlikely th a t th ey ever cam e to g eth er to fo rm a council as such. I n th e first place, th e ir villages w ere fa r fro m th e capital; in th e second, th e ch ief o f G b u ip e, w ho occupied an im p o rta n t p osition in th e ritu al system , w as never p e rm itte d to see th e p aram o u n t once he h ad b ee n installed. T h e O r g a n iz a tio n o f a D iv is io n

A territo ria l division is th o u g h t o f as a collection o f villages ow ing allegiance to its chief, b u t it also includes th e expanse o f savannah w oodland in w h ich th e villages are scattered an d w hich th e ir in h ab itan ts h u n t, to g eth er w ith th e stream s th a t su p p ly th e ir w ater an d th e ir fish, a n d th a t o ften act as divisional boundaries, w atched over b y th e ch ief’s fe rry m en (n te re ). V illage p opulations ran g e fro m 50 to 300 p e rso n s; th e average d ensity in 1960 was 7 ·5 perso n s p e r sq u are m ile. T h e divisional capital is th e focus o f political life. I t is th ere th a t th e ch ief lives, s u rro u n d e d b y sub o rd in ates o f m any kinds. I n som e divisions th e seco n d ary d ynastic segm ents are each linked w ith sep arate villages, an d in one instance th e capital m oved fro m village to village w h e n th e c h ief died. B u t m o re usually th e re is no co n tin u in g association betw een a village an d a p articu lar dynastic seg m en t; w h e n a m a n is ap p o in ted to a chiefship h e and his fam ily go off to h is n ew post. F o r a m em b er o f th e ru lin g estate, p ro m o tio n often m ean s y et an o th er m ove, eith er to a m ore im p o rta n t village or else to th e divisional capital. I f th e title carries no village th e h o ld er rem ain s in th e capital an d atten d s th e ch ief’s court. So G b an y a ru lers are p o sted in m o st villages to ad m in iste r th e ir affairs, b u t th ese chiefs are always assisted b y local elders, th e M aster o f th e E a rth , an d sh rin e priests. A t th e an n u al D a m b a cerem ony chiefs from o utlying villages fo reg ath er in th e divisional capital to pay hom age to th e chief. T h e to w n overflows w ith visitors, fo r m any villagers go to jo in th e festivities, salute th e ir kin, exchange gossip, an d to see th e ir chiefs h u m b lin g them selves before th e ir political overlord. T h is

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is a favourite tim e too for those living outside th e division to com e on a visit to th e ir kin. T h e divisional capital usually consists o f several w ards, each of w hich is associated w ith a secondary segm ent of th e dynasty, w ith th e M uslim s, or w ith th e com m oners. T h e com m oner gro u p s include autochthones, refugees fro m A shanti in th e south, and now adays ex-slaves fro m th e n o rth . T h e autochthones are re ­ p resen ted b y th e M aster o f th e E a rth (K a s a w e liw u r a in G banyito, T in d a a n a in th e M ossi languages, H e u he ŋ in V agala) and his assistant (K u p o ), w ho holds th e knife. R efugee gro u p s are re ­ p re sen ted b y tw o m ain figures, th e M b o n g w u r a , th e leader o f th e soldiers, an d th e K a g b ir w u r a , th e cu stodian o f im p o rtan t m edicine shrines, su ch as those at Jem b ito an d C haam a; n o t all soldiers an d sh rin e p riests b elong to refugee groups, b u t b o th guns (w hich are linked w ith th e A shanti) an d ‘m edicine sh rin es’ (w hich are m oved ab o u t q u ite freely, in co n trast to th e static trea tm e n t o f E a rth S hrines) te n d to b e associated w ith outsiders. M u slim s have th e ir divisional L im am s, w ho particip ate in all m ajor cerem onies. A n d th o u g h b irth s, m arriages, and burials of th e ru lin g estate are different fro m those o f th e M oham m edans, a M u slim is always n eed ed fo r th ese m ajor rituals o f th e lifecycle. B u t b irth is m ainly a G b an y a affair, since it defines eligibility for h ig h office, an eligibility w h ich w as m ade m anifest in th e cicatrices c u t o n th e cheeks o f every p o ten tial ch ief a t his n am ing cerem ony, seven days after b irth . A n d although each m em b er of th e ru lin g estate has an Islam ic nam e, th e M uslim s are n o t called to th e cerem ony ; a m essenger is sen t to seek th e ap p ro p riate nam e an d re tu rn s w ith th e choice o f two. N early all villages h a d th e ir ow n chiefs; an d th e divisional capital contained m any su ch office-holders, including ones w ith titles th a t bore th e nam es o f villages long since d eserted. B u t it was p rim arily to people ra th e r th a n to places th a t chiefship attac h ­ ed, an d a title co n tin u ed even w h en everybody h ad m oved to an o th er village an d w ith th e passage o f tim e h ad becom e th e su b ­ jects o f th e local chief. S u ch titles m ay still entail cerem onial duties, an d th ey are invaluable co u n ters in chiefly m anœ uvres. W h e th e r or n o t th ey have subjects, ‘adm inistrative chiefs’ are o f tw o kinds. T h o se o f th e first ra n k are m em bers o f th e ru lin g estate, w ho m ay rise to th e h eadship o f a division. T h o se o f second ra n k are th e sons o f fem ale m em b ers o f th e ru ling estate, for the

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d au g h ters o f chiefs n o less th a n th e sons belong to th e ru lin g group. I n th e ir ow n rig h t th e y can becom e ‘fem ale chiefs’ ( W u r ic h e ), a role w h ich cam e to th e fore at rites o f passage in b o th th e cosm ic an d th e h u m a n cycles— at th e an n u al D am b a cerem ony, as w ell as at fu n e rals: u p o n th ese a n d o th e r occasions th e W u r ic h e took charge o f th e affairs o f w om en. T h e y could n o t them selves h o ld chiefships involving ju risd ic tio n over m ales, b u t th e y could (in th e ir capacity o f ‘resid u al sib lin g s’) tran sm it rig h ts to certain chiefships to th e ir sons, even th o u g h th ese w ere n o t m em b ers o f th e ru lin g estate. T h e s e ‘sisters’ sons’ ( eche p ib i ) w ere ap p o in ted to th e h ead sh ip s o f various villages, b u t th ey h ad a m o re im p o rtan t role in th e divisions, w h ich w as sim ilar to th e p a rt played by th e heads o f term in al divisions in re sp ect o f th e param ountcy. A t critical ju n c tu re s, su ch as in terreg n a, it w as th e y w ho took p recedence in processions, w hile th e p o ten tial successors played a relatively m in o r role. T h e in stallatio n o f a ch ief o f any degree req u ires th e co-opera­ tio n o f b o th th e M u slim an d co m m oner estates: it is th e ir re ­ presen tativ es w ho place th e w h ite ro b e over th e ch ief’s head and w ho adm onish h im on th e d u ties o f a ru ler. A n d it is th e n o n G b an y a w ho are in fact th e m ain custodians o f G b an y a trad itio n ; th e M uslim s, w ith th e ir ability to w rite, p ro d u ce histo ries; th e com m oners, w ith d ru m s as th e ir m nem onic, preserve in rh y th m ic fo rm p ith y statem en ts ab o u t th e G b an y a past. A n d ju s t as all chiefship is referred to th e deeds and descendants o f N d ew u ra Jakpa, so to h im too th e M u slim s refer th e trad itio n s o f th eir m igrations, an d th e com m oners, o ften enough, th e stories ab o u t th e ir shrines. T h e C o u r t o f th e D i v i s i o n a l C h i e f

T h e ch ief held his co u rt in th e large ro u n d m eeting h u t ( le m b u ), or som etim es in fro n t o f his sleeping room . T h is w as w here cases w ere h eard , w here all serious discussions (m a la g a ) took place. I t was th e m ain fo ru m of village life. E x cep t in th e larger to w n ­ ships, m ost significant co m m u n icatio n passed th ro u g h th e chief. E very M o n d ay an d F rid a y senior m en cam e to pay th eir respects an d give th e ir new s; if anyone failed to appear, in q uiries w ere set in m otion. A ll visitors w e n t to g reet h im w ith gifts as well as w ords. A p a rt fro m a m a n ’s lan d lo rd , th e ch ief was th e first to see th e new ly arriv ed trad e rs, w ho to ld h im o f th e state o f th e road,

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th e h ap p en in g s o f n earb y tow ns, an d th e affairs o f th e outside w orld. W h a t w as o f g reat im portance, particu larly in th e sm aller, isolated villages, w as his position as th e g ath erer and dispenser o f inform ation. T h e jo b o f th e ch ief was to keep th e village ‘cool’, in tern ally as far as d isp u tes w ere concerned, externally w ith re g ard to stran g ers an d th e w id er political system . H e also p ro ­ te c te d his village fro m m ystical agencies b y m eans o f his chiefly m edicine an d h is know ledge o f w itchcraft. H e w as its m o st pow erful in h a b ita n t as well as th e cen tre o f its com m unication system . T h e services he gave w ere repaid by gifts o f goats an d b y th e re tu rn of services. V isitors to th e tow n, and subjects re tu rn in g from th e ir travels, b ro u g h t h im food o r d rin k w hich he sh ared w ith those w ho sat aro u n d h im (m p o ta ssib i ). H is farm s w ere h o ed by th e y o ung m en ( m b e ra n tia ) u n d e r th e charge o f th e ir leader, th e K a iy e r b iw u r a , T h e latter could be eith er noble o r com m oner, for in th e category o f you n g m en w ere included all persons o f any estate w ho w ere w ith o u t office an d o f less th a n m iddle age. I t was th is sam e g ro u p w ho organized village dances, cleared paths, and w orked in th e fields of th e village chief, w ho needed a larger farm to feed n o t only visitors b u t also his larger household o f wives, ch ildren, an d d ep en d an ts. F o r in th is th e ch ief’s sons w ere o f lim ited assistance. T h e fission of residential u n its occurs at an early stage in th e G o n ja developm ental cycle; som e sons are sen t to live w ith siblings of th e p aren ts, som e walk ab o u t th e co u n try or attac h them selves to o th er chiefs, w hile m any o f those th a t rem ain in th e ir n atal village live in an o th er com pound an d farm o n th e ir own. In a ro tatio n al system th e ch ief’s sons are never his successors; n o r u n d e r th e G onja m ode of inheritance are th ey th e h eirs of his p ro p e rty ; th ey have to establish th e ir ow n position an d th e ir ow n p e c u liu m . I n any case, m em bers o f th e rulin g estate are n o t always th e m o st en th u siastic of farm ers; th eir m ilitary past, th e use o f slaves, th e chiefly tasks and virtues, all m ilitate against too close a dedication to ag ricultural pursu its. I n addition, th e ch ief benefited fro m m ore d irect form s of trib u te . F ro m raids he received his quota o f captives; fro m th e com m oners he received livestock at trad itio n al festivals; from trad e rs he collected tra n sit an d trad in g du ties; from h u n te rs he got a leg of each anim al killed; fisherm en som etim es p resented h im w ith fish; he received gifts from new ly ap p o in ted chiefs,

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a n d a p ro p o rtio n o f all ivory collected an d gold m ined. H e did n o t, how ever, a tte m p t to co n tro l m ark et activities in th e m an n er o f A sh an ti kings (F erg u so n , 1891). T h e taking o f ju d icial oaths again b ro u g h t th e ch ief som e re tu rn . B u t these sources o f revenue w ere n o t d estin ed fo r th e u se o f th e ch ief alone; th e re st o f th e co m m u n ity expected to sh are in one w ay o r another. A p a rt fro m receiving ad d itio n al services an d respect, th e m ost obvious w ay in w h ich a ch ief differed m aterially from his fellow villagers w as in th e n u m b e r o f w ives— alth o u g h h ere again a certain am o u n t o f re d istrib u tio n in th e fo rm o f extra-m arital affairs o ften took place. B esides th o se he h ad m arrie d in th e u su al way, th e ch ie f’s w ives also consisted o f w om en w ho h ad fled to his co m p o u n d follow ing an unw elcom e o r u n h a p p y m arriage, h a rsh tre a tm e n t fro m p a re n ts o r fo ster-p aren ts, accusations o f w itch craft, o r because th ey w ere fem ale tw ins. B u t th e expenses o f ru n n in g a large household an d o f appeasing th e in-law s te n d e d to d isp erse th e w ealth he accum ulated in o th er ways, w hile th e ro tatio n al system in h ib ited any co n cen tratio n o f p ro p e rty over tim e in one seg m en t o f th e ru lin g estate. M oreover th e dynastic segm ents them selves w ere gradually increasing in n u m b ers at th e expense o f th e co m m oner estate, p artly th ro u g h concealed m o b ility b u t m ainly because o f th e g reater ap p ro p ria­ tio n o f sexual services, co m b in ed w ith th e m arginally b e tte r care an d d iet p ro v id ed for th e ch ild re n o f a chief. A n d th is increase in th e ru lin g estate m ean t a p ro p o rtionally w ider d istrib u tio n o f privilege th ro u g h th e co m m u n ity as a whole. T h e J u d i c ia l S y s t e m : C o u r ts a n d S a n c tu a r ie s

G o n ja villages w ere sm all an d com pact. M an y d isputes w ere settled b y th e heads o f th e dom estic groups concerned. O thers w ere ig n o red u n til th ey boiled over into som e accusation of w itch craft or sorcery. I n m an y cases leaders o f su b -g ro u p s w ould h elp individuals to reach a settlem ent. T h is was especially tru e o f M uslim s, w hose custom s differed from those o f o th er estates an d claim ed th e au th o rity o f Islam . N evertheless, every G onja h ad th e rig h t to ‘seize th e ch ief’s leg’ and ask him to give a decision. T h e ch ief h im self could also in itiate proceedings. B ut a ch ief’s m eeting hall was like th e co u rt of an early m edieval king ra th e r th a n a m o d ern co u rt of law ; alth o u g h it is convenient to describe cases in th e language o f co n tem p o rary ju risp ru d en c e, ‘tro u b le

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cases’ w ere only p a rt o f th e co n tin u ing stream of ‘serious d iscus­ sio n ’ (m a la g a ) th a t flowed th ro u g h th e m eeting hall. T h e case w ould be p re sen ted b y th e plaintiff and answ ered by th e defendant. W h ere necessary, w itnesses w ere called for, either b y a su b -c h ie f or b y an executive officer, usually th e spokesm an or D o g te , w ho carried th e ch ief’s staff as a sign th a t th e order cam e fro m th e p ro p e r q u arte r. B u t th e jud icial process em ployed su p ern atu ral as well as ‘n a tu ra l’ m ethods, as w hen one or b o th p arties took an o ath to a m ajor sh rine in o rd er to establish the tr u th o f th e testim ony. I n ad d itio n to these local ju risd ictio n s, th ere was appeal to the cen tre, an d asylum at th e p erip h ery . A ny G onja could appeal fro m a divisional to th e p a ra m o u n t’s court ; he w ould ‘seize th e leg’ o f th e n ext h ig h est ch ief an d ask for a reversal of th e ju d g em en t. I f he failed, th e pay m en ts w ould be greater, so h e increased his risks b o th ways. T h is p ro ced u re of appeal som etim es involved th e sw earing o f an o ath ; th e form ula u sed could refer to a disas­ tro u s event, as in th e g reat oath of A shanti, o r else to th e ch ief’s m o th er. D irectly or in directly, th e o ath h ad to com e to th e ear o f a com m oner official, kn o w n in som e p arts as th e C h ief o f th e K nife (K a s a tig w u r a ) an d in o th ers as th e E x ecu tio n er (E g b a n g p o ); th is m an was in charge o f th e w ar m edicine o f th e division, w h ich also played a p a rt in o th e r tran sactio n s to do w ith killing, in w itchcraft as in p alp ab le hom icide. T h e capitals o f th e term in al divisions, and p articularly th e tow n o f G b u ip e, w ere sanctuaries fo r people fleeing th e ju stic e o f th e p a ra m o u n t o r o th e r chief. I n th eo ry , no one could d em and the re tu rn o f such a fugitive, an d th is rig h t o f asylum is still vigorously asserted. Im p o rta n t sh rin es an d th e ir priests, to g eth er w ith m os­ ques a n d th e ir L im am s, o ften h ad a sim ilar fu n ctio n on a m ore local level. A n d th e fu n c tio n w as q u ite explicit: to pro v id e a b re a th in g space so th a t tem p ers could cool a n d th e case be re ­ considered. F o r th e chiefs o f th ese divisions, th e role o f councillor to th e n atio n is closely linked w ith th e privilege o f sanctuary. F o r like th e Islam ic an d com m oner priests, th ey are inside th e state b u t o u tsid e th e field o f rivalry fo r high offices; th ey are b o th w ith in an d w ith o u t, a p o sitio n fro m w h ich th ey can effectively influence th e ju d g e m e n t o f th e p aram o u n t o r divisional chief.

O

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T h e P a r a m o u n t’s C o u r t

U n til 1944 th e residence o f th e Y ag bum W u ra w as at th e village o f N yanga, to w h ich h e cam e a t th e tim e o f his ap p o in tm en t to th e p aram o u n tcy . T o d a y N y an g a is a tin y ham let, b u t it w as p ro ­ b ab ly always sm all. T h e re is b u t a passing reference to it in early accounts o f A sh an ti (B ow dich, 1819: 172), an d th e first visitors to p ro d u ce re p o rts overlook th e place alto g eth er (F erg u so n , 1892). O n e reason fo r th e sm allness o f th e capital w as th e fact th a t th ere w ere few, if any, m em b ers o f th e ru lin g estate dom iciled in N yanga. T h e king an d certain o f h is close kin resided th ere d u rin g his te n u re o f office. E ven th e local councillors w ere dispersed in th e villages d irectly attach ed to th e p aram ountcy, scattered at dis­ tances ran g in g fro m six to tw en ty m iles. T h is dispersal was an o th er reason fo r th e relatively sm all size o f th e capital. T h e senior spokesm an, kn o w n h ere an d in som e o f th e larger divisions as th e N s o ’o w u ra (L e ad er o f D y u la), lived in N yanga itself. B u t m ost o f th e o th e r advisers w ere heads o f n earby villages, an d com m oners at th at. Som e m iles aw ay a t K okolassi, lived th e W h isp erer, w ho spoke advice into th e k in g ’s ear an d received his m u rm u red in stru ctio n s. T h e ch ief o f an o th e r village, Sakpa, w as g uardian o f th e k in g ’s w ives an d o f his eu n u ch s. T h e chief o f T a a ri looked after a g ro u p of M u slim s o f th e T im ite section ( M b o n tis u a ), w ho claim to have accom panied Jak p a fro m th e N koranza area w h en he in v ad ed w estern G onja. T h e re w ere tw o o th er councillors: th e chief of th e now v an ish ed village o f K onkorom pe w as a M u slim o f th e Jabagte section, w ho are said to have lived in th e area b efore th e G b an y a invasion ; an d th e Bia W u ra, w ho is said to have resisted th e advances o f th e G b an y a b u t th e n to have jo in e d th em , agreeing to g u ard th e ir left flank against th e state o f B una, situ ated to th e w est of th e Black V olta river. E ach o f th ese advisers played a p ro m in e n t p a rt in th e g reat annual cerem ony o f D am b a. T h e ch ief o f S akpa w ent ro u n d th e villages to re m in d th e m a b o u t th e gifts for th e p aram o u n t ; th e W h isp e rer supervised th e d istrib u tio n o f m eat; th e ch ief o f T a a ri collected one h u n d re d kola n u ts from his M uslim s, to b e given to th e ch ief o f Bole.2 C haracteristically, th is m ajo r festival o f th e ritu al an d political year was celeb rated b y divisional chiefs a t th e ir ow n capitals. A t N yanga th e p a ram o u n t, his en to urage, an d his villagers p e r­ fo rm ed D a m b a o n th e ir ow n, alth o u gh th e o th er chiefs seem to

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h a v e s e n t re p re se n ta tiv e s. In d e e d , I h a v e b e e n to ld th a t d iv isio n al c h ie fs k e p t in p e r m a n e n t to u c h w ith th e p a ra m o u n t, p la c in g o n e o f th e ir w iv es a t th e n o w d e s e rte d villag e o f Z e n g p e to look a fte r v isito rs c o m in g fro m th e ir area. W h ile th e n a tio n ’s c a p ita l w as sm a ll a n d re g io n a l a u to n o m y g re a t, N y a n g a w as n e v e rth e le ss th e h u b o f th e c o m m u n ic a tio n sy ste m o f th e s ta te . I n th e la st c e n tu ry , as in th is , th e Y a g b u m W u r a re c e iv e d a s tre a m o f v isito rs w h o g av e a n d g a th e re d in fo rm ­ a tio n a b o u t th e sta te o f affairs. D iffic u lt tro u b le cases, p a rtic u la rly th o s e d e a lin g w ith c h ie fsh ip , w e re b r o u g h t b e fo re h im (th o u g h as a r b ite r r a th e r th a n ju d g e ) ; a n d h e re , to o , c a m e re q u e s ts fo r h e lp fro m d iv isio n s th re a te n e d fro m o u ts id e .3 T h e p a ra m o u n tc y w as also im p o r ta n t in th e r itu a l field. W h ile th e r e w as n o co m p le x sy ste m o f n a tio n a l a n c e sto r w o rsh ip , th e p a r a m o u n t’s p re d e c e sso rs w e re alw ays im p lic a te d in o a th s o f a p p e a l. N e a r to N y a n g a w e re s ite d im p o r ta n t n a tio n a l sh rin e s a sso c ia te d w ith e a c h o f th e th r e e e sta te s : th e M u s lim to w n o f L a ra b a n g a , th e c o m m o n e r s h rin e k n o w n as S e n y o n K u p o , a n d th e ro y al b u ria l p la c e o f M a n k u m a . T h e m o s t p o w e rfu l re lig io u s o b je c ts o f th e r u lin g e sta te , th e A l i t e , w e re k e p t b y o n e o f th e k in g ’s c o u n c illo rs; th e se tw o stav es, w h ic h h a d b e e n g iv en b y F a tu M o ru k p e , th e p rie s tly aid o f J a k p a , to th e firs t Y a g b u m W u ra , w e re c a rrie d in to w a r b y th e G o n ja a rm y , a n d o n e a t least is sa id to h av e b e e n d e stro y e d in 1895 a t th e b a ttle o f J e n tilip e , w h e n S a m o ri’s fo rc e s in flic te d a re s o u n d in g d e fe a t o n w e s te rn G o n ja . W h e n th e p a ra m o u n t d ie d , th e e ld e st so n s a t te m p o ra rily in h is ste a d , w h ile th e reg alia w e re ta k e n in c h a rg e b y th e C h ie f o f S e n y o n . T h e late c h ie f ’s h o rse , h is staff, a n d h is sa n d a ls w e re s e n t to th e C h ie f o f G b u ip e , as p ro o f th a t h e w as in d e e d d e a d . A tim e w as th e n fixed fo r th e m a jo r ch iefs to m e e t a t th e c a p ita l u n d e r th e C h ie f o f K a g b a p e (n e a r G b u ip e ) a n d in sta ll a su c c e sso r fro m a m o n g th e ir n u m b e r. I n th e o ry , th e k in g sh ip p a sse d to th e h e a d o f th e n e x t d iv isio n in lin e , a c la im w h ic h h a d b e e n p u b lic ly a n n o u n c e d a t th e p re v io u s in sta lla tio n w h e n h e (o r h is p re d e c e s­ so r) seized th e re in s o f th e n e w c h ie f ’s h o rse a n d le d h im fro m th e tra d itio n a l p la c e o f e n th r o n e m e n t to th e c a p ita l itself. M i l i t a r y O r g a n iz a tio n

T h e s to ry o f th e a c q u isitio n a n d th e lo ss o f th e A l i t e e p ito m iz e s th e c h a n g e s th a t G o n ja u n d e r w e n t d u r in g th e th r e e c e n tu rie s th a t

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in te rv e n e d b e tw e e n th e o rig in a l in v a sio n a n d th e c o m in g o f c o lo n ia l ru le a t th e e n d o f th e n in e te e n th c e n tu ry . T h e G b a n y a in v a d e rs w e re c le a rly a n efficien t fig h tin g fo rc e . F r o m th e ir b a se s o u th o f th e B lack V o lta th e y a tta c k e d th e th r e e m a in c o m m e rc ia l c e n tre s in th e s a v a n n a h c o u n try ac ro ss th e riv e r : in th e w e st th e B ole are a , o n th e ro a d to B u n a , W a , a n d th e n o r th - e a s t; in th e m id d le th e G b u ip e - D e b e r re g io n n e a r th e c o n flu e n c e o f th e tw o V o ltas, o n th e ro a d to D a b o y a a n d to th e M o ssi a n d H a u s a s ta te s ; in th e e a st th e to w n s o f S a la g a a n d K a fa b a , w h e re c o m m e rc e w as c a rrie d o n w ith M o ssi, H a u sa , a n d A s h a n ti tra d e rs . G o n ja ru le w as e s ta b lis h e d o v e r th is a re a b y a p o w e rfu l fo rc e th a t in c lu d e d c a v a lry a n d w as fe a re d o n b o th sid e s o f th e V o lta . T h e G b a n y a s till h a v e th e id eo lo g y o f a w a rrio r g ro u p . T h e ir m y th is o n e o f a c o n q u e rin g h e ro ; th e re g a lia a re iro n la n c e -h e a d s a n d , like o th e r d y n a stie s in th e are a , th e y h a d s tro n g c o n n e x io n s w ith th e h o rse . T h e r u le r s p ro v id e d a n é lite fo rc e o f c av alry a rm e d w ith sp e a rs a n d s w o rd s ; th e c o m m o n e rs f o u g h t w ith b o w s a n d a rro w s ; th e M u s lim s a ssiste d w ith sp ells, m e d ic in e s, a n d re lig io u s grace. B u t th e v e ry su ccess o f th e G b a n y a le d to a w e a k e n in g o f th e civil a n d m ilita ry o rg a n iz a tio n u p o n w h ic h th e ir p o w e r d e p e n d e d . T h e ir e x te n siv e c o n q u e s ts w e re d iv id e d o u t a m o n g th e r u lin g d y n a s ty to fo rm a m u c h lo o se r k in g d o m w h e re fo rc e w as effect­ ively m o b iliz e d o n ly a t th e d iv isio n a l level. B y th e b e g in n in g o f th e n in e te e n th c e n tu ry th e r e w as little c e n tra l c o n tro l o f m ilita ry fo rc e s, a n d th e d iv isio n s a p p e a r to h av e m a d e allian ces a n d c o n d u c te d w a rs in d e p e n d e n tly o f o th e r p a r ts o f th e c o u n try . I n th e n in e te e n th c e n tu r y th e m a in e n e m y w as th e A sh a n ti, a n d a lth o u g h th e y f o u g h t v a rio u s e n g a g e m e n ts, th e G o n ja alw ays su ffe re d d e fe a t a t th e h a n d s o f th e g u n m e n fro m th e s o u th . T h e G o n ja h a d c o m m o n e r c h iefs c alled M b o n g w u r a , M b o n g b e in g th e n a m e fo r th e A k a n ; h e re th e w o rd re fe rre d to th e ‘w a r le a d e rs ’, a sso c ia te d w ith g u n s a n d sw o rd s r a th e r th a n h o rse s, a n d d e sc e n d e d f ro m re fu g e e s fro m th e so u th -w e s t, G r u s i slav es fro m th e n o rth , o r fro m o th e r c o m m o n e r g ro u p s. T h e s e g ro u p s a p p e a r to h a v e b e e n re c ru ite d in a n a tte m p t to c o u n te r a tta c k s fro m th e s o u th . B u t e v e n so, th e fire -p o w e r o f th e G o n ja w as m u c h in fe rio r to th a t o f th e A sh a n ti, w h o c o n tro lle d th e E u ro p e a n tr a d e fro m th e s o u th a n d s tric tly fo rb a d e th e e x p o rt o f g u n s a n d p o w d e r to th e n o r th . T h e c h ie f o f A s h a n ti to ld D u p u is th a t h e a n d h is a n c e sto rs

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‘o w ed all th e y p o sse sse d to th e tr a d e th e y e n jo y e d w ith w h ite m e n ’ ; ‘th e w h ite s so ld h im g u n s a n d p o w d e r ; h e lik ed th a t tra d e , fo r h is w as a w a r c o u n tr y ’ (1 8 2 4 : 139, 140). A s a p a rtia l d efen ce, so m e G o n ja m a d e s p o ra d ic u se o f d efen siv e fo rtific a tio n s a n d g u e r­ illa ta c tic s ; th e p e o p le o f B u te b u ilt a n u m b e r o f s tro n g -p o in ts a n d claim to h a v e th r o w n th e A s h a n ti ra id e rs in to th e ir la te rite c is te rn s ; in 1872 th e c h ie f o f D a b o y a in v ite d h is A s h a n ti v isito rs to e n te r th e m e e tin g h a ll a n d th e n ig n ite d th e k eg o f p o w d e r o n w h ic h h e h im s e lf w as s ittin g ;4 a n d w h e n th e B ritis h e n te re d K u m a s i in 1874 th e in h a b ita n ts o f S alag a to o k th e k n ife to th e A sh a n ti re sid e n ts. D u r in g th e n in e te e n th c e n tu ry th e G o n ja e n g a g e d in o th e r m ilita ry activ ities. V a rio u s w e ste rn d iv isio n s jo in e d in allian ces a g a in st th e A s h a n ti: in th e w e st th e r e w as a th r e a t fro m S o n g h a i ra id e rs a n d a series o f b a ttle s w ith S a m o ri’s fo rc e s; th e e a st w as a tta c k e d b y D a g o m b a so ld ie rs d u r in g th e N a p o w a rs. In d e e d , a ro u n d th is tim e th e d a n g e r o f o u ts id e a tta c k se e m s to h a v e led to a n a tte m p t to s tr e n g th e n c e n tra liz e d c o n tro l, fo r t h e p a r a m o u n t­ cy p ro v id e d a c o n v e n ie n t ra lly in g p o in t a ro u n d w h ic h m ilita ry c o -o p e ra tio n c o u ld ta k e p lace. A p a r t fro m th e s e e x te rn a l w a rs, a rm e d fo rc e w as u s e d in s tru g g ­ les o v er su c c e ssio n a n d in ra id s fo r c ap tiv es. T h e r e w as n o n a tio n a l a rm y , a n d it w as o n ly o n th e level o f p rim a ry a n d se c o n d a ry se g m e n ts th a t m ilita ry o rg a n iz a tio n w as effective. H o w e v e r, ra id s o n th e G ru s i b r o u g h t to g e th e r m e n fro m d iffe re n t d iv isio n s, a n d th e b o o ty h a d th e n to b e s h a re d o u t a t th e c a p ita l. A sid e fro m th e e n ro b in g o f a n e w k in g , th is w as o n e o f th e few o ccasio n s w h e n d iv isio n a l ch iefs w e n t to N y a n g a . I f so m e re c e n t o b se rv e rs o f G o n ja h av e h a d d ifficu lty in re c o n ­ c ilin g p a s t g lo ries w ith p r e s e n t sta tu s, th e d isc re p a n c y is d u e to th r e e m a in fa c to rs. F irs tly , th e m ilita ry d e fe a ts o f th e e ig h te e n th a n d n in e te e n th c e n tu rie s. S eco n d ly , th e B ritis h c o n q u e st, w h ic h m e a n t th e re w as little p o in t in m a in ta in in g a m ilita ry fo rce, esp ecially w h e n w a rs a n d ra id s w e re s u p p re s s e d a n d tr a d e w as p a ssin g in to o th e r h a n d s. F a rm in g b e c a m e th e m a in sta y o f th e e c o n o m y , a c h a n g e w h ic h w as fa r fro m w elco m e to all. F in a lly , G o n ja h a d h e rs e lf d e v e lo p e d fro m a co lo n izin g to a tr ib u ta r y a n d th e n to a c o lo n iz e d p o w e r, n o t sim p ly b e c a u se o f a lack o f g u n s a n d p o w d e r b u t b e c a u se th e e x p a n sio n ist p h a se o f th e early k in g d o m le d to a d e c lin e in th e m ilita ry o rg a n iz a tio n a n d a d m in is-

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tra tiv e c e n tra liz a tio n . I n th e a b se n c e o f im p ro v e m e n ts in th e sy ste m o f c o m m u n ic a tio n , m o re e x te n siv e d o m in io n s a re b o u n d to re s u lt in th e d iffu sio n o f p o w e r, w h ic h le a d s to th e fissio n o f th e sta te . R e lig io n , R ite , a n d Id e o lo g y

G iv e n th e a u to n o m y o f th e d iv isio n s in all d a y -to -d a y affairs, g iv e n th e d is p e rs io n o f m ilita ry p o w e r, g iv e n th e c o m p a ra tiv e iso la tio n o f th e c a p ita l, i t is p e rh a p s s u r p r is in g th a t th e G o n ja s ta te d id n o t s p lit a p a r t a lto g e th e r. O n e o f th e m a jo r fa c to rs in m a in ta in in g a loose u n ity , e v e n u n d e r th e le a st fa v o u ra b le c o n d itio n s, w as th e sy ste m o f su c c e ssio n b y w h ic h th e p a ra m o u n tc y p a sse d fro m o n e d iv isio n to a n o th e r. B u t r o ta tio n a lo n e c o u ld h a v e d o n e little to c o u n te r th e p o w e rfu l te n d e n c ie s to fissio n . W h a t gav e m a ssiv e s u p p o r t to n a tio n a l u n ity w as th e id e o lo g y o f c o m m o n d e s c e n t h e ld b y all th e m e m b e rs o f a w id e ly d isp e rse d ru lin g e sta te w h o re g a rd e d th e m se lv e s as th e o ffsp rin g o f N d e w u r a J a k p a . N o t o n ly m e m b e rs o f th e ru lin g e sta te b u t also th e lo cal M u s lim s stre s s e d th e J a k p a le g e n d a n d p ro v id e d it w ith th e s a n c tio n o f lite ra c y a n d o f a w o rld re lig io n . E v e n th e c o m m o n e rs c o n s ta n tly p la c e d th e m se lv e s in re la tio n to th e c o m in g o f th e c o n q u e ro r. O n ly fo re ig n tr a d e r s (also M u slim s) a n d fo re ig n slaves re m a in e d a p a rt. T h r o u g h o u t th e la n d , lo calities a sso c ia te d w ith th e life o f J a k p a a re re v e re d as sh rin e s a n d sa n c tu a rie s. T h e g re a te s t o f th e s e is, o f c o u rse , h is g rav e, w h ic h is s itu a te d a t G b u ip e . I t is th e c h ie f o f th is sm a ll d iv isio n w h o h a s to b e in fo rm e d o f th e d e a th o f ev e ry p a r a m o u n t a n d w h o th e n se n d s a re p re s e n ta tiv e to th e c a p ita l to in sta ll h is su c c e sso r. B u t h e h im s e lf c a n n e v e r b e c o m e Y a g b u m W u r a n o r c a n h e e v e r see th a t c h ie f o n c e h e h a s b e e n e n ro b e d . T h e G b u ip e W u r a is th e m o s t im p o r ta n t c o u n c illo r o f th e k in g d o m . H is is a to w n o f p e a c e ; it h a s n o w a r le a d e r; n o g u n s s h o u ld b e b r o u g h t h e r e fo r th e p u rp o s e s o f w a r ; a n d th e local se g m e n t o f S a k p a re M u s lim s p ro v id e th e p a r a m o u n t w ith h is L im a m . I n m y th ( th o u g h th e r e a re m a n y v a ria tio n s) th e first p a r a m o u n t w as J a k p a ’s e ld e s t so n , a n d th e c h ie f o f G b u ip e w as h is y o u n g e s t: th e f o rm e r r e p re s e n ts h im in life, th e la tte r in d e a th . V a rio u s s a c re d s p o ts th r o u g h o u t th e k in g d o m a re c o n n e c te d w ith Ja k p a a n d o th e r p a ra m o u n ts . N e a r K p e m b e in th e east,

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p e o p le p o in t to th e ru in e d w alls o f th e h o u se h e b u ilt o f sw ish a n d h o n e y ; in th e m id d le o f th e c o u n try is th e v illag e o f T a r k p a , w h e re h e w as w o u n d e d , th e g ra v e o f h is ‘f a th e r ’, M a n w u ra , a n d a s h rin e fo r h is re g a lia a t N y a n g a w u ra p e . I n th e w e st is th e ro y al b u ria l g ro u n d . T h e s e d y n a stic sh rin e s a re o fte n g u a rd e d b y M u s lim s o r c o m m o n e rs r a th e r th a n b y th e G b a n y a th e m se lv e s, th u s g iv in g all p a rtie s a d ire c t in te re s t in th e ir p re s e rv a tio n a n d in th e ir h o lin ess. A s in o th e r p a r ts o f W e s t A fric a , m e d ic in e s h rin e s a re fo u n d s c a tte re d th r o u g h th e c o u n try . T h e s e d iffe r in th e d is tr ib u tio n o f th e ir a lta rs a n d in th e size o f th e ir c o n g re g a tio n s. T h e m o s t im p o r ta n t o f th e o ld e r s h rin e s a re th o s e a t S e n y o n in th e w est, J e m b ito in th e c e n tre , a n d C h a a m a in th e east. I n a d d itio n , s u b ­ sid ia ry a lta rs o f D e n te a n d B u ru k u n g , w h o se m a in c e n tre s lie to th e east o f G o n ja , in K ra c h i a n d S ia re , a re fo u n d in v a rio u s p a r ts o f th e c o u n try . O f th e s e m e d ic in e s h rin e s, th e o n e th a t G o n ja p o in t to m o s t fre q u e n tly , b o th in sp e e c h a n d in rite , is th e S e n y o n K u p o , a n E a r th s h rin e w h ic h h a s w o n a n a tio n a l clie n te le . U su a lly E a r th sh rin e s h a v e o n ly local re le v a n c e, a lth o u g h sim ila r c u sto m s a tta c h to all lo calities. B u t th e c o n g re g a tio n s o f m e d ic in e s h rin e s v a ry o v e r tim e as a lta rs a re e s ta b lish e d in d iffe re n t p laces. B o th se ts o f sh rin e s a re lin k e d to th e c o m m o n e r e sta te , a lth o u g h E a r th sh rin e s are g e n e ra lly a sso c ia te d w ith a u to c h th o n e s a n d m e d ic in e s h rin e s w ith im m ig ra n ts . D y n a stic , E a r th , a n d m e d ic in e sh rin e s a re p ro p itia te d a t a n n u a l in te rv a ls o n a c o m m u n ity b a sis a n d irre g u la rly b y in d iv id u a ls a n d g ro u p s in tim e s o f affliction. R oy al g rav es a re c le a re d b e fo re th e g ra ss is b u r n t in N o v e m b e r, w h ile sacrifices to th e E a r th s h rin e s ta k e p la c e w h e n th e ra in s co m e, a n d th o se to th e m e d ic in e s h rin e s a re m a d e a t y e a rly g a th e rin g s w h e re m e m b e rs o f th e c o n g re g a tio n co m e to g e th e r. T h e M u s lim s h a v e n o s h rin e s, b u t th e ir in flu e n c e is s tro n g in th e r ite s th a t m a rk o u t th e cycles o f y e a rly g ro w th a n d o f h u m a n life. A s th e M u s lim c a le n d a r is b a se d u p o n a lu n a r c a lc u lu s, th e Is la m ic y e a r is o u t o f s te p w ith th e r h y th m o f th e seaso n s. T h e m a jo r fe stiv a ls r e p r e s e n t n o t th e p h a se s o f th e p ro d u c tiv e cycle b u t o f th e P r o p h e t’s life. A s in o th e r u n iv e rsa listic re lig io n s, th e litu rg ic a l y e a r b e a rs th e im p r in t o f th e c ritic a l ju n c tu r e s in th e P r o p h e t’s life ; th e m a in festiv als a re th o se c e le b ra te d th ro u g h o u t th e W e s te rn S u d a n : J e n tig e (th e fire festiv al), D a m b a (th e P ro -

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p h e t’s b irth d a y ), A kisi (R a m a d a n ), a n d D o n g i (w h e n th e ra m s a re s la u g h te re d ).5 F o r th e G o n ja th e g re a te s t o f th e s e c e re m o n ie s is th e D a m b a fe stiv a l o f D y u la o rig in a n d h e ld h e re u p o n th e d a y w h e n th e P r o p h e t w as n a m e d , six d ay s a fte r h is b ir th (1 8 th R a b i'a l A w w al). F o r o n th is o c c a sio n all G o n ja c e le b ra tes, n o t o n ly th e M u s lim s th e m se lv e s. T h e c h iefs o f o u tly in g villag es co m e in to th e d iv isio n a l c a p ita ls w ith re p re s e n ta tiv e s o f th e o th e r e sta te s. T h e c o m m o n e rs p ro v id e a cow fo r sacrifice, th e M u s lim s say p ra y e rs fo r th e w h o le c o m m u n ity , a n d th e c h iefs d o p u b lic o b e isa n c e to th e ir o v e rlo rd . T h e m e d ic in e s a n d e m b le m s o f c h ie fsh ip a re b r o u g h t o u t a n d th e ir p o w e r d isp la y e d fo r all to see. W o m e n a n d g irls g e t n e w d resses, d a n c e , a n d a c q u ire h u s b a n d s a n d lo v ers. A la rg e m e a l is jo in tly p r e p a r e d a n d offered to all co m ers. O n n o o c c a sio n a re th e m a in fe a tu re s o f th e so cial o rg a n iz a tio n so c le a rly b r o u g h t o u t as a t th is tim e o f g e n e ra l re jo ic in g . T h e in s titu tio n o f c h ie fsh ip is re in fo rc e d ; s u b -c h ie fs a re h u m b le d in th e ir s u b je c ts ’ eyes, a n d th e ro le o f e a c h e s ta te is p u b lic ly re -e n a c te d . S o, to o , a re th e id e o lo g ic a l b o n d s w h ic h p re v e n te d th is locally a u to n o m o u s s ta te fro m c o m p le te ly s p littin g a p a rt. F o r , w h e n th e m e a t a n d co o k e d fo o d a re d is tr ib u te d , th e c o m m o n e r c h ie f in c h a rg e calls o u t th e n a m e s o f v a rio u s g ro u p s th a t m a k e u p th e n a tio n , in c lu d in g its p o litic a l d iv isio n s. ‘P e o p le o f T u lu w e ,’ h e s h o u ts, a n d a n y p e r s o n fro m th a t d iv isio n s te p s fo rw a rd to claim h is sh a re . T h e c o m p o sitio n a n d u n ity o f th is s c a tte re d k in g d o m a re also re ite ra te d , fo r p a rtic ip a n ts a n d o b se rv e rs alik e, in th e rite s th a t c e le b ra te th e m a in sta g e s in th e h u m a n cy cle. R ite s o f b ir th (o r n a m in g ) te n d to b e p a rtic u la r to e a c h g ro u p , sin c e th e y a re th e c e re m o n ie s b y w h ic h th e s e g ro u p s p e r p e tu a te th e m se lv e s. T h e G b a n y a a re g iv e n e la b o ra te tr ib a l m a rk s ; b o th th e y a n d th e M u s lim s a re c irc u m c ise d a n d n a m e d se v e n d a y s a fte r, w h e n a c o m m o n e r c irc u m c ise s a n d th e L im a m s u p p lie s th e p r o p e r d ay n a m e s. M a rria g e is a c o m p o site c e re m o n y , sin c e b rid e s a re f r e ­ q u e n tly ta k e n fro m o th e r e s ta te s ; th e r e is so m e r itu a l b u t few tra n s a c tio n s o f p ro p e rty , a lth o u g h M u s lim s t r y to re ta in a re lig io u s c o n tro l o v e r th e ir d a u g h te rs a n d w iv es b y m e a n s o f a n a d d itio n a l rite . I t is d e a th , h o w e v e r, th a t d e m a n d s th e p a rtic ip a tio n o f a ll; E a r th p rie s t, M u s lim , a n d c h ie f a re e a c h in v o lv e d , a n d w h ile ev e ry e sta te h a s its o w n id io sy n c ra tic ritu a ls, th e g e n e ra l fo rm o f

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th e m o r tu a r y c e re m o n y is th e sa m e fo r all. A n d o n th is o ccasio n , as in th e a n n u a l c e re m o n ie s, p o rtio n s o f fo o d a re n o t o n ly d is ­ tr ib u te d th r o u g h th e w h o le village b u t are also s e t asid e fo r th e o th e r d iv isio n s in th e re a lm . S u m m ary

T h e S ta te o f G o n ja h a s u n d e rg o n e se v e ra l tra n s fo rm a tio n s in th e c o u rse o f th e la st th r e e h u n d r e d y e a rs. T h e p h a se o f m ilita ry e x p a n sio n w as fo llo w ed b y o n e in w h ic h th e lo cal se g m e n ts o f th e k in g d o m a c h ie v e d a la rg e d e g re e o f a u to n o m y . D u r in g th is se c o n d p h a se , w h ic h la s te d u n til 1874, so m e d iv isio n s o f th e re a lm b e c a m e tr ib u ta r y to th e A sh a n ti. A fte r tw e n ty -fiv e y e a rs o f u n c e rta in lib e ra tio n , th e B ritish , w h o h a d c o n q u e re d th e ir p o w e rfu l n e ig h ­ b o u rs , b r o u g h t th e m u n d e r th e c o n tro l o f th e c e n tra l g o v e rn m e n t o f th e G o ld C o a st. I n 1933, u n d e r th e im p e tu s o f ‘I n d ir e c t R u le ’, th e co lo n ial p o w e r m a d e a d e te rm in e d e ffo rt to re -e s ta b lis h th e tra d itio n a l p o litic a l s tr u c tu r e o f th e s ta te fo r p u rp o s e s o f local g o v e rn m e n t. T h is r e b ir th w as p a rtly effective b e c a u se th e G b a n y a saw th e m ­ selves as a n a tio n e v e n a t th e e n d o f th e n in e te e n th c e n tu ry w h e n th e p o w e rs o f th e k in g w e re low , w h e n S a m o ri w as a tta c k in g fro m th e w e st a n d th e B ritis h a d v a n c in g fro m th e s o u th . T h e id e a o f n a tio n h o o d c o n tin u e d to e x ist u n d e r s u c h u n fa v o u ra b le c o n d itio n s fo r sev eral re a so n s. F irs tly , th e c o u n try h a d n o t d e p e n d e d , sin ce th e e x p a n sio n ist p e rio d , u p o n a s tro n g c e n tra l g o v e rn m e n t. S eco n d ly , th e sy ste m o f ro ta tio n a l su c c e ssio n g av e ev ery m e m b e r o f th e ru lin g e sta te a d ire c t stak e in its c o n tin u ity . T h ir d ly , in rite , in re lig io n , a n d in id e o lo g y th e u n ity o f th e sta te w as im p re s ­ se d u p o n th e th r e e m a in e sta te s, w h a te v e r th e ir p o sitio n . A sta te o f th is k in d h a s so m e sim ila ritie s to th e c o n tin e n ta l ré g im e s o f th e e a rly M id d le A ges. T h is a sp e c t o f d e c e n tra liz e d p o w e r, se e n as tra n s itio n a l b e tw e e n th e d is in te g ra tio n o f one c e n tra liz e d sy ste m a n d th e rise o f a n o th e r, C o u lb o u rn sees as th e co re o f ‘fe u d a lis m ’. T h e p o sitio n o f th e ru lin g e sta te d e p e n d e d in th e la st an aly sis o n h o rs e d cavalry, th o u g h g u n s w e re in c re a s­ in g ly im p o r ta n t m ilita ry w e a p o n s. B u t o th e r fe u d a l in s titu tio n s , s u c h as d e p e n d e n t la n d te n u re , d o n o t o c c u r in G o n ja , a n d it seem s b e s t to av o id b la n k e t te rm s b a se d la rg e ly u p o n th e h isto ric a l e x p e rie n c e o f W e s te rn E u ro p e . W e h av e h e re a stra tifie d k in g d o m , w h e re th e e sta te s e a c h h av e th e ir d iffe re n t p ra c tic e s, w h ic h in

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so m e cases e x te n d to th e la n g u a g e s th e m se lv e s. B u t th e G o n ja a re b ilin g u a l in e v e ry th in g , a n d local c u ltu re s are s u p p le m e n te d b y a n a tio n a l c u ltu re to w h ic h c o m m itm e n t, th o u g h it d im in ish e s as o n e d e sc e n d s th e p o litic a l h ie ra rc h y , is alw ays an im p o rta n t fa c to r. C o u n te ra c tin g th e c e n trifu g a l p u ll o f th e lo cally a u to n o ­ m o u s sta te w as th e c e n trip e ta l fo rce o f a n a tio n a l id eo lo g y , re in fo rc e d b y c o m m o n ritu a ls, b y th e s h a rin g o f fo o d , th e ro ta tio n o f office, a n d b y fre q u e n t v isitin g .

NOTES 1. T h is essay presents a first and n o t a final sketch of th e political system . I paid several sh o rt visits to the co untry betw een 1950 and 1952, and published a brief account of th e history of th e area and of its language groups. M y w ife and I carried o u t fieldw ork th ere in 1956-57 and 1964-66, and th e follow ing papers have been pub lish ed as a resu lt: E sth er N . G oody: ‘C onjugal Separation an d D ivorce am ong th e G onja of N o rth e rn G h an a,’ in M a rria g e in T rib a l Societies (ed. M eyer F ortes), C am bridge P apers in Social A nthropology, N o. 3, 1962; Jack G oody: ‘R otational Succession in G onja,’ in Succession to H ig h Office (ed. Jack G oody), C am bridge P apers in Social A nthropology, N o. 4, 1966. T h e re is very little published w ork on th e social organization o f G onja. I t w ill be noted th a t th e m aps, pp. 1 8 0 , 189, give slightly different boundaries for th e state o f G onja. T h e first rep resen ts a reconstruction o f th e situation in 1875; th e second is based u p o n th e adm inistrative d istrict o f G onja at th e tim e o f the Indepen d en ce o f G h an a (1957). 2. J u s t as K p em b e h ad a special position in th e east (due to its dis­ tance from th e p aram o u n t and to th e influence of outside forces), so Bole d id in th e w est. U nlike o th er divisional chiefs, th e Bole W ura celebrated D am ba at th e national capital ra th e r th a n at his own. 3. H u tch iso n recounts how a dispute betw een th e senior chiefs in E astern G onja w as taken before th e A santehene at th e O dw era festival (Bow dich, 1819: 397). R elationships w ith A shanti clearly varied from division to division an d from tim e to tim e. T h e statem ents o f Bow dich and D u p u is concerning w estern G onja d u rin g th e first two decades of th e n in eteen th cen tu ry p resen t a picture o f a continuing struggle against th e A shanti, in a n o rth -eastern alliance of states th a t included K ong, B una, and som etim es Jam an (o r A bron, capital B onduku). 4. L t.-C o l. H . P . N o rth c o tt, R e p o rt on the N o rth e rn Territories o f the G o ld C oast, W ar Office, L ondon, 1899, p. 13 ; R am seyer and K ü hne, F our Y ea rs in A sh a n ti, L o n d o n , 1875, p. 231.

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5. I n addition, there is A chang, th e Festival of th e G uinea Fow l, held on 27th Rajab. A nd set firm ly w ithin th e seasonal cycle is th e Yam Festival and o th er m ore local cerem onies. REFEREN CES In a general article of this kind I have largely avoided giving refer­ ences for m y statem ents, w hich include m an u scrip t sources, including o ur field notes. Specific reference is m ade to th e follow ing: Binger, L . G. Bowdich, T . E.

1892 1819

D u N ig er au G olfe de Guinée. Paris. M issio n fr o m C ape C oast to A sh a n tee.

C lapperton, H .

1829

C oulbourn, R. (ed.) D upuis, J.

1956 1824

Jo u rn a l o f a Seco n d E xp ed itio n in to the In terio r o f A fric a . L ondon. F eudalism in H isto ry. Princeton. J o u rn a l o f a Residence in A sh a n tee.

F erguson, G . E.

1891 1892

L ondon.

L ondon. R e p o rt on M ission to A ta b u b u . L ondon. R e p o rt o f a M issio n to the In terio r, 9

D ecem ber 1892, (C O .96/230, P ublic R ecord Office, L ondon. G ouldsbury, V. S.

1876

L ucas

1790

2199).

R e p o rt o f his Jo u rn e y in to the In terio r o f the G o ld C oast (C O .9 6/119, 5162 no. 2). Proceedings o f the A ssociation f o r P ro ­ m oting the D iscovery o f the In terio r P a rts o f A fric a . L ondon.

ASH A N TI GOVERNM ENT Ivor W

il k s

In tr o d u c tio n

T h e r e ex ists, fo r th e s tu d e n t o f A s h a n ti g o v e rn m e n t in th e n in e te e n th c e n tu ry , a n ex te n siv e ra n g e o f d o c u m e n ta ry so u rc e m a te ria l in A ra b ic , D a n is h , D u tc h , E n g lish , F re n c h , G e rm a n , H a u sa , a n d T w i. T h e q u a lity o f th is m a te ria l is s u c h th a t th e m a in lin es o f th e d e v e lo p m e n t o f A sh a n ti g o v e rn m e n t in th a t c e n tu ry m a y b e e sta b lish e d w ith re a so n a b le c o n fid en ce. I n a n A sh a n ti c o n te x t, c o n se q u e n tly , th e a tte m p t to r e c o n s tru c t th e n in e te e n th c e n tu ry s itu a tio n b y in fe re n c e fro m th e tw e n tie th - c e n tu ry o n e is u n n e c e ssa ry . I t w o u ld , m o re o v e r, a lm o st c e rta in ly b e m isle a d in g , sin c e th e t u r n o f th e c e n tu ry w as m a rk e d b y ra d ic a l c h a n g e s in A sh a n ti g o v e rn m e n t b r o u g h t a b o u t b y th e im p o s itio n u p o n th a t c o u n try o f an a lie n a d m in is tra tio n fu n c tio n in g p rim a rily as a n a rm o f th e Im p e ria l G o v e rn m e n t in L o n d o n . I t is u n f o r tu n a te th a t s u c h a c o m p e te n t a n d s y m p a th e tic o b se rv e r as R a ttra y w as c o n ­ fro n te d o n ly w ith a k in g d o m in a n a d v a n c e d sta g e o f p o litic a l d ecay (R a ttra y , 1 923; 1 927; 1929). M a n y s u b s e q u e n t w rite rs , a ssu m in g R a ttra y ’s a c c o u n t o f tw e n tie th - c e n tu ry A s h a n ti g o v e rn ­ m e n t to b e e q u a lly a p p lic a b le to th e p re c e d in g c e n tu ry , h a v e b e e n le d th e r e b y to o v erlo o k th e d istin c tiv e fe a tu re s o f th a t s ta te in th e e a rlie r p e rio d . I n th is p a p e r1 I sh a ll tr y to sh o w th a t w ith in n in e te e n th c e n tu ry A s h a n ti tw o d is tin c t sy ste m s o f g o v e rn m e n t c o -e x iste d . A t th e a p e x o f b o th w as th e k in g , th e A sa n te h e n e , w ith h is c o u rt in K u m a s i. T h e o n e s y ste m a tiz e d re la tio n s b e tw e e n th e k in g a n d th e r u le r s o f th e a m a n to ɔ , th e g ro u p o f ‘tr u e ’ A s h a n ti c h ie fd o m s c lu s te re d a ro u n d K u m a s i o n all b u t th e w e st (see p . 208). T h is s y s te m w as a se g m e n ta ry o n e in w h ic h e sse n tia lly sim ila r p o w e rs w e re e x e rc ise d b y b o th c e n tra l a n d local a u th o ritie s . A s tu d y o f it le d R a ttra y to re g a rd d e c e n tra liz a tio n as ‘th e d o m in a n t fe a tu re o f th e A s h a n ti C o n s titu tio n ’, a n d to su g g e st e x te n siv e an alo g ies w ith E u ro p e a n fe u d a lism . T h e se c o n d sy ste m w as o n e w h ic h re g u la te d re la tio n s b e tw e e n th e k in g a n d t h e a m a n s in a n d m a n tia se ,

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th e p ro te c te d o r c o n q u e re d to w n s a n d p ro v in c e s th a t c o n s titu te d th e g re a te r p a r t o f th e e m p ire . T h e c h a ra c te ristic fe a tu re o f th is sy ste m w as its c e n tra liz e d a n d larg ely a p p o in tiv e b u re a u c ra c y , c a p a b le o f e x e rc isin g a h ig h d e g re e o f social c o n tro l a n d o f o rg a n i­ z in g th e m a n -p o w e r a n d o th e r re so u rc e s o f th e areas u n d e r th e k in g ’s a u th o rity . T h a t th is fe a tu re o f A sh a n ti g o v e rn m e n t h a s re c e iv e d little a tte n tio n fro m sc h o la rs is d u e to th e fa c t th a t it d id n o t su rv iv e th e s u p e rim p o s itio n o f th e B ritis h co lo n ial a d m in ­ is tra tio n a t th e b e g in n in g o f th is c e n tu ry . F o r it w as p re c ise ly th e c e n tra liz e d p o w e r o f A s h a n ti g o v e rn m e n t th a t h a d to b e d e s tro y e d if th e co lo n ial ré g im e w as to c o n so lid a te its ru le , a n d th e co lo n ial p e rio d w as in fact u s h e re d in b y th e a rre s t a n d d e p o r t­ a tio n o f th e A sh a n ti k in g , a n d b y th e rem o v al fro m office o f m a n y o f h is se n io r officials. T h e A m a n to ɔ

T h e A sh a n ti a re a T w i- o r A k a n -sp e a k in g p e o p le in G h a n a , a n d a re d iv id e d in to a n u m b e r o f c h ie fd o m s c o m p o se d o f d isp e rse d m a tric la n s ( m m u su a -k e se ). O f th e se O y o k o h a s b e e n th e m o s t p r o m in e n t, h a v in g b e c o m e th e ro y a l c la n o f K u m a s i a n d o f a n u m b e r o f th e a m a n to j a t th e tim e o f A s h a n ti’s ris e to p o w e r. T h is w as in th e la te r s e v e n te e n th c e n tu ry . T h e p re c e d in g c e n ­ tu rie s a p p e a r to h a v e b e e n o n e s in w h ic h th e r e o c c u rre d a g ra d u a l d rift n o rth w a rd s o f T w i-s p e a k in g g ro u p s (B o w d ich , 1 819: 2 2 8 -9 ), a se rie s o f re la tiv e ly s m a ll a n d u n c o -o rd in a te d m ig ra tio n s p ro b a b ly in p a r t a t le a st a n o u tc o m e o f th e in tro d u c tio n , v ia th e m a ritim e tr a d e w ith th e A m e ric a s, o f n e w fo o d c ro p s. I n th e la te r se v e n ­ te e n th c e n tu ry p o litic a l d ire c tio n w as im p a rte d to th is m o v e m e n t b y th e g ro w th in p o w e r— larg ely th r o u g h th e im p o rta tio n o f fire a rm s fro m th e co ast— o f a c o m b in a tio n o f m a tric la n se g m e n ts th a t h a d c o m e u n d e r th e le a d e rsh ip o f O se i T u t u , a n O y o k o w h o se k n o w le d g e o f s ta te c ra ft a n d w a r h a d b e e n g re a tly e x te n d e d b y h is sta y a t th e c o u rts o f D a n k y ira a n d A k w a m u , th ro u g h o u t th e s e v e n te e n th c e n tu ry th e tw o le a d in g p o w e rs o f th e co astal h in te r ­ la n d . B y a se rie s o f c o n c e rte d m ilita ry c a m p a ig n s O sei T u t u e sta b lish e d c o n tro l o v e r th e re g io n a ro u n d T a fo , a n ea rly m a rk e t to w n o f im p o rta n c e ly in g o n a m a jo r n o r th - s o u th g o ld ro u te (W ilks, 1957: 1 2 6 -7 ; 1961: 1 2 -1 3 ). R eceiv in g th e alleg ian ce o f s u c h o f th e c o n q u e re d as chose to re m a in , h e b u ilt h is n e w cap ital, K u m a s i, o n ly tw o m ile s fro m T a fo . T h e c o n q u e s t a n d p acificatio n

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T h e A shanti E m pire showing M ain Lines of Expansion o f th e s u r r o u n d in g re g io n s w as c o n tin u e d , a n d a n u m b e r o f a sso c ia te d c h ie fs e sta b lis h e d th e ir o w n to w n s a n d d o m in io n s, th e a m a n to ɔ, a ro u n d th e c a p ita l. S u c h w e re th e B e re tu o c e n tre o f M a m p o n a n d th e O y o k o c e n tre s o f N s u ta , J u a b e n , B ekw ai, a n d K o k o fu , n o n e a b o v e th ir ty m ile s fro m K u m a s i. O f th e n e w A s h a n ti s ta te O sei T u t u b e c a m e th e firs t k in g , th e A sa n te h e n e . I ts u n ity w as s y m b o liz e d in th e in s titu tio n o f th e S ik a d w a , th e G o ld e n S to o l, w h ic h , b e in g w ith o u t p a st, w as re g a rd e d as h a v in g d e sc e n d e d fro m th e sky. C o n v e rse ly , o ld e r p re -A s h a n ti sy m b o ls o f p o litic a l a u th o r ity w e re ritu a lly b u r ie d n e a r K u m a s i, ‘b e c a u se it w as c o n s id e re d im p r o p e r th a t a n y sto o l in th e n a tio n s h o u ld b e re g a rd e d as h a v in g p re c e d e d th e G o ld e n S to o l’.2 T h e se g m e n ta ry so cial o rg a n iz a tio n o f th e n e w c o m e rs, in m a trilin e a g e s, w as re fle c te d in th e s e g m e n ta ry c h a ra c te r o f th e

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n e w ly ev o lv ed sta te . T h e so lid a rity o f K u m a s i a n d th e a m a n to ɔ w as c o n ceiv ed a n d e x p re sse d in g en ealo g ical te rm s. B o w d ich , fo r ex a m p le , w as to ld th a t O sei T u t u a n d th e first J u a b e n h e n e w ere so n s o f siste rs— h e n c e th e ir ‘c o m m o n in te re st, p re se rv e d u n ­ in te r r u p te d m o re th a n a c e n tu r y ’ (B o w d ich , 1819: 2 3 2 ).3 P u ta tiv e m a trilin e a l tie s w e re s u p p le m e n te d b y real affinal o n es. T h e g e n e a l­ o gy in F ig . 7 illu stra te s th e close links b e tw e e n th e ru lin g d y n a stie s o f K u m a si, Ju a b e n , a n d M a m p o n , th e la tte r th e m o s t im p o rta n t n o n -O y o k o d iv isio n (A g y e m a n -D u a h , 1960).

Fig.

7

. Links between ruling dynasties of Kum asi, Juaben, and M am pon

T h e sy ste m o f g o v e rn m e n t re g u la tin g th e re la tio n sh ip o f th e a m a n to ɔ to K u m a s i w as first a d e q u a te ly d e sc rib e d b y B o w d ich ,

w h o s p e n t fo u r m o n th s in K u m a s i in 1817 (B o w d ich , 1819; 1821a). I t w as d e sc rib e d m o re fu lly a c e n tu ry la te r, w h e n its m a in fe a tu re s w e re c learly u n a lte re d , b y R a ttra y (1929, C h s. x v ii- x x iii). T h e ir te s tim o n y is f u r th e r s u p p o rte d b y th a t o f s u c h la te r n in e te e n th - c e n tu r y o b se rv e rs as C h ris ta lle r (1875), R a m se y e r a n d K tih n e (1875), a n d B o n n a t (G ro s, 1884). T h e c h iefs o f th e a m a n to ɔ — th e a m a n h e n e (sing, o m a n h e n e 4)— w ere, it w o u ld se e m , de j u r e o f c o -o rd in a te ra n k , w ith th e k in g in K u m a s i a p r im u s in te r p a r e s . E a c h se g m e n t w ith in th e sy ste m —

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e a c h o f th e a m a n to ɔ c h ie fd o m s— c o n s titu te d a la rg e ly a u to n o m o u s local ju r is d ic tio n th a t in m a n y re s p e c ts r e p r o d u c e d th e h ig h e r ju r is d ic tio n o f th e k in g in K u m a si. E a c h o m a n h e n e h a d h is c o u n c il o f h e re d ita ry a d v ise rs o r e ld e rs ( m p a n y in fo ). E a c h p o sse sse d , as B o w d ic h saw it, ‘p a la tin e p riv ile g e s’ (1 8 1 9 : 2 9 6 ; 1 8 2 1 a: 21), a n d e a c h h a d , as B o n n a t o b se rv e d , ‘U n e c o u r m o d e lé e s u r celle d u s o u v e ra in ’ (G ro s. 1884: 188). T h e n a tu r e o f s u c h lo cal j u r i s ­ d ic tio n s, w h ic h re m a in e d in th e h a n d s o f th e m a trilin e a l d e s c e n d ­ a n ts o f th e ir s e v e n te e n th -c e n tu ry fo u n d e rs , m a y b e illu s tra te d w ith re fe re n c e to m a tte r s o f alleg ian ce, fin an ce, law , a n d w ar. (i) A lle g ia n c e . E a c h o m a n h e n e h e ld h is o w n o d w ira , th e a n n u a l re lig io -p o litic a l fe stiv a l a t w h ic h , in te r a lia , h is s u b ­ o rd in a te c h ie fs a ffirm ed o r re a ffirm ed alleg ian ce to h im . A n o m a n h e n e c o u ld h o ld a n o d w ira , h o w e v e r, o n ly a fte r h e h a d h im s e lf a tte n d e d th e k in g ’s o d w ira , in K u m a s i, a n d th e r e b y c o n firm e d h is o w n alleg ian ce to h im . (ii) F in a n c e . E a c h o m a n h e n e m a in ta in e d h is o w n tr e a s u r y a n d ra ise d re v e n u e b y ta x in g h is su b je c ts, b y sto o l tra d in g v e n tu re s , etc. F r o m a n o m a n h e n e ' s tre a s u ry , h o w e v e r, e x tra ­ o rd in a ry ( b u t n o t, a p p a re n tly , re g u la r) c o n trib u tio n s c o u ld b e d e m a n d e d b y th e k in g fo r u s e in th e n a tio n a l in te re s t. (iii) L a w . E a c h o m a n h e n e m a in ta in e d h is o w n c o u rts, b u t fro m s u c h c o u rts a r ig h t o f a p p e a l to th e k in g c o u ld b e ex e rc ise d b y th e u se o f o n e o f th e k in g ’s o a th s, a p ro c e ss w h ic h , th o u g h co stly , a u to m a tic a lly re m o v e d th e case fro m th e local j u r i s ­ d ic tio n . (iv) W a r . A n o m a n h e n e p o sse sse d h is o w n m ilita ry o rg a n iz a ­ tio n a n d w as re s p o n s ib le fo r its m o b iliz a tio n a n d d e m o b iliz a tio n . T h e k in g in K u m a s i c o u ld , h o w e v e r, re q u ire th e u se o f a n o m a n h e n e ’s fo rc e s in th e n a tio n a l in te re s t, a n d c o u ld re s tr ic t a n o m a n h e n e ' s u s e o f h is o w n fo rc e s w h e n in im ic a l to th e n a tio n ­ al in te re s t (as, fo r e x a m p le , in th e case o f a c o n flic t b e tw e e n o n e o m a n h e n e a n d a n o th e r). R a ttra y lists o th e r re s tric tio n s u p o n th e a u to n o m y o f th e a m a n to ɔ , a n d c learly n o n e w as a tw e n tie th - c e n tu ry in n o v a tio n . U p o n th e d e a th o f a n o m a n h e n e a d e a th d u ty , a y ib u a d ie , w as p a y a b le to th e k in g . A n o m a n h e n e c o u ld b e s u m m o n e d b y th e k in g to K u m a s i a t a n y tim e . E x c e p tio n a lly , p e rh a p s , a n o m a n h e n e

m ig h t b e re m o v e d fro m office b y th e k in g .5

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T h e b o n d s th a t h e ld K u m a s i a n d th e a m a n to ɔ to g e th e r w ith in th e se g m e n ta ry fra m e w o rk o f th e e a rly A s h a n ti s ta te d e riv e d th e ir s tre n g th fro m a c o m p le x s u b s tr u c tu r e o f in te rlo c k in g e c o n o m ic in te re sts. T h e sy ste m w o u ld o n ly re ta in its c o h e sio n so lo n g as th e s e in te re s ts re m a in e d c o m m o n o n es. I n fa c t, in th e c o u rse o f th e e ig h te e n th c e n tu ry th e m a te ria l p o s itio n o f K u m a s i c h a n g e d so g re a tly v is - à - v is th a t o f th e a m a n to ɔ th a t th e k in g ’s c o n tin u in g re la tio n sh ip to h is a m a n h e n e , as p r im u s in te r p a r e s , c o u ld b e m a in ta in e d , if a t all, o n ly as a legal fictio n . I n a series o f b rillia n tly e x e c u te d c a m p a ig n s— D a n k y ira , 1 6 9 8 -1 7 0 1 ; T a k y im a n , 1 7 2 2 -2 3 ; G o n ja , 1 7 3 2 -3 3 ; G y a m a n , c. 1740; A k y e m a n d A ccra, 1742; D a g o m b a , 1 7 4 4 -4 5 ; F a n te , 1765 a n d 1807, to list so m e o f th e m o re im p o r ta n t— th e p o w e r o f A s h a n ti w as e x te n d e d fa r b e y o n d th e a rea o f th e o rig in a l se ttle m e n ts, a n d K u m a si, fro m b e in g in effect o n ly th e se n io r o f th e a m a n to ɔ , fo u n d itse lf th e m e tro p o lis o f a larg e a n d sp ra w lin g e m p ire . T h e A sa n te h e n e , fro m b e in g fo re m o s t o f th e a m a n h e n e , h a d b e c o m e th e r u le r o f w h a t w as, to a t least o n e e a rly n in e te e n th -c e n tu ry o b se rv e r, ‘in d is ­ p u ta b ly th e g re a te s t a n d th e risin g p o w e r o f w e s te rn A fric a ’ (B o w d ic h , 1819: 341). T h e K w a d w o a n R e v o lu tio n in G o v e rn m e n t

R o b e rtso n , in th e ea rly n in e te e n th c e n tu ry , re m a rk e d o n th e d ifficu lty o f d e fin in g th e e x te n t o f th e A s h a n ti d o m in io n s, o w in g to th e p e rip h e ra l s ta tu s o f m a n y d is tric ts , w h ic h w e re lo osely a sso c ia te d sa te llite s r a th e r th a n trib u ta rie s , w h e th e r c o n q u e re d o r p ro te c te d (1 8 1 9 : 177). T o th e n o rth -e a s t, M a m p ru s s i w as re g a rd e d b y B o w d ic h as ‘th e b o u n d a ry o f A sh a n te e a u th o r ity ’, th o u g h h e c o n sid e re d its in flu e n c e to re a c h m u c h f u r th e r (1 8 1 9 : 179). T o th e n o r th , b o th c e n tra l a n d e a s te rn G o n ja lay w ith in th e A sh a n ti o r b it (B o w d ic h , 1819: 2 3 6 ; D u p u is , 1 824: x x v i-v ii), w h ile in th e n o rth -w e s t th e C o m o e riv e r, b e tw e e n B o n d u k u a n d K o n g in th e Iv o ry C o a st, a p p e a rs to h a v e m a rk e d th e effective lim it o f th e k in g ’s p o w e r (B o w d ich , 1 819: 182). I n th e s o u th A s h a n ti d o m in a te d th e G u in e a C o a st a t le a st fro m C a p e L a h u (Iv o ry C o ast) in th e w e st to L ittle P o p o (T o g o ) in th e e a st (D u p u is , 1824: x li; M ’L e o d , 1820: 140). O n a c o n se rv a tiv e e stim a te , A sh a n ti h a d e sta b lis h e d its a sc e n d a n c y o v e r a n a re a o f so m e 1 2 5 ,0 0 0 -1 5 0 ,0 0 0 sq u a re m ile s, fro m th e s o u th e rn co asts th r o u g h th e h ig h fo re st, h e a r tla n d o f th e e m p ire , a n d fa r in to th e n o r th e r n P

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sa v a n n a h s. W ith in th is a re a th e r e liv e d p ro b a b ly b e tw e e n th r e e a n d five m illio n p e o p le .6 E c o n o m ic a lly th e te r r ito r y w as ric h in e x p lo ita b le n a tu ra l re so u rc e s, e sp e c ia lly o f g o ld a n d k o la. A lo n g a n c ie n t tr a d e - r o u te s to H a u s a la n d in th e n o rth -e a s t, a n d to T i m ­ b u k tu a n d J e n n e in th e n o rth -w e s t, A s h a n ti c o m m o d itie s c o u ld p a s s in to th e e n tre p ô ts o f th e W e s te rn S u d a n a n d so m e , b y th e tr a n s - S a h a r a n c a ra v a n tra ils, o n to th e g re a te r m a rk e ts o f N o r th A fric a . O n th e s o u th e r n sh o re s o f A s h a n ti th e a g e n ts o f D a n is h , D u tc h , E n g lis h , a n d F r e n c h c o m p a n ie s h a d e sta b lis h e d th e ir n u m e ro u s fa c to rie s, a n d v ie d w ith e a c h o th e r, a n d w ith th e n o r th ­ e r n m e rc h a n ts , fo r th e tr a d e o f th e in te rio r. T h r o u g h th e r a m i­ ficatio n s o f th e d is trib u tiv e tra d e , th e A s h a n ti e c o n o m y b e c a m e lin k e d w ith th o se o f E u r o p e a n d N o r th A fric a , re sp o n siv e to th e c h a n g in g p a tte r n s o f s u p p ly a n d d e m a n d in w o rld m a rk e ts. T h e size a n d c o m p le x ity o f th e A s h a n ti e m p ire in its d e v e lo p e d s ta te p o se d p ro b le m s o f o rg a n iz a tio n o f a q u ite d iffe re n t o r d e r fro m th o se th a t h a d fa c e d th e e a rly k in g s. G o v e rn m e n t h a d to b e d e v e lo p e d in ra n g e , to e m b ra c e re g io n s fa r d is ta n t f ro m th e o rig in a l s e ttle m e n ts ; in d e p th , to c o n tro l s p h e re s o f a c tiv ity p re v io u sly u n to u c h e d b y a u th o r ity ; a n d in effic ien c y, b e y o n d th e a b ilitie s o f a n o n -p ro fe ssio n a l a d m in is tra tio n s u c h as th e h e re d ita ry ch iefs, m p a n y in fo o f th e k in g , a n d h is a m a n h e n e , u p o n w h o m , u n d e r th e e a rly c o n s titu tio n , re s p o n s ib ility h a d d ev o lv ed . I n 1764 O sei K w a d w o su c c e e d e d to th e th r o n e o f A s h a n ti, a n d in itia te d a series o f ra d ic a l p o litic a l c h a n g e s— fo r w h ic h re a so n s I sh a ll sp e a k o f th e K w a d w o a n re v o lu tio n in g o v e rn m e n t— w h ic h w e re c a rrie d fo rw a rd b y h is su c c e sso rs, O se i K w a m e (1 7 7 7 -c . 1801) a n d O sei B o n su (c. 1 8 0 1 -2 4 ).7 T h e n a tu r e o f th e s e c h a n g e s w as a d m ira b ly d e s c rib e d b y B o w d ic h in 1817. ‘T h e a risto c ra c y in A s h a n te e ,’ h e o b se rv e d , h a d ‘u n til S a i C u d jo ’s [O sei K w a d w o ’s] tim e , alw ays a c q u ire d th is d ig n ity b y in h e rita n c e o n ly ’, b u t ‘th e tw o or th re e last kings o f A shantee have artfu lly enlarged th e royal prerogatives, at th e expense o f th e original c o n stitu tio n ’ (1821a: 21, 54). T h e k in g , h e c o m m e n te d , ‘ra is e d h is fa v o u rite c a p ta in s to th e v a c a n t s to o ls’, a n d th is p ro c e ss, ‘sin c e S ai C u d jo [O se i K w a d w o ] p o in te d o u t th e w a y ’, h a d b e e n a c o n tin u in g o n e . T h u s O se i B o n su ‘cautiously extends his prerogative, an d takes every o p p o rtu n ity o f in ­ creasing th e n u m b e r o f secondary captains, by dignifying th e young

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m en b ro u g h t u p ab o u t his person, and still retaining th em in his im m edi­ ate service’ (1819: 236, 246, 252). T h e s e c h a n g e s, in itia lly w o rk e d o u t w ith in a K u m a s i c o n te x t, in v o lv e d th e su b v e rsio n , b y a sy ste m a tic c a m p a ig n o f d isg ra c e a n d b a n is h m e n t (B o w d ic h , 1819: 7 3 , 1 4 4 -5 , 2 5 5 ), of th e p o w e r o f th e K u m a s i h e re d ita ry ch iefs, a n d th e tra n s fe r o f th e fu n c tio n s o f g o v e rn m e n t to a n ew class o f officials c o n tro lle d b y th e k in g a n d c h a rg e d w ith th e a d m in is tra tio n o f th e affairs o f th e e m p ire . In s tr u m e n ta l in th e a c h ie v e m e n t o f th e re v o lu tio n w as th e A n k o b ia , a n e w ly c re a te d p a ra -m ilita ry b o d y d ire c tly re sp o n sib le to th e k in g , a n d d e p lo y a b le a t h is w ill. T h e tw o m o s t s e n io r p o sts in th is force, th e A n k o b ia sto o l its e lf (IA S /A S .2 ), a n d th e A tip in (IA S /A S .9 ), w e re c re a tio n s o f O sei K w a d w o a n d O sei K w a m e re sp e c tiv e ly . T o d a te (1964), tw e lv e p e o p le h av e b e e n a p p o in te d to each , re c ru ite d la rg e ly fro m a m o n g th e m ale d e s c e n d a n ts o f p re v io u s k in g s, th e a h e n e -m m a , so n s a n d g ra n d s o n s o f th e G o ld e n S to o l. T h r e e f u r th e r sto o ls o f th e A n k o b ia , th e A n a m in a k o , w ith te n o c c u p a n ts to d a te , a n d th e A te n e A k o te n a n d A te n e A k u a p o n , e a c h w ith e ig h t, w e re a ll c re a te d b y O sei B o n su . A p p o in te e s to th e first tw o p o s ts h a v e so m e tim e s b e e n a h e n e -m m a , so m e tim e s c o m m o n e rs, w h ile th e la st w as u n til re c e n tly filled b y p ro m o tio n fro m th e lo w e r e c h e lo n s o f c o u r t officials (IA S /A S .4 2 , 4 5 , 21). G e n e ra lly d e s c rib e d as th e k in g ’s p e rso n a l b o d y g u a rd , th e A n k o b ia h a d th e c ru c ia l h is to ric a l ro le o f s tre n g th e n in g th e r u le r ’s p o s itio n v is - à - v is th a t o f th e h e re d ita ry n o b ility . B y th e m id d le o f th e re ig n o f O se i B o n su th e p re p o n d e ra n c e o f th e o ld a risto c ra c y in p o litic a l affairs w as c o m p le te ly s h a tte re d — in K u m a si, th a t is, th o u g h n o t as y e t in th e a m a n to ɔ, w h e re th e a m a n h e n e m a in ta in e d th e ir s e m i-a u to n o m o u s sta tu s. A d istin c tiv e fe a tu re o f th e n e w b u re a u c ra c y w as its a p p o in tiv e c h a ra c te r: p o s ts w e re , as R o b e rts o n re m a rk e d , ‘in th e k in g ’s g ift’ (1 8 1 9 : 199). S o m e a p p o in tm e n ts w e re m a d e s tric tly a d h o m in e m , a n d s u b s e q u e n tly allo w ed to lap se ; in th is class w ere th e e x p a tria te s s u c h as th e F r e n c h m a n B o n n a t, c o m m issio n e d as c o -g o v e rn o r o f th e A k ro so -Y e ji a rea, a n d th a t o f th e D a n e N ie lse n , e m p lo y e d to e n lis t H a u s a m e rc e n a rie s in th e A s h a n ti a rm y , a n d la te r as e n v o y to G y a m a n .8 U su a lly , h o w e v e r, a p p o in tm e n t p ro c e e d e d w ith in a n in s titu tio n a liz e d fra m e w o rk : th e r e w as, th a t is, n o t o n ly a b u re a u c ra c y b u t also a b u re a u c ra tic class, fro m w h ic h

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m o s t officials w e re d ra w n . E x c e p tio n a lly , office w as v e ste d in a m a trilin e a g e , th o u g h w ith o u t p re ju d ic e to its u ltim a te c o n tro l b y th e k in g . T h u s , th e B u tu a k w a (sp o k e sm a n ’s) sto o l, c re a te d b y O sei B o n su c. 1824, w h ile alw ays filled b y m a trilin e a l d e sc e n d a n ts o f th e first o c c u p a n t, w as n o n e th e less a b o lish e d b y th e p re s e n t A s a n te h e n e in 1961. T h e g re a t m a jo rity o f a p p o in tm e n ts , h o w e v e r, w e re m a d e fro m a m o n g th e m ale d e sc e n d a n ts o f p re v io u s o c c u ­ p a n ts o f th e re le v a n t office. S u c h p o sts a re k n o w n as m m a m m a d w a , s o n ’s sto o ls,9 a n d w e re v e ste d in p a tr i- c e n tr ic re s id e n tia l g ro u p s, w ith in e a c h o f w h ic h e x iste d an a c c u m u la tio n o f p a rtic u la r a d m in is tra tiv e skills, a n d th e c o n d itio n s n e c e ssa ry fo r th e ir tra n s m is s io n fro m g e n e ra tio n to g e n e ra tio n . R a ttra y p a id tr ib u te to th e ‘re m a rk a b ly efficient re s u lts ’ o b ta in e d fro m th e ‘g e n e ra tio n s o f c o n tin u ity in office, s o n le a rn in g fro m a n d su c c e e d in g f a th e r ’, a n d saw in th e sy ste m a te n d e n c y ‘to b re a k d o w n th e ru le s g o v e rn ­ in g m a trilin e a l d e sc e n t a n d to p re p a re th e w ay fo r a p a trilin e a l w ay o f re c k o n in g ’ (1 9 2 9 : 92, 118). I n fact, h o w e v e r, th e q u a sip a trilin e a l p a tte r n o f su c c e ssio n to office a p p e a rs to h a v e b e e n w ith o u t effect u p o n th e c o n tin u e d m a trilin e a l p a tte r n o f in h e r i­ ta n c e o f p ro p e rty , a m a tte r o f so m e im p o rta n c e , sin c e o n ly sk ills, a n d n o t c a p ita l, te n d e d to a c c u m u la te w ith in th e p a tri-g ro u p . T h e b u re a u c ra tic class th e re fo re re ta in e d its d istin c tiv e official c h a ra c te r, a n d sh o w e d fe w sig n s o f tr a n s fo rm in g its e lf in to an in d e p e n d e n t a n d p ro p e r tie d m id d le class. (W ilk s, 1 9 6 6 b : p a s s im .) T h e E m e r g e n t B u r e a u c r a c y : F in a n c e

A k e y p o s itio n in th e e m e rg e n t b u re a u c ra c y w as th e G y aasew a sto o l (IA S /A S .1 5 ). T h e firs t a p p o in tm e n t to th is office, t h a t o f A s u m A d u , w o u ld s e e m to h a v e b e e n m a d e b y O se i K w a d w o . A s u m A d u w as fo llo w e d b y O p o k u F r e f r e (d . 1826), a p p o in te d b y O se i K w a m e ‘in e x c lu sio n o f th e fa m ily ’ o f h is p re d e c e sso r (B o w d ic h , 1 819: 238). S u b s e q u e n tly th e p o s t b e c a m e v e ste d in th e m a le d e s c e n d a n ts o f O p o k u , th e p r e s e n t o c c u p a n t b e in g s ix te e n th in office (W ilk s, 1 9 6 6 b : 2 2 1 ).10 T h e G y a a se w a h e n e w a s c h a rg e d w ith a n o v e ra ll re s p o n s ib ility f o r th e fin a n c ia l affairs o f th e e m p ire (th e a m a n to ɔ e x c e p te d ), a n d w as k e e p e r o f th e tre a s u ry . H e e x e rc ise d a d e g re e o f b u d g e ta ry c o n tro l o v e r in c o m e a n d e x p e n d itu re th r o u g h th e m a c h in e ry o f th e e x c h e q u e r c o u rt, so m e o f th e se ssio n s o f w h ic h B o w d ic h a tte n d e d :

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‘Apokoo [O poku Frefre] holds a so rt of exchequer co u rt at his own house daily, (w hen he is attended by two of th e K in g ’s linguists, and various state insignia,) to decide all cases affecting trib u te or revenue, and the appeal to the K ing is seldom resorted to . . . Several captains, w ho w ere his followers, atten d ed this court daily w ith large suites, and it was n o t only a crow ded, b u t frequently a splendid scene’ (Bow dich, 1819: 296-7). A n in c re a se in sta te re v e n u e w as m o s t easily ac h ie v e d b y a d ju s t­ m e n t o f th e g e n e ra l level o f ta x a tio n — o f tr ib u te s , p o ll-ta x e s, d e a th d u tie s, a n d to lls. T r ib u te s , le v ie d o n c o n q u e re d p ro v in c e s a n d p ro te c to ra te s , w e re e sp ecially s u b je c t to rev iew . T h e y w ere, B o w d ic h n o te d , ‘in som e instances fixed, b u t m ore freq u en tly indefinite, b eing p ro ­ po rtio n ed to th e exigencies o f th e year; indeed, from various conversa­ tions w ith A pokoo and others, and m y observations d u rin g state palavers, it appeared th a t th e necessities and th e designs o f th e A shantee governm ent w ere th e superior considerations, and th e ru le in levying trib u te everyw here’ (1819: 320). T r ib u te w as w h e n e v e r p o ssib le d e m a n d e d in g o ld . T h e p o o r p ro v in c e o f S efw i a t o n e p e rio d p a id 4 5 0 oz. a n n u a lly , th e ric h p ro v in c e o f G y a m a n a t a n o th e r a p p a re n tly as m u c h as 18,000 oz. (B o w d ich , 1819: 3 2 1 ; A G C , 1883: 127). T h e E u ro p e a n tra d in g c o m p a n ie s p a id w h a t w as in A s h a n ti eyes a tr ib u te o f 24 oz. fo r e a c h o f th e ir m a jo r e sta b lish m e n ts. A reas w ith o u t re so u rc e s o f g o ld w e re re q u ir e d to p ro d u c e c lo th , liv esto ck , o r slaves (B o w d ich , 1819: 321). I n th e la te r n in e te e n th c e n tu ry D a g o m b a c o n sig n e d to K u m a s i 2,000 slaves a n n u a lly (C a rd in a ll, 1 920: 9), a n d e n g a g e d th e serv ices o f Z a b e rim a h o rs e m e n fro m th e ed g es o f th e S a h a ra to ra id fo r th e m . W ith o u t s u c h a ssista n c e th e th in ly p o p u la te d d iv isio n s o f c e n tra l a n d e a s te rn G o n ja h a d g re a t d ifficu lty in m e e tin g lo w e r d e m a n d s (N o rth c o tt, 1 899: 16). A s h a n ti re q u ir e ­ m e n ts , h o w e v e r, co u ld b e e x tre m e ly a c c o m m o d a tin g , as is a p p a re n t fro m th e A ssin tr ib u te th a t a rriv e d in K u m a s i o n 19 D e c e m b e r, 1819: ‘se v e ra l d o z e n s o f ru m , liq u e u r, c h a m p a g n e , a n d so m e b e a u tifu l silk s tu ffs’ (R a m se y e r a n d K iih n e , 1 875: 107). P o ll-ta x e s w e re le v ie d d ire c tly b y th e c e n tra l g o v e rn m e n t fro m th e s u b je c ts o f th e K u m a s i d iv isio n p r o p e r ,11 a n d also— to ju d g e fro m B o w d ic h ’s re fe re n c e to a re a s ‘ta x e d in d e fin ite ly b y c ro o m s [villages]’ (1 8 1 9 : 321)— fro m a n y p ro v in c e la c k in g a n effectiv e

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re v e n u e -ra is in g m a c h in e ry o f its o w n . A b r ie f r e p o r t o n th e sy ste m as it w as in th e la te n in e te e n th c e n tu r y d e sc rib e s h o w , th r e e m o n th s b e fo re th e a n n u a l o d w ira fe stiv a l, ta x officials fro m th e G y a a se w a v isite d e v e ry v illage. W ith th e a ssista n c e o f th e o d ik ro ( o d ek u ro ), o r v illage h e a d m a n , a b o u t 1/10 o z. o f g o ld w as c o lle c te d fo r e v e ry m a rrie d m a n ( ?fa m ily h e a d ). T h e re v e n u e w as th e n d iv id e d , th re e -s e v e n th s g o in g to th e tre a s u ry , th re e -s e v e n th s to th e o d ik ro , a n d o n e -s e v e n th to th e ta x officials as s tip e n d .12 F r o m tim e to tim e e x tra o rd in a ry ta x e s, s u c h as a n a p e a to w , to m e e t th e e x p e n se s o f w a r, o r a n a y ito w , to m e e t th o s e o f s ta te fu n e ra ls, w e re lev ied. T h e level o f ta x a tio n o n p e rs o n a l e sta te s a t d e a th a p p e a rs likew ise to h a v e b e e n a d ju s ta b le . W h ile a w h o le e sta te w as, te c h n ic a lly , a t th e d isp o sa l o f th e k in g , a n d c o u ld b e ta k e n o v e r b y tre a s u ry officials, in fa c t d e a th d u ty — a y ib u a d ie — w as im p o se d p rin c ip a lly o n assets in g o ld , th e c h a rg e u p o n th e e sta te v a ry in g w ith th e s ta te o f th e tre a s u ry , o n th e o n e h a n d , a n d w ith th e s ta tu s o f th e h e irs, o n th e o th e r. G ifts m a d e in th e a tte m p t to ev ad e d e a th d u ty w e re lia b le to se iz u re . T o lls c o n s titu te d th e f o u r th m a jo r fo rm o f ta x a tio n . B o w d ic h re fe rre d to ‘c u sto m s p a id in g o ld b y all tr a d e r s r e tu r n in g fro m th e c o a st’ (1 8 1 9 : 320), a n d th e r e is e v id e n c e fo r th e e x iste n c e o f a n e tw o rk o f to ll-c o lle c to rs th r o u g h o u t th e e m p ire . T o lls , it w o u ld seem , w e re n o t le v ie d u p o n a m e r c h a n t’s g o o d s, a fo rm o f ta x a tio n c e rta in ly n o t in a c c o rd w ith O sei B o n s u ’s e c o n o m ic p o licies (D u p u is , 1824: 167), b u t u p o n th e u se o f specific se c tio n s o f a ro a d , th e ir p a y m e n t to so m e e x te n t o ffse ttin g g o v e rn m e n t e x p e n d itu re u p o n c o m m u n ic a tio n s .13 T h e G y a a se w a h en e w as also closely in v o lv e d in th e m a n a g e m e n t o f th e p u b lic se c to r o f th e A s h a n ti e c o n o m y , n a m e ly , in s u c h sta te e n te rp ris e s as m in in g , tra d in g , a n d iv o ry co lle c tio n . I s e r t n o te d th e e x iste n c e o f ro y al m in e s, in w h ic h th e k in g e m p lo y e d slaves, each m in e r b e in g e x p e c te d to p ro d u c e 2 oz. o f g o ld d a ily (1 7 8 8 : 241). F o r tw o m o n th s in each y ear, so D u p u is w as in fo rm e d , b e tw e e n 8,000 a n d 10,000 slaves w e re e m p lo y e d in o n e d is tric t in th e n o rth -w e s t o f th e e m p ire , w a sh in g fo r g o ld (1 8 2 4 : Ivii), a n d B o w d ic h lis te d s u c h a c tiv itie s as a m o n g th e p rin c ip a l so u rces o f sta te re v e n u e (1 8 1 9 : 3 1 9 -2 0 ). I n th e c o m m e rc ia l s p h e re th e G y a a se w a h en e w as ‘o v e rse e r o f th e K in g ’s tr a d e ’ a n d ‘a t lib e rty to s e n d th e tra d e w h e re h e p le a se s’ (D a e n d e ls : 9 Ja n . 1817).

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U n fo rtu n a te ly , little is k n o w n o f th e iv o ry in d u s tr y o th e r th a n D u p u is ’ re fe re n c e to ‘h u n te r s o f e le p h a n ts in th e k in g ’s n a m e ’ (1 8 2 4 : cviii). T h e s e sta te e n te rp ris e s w e re a ffo rd ed c o n sid e ra b le p r o te c tio n fro m c o m p e titio n fro m th e p riv a te se c to r. T h o s e p r o d u c in g g o ld o n th e ir o w n a c c o u n t su ffe re d se v e re d isa b ilitie s, fo r all n u g g e ts— th e m o s t lu c ra tiv e fo rm o f r e tu r n — a c c ru e d b y law to th e sta te (H o rto n , 1870: 5 3 ; E llis, 1887: 277). R a ttra y , likew ise, re m a rk e d th a t o n ly official tra d e rs w e re p e rm itte d to c a rry th e ea rly k o la c ro p a n d so to b e n e fit f ro m th e o u t-o f-se a so n re ta il p ric e s (1 9 2 9 : 1 0 9 -1 0 , 187). A g ra p h ic d e s c rip tio n o f s ta te -s p o n s o re d a c tiv itie s b e fo re 1873 is g iv e n b y C asely H a y fo rd : ‘I t w as p a rt o f th e S tate System of A shanti to encourage trade. T h e K ing, once in every forty days, at th e A dai custom , d istrib u ted am ong a n u m b er of chiefs various sum s o f gold d u st w ith a charge to tu rn th e sam e to good account. T h ese chiefs th e n sen t dow n to th e coast cara­ vans of tradesm en, som e o f w hom w ould be th e ir slaves, som etim es som e tw o or three h u n d red strong, to b a rte r ivory for E u ropean goods, or b u y such goods w ith gold dust, w hich th e K in g obtained from the royal alluvial w orkings . . . . T h e trad e C hiefs w ould, in due course, ren d er a faithful account to th e K in g ’s stew ards, being allowed to retain a fair p o rtio n of the profits’ (1903: 95-6). B y th e re ig n o f O sei B o n su b u re a u c ra tic c o n tro l o f th e co m p le x fin an cial affairs o f th e e m p ire w as h ig h ly d e v e lo p e d , a n d th e G y a a se w a h en e w as g e n e ra lly re c o g n iz e d to b e o n e o f th e m o s t p o w e rfu l m e n in th e k in g d o m . C o n tro l w as e x e rc ise d th r o u g h a la rg e sta ff o f le s se r-ra n k e d officials b e lo n g in g to d iffe re n t fe k u o o r d e p a rtm e n ts . T h e G re a t C h e s t itself, w h ic h w as k e p t in th e p alace, w as th e re sp o n s ib ility o f th e S a n a fe k u o , h e a d e d b y th e S a n a h e n e . T h e S a n a sto o l w as a m m a m m a -d w a (IA S /A S .4 1 ). U n d e r th e S a n a h e n e w e re officials c o n c e rn e d w ith th e a c tu a l p a y m e n ts in to , a n d o u t of, th e C h e st, t h e fo tu o s a n fo , c a sh ie rs o r ‘w e ig h e rs’, a n d o th e rs re sp o n sib le fo r th e c o lle c tio n o f tr ib u te s a n d ta x e s, th e to w g y e fo a n d n su m g y e fo (W ilk s, 1 9 6 6 b : 222). T h e o rg a n iz a tio n o f sta te tr a d in g w as th e fu n c tio n o f th e B ata f e k u o , c re a te d o u t o f v a rio u s o ld e r g ro u p s, in c lu d in g h o rn b lo w e rs, a so kw a fo , a n d d ru m m e rs , a k y e r e m a d e fo . I ts h e a d w as th e B atah en e, a p p o in te d b y th e k in g to th e G y aasew a o rg a n iz a tio n , b u t d e ta ils o f th e s tr u c tu r e o f th is fe k u o a re n o t easily re c o v e rab le , th e

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o rg a n iz a tio n h a v in g fa lle n in to d isu se . M o re is k n o w n , h o w e v e r, o f th e n k w a n s r a fo , th e ro a d w a rd e n s, a n o rg a n iz a tio n e sse n tia l to th e p ro te c tio n o f sta te tra d e . P o sts m a n n e d b y th e s e officials o f th e k in g are k n o w n to h av e b e e n e sta b lis h e d a t n u m e ro u s p o in ts o n all th e m a in h ig h w a y s. T h e y e x e rc ise d a g e n e ra l c o n tro l o v e r im m ig ra tio n a n d o v e r th e p a ssa g e o f tra d e rs — w h e th e r p u b lic o r p riv a te — a n d a sp ecific c o n tro l o v e r th e m o v e m e n t o f c e rta in c o m m o d itie s, s u c h as a rm s a n d a m m u n itio n (L o n sd a le , 1882: 7 9 ; G ro s, 1884: 178). E s se n tia l fo r th e efficient m a n a g e m e n t o f fin a n c ia l affairs w as th e d e v e lo p m e n t o f a s a tisfa c to ry re c o rd s sy ste m . U n d e r th e G y a a se w a h en e O p o k u F r e f r e tra d itio n a l m e th o d s o f a c c o u n tin g in c o w ries w e re still in u se , a n d m a n -p o w e r sta tistic s, im p o r ta n t b o th fo r ta x a tio n a n d m ilita ry p u rp o s e s , w e re also ‘a sc e rta in e d o r p re s e rv e d in c o w rie s o r c o in ’ (B o w d ic h , 1 819: 296, 300). T h e k in g ’s d e sire to d ev e lo p a n A ra b ic c h a n c e ry , h o w e v e r, w as r e ­ m a rk e d u p o n (B o w d ic h , 1819: 2 3 2 ; L e e , 1 835: 174). O sei B o n su b r o u g h t in to h is serv ice a n in c re a sin g n u m b e r o f lite ra te M u slim s, in v e ste d w ith a d m in is tra tiv e p o w e rs, a n d also s e n t m e m b e rs o f h is h o u s e h o ld to th e A ra b ic sc h o o l r u n b y th e s h a y k h o f th e K u m a s i M u slim s. B y 1817 O p o k u F re fre h im s e lf e m p lo y e d a M u s lim se c re ta ry , fo rm e rly o f O y o , a n d re c o rd s o f th e d e c isio n s o f th e e x c h e q u e r c o u rt seem to h a v e b e e n k e p t in A ra b ic (W ilk s, 1966a: 3 2 8 -9 ). T h e E m e rg e n t B u r e a u c r a c y : th e P o litic a l S e r v ic e

I t w as, D u p u is w ro te o f O sei B o n su , ‘a m a x im a sso c ia te d w ith th e re lig io n h e p ro fe sse d , n e v e r to a p p e a l to th e sw o rd w h ile a p a th lay o p e n fo r n eg o c ia tio n ’ (1 8 2 4 : 2 2 5 -6 ). T h e c o u rse o f A s h a n ti h is to ry in th e n in e te e n th c e n tu ry — n o t le a st in th e s p h e re o f A n g lo -A sh a n ti re la tio n s— b e a rs w itn e ss to th e le n g th y a n d o fte n c o stly n e g o tia tio n s th a t th e A s h a n ti k in g s fe lt o b lig ed to c o n d u c t b e fo re r e s o rtin g to th e u se o f fo rce. D ire c tio n o f s u c h n e g o tia tio n s w as th e fu n c tio n o f th e p o litic a l serv ice, th e h ig h e r levels o f w h ic h w e re filled m a in ly b y a k y e a m e , sp o k e sm e n o r ‘lin g u is ts ’, a n d th e lo w e r levels b y officials d ra w n fro m su c h g ro u p s as th e a fo n a so a fo , th e sw o rd -b e a re rs . T h e w o rk o f th is serv ice, h o w e v e r, w as n o t c o n c e rn e d so lely w ith a rb itra tio n a n d c o n c ilia tio n . W h e n th e d e p lo y m e n t o f an a rm y b e c a m e n e c e ssa ry , w h e th e r as a n in te rn a l se c u rity fo rc e

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a g a in st re b e llio u s s u b je c ts o r as a d e fe n c e fo rc e a g a in st a n e x te rn a l e n e m y , re s p o n sib ility fo r th e s u b s e q u e n t s e ttle m e n t fell u p o n th e p o litic a l serv ice. T h u s B o w d ic h n o te d : ‘one of th e kin g ’s linguists always accom panies an arm y of any conse­ quence, to w hom all th e politics of w ar are en tru sted , and whose talent and intelligence in negotiating, are expected to m atu re th e fru its of th e m ilitary genius o f the generals, and to re-im b u rse th e expense of the w ar by heavy fines and contributions’ (1819: 298). T h e g ro w th o f th e p o litic a l serv ice fo llo w ed m u c h th e sam e c o u rse as th a t o f o th e r se c tio n s o f th e b u re a u c ra c y . T h e tra d itio n a l h e a d o f th e sp o k e sm e n , th e D o m a k w a ih e n e , o c c u p ie s a m a trilin e a l sto o l, th e o rig in o f w h ic h re a c h e s b a c k to th e ea rly d ay s o f th e k in g d o m (IA S /A S .4 3 ). D u r in g th e re ig n o f O sei K w a d w o th e D o m a k w a ih e n e a p p e a rs to h a v e b e e n fo rc e d in to s e m i-re tire m e n t: re ta in in g h is s ta tu s , h e ceased to p la y a n y v e ry a c tiv e p a r t in th e affairs o f g o v e rn m e n t.14 A n e w lin g u is t w as a p p o in te d b y O sei K w a d w o ‘to r e p r e s e n t th e D o m a k w a ih e n e a t c o u r t’. T h is p o s t b e c a m e k n o w n as th e G y e b i a n d B a n a h e n e sto o l: it is m m a m m a ­ d w a . I ts se c o n d o c c u p a n t, O w u su B a n a h e n e , w as k ille d a t K a ta m a n so in 1826 (IA S /A S .4 6 ). S e n io r to th e G y e b i a n d B a n a h e n e sto o l, h o w ev er, w e re th o s e o c c u p ie d a t th e tim e o f B o w d ic h b y A d u s e i K y a k y a , A gyei, K w e si K a n k a m , a n d O ti P a n y in , d e s c rib e d as first, se c o n d , th ir d , a n d f o u r th lin g u ists re sp e c tiv e ly . A ll b e lo n g e d to th e n e w a d m in is tra tiv e class. K a n k a m (d . 1826) w as s e c o n d o c c u p a n t o f th e A k a n k a d e sto o l in su c c e ssio n to h is fa th e r, A d u T w u m . T h e p o s t h a s sin c e b e e n h e ld , w ith o n e e x c e p tio n , b y m ale d e s c e n d a n ts o f A d u T w u m (IA S /A S .7 5 ). O ti P a n y in , sim ila rly , w as s e c o n d o c c u p a n t o f th e B oakye Y a m sto o l, in su c c e ssio n to h is fa th e r B oakye Y am , w h o , in 1814, h a d ‘a c c o m p a n ie d th e a rm y o f A b in io w a in h is p o litic a l c a p a c ity , d y in g a t A k ro fro o m in A q u a p im , d u r in g th e c a m p a ig n ’ (B o w d ich , 1819: 289). T h is office, c re a te d b y O sei K w a m e , is v e ste d in th e m a le d e sc e n d a n ts o f B oakye Y a m (IA S /A S .7 3 ; W ilk s, 1 9 6 6 b : 224). W h ile b o th K w e si K a n k a m a n d O ti P a n y in w e re fro m K u m a si, A d u se i K y a k y a a n d A g y ei w e re p ro v in c ia ls, th e fo rm e r a D e n k y ira fro m th e so u th -w e s t, th e la tte r a n A k w a m u fro m th e so u th -e a s t. A d u se i, as firs t lin g u ist, a p p e a rs se ld o m to h a v e le ft th e c a p ita l, w h e re h e w as re sp o n sib le fo r th e c o n d u c t o f p o litic a l cases tr a n s ­ fe r r e d th e r e : ‘w h e n a n y p a la v e r co m e s h e se ttle s it a t o n c e ; b u t

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i f h e is n o t th e re , th e y h a v e to go to c o u n c il’ (B o w d ic h , 1 819: 3 9 3 ). A gyei, b y c o n tra s t, se rv e d as a tra v e llin g c o m m issio n e r; ‘h e is,’ B o w d ic h n o te d , ‘alw ays e m p lo y e d in d ifficu lt fo re ig n p a la v e rs’ (1 8 1 9 : 249). T h e c o u rse o f A g y e i’s c a re e r, w h ic h is k n o w n in so m e d e ta il (B o w d ic h , 1 8 19 : 2 4 8 - 9 ; L e e , 1835, C h . v ), d e m o n s tra te s th e o p e n c h a ra c te r o f th e b u re a u c ra c y in th e ea rly n in e te e n th c e n tu ry . B e g in n in g life as a sa lt c a rrie r o n th e V o lta b e tw e e n A k w a m u a n d K e te K ra k y e , h e w as la te r ta k e n in to th e se rv ic e o f A k o to , th e A k w a m u h e n e . W h e n c h a rg e s w e re b r o u g h t a g a in st A k o to n e c e s­ s ita tin g h is a p p e a ra n c e b e fo re th e k in g in K u m a s i, A g y ei a c c o m ­ p a n ie d h im th e re . In te r v e n in g in th e p ro c e e d in g s, A g y ei m a d e a th r e e h o u rs d e fe n c e o f th e A k w a m u h e n e , a n d se c u re d h is a c q u it­ ta l. O se i B o n su , im p re sse d w ith A g y e i’s fo re n sic sk ill, re ta in e d h im as a p a la c e s e rv a n t, a n d , a fte r a p e rio d in w h ic h A g y ei f u r th e r p ro v e d h is w o rth , a p p o in te d h im a j u n io r lin g u is t a n d g r a n te d h im a h o u se , w iv es, slaves, a n d g o ld . H is r e p u ta tio n e sta b lis h e d as h a v in g ‘th e b e s t h e a d fo r h a r d p a la v e rs’, h e w as s u b s e q u e n tly a d v a n c e d to th e p o s t o f se c o n d lin g u ist, a n d g ra n te d f u r th e r p ro p e r ty to s u p p o r t th e d ig n ity o f h is office. T h u s A g y ei, ‘continued to advance by his splendid talents, and his firm ness in th e cause of tru th , till he was raised to be th e linguist for all foreign palavers, th e highest office he could hold w hich was n o t h ered itary ’ (L ee, 1835: 168). A re s u lt o f th e ra p id rise o f in d iv id u a ls fro m p o sitio n s o f o b s c u rity to h ig h office w ith in th e b u re a u c ra c y w as th e k in g ’s p a rtic u la r c o n c e rn fo r th e p u b lic im a g e p ro je c te d b y h is s e rv a n ts: ‘W hen th e K in g sends an am bassador, he enriches th e sp len d o u r of his suite and attire as m uch as possible; som etim es provides it entirely; b u t it is all su rren d ered on the re tu rn . . . and form s a so rt of public w ardrobe’ (Bow dich, 1819: 294). T h e h e a d o f th is se rv ic e w as th e A b a n a s e h e n e ; th e sto o l, an a p p o in tiv e one, w as firs t in v e s te d w ith re s p o n s ib ility fo r th e sta te w a rd ro b e b y O sei B o n su (IA S /A S .9 6 ). T h e im p o rta n c e w h ic h th e k in g in g e n e ra l a tta c h e d to h is p o litic a l serv ice is sh o w n in th e scale o f th e m issio n th a t a rriv e d a t C a p e C o a st ea rly in 1820 to in q u ire in to tre a so n a b le ac tiv itie s th e re . T h e m issio n ‘e n te re d th e p la c e w ith a d e g re e o f m ilita ry

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s p le n d o u r u n k n o w n th e re sin ce th e c o n q u e st o f F a n te e b y th e k in g ’ I ts le a d e r, O w u su D o m e , w h o se p re c ise office is n o t k n o w n , ‘h a d b e e n d ig n ifie d b y h is so v e re ig n , w ith a co m m issio n th a t q u a lifie d h im to d e c id e fo r p e a c e o r w a r u p o n th e s p o t, a n d to a c t a c c o rd in g ly ’. H e w as a c c o m p a n ie d b y sev eral lesser c a p ta in s, b y m e sse n g e rs th r o u g h w h o m h e m a in ta in e d c o n ta c t w ith th e k in g , a n d b y tw o M u s lim r a p p o rte u rs fro m th e K u m a s i c h a n c e ry . O f th e re m a in d e r o f h is su ite o f 1,200 m e n , 500 w e re so ld ie rs a n d th e re s t b e a re rs a n d se rv a n ts. B efo re th e to w n ch iefs, ‘d ra w n u p to receiv e th e ir u n w e lc o m e v isito rs’, O w u su D o m e o p e n e d tr a n s ­ a c tio n s b y d e m a n d in g th e p a y m e n t o f a fin e o f 1,600 oz. o f g o ld b y th e to w n sp e o p le , a n d th e sa m e b y th e E n g lis h m e rc h a n ts th e r e ( H u tto n , 1821: 1 2 8 -9 ; 3 2 4 ; D u p u is , 1824, in tro d u c tio n ). T h e E m e rg e n t B u r e a u c r a c y : P r o v in c ia l A d m in is tr a tio n

T h e A sh a n ti sy ste m o f g o v e rn m e n t o f its c o n q u e re d te rrito rie s a n d p ro te c to ra te s w as b asically o n e o f in d ire c t ru le . ‘I t was no p a rt o f A shantee policy’ [observed C ruickshank] ‘to alter th e governm ent o f th e conquered country. T h e chiefs o f th e different trib es rem ained in possession o f w hat pow er th e co nqueror th o u g h t fit to leave them , w ith th e style and rank o f a captain o f th e k in g ; an d in th a t capacity they acted as so m any lieutenants, governing th e co u n try in th e king’s nam e, a t th e allegiance an d service o f th e ir ow n vassals and slaves’ (1853: I : 340). E a c h s u b je c t ru le r, h o w e v e r, w as ‘p la c e d u n d e r th e im m e d ia te c are o f so m e A sh a n te e c h ie f, g e n e ra lly re s id e n t in th e c a p ita l’ (B o w ­ d ic h , 1 819: 235), a n d th e K u m a s i official se rv e d as h is a d a m fo o r p a tr o n a t c o u r t.15 B o w d ic h in sta n c e s K w a k y e K o fi, A k w a m u ­ h e n e o f K u m a s i, as a d a m fo to th e D a n k y ira h e n e ; A d u m A tta , A d u m h e n e , to th e N s u ta h e n e (th e N s u ta n e a r T a k y im a n ); O p o k u , G y a a se w a h en e , to th e A k w a h u m e n e ; a n d O w u su K w a n ta b isa , A d o n te n h e n e , to th e W a sip e w u ra o f D a b o y a (1 8 1 9 : 235). A s a r e s u lt o f th e c h a n g e s in g o v e rn m e n t b r o u g h t a b o u t b y O sei K w a d w o a n d h is su c c e sso rs, th is sy ste m o f c lie n ta g e w as re v o lu tio n iz e d b y th e s u p e rim p o s itio n o f a n e w s tr u c tu r e o f p ro v in c ia l a d m in is tra tio n : ‘th e king w as n o t content to leave th e governm ent entirely in th e h an d s o f th e native chiefs, w ho m ig h t possibly in th e course o f tim e rally th e p ro strate energies o f the country, and com bine to th ro w off his yoke.

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In consequence o f th is suspicion, w hich ever h au n ts th e m inds o f u su r­ pers, h e appointed pro-consuls o f the A shantee race, m en o f tru s t and confidence, to reside w ith th e fallen chiefs, to notify to th em th e royal w ill, to exercise a general superintenden ce over them , and especially to g uard against and to spy o u t any conspiracies th a t m ig h t b e form ed to recover th eir independence’ (C ruickshank, 1853: I : 340-1). A n e tw o rk o f A s h a n ti re s id e n t c o m m issio n e rs, h ie ra rc h ic a lly o rg a n iz e d a t re g io n a l a n d d is tric t levels, w as th u s c re a te d th r o u g h ­ o u t th e p ro v in c e s. I ts s tr u c tu r e , w h ic h c a n b e e sta b lis h e d in so m e d e ta il fo r m a n y areas, m a y b e illu s tra te d fro m th e s o u th -e a s te rn p ro v in c e s. T a n d o h w as A s h a n ti c o m m issio n e r re sp o n sib le fo r th e affairs o f th e la rg e a n d im p o r ta n t tr ib u ta r y o f A k y e m A b u a k w a , h is ra n k s u c h th a t h e m o v e d a b o u t ‘in great pom p, never going th e sh o rtest distance, b u t in his taffeta ham m ock, covered w ith a gorgeous um brella, an d su rro u n d ed by flatterers, w ho even w iped th e gro u n d before h e tro d on it’ (Bowdich, 1819: 123). I n 1812 M e re d ith , g o v e rn o r o f th e E n g lis h p o s t a t W in n e b a , re m a rk e d h o w A tta , th e n a tu ra l r u le r o f A k y e m A b u a k w a , g o v e rn e d ‘in conjunction w ith T a n d o . . . and was trib u tary to th e king of A shantee. H e refused obedience to th e k ing’s order, by n o t going [to war] against the F antees: w hich produced a d ispute betw een him self and T a n d o , w ho drove him o u t of A kim ; and being jo in ed by a n u m b er of people hostile to th e A shantee governm ent, he becam e a respectable, and unsettled, and desperate w arrio r’ (M ered ith , 1812: 168-9). A s a re s u lt o f th e re v o lt, h o w e v e r, T a n d o h w as re tire d fro m h is p o s t (a n d en jo y e d ‘a lo n g in te rv a l o f th e m o s t lu x u rio u s life th e c a p ita l c o u ld a ffo rd ’), fo r, ‘though A ttah was adjudged to be in fault, after th e palaver was talked at Coomassie, th e A shantee governm ent th o u g h t it politic to displace T an d o h , th o u g h he had becom e disagreeable to th e other, only for his vigilance and fidelity’ (B ow dich; 1819: 123). B e lo n g in g to lo w er ra n k s o f th e a d m in is tra tio n th a n T a n d o h w ere th e c o m m issio n e rs a t d is tric t level, fo r e x a m p le th e th r e e re sid e n ts in A ccra. E a c h w as re s p o n s ib le fo r o n e o f th e E u ro p e a n tra d in g fo rts — D a n is h , D u tc h , a n d E n g lis h — a n d fo r th e a sso c ia te d G a

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w a rd s. B o w d ic h n o te d th a t th e first a p p o in tm e n ts to s u c h p o sts w e re m a d e b y O sei K w a d w o : ‘it was a law o f Sai C udjo . . . w hich gran ted to particu lar captains th e honourable p a te n t of receiving th e pay of sm all forts, distinctly, each being responsible for his separate duties to his settlem en t’ (1819: 83). I n fact, a t le a st in th e case o f A c c ra , th e se a p p o in tm e n ts w ere m a d e a t th e e n d o f h is re ig n ; in N o v e m b e r 1776 th r e e A sh a n ti officials, w ith re tin u e s , a rriv e d th e re to tak e u p th e ir n e w d u tie s, B oakye b e in g p o s te d to th e D u tc h q u a rte rs , A n k ra to th e E n g lish , a n d N k a n sa to th e D a n is h (E lm in a J o u r n a l: 13 N o v e m b e r 1776). T h e s e A c c ra officials a p p e a r to h a v e b e e n d ire c tly re sp o n sib le to a m o re se n io r c o m m issio n e r— a ‘v ic e ro y o f th e K in g o f A s h a n ­ te e ’ as R o b e rts o n d e sc rib e d h im — sta tio n e d in A k w a p im so m e tw e n ty m ile s to th e n o r th (1 8 1 9 : 2 2 1 -2 ), w h e re , as ea rly as 1788, B iø r n n o te d th a t ‘th e K in g o f A s h a n ti re ta in s a h ig h lie u te n a n t . . . fo r h is s u b je c ts ’ p r o te c tio n fro m in s u lt’ (1 7 8 8 : 204). T h e v a rio u s a rm s o f th e A s h a n ti b u re a u c ra c y , th r e e o f w h ic h h a v e b e e n d e sc rib e d , fu n c tio n e d in close in te rd e p e n d e n c e . T h u s , a re s id e n t c o m m issio n e r w as re sp o n sib le (in te r a lia ) fo r e n s u rin g th a t trib u te s , fix ed in th e G y a a se w a h e n e ’s e x c h e q u e r c o u rt in K u m a si, w ere ra ise d locally. T h e S a n a h e n e ’s ta x co lle c to rs co n v e y e d th e m to th e c a p ita l. I n th e e v e n t o f a p ro v in c e ’s re fu sa l, r a th e r th a n in a b ility , to p a y tr ib u te , a re s id e n t m ig h t r e q u e s t th e in te rv e n tio n o f a n official o f th e p o litic a l serv ice, w h o c o u ld , if n e c e ssa ry , tra n s fe r th e m a tte r to th e e x c h e q u e r c o u rt, b e fo re w h ic h th e m a lc o n te n ts w o u ld b e r e q u ire d to p le a d .16 T h e u ltim a te s a n c tio n o f fo rc e , alw ays av ailab le to th e k in g , w as re s o rte d to o n ly fo llo w in g a c o m p le te co llap se in th e m a c h in e ry o f n e g o tia tio n a n d c o n c ilia tio n . T h e A c c u m u la tio n o f P o w e r

T h e p iv o t o f g o v e rn m e n t in A s h a n ti w as th e office o f k in g , w h ic h w as v e ste d in a sin g le s e g m e n t o f th e O y o k o m a tric la n , th e r ig h t o f w h ic h to s u p p ly ru le rs w as n e v e r c h a lle n g e d . I ts le g itim a c y w as b ro a d ly a c c e p te d b y all classes o f A s h a n ti so ciety . A n e w k in g w as se le c te d , fro m a m o n g th o s e g en ealo g ically q u alified , fo r h is m o ra l a n d p h y sic a l q u a litie s. S e le c tio n o f a su c c e sso r w as m a d e b y th e Q u e e n M o th e r in c o n s u lta tio n w ith v a rio u s a d v ise rs. T h e r e w as a cle a rly e sta b lish e d p re fe re n c e fo r th e y o u n g e r c a n d i-

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d a te , a n d th e av erag e le n g th o f re ig n te n d e d to b e h ig h — fo r th e n in e te e n th c e n tu ry , a b o u t n in e te e n y e a rs .17 T h e sy ste m o f s u c ­ cessio n w as id e a lly d e te rm in e d b y a m o th e r - d a u g h te r se q u e n c e o f n h e m m a a , ‘q u e e n m o th e r s ’ (see F ig . 8), th o u g h in fa c t, th e fa ilu re

Fig. 8. T h e system of succession in Ashanti o f a n y so n o f q u e e n m o th e r A fu a S a p o n to b e c o m e k in g le d , in 1884 a n d 1888, to c o n te sts b e tw e e n d a u g h te r ’s so n s a n d d a u g h ­ t e r ’s d a u g h te r ’s so n s, re so lv e d o n b o th o ccasio n s in fa v o u r o f th e la tte r. T h e g e n ealo g y illu s tra te s th e e x tre m e c o m p a c tn e ss o f th e d y n a stic fam ily . U n su c c e s s fu l c o n te n d e rs fa d e d in to o b sc u rity , o fte n leav in g th e c a p ita l fo r re m o te b u s h fa rm s ; in e a rlie r

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tim e s th e y m a y h a v e b e e n e lim in a te d b y d e a th o r b a n is h m e n t.18 T h is a b se n c e o f d is tin c t fo ci o f d y n a stic co n flict d id m u c h to fa c ilita te th e c o n c e n tra tio n o f p o w e r in th e h a n d s o f th e k in g , re m a rk e d u p o n b y m o s t n in e te e n th -c e n tu ry o b se rv e rs (e.g. D u p u is , 1824: x x v i; G ro s, 1884: 188). T h e p o w e r o f th e k in g w as g re a tly in c re a se d b y th e e m e rg e n c e o f th e n e w b u re a u c ra c y , fo r th is m a rk e d a tra n s itio n fro m a ru lin g to a c o n tro lle d a d m in is tra tio n . U n lik e th e o ld e r a risto c ra c y , th e ro o ts o f w h ic h la y b a c k in p re -A s h a n ti tim e s , th e b u re a u c ra c y w as to ta lly s u b s e r v ie n t to th e k in g . ‘W e are w illing to prove to your M ajesty’ [declared th e G yaase­ w ahene] ‘o u r devotion to y o u r person by receiving y o u r foot on o u r necks, an d taking th e sacred oath th a t w e will p erform all y o u r com ­ m ands. O u r gold, o u r slaves and o u r lives are yours, and are ready to be delivered u p at y o u r com m and’ (Bow dich, 1820). T h e c a re fu l c o n tro l e x e rc ise d o v e r th e b u re a u c ra c y is e x e m p li­ fied in th e case o f T a n d o h in 1816. I n th a t y e a r T a n d o h , th e fo rm e r re s id e n t c o m m issio n e r fo r A k y e m A b u a k w a , h a d b e e n s e n t b y th e k in g to W a ssa w to effect th e tr a n s f e r to K u m a s i o f a n u m b e r o f p ris o n e rs o f w a r. T a n d o h , h a v in g fu lfilled h is c o m m issio n , w e n t o n to n e g o tia te th e s e ttle m e n t o f sev eral d is p u te s o u ts ta n d in g b e tw e e n th e k in g a n d th e W assaw s. O n h is r e tu r n to K u m a si, T a n d o h ’s s e ttle m e n t w as im m e d ia te ly re p u d ia te d b y th e k in g , n o t b e c a u se o f its te rm s , b u t b e c a u se ‘n o m a n m u s t d a re to d o g o o d o u t o f h is o w n h e a d ’, a n d T a n d o h h im s e lf w as re m o v e d fro m office (B o w d ich , 1819: 123; H u y d e c o p e r, p a s s im ). S u c h u ltr a v ire s a c tio n b y a n official c o n s titu te d a u s u r p a tio n o f p o litic a l a u th o rity . L e ft u n c h e c k e d , a c o n tro lle d b u re a u c ra c y w o u ld b y s u c h m e a n s tra n s fo rm itse lf, h o w e v e r g ra d u a lly , in to a r u lin g o n e . M a n y a p p a re n tly triv ia l cases o f p e c u la tio n — a ta x c o lle c to r d e m a n d in g , a n d re ta in in g , a n u n a u th o riz e d c h a rg e ; a s ta te tr a d e r ta k in g c o m m issio n s o n h is o w n a c c o u n t— w e re also c o n s tru e d as u ltr a vire s a c tio n s o n th e p a r t o f th e officials in q u e stio n , a n d w e re sev erely d e a lt w ith . T h e p rin c ip le o f ‘th e im p o te n c e o f th e ro y a l m e sse n g e rs in sta te affairs’ w as o f c a rd in a l im p o rta n c e in th e A s h a n ti c o n c e p tio n o f g o v e rn m e n t. I n so fa r as th e b u re a u c ra c y w as a d e p e n d e n t o n e, a n in s tr u m e n t o f th e k in g ’s w ill, it w as in th e n in e te e n th c e n tu r y A sh a n ti view a n a c c e p ta b le o n e , sin c e ‘th e d e c re e s o f a

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m o n a rc h h a v e n a tu ra lly m o re fo rce w ith th e p e o p le , (o v er w h o m h is p o w e r is u n lim ite d ) ’. I n so fa r as it te n d e d to u s u r p p o litic a l fu n c tio n s , it w as ‘je a lo u sly w a tc h e d b y th e o th e r p a rts o f th e G o v e rn m e n t’ (B o w d ich , 1819: 134, 253). A s a ch eck u p o n su c h d a n g e ro u s te n d e n c ie s, th e k in g m a in ta in e d a n e la b o ra te o rg a n i­ z a tio n o f in fo rm a n ts, o fte n r e c ru ite d fro m th e n se n iefo o r h e ra ld s a n d a tta c h e d to th e v a rio u s d iv isio n s o f th e b u re a u c ra c y . ‘T h e K in g ’s sy ste m o f e sp io n a g e ,’ re m a rk e d B o w d ic h , ‘is m u c h sp o k e n o f (fo r its a d d re ss a n d in fa llib ility )’ (1 8 1 9 : 294). W h ile th e A sh a n ti k in g e x e rc ise d th e clo sest c o n tro l o v e r th e civ il a d m in is tra tio n , h is c o m m a n d o f th e m ilita ry re so u rc e s o f th e sta te w as less a b so lu te . T h e amanhene o f th e am anto ɔ , o f c o u rse , c o n tin u e d to m a in ta in th e ir o w n a rm ie s. E v e n th e K u m a s i fo rces, h o w ev er, w e re in th e n a tu r e o f th e case n o t s u sc e p tib le to to ta l c e n tra l d ire c tio n . T h e u n its o f m ilita ry o rg a n iz a tio n w ere s u c h asafo as th e adonten o r c e n tre , th e nifa o r r ig h t w in g , a n d th e benkum o r le ft w in g , a n d e a c h u n it w as h e a d e d b y a n ɔ sajohene re sp o n sib le fo r th e m o b iliz a tio n , w h e n re q u ir e d , o f all a b le b o d ie d m e n in h is d iv isio n . T h e office o f s e n io r c o m m a n d e r, K ro n tih e n e (K o n tih e n e ), w as th e p re ro g a tiv e o f th e c h ie f o f th e B a n ta m a w a rd o f K u m a si, a n d th a t o f d e p u ty c o m m a n d e r, A k w a­ m u h e n e , th a t o f th e c h ie f o f th e A safo w a rd . W h e th e r h o ld in g o ld sto o ls, s u c h as th e K ro n tih e n e , re fo rm e d sto o ls, s u c h as th e A k w a m u h e n e , o r n e w sto o ls, s u c h as th e A n k o b ia h e n e ,19 th e se d iv isio n a l c h iefs jo in tly c o n s titu te d a p o litical e sta te c a p a b le o f a c o n sid e ra b le d e g re e o f in d e p e n d e n t a c tio n . T h u s , as B o w d ich n o te d , w h ile ‘they w atch rath er th an share th e dom estic ad m in istratio n , generally in ­ fluencing it by th e ir opinion, never appearin g to control it from au th o ­ rity ’, th is w as ‘in direct contrast to th e ir bold declarations on subjects o f w ar or trib u te, w hich am ount to in ju n ctio n ’ (Bow dich, 1819: 252). T h e c o n s titu tio n a l r ig h t o f s u c h d iv isio n a l c h iefs to in te rv e n e in th e s e m a tte rs w as ju s tifie d o n th e g ro u n d s th a t : ‘it m akes th e nation m ore form idable to its enem ies, w ho feel th ey can­ n o t provoke w ith im punity, w here th ere are so m any guardians of the m ilitary glory’ (Bow dich, 1819: 252).

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A ro u n d 1800 th e c e n tra liz in g p o licies o f O sei K w a m e b r o u g h t h im in to s h a rp co n flict w ith h is d iv isio n a l c h iefs in K u m a si. H a v in g a b o lish e d a n u m b e r o f tra d itio n a l p o litic o -re lig io u s fe s ti­ v a ls o f a p a rtic u la rly s a n g u in a ry n a tu re , h e w as th o u g h t to b e c o n te m p la tin g ra d ic a l c h a n g e s in c u s to m a ry law b y th e in tr o d u c ­ tio n o f e le m e n ts o f Isla m ic law (W ilk s, 1 9 6 6 a: 3 3 4 -5 ). ‘T h e se and o th er innovations’ [com m ented D upuis] ‘w ere o f a te n ­ dency to alarm the great captains ; they feared, it is said, th a t th e M oslem religion, w hich they w ell know levels all ranks and orders of m en, and places th em at the arbitrary discretion of th e sovereign, m ight be in tro ­ duced, w hereby they w ould lose th a t ascendancy th ey now enjoy’ (1824: 245). T h e crisis e n d e d w ith th e d e th ro n e m e n t o f O sei K w a m e . L a te r n in e te e n th - c e n tu r y k in g s, w ith th e d o w n fa ll o f O sei K w a m e in m in d , e m b a rk e d u p o n a p ro g ra m m e o f m ilita ry re -o rg a n iz a tio n , c re a tin g n e w fo rm a tio n s, d ire c tly d e p e n d e n t u p o n ro y al p a tro n a g e , as a c o u n te rb a la n c e to th e a s a fo . B y 1817 O sei B o n su a lre a d y p o sse sse d h is o w n h o u s e h o ld tro o p , ‘a g u a rd o f fo re ig n e rs (n ativ es o f C o ra n s a h )’, re c ru ite d , so it w o u ld seem , f ro m th e M u s lim M a li­ n k e o f th a t a rea, w h o w e re re g a rd e d b y th e A sh a n tis as ‘th e b e s t cav alry tro o p s . . . in a n y p a r t o f S a re m ’ (B o w d ic h , 1821a: 5 2 ; D u p u is , 1824: 124, x x xvii). H a lf a c e n tu ry la te r M e n s a B o n su (1 8 7 4 -8 3 ) p o sse sse d a corps d 'é lite o f H a u s a tro o p s , a n d to e x p a n d i t f u r th e r o ffe re d d o u b le ra te s o f p a y to tr a in e d so ld ie rs to d e s e rt th e B ritis h G o ld C o a st C o n s ta b u la ry fo r h is serv ice. B y 1880 h is c o n sid e ra b le su ccess in e n listin g re c ru its , in p u rc h a s in g larg e n u m b e r s o f b re e c h -lo a d in g rifles fro m th e F r e n c h , a n d in se c u rin g th e serv ices o f tr a in e d a rm o u re rs le d h im to p la n th e c o m p le te re fo rm o f th e K u m a s i fig h tin g fo rces, a n d p e rs o n n e l fro m ‘th e A s h a n ti c o rp s o f H o u s s a s ’ w e re a tta c h e d to th e m o re c o n se rv a tiv e a sa fo as m u s k e try in s tr u c to r s (E llis, 1 883: 1 8 0 -9 1 , 215). S e v e ra l n in e te e n th - c e n tu r y w rite rs n o te d th a t th e A s h a n ti k in g le g isla te d in c o u n c il. R o b e rts o n r e fe rre d to a ‘s e n a te ’, B o w ­ d ic h to a ‘p riv y c o u n c il’, D u p u is to a ‘c a b in e t’, a n d R a m se y e r a n d K ü h n e to a ‘K o to k o c o u n c il’. W h ile it w o u ld se e m lik ely t h a t in th e e ig h te e n th c e n tu ry th is c o u n c il h a d b e e n a p e r m a n e n t b o d y o f fix ed m e m b e rs h ip , c o n s titu tio n a lly lim itin g th e k in g ’s p o w e r, b y th e n in e te e n th c e n tu r y th is w as n o lo n g e r th e case (B o w d ic h , 1819: 233). A n a ly sis o f th e c o m p o sitio n o f a n u m b e r o f n in e te e n th -

Q

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c e n tu r y c o u n c ils re v e a ls th e ir a d h o c c o n s titu tio n : th e k in g in v ite d th e p a rtic ip a tio n o f th o s e w h o se ad v ice h e v a lu e d a n d w h o se s u p p o r t h e w a n te d . T h u s , w h e n m a tte rs c o n c e rn in g th e M u s lim s o f th e e m p ire w e re u n d e r rev iew , th e K u m a s i s h a y k h s w e re g iv e n ‘a v o ice in th e s e n a te ’, a n d th e I m a m d e c la re d h im s e lf ‘a m e m b e r o f th e k in g ’s c o u n c il in affairs re la tin g to th e b e lie v e rs o f S a re m a n d D a g o m b a ’ (D u p u is , 1824: 95, 97). A c o u n c il o f 23 M a r c h 1820, called to c o n sid e r th e te rm s o f th e p ro p o s e d A n g lo -A sh a n ti c o m m e rc ia l tre a ty , in c lu d e d s u c h in te re s te d p a rtie s a s th e G y a a se ­ w a h e n e a n d th e first a n d th ir d sp o k e sm a n ; tw o c h ie fs o f A s h a n ti to w n s o n th e m a in C a p e C o a st h ig h w a y , th e A m o a fo h e n e a n d th e D o m p o a se h e n e , a n d th e re s id e n t c o m m issio n e r fo r th e m o re s o u th e rly A ssin p ro v in c e ; a n d a so n o f O sei K w a m e w h o h a d b e e n b r o u g h t u p as a w a rd o f th e E n g lis h in C a p e C o a st, as w ell as th e tw o se n io r K u m a s i d iv isio n a l ch iefs, th e K r o n tih e n e a n d th e A k w a m u h e n e , a n d th e h e a d o f th e sta te e x e c u tio n e rs, th e A d u m ­ h e n e (D u p u is , 1824; 166). A c o u n c il o f 17 F e b r u a r y 1872, c o n ­ c e rn e d w ith th e b u r n in g n a tio n a l issu e o f E n g lis h e n c ro a c h m e n t o n A s h a n ti’s s o u th e r n p o ssessio n s, w a s c o rre s p o n d in g ly m o re b ro a d ly b a se d . I t in c lu d e d th e q u e e n m o th e r ; th e G y a a se w a h en e a n d tw o lin g u is ts ; th e K u m a s i a sa fo c h ie fs; tw o a m a n h e n e in p e rs o n , th e M a m p o n h e n e a n d th e A d a n se h e n e , a n d re p re s e n ­ ta tiv e s o f th o s e o f J u a b e n , N s u ta , a n d B ek w ai (R a m se y e r a n d K ü h n e , 1 8 7 5 :1 5 7 -6 0 ). I t is th u s c le a r th a t w h a te v e r o ld p a tte r n s o f c o u n c il m e m b e rs h ip h a d b e e n d e s tro y e d in th e c o u rse o f th e K w a d w o a n re v o lu tio n in g o v e rn m e n t, th e y h a d n o t b e e n re p la c e d b y n e w s e t p a tte rn s , a n d to th is e x te n t th e k in g ’s p re ro g a tiv e h a d in d e e d b e e n e n la rg e d . A p p lic a tio n s o f P o w e r

I n A s h a n ti th e c o m p a c tn e ss o f th e d y n a stic fa m ily fa v o u re d p o litic a l sta b ility . A c h a n g e o f r u le r, w h e th e r n e c e ssita te d b y d e a th o r d e sto o lm e n t, c o u ld b e a c c o m p lish e d w ith th e m in im u m d islo c a tio n o f g o v e rn m e n t. T h e e le m e n t o f c h o ic e in th e e le c tio n o f k in g s, w ith p re m iu m s s e t u p o n c h a ra c te r a n d y o u th , p e r m itte d th e e m e rg e n c e o f g ifte d a n d e n e rg e tic le a d e rsh ip . T h e rise o f a c o n tro lle d b u re a u c ra c y , th e e c lip se o f th e o ld e r tra d itio n a l a u th o ritie s , th e g ro w th o f e la b o ra te o rg a n iz a tio n s o f h o u se h o ld tro o p s (a n d p ala c e e u n u c h s )— all w e re in d ic a tiv e o f th e a c c u m u la ­ tio n o f u n c h e c k e d p o w e r w ith in th e ru lin g d y n a sty .

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T h e increasingly au th o ritaria n character o f A shanti kingship was m irro re d in th e increasingly absolutist n atu re o f th e A shanti state. T h e king, ‘one o f th e b u siest m en th a t one could see’, so B onnat n o ted , ex ten d ed his ad m inistration over m atters ‘of w ar, o f religion, o f com m erce, o f agriculture, o f w eights and m easures, o f prices an d tariffs o f all kinds, and finally of th e exer­ cise of ju stice, w hich is n o t th e least of his responsibilities’ (B on­ n at, 1875). W h a t was significant, how ever, was n o t so m u ch the range as th e scale o f th e m anagerial fu nctions assum ed by th e state. In 1820 Osei B onsu p roposed to D u p u is a solution to th e problem o f th e C ape C oast people, considered th e cause o f m u ch o f th e frictio n betw een A sh an ti and th e E n g lish at th a t tow n. ‘I will’ [offered the king] ‘bring them all to Coomassy and send another tribe to live among the whites ; I will not kill them , but will give them land, and a good governor to make them obedient’ (Dupuis, 1824: lxiv). S u ch a rem edy, to m ove inland p erh ap s five th o u san d people, was well w ith in th e com petence o f th e king, fo r th e re existed an established m ach in ery fo r th e resettlem en t o n K um asi lands o f prisoners o f w ar, o f slaves arriv in g as trib u te , and o f free im m igrant groups. I t was a fe atu re o f state policy to increase by th is m eans th e po p u latio n o f th e m etro p o litan area, th ereb y achieving a favourable balance in m an -p o w er v is - à - v is th e provinces and a m a n to ɔ . S u ch new settlem en ts w ere often g ran ted to K um asi officials for th e su p p o rt of th e ir offices. Bow dich, for exam ple, referred to slaves selected ‘to create plantations in the more remote and stubborn tracts; from which their labour was first to produce a proportionate supply to the household of their Chief and afterwards an existence for themselves’ (1821b: 18). A n u p p e r lim it to th e intake o f stran g er groups, w h eth er free or slave, was set b y th e A sh an ti insistence u p o n abso rp tio n and assim ilation. A d o p tio n o f A shanti ethical stan d ard s and cultural values was n o t only p erm itte d b u t enjoined. C om m unities of slave origin becam e m erged, w ith in a generation or tw o, w ith the free A shanti com m oners, and th e ir new statu s was given full p ro tec tio n in A shanti law (B ow dich, 1821b: 16-17). O b i n k y e r e obi ase — one does n o t disclose th e origins o f an o th er— was

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d escrib ed b y R attray as ‘a legal m axim o f trem en d o u s im p o rt in A sh an ti’ (1929: 40, 82), an d R ein d o rf w rote o f an A shanti ‘national law ’, th a t: ‘W hoever dares tell his son: these people were from such and such a place, conquered and translocated to this or that town, was sure to pay for it with his life. N either were such people themselves allowed to say where they had been transported from. Considering these captives as real citizens, any rank or honour was conferred freely on them according to m erit, b u t not otherwise’ (1895: 51). By m eans o f th e re settle m e n t p ro gram m e, th e organizational resources o f th e state w ere deployed to p ro m o te a rap id and p lan ­ n ed g ro w th in th e m etro p o litan p o pulation. By th e application o f th e relevant legal sanctions, th e em ergence o f a class o f u n a s­ sim ilated an d u n d erp riv ileg ed subjects w as largely averted. I n com parable ways th e g ro w th o f a native A sh an ti m erc h an t class was in h ib ited , for it w as feared th at, ‘either from the m erchants increasing to a body too formidable for their wishes to be resisted, or too artful from their experience to be detected they might sacrifice the national honour and ambition to their avarice’ (Bowdich, 1819: 335). F u rth e rm o re , th e re v o lu tio n ary p o ten tial o f su ch a m erc h an t class was clearly reco g n ized : ‘th e tra d e rs grow ing w ealthy an d . . . stim u lated b y reflections th e y have n ow too little a t risk to o rigin­ ate . . . w ould u n ite to re p ress th e a rb itra ry po w er’ o f th e ir chiefs, for w h ich reason, co m m en ted B ow dich, th e ‘g o v ern m en t w ould rep ress ra th e r th a n co u n ten a n ce’ th e p riv ate p articip atio n o f A shantis in com m erce (1819: 336). I n p u rsu an ce o f th is policy, th e accu m u latio n o f th e capital necessary fo r su ch en trep ren eu rial activity w as re stric ted b y th e en fo rcem en t o f h ig h in te re st rates on loans, 33 ⅓p e r ce n t p e r m o n th , an d b y th e im position o f a heavy d ea th d u ty o n estates. S tran g ers, b y co n trast, w ere encouraged to estab lish b usinesses in th e capital, an d w ere g ra n te d various privileges, in clu d in g tax relief: ‘I can n o t tell th e m to give m e g o ld ,’ co m m en ted O sei B onsu, ‘w h en th e y b u y an d sell th e g o ods’ (D u p u is, 1824: 167). T o ta lly d e p e n d en t u p o n th e p atronage of th e king, ‘a frie n d o n w h o m th ey could always rely fo r p ro tec tio n ’, foreign m erc h an ts w ere th o u g h t to b u ttress ra th e r th a n th re a te n th e régim e, an d M u slim tra d e rs in p articu lar, from as fa r aw ay

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as N o rth A frica an d th e H ijaz, w ere received in K um asi as ‘the h o n o u re d guests of kings an d m in isters’ (D u p u is, 1824: 97, xiv); W ilks, 1966a: 32 0 -2 . W u tw a n k o n k o n sa a , w usu ro K u m a s e , ‘w hen you spread h arm fu l rep o rts, you sh o u ld fear K u m asi’. A n atten d a n t feature of th e tre n d tow ards absolutism w as th e political control exercised over th e dissem ination of new s. T h u s , d u rin g th e B onduku cam paign of 1818-19 king laid ‘an em bargo . . . u p o n th e tongues o f his tra d in g subjects th a t th ey m ig h t divulge n o th in g prejudicial to th e ir sovereign’, th e failure to observe w hich was a capital offence (D u p u is, 1824: 211). T h e b o rd e r b etw een w hat could be referred to w ith im p u n ity an d w h at m ig h t b e co n stru ed as actionable n k o n k o n sa , h arm fu l ru m o u r, was a constantly changing one. In 1817 B ow dich was to ld o f a cam paign co n d u cted by O sei K w am e against B anda, an d was show n th e skull o f th e defeated B andahene u p o n one of th e k in g ’s cerem onial d ru m s. I n 1818-19 th e reigning B andahene gave g reat m ilitary assistance to th e king against B onduku, an d in th e follow ing year was in K u m asi for th e division o f th e booty. T h e m ach in ery o f censorship cam e in to action: th e re h ad b ee n no w ar against B anda, D u p u is was assured in 1820, an d th a t a B an d ah en e’s skull h ad b een ‘placed o n th e king o f A sh an tee’s great d ru m , has no fo u n d atio n w hatsoever’.20 Basic to su ch p artic u la r system s o f control over publication, how ever, was a m o re general co n cern w ith ideological conform ity. R eligion was strongly ce n tred u p o n state cults an d expressed th ro u g h state festivals, th e periodical a d a e an d th e annual o d w ir a ; in d ep en d e n t h eterodox cults appear n o t to have b een encouraged. T h e in d o ctrin atio n o f a new ru ler, as an em b o d im en t o f A shanti values, was o f cardinal im p o rtan ce, and ‘during the minority, or the earlier part of the reign of a monarch, the linguists and oldest counsellors visit him betimes every morning, and repeat, in turn, all the great deeds of his ancestors’ (Bowdich, 1819: 296). T h e p reservation an d transm ission o f sanctioned historical lore was largely institu tio n alized , an d was th e responsibility o f such tra in e d professional g roups as th e state d ru m m ers, hornblow ers, an d k w a d w o m singers. T h e o rd in ary A shanti, b y contrast, w ho m ig h t in cu r th e d eath p en alty for an out-of-place reference to th e dem ise o f a king, rem ain ed tactfully ‘ig n o ran t an d disinterested

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a b o u t researches in to p a st ages’ (D u p u is, 1824: lxxxiii; Bow dich, 1819: 228). T he A pogee o f P ow er

T h e h ig h degree o f co n tro l established over th e p a tte rn s o f social, econom ic, a n d ideological organization p ro d u c ed in A sh an ti a co m b in atio n o f in stitu tio n al features o f a k in d unu su al in W e st A frica. I n th e ran g e o f its p ro p rie ta ry a n d m anagerial fu nctions, over land, m an -p o w er, a n d p ro d u ctio n , th e A shanti state in th e n in e te e n th c e n tu ry was far rem oved in ch aracter from th e ‘feu d alities’ to w h ich m an y scholars, follow ing R attray, have inclined to assim ilate it. W h ile th e re existed w ith in A shanti society gross disparities in th e d istrib u tio n o f w ealth, y et in its p rev en tio n o f th e consolidation o f a slave class, and in th e g en e ral accessibility o f h ig h office to com m oners, th e A shanti state was n o t w ith o u t its egalitarian aspects. T h e restrictio n s u p o n p riv ate A sh an ti e n tre p ren e u rial activity, m oreover, m ade possible th e p lan n ed d ev elo p m en t o f th e n ational econom y, an d in its s u p e r­ vision over th e m eans o f p ro d u c tio n , d istrib u tio n , an d exchange, th e b u reau cracy faced n o serious challenge from a rising bou rg eo i­ sie. N evertheless, desp ite th e m ajo r changes in th e pow er stru c tu re effected d u rin g th e reig n s o f O sei K w adw o, O sei K w am e, an d O sei B onsu, one m ajor lim itatio n u p o n th e king’s autocracy rem ain ed : th e a m a n to ɔ still p reserved th e ir sem i-autonom ous statu s an d m ain tain ed in d e p e n d e n t arm ies, treasuries, courts, an d festivals. T h e y c o n stitu te d states w ith in th e state, u n ite d in th e ir recognition o f th e king in K u m asi as overlord, b u t possessing ju risd ic tio n fro m w h ich th e k in g ’s ad m in istratio n w as co n stitu ­ tionally excluded. By 1817 it w as already ap p a ren t th a t th e policy o f th e central g o v ern m en t was d irected to th e d estru c tio n of these anom alous reserved ju risd ic tio n s, an d to th e achievem ent of a u n ifo rm system o f a d m in istratio n th ro u g h o u t th e em pire. ‘I t is clear,’ rem ark ed B ow dich, ‘th a t th e K in g o f A shantee con­ tem p lates th e re d u c tio n o f th e K in g o f Ju ab e n fro m an in d ep en d ­ e n t ally to a trib u ta ry ’ (1819: 245). T h e m ost pow erful o f th e a m a n to ɔ , Ju ab e n , w as su b jected to increasing p re ssu re: a n u m b er o f te st cases o f th e k in g ’s rig h t o f interference in its affairs w ere neatly contrived, an d charges o f th e ft o f state p ro p e rty w ere b ro u g h t against its o m a n h e n e . By 1831 th e situation had sufficiently

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m a tu re d fo r th e king to send h is forces to occupy th e Ju ab en capital. T h e Ju ab e n h en e an d m an y o f his people escaped so u th ­ w ards into A kyem A buakw a, w here th ey sought and obtained the p ro tectio n o f th e B ritish, w ho, since 1826, h ad b een in tru d in g th e ir ju risd ictio n in to a n u m b e r o f A sh an ti’s so u th ern provinces. A lth o u g h m o st o f th e J u a b e n re tu rn e d to th e ir hom eland in 1841, th e sequence o f events established a p a ttern o f a m a n to ɔ response to th e centralizing p ressu res o f K u m asi, and provided th e B ritish w ith a strateg y for su b v ertin g th e au th o rity o f th e A shanti kings. ‘O u r p olicy,’ w rote Ellis, sh o u ld be ‘to play off D ju ab in against A shanti, to use th e one to keep th e o th er in check’ (1883: 181). I n 1875 B ritish p ro tec tio n was again ex tended to th e Ju ab en , in 1888 to th e K okofu, an d in 1889 to a section of th e M am pon. I n th e ir desire to ex ten d th e P a x B r ita n n ic a over A shanti, how ever, th e B ritish d id n o t eschew m ore d irect m ethods. I n 1874 battalions of th e 2 n d Rifle B rigade, th e 23rd Royal W elch F usiliers, th e Black W atch, an d th e N aval Brigade, w ith auxiliaries, fo u g h t th e ir w ay th ro u g h to K u m asi, b u rn t an em p ty tow n, an d blew u p an em p ty palace, an d th e n ext day began a re tre a t to th e coast. T h e blow was ab so rb ed an d , u n d e r A san teh en e M ensa B onsu, a rap id recovery effected : ‘In less than two years from the burning of Coomassie’ [wrote Ellis] ‘the Ashanti diplomacy had m et w ith such success that M ensah had recovered the whole of the D juabin territory, repudiated the payment of the war indemnity, re-established the prestige and power of the Ashanti name, and outwitted the Colonial G overnm ent upon every point’ (1883: 187). F ifteen years later a new ap p ro ach to th e p ro b lem was ven tu red , w h en H u ll, B ritish A ctin g T rav ellin g C om m issioner, was sen t to K u m asi to invite th e A sh an ti ‘to place th e ir co u n try u n d e r B ritish p ro tec tio n ’ an d so p re v e n t it ‘gradually falling into decay’. A shanti, observed th e king, P re m p e h I, in a courteous reply, ‘m ust remain independent as of old, at the same time to be friendly with all white men. I do not write this with a boastful spirit, b u t in the clear sense of its meaning. Ashanti is an independent kingdom . . . I am happy to inform you, that the cause of Ashanti is progressing and that there is no reason for any Ashantiman to feel alarm at the prospects, or to believe for a single instant th at our cause has been driving (sic) back by the events of the past hostilities’ (see Tordoff, 1962).

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H o w far an d to w hat en d th e A sh an ti cause w ould have p ro g res­ sed, and in w h a t ways A shanti w ould have ad ap ted itself to the d em ands of th e tw en tieth century, rem ain m atters for speculation. In 1896 a new ex peditionary force was d ispatched to K u m asi and en tered th e capital u n o p p o sed . T h e king, u n p re p a re d for w ar, m ade his subm ission, b u t, w ith various o f his relatives and officials, was nevertheless dep o rted , first to E lm ina, th e n to S ierra L eone, an d finally to th e Seychelles. A n unsuccessful b u t b itte rly fo ught w ar of in d ep en d en ce in 1900 led to th e annexation of A shanti as a B ritish C row n C olony b y an O rd e r in C ouncil of 26 S eptem ber 1901. Its m ilitary organization, th e basis of resistance, was d is­ b a n d e d and th e fu n ctio n s o f th e b u reau cracy w ere tran sferre d to th e new colonial ad m in istratio n . W ith o u t its king, w ith o u t central g o vernm ent, A sh an ti re v erted to its p re-K w ad w o an segm entary stru c tu re , an d only w ith th e em ergence o f th e R epublic of G hana in 1961 w ere som e o f th e fu n d a m e n tal lines o f A shanti develop­ m e n t once again to be tak en u p , ad ap ted to a w ider m id -tw en tieth c e n tu ry context. NOTES 1. T his paper is a sum m ary of a series of lectures given in the University of G hana in 1962-64. W ithin its length it has been impossible to present the evidence for many of the theses argued ; this I hope to do in future and m ore detailed studies. I wish to acknowledge my deep indebtedness to M r. P. C. Gibbons of the U niversity of Ghana for his assistance in the preparation of this paper. I have also gained m uch from num erous discussions of Ashanti affairs w ith M r. E. F. Collins of the same University, and w ith M r. J. Agyeman-Duah of the Kum asi State Council. 2. Statem ent by the Asantehene, D a ily G raphic (of Ghana), 24 M arch 1962. 3. Compare R attray’s remark that ‘Bekwai, Kokofu, and N suta be­ came powerful, because all their chiefs were ‘nephews’ of the Asante­ hene’ (1929: 132). 4. O m anhene, chief of an om an or state. T h e term B irem p o n is pre­ ferred by Rattray (1929: 81, 94-5). 5. F or a detailed account of the internal organization of some of the am antoɔ, see Rattray (1929) and Busia (1951). 6. F or a useful discussion of Ashanti population, the general con­ clusions of which the w riter inclines to accept, see Beecham, 1841: 130-4

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7. In a paper on ‘Some Developments in Akan Administrative Prac­ tice in the 17th and 18th Centuries’, presented to the Historical Society of G hana in January 1959, I attem pted an analysis of these changes in term s of a struggle for power between the Kumasi chiefs and the am anhene. T h is analysis was followed by W. Tordoff in ‘T h e Ashanti Confederacy’, J o u r n a l o f A fr ic a n H isto ry , Vol. I I I , 3,1962 . 1 have since come to regard this approach as unsatisfactory, being only quasiexplanatory. I would now regard an understanding of the emergence of the bureaucracy as fundamental to the political history of the period, and in particular to the struggles between Kum asi and the am antoɔ described by Tordoff. 8. Bonnat’s Commission dated 31 July 1875, issued by the Asante­ hene, L ’E xp lo ra teu r, I I I , 1876: 238. F or Nielsen, see Ellis, 1883: 1888-91. D upuis, 1824: 167, records that he himself was offered em­ ployment by Osei Bonsu, as a com ptroller of trade. O ther cases are on record. 9. O f the first hundred stool histories recently collected from Kumasi, in this context at random , over a th ird are m m a m m a -d w a . An investi­ gation of th e positions held by th e leading Kumasi chiefs met, 1816-19, by Huydecoper, Bowdich, H utchison, Dupuis, and others, shows that almost all occupied other than matrilineal stools. 10. T his stool has been redesignated the Gyaase stool by the present Asantehene. For a full account of its origins, see Kumasi state archives: proceedings relating to the Gyaasewa stool, 21 December 1939—24 April 1940 (IAS AS/CR.101). Although a civil functionary, the Gyaasewahene was not exempt from military service. Indeed, Opoku Frefre and his son Adu Bofuo, who also held the same post, were two of the most renowned campaigners of the nineteenth century. 11. By the nineteenth century, Kum asi division (as opposed to the provinces adm inistered from Kum asi) included Asante-Akyem to the east and Ahafo to the west. T h e population of the division probably approximated to 1/2 million. 12. Kumasi state archives: letter from Asantehene Prem peh I (enstooled 1888) to D. C. K um asi dated 26 October 1927. 13. T h e central government assumed responsibility for the construc­ tion and maintenance of m ajor roads, see, e.g., Huydecoper: 2 December 1816 et. seq.; Freem an, 1843: 18. 14. T h e stool may subsequently have regained its importance, for half a century later Domakwaihene Poku Agyeman was described as ‘head of the linguists, m inister of foreign affairs’, Ramseyer and Kühne, 1875: 308. 15. F or the institution of adam fo, see Rattray, 1929: 94-98. Rattray analyses th e institution in term s of ‘court etiquette’, and considers it only within a K um a si-a m a n to ɔ context. T h e system, however, appears

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to have involved a patron in military obligations—to suppress revolt on his client’s part—and was universal throughout the empire. 16. An interesting example of a constitutional case transferred from eastern Gonja to K um asi is given by Hutchison, in Bowdich, 1819: 396-7, 401. 17. O f nineteenth-century kings for whom reliable figures exist, on enthronem ent Osei Kwame was about 12 years of age, Osei Bonsu about 22, Kwaku D ua I about 30, Karikari about 35, Kwaku D ua I I about 20, and Prem peh I 17. 18. T h e succession dispute following the death of Opoku W are in 1750 ended, for example, in the slaying of the principals of the u n ­ successful party, and in th e exile of others (whose descendants are still in Baule, Ivory Coast). 19. T h e Krontihene occupies a p o d u a stool created by Osei T u tu ; it is patrilineal (IAS/AS.39, 40). T h e Akwamuhene (not to be confused with the ruler of the southern province of that name) occupies a stool suc­ cession to w hich was switched from the m atri-line to the sons tem p. Osei Kwadwo, IAS/AS.38. For the Ankobia, see above. 20. Bowdich, 1819: 237. D upuis, 1824: 79-81, 244. T his sort of case suggests the great care necessary, in an Ashanti type context, in the use of traditional material for historical purposes.

REFEREN CES T h e following works have been cited : P ublished

AGC

1883

F u rth e r Correspondence regarding A ffa ir s on the G o ld C oast (House of Commons).

Agyeman-Duah, J.

1960

‘M ampong, Ashanti: a traditional history to the reign of Nana Safo K antanka’, Transactions o f th e H isto ric a l S o c ie ty o f G h a n a , Vol. IV, ii.

1964

‘Ceremony of Enstoolment of Otumfuo Asantehene’, G h a n a N o te s a n d Q ueries, 7.

1841

A sh a n te e a n d th e G o ld C oast.

Bonnat, J.

1875

‘Beretning 1788 om de Danske F orter og Negerier’, in T h a a ru p s A r c h iv , III. ‘Les Achantis d ’après les relations de M . Bonnat’ (ed. Gros), in L ' E xp lo ra teu r. Vol. I, ii.

Bowdich, T . E.

1819

Beecham, J. Biørn, A.

M issio n fr o m A sh a n tee.

C ape

C oast

C astle

to

ASHANTI GOVERNMENT

Bowdich, T . E.

Busia, K. A. Cardinall, A. W. Christaller, J. G. Cruickshank, B. D upuis, J. Ellis, A. B.

Freeman, T . B. Gros, J. Hayford, Casely Horton, A. B. H utton, W. Isert, P. Lee, M rs. R. M ’Leod, J. M eredith, H. N orthcott, H. P. Ramseyer, F. & K ü hne Rattray, R. S.

Reindorf, C. C. Robertson, G. A. Tordoff, W.

Wilks, I.

237

1820 A R e p ly to the Q u a rterly R eview . 1821a A n E ssay on the Superstitions, Customs, a n d A r ts common to the A n c ie n t E gyptians, A byssinians, a n d A shantees. 1821b T h e B ritish a n d F rench E xp ed itio n s to Teembo. 1951 T h e Position o f the C h ie f in the M o d ern P o litica l S y ste m o f A sh a n ti. 1920 T h e N a tiv e s o f the N o rth e rn T erritories o f the G old Coast. 1875 G ra m m a r a n d D ic tio n a ry o f the A sa n te a n d F a n ti L anguage C a lled Tschi. 1853 E ighteen Y ea rs on the G old C oast o f A fric a . 1824 Jo u rn a l o f a Residence in A shantee. 1883 T h e L a n d o f F etish. 1887 T h e Tschi-speaking People o f the G old Coast. J o u rn a l o f two V isits to the K in g d o m o f 1843 A sh a n ti. 1884 Voyages, A ve n tu re s et C a p tiv ité de J . B o n n a t ch ez les A ch a n tis. 1903 G old C oast N a tiv e In stitu tio n s. 1870 L e tte rs on the P o litica l C onditions on the G o ld Coast. 1821 V oyage to A fric a . 1788 R eise nach G uinea. 1835 S to ries o f S tra n g e L a n d s. 1820 A V oyage to A fric a . 1812 A n A cc o u n t o f the G o ld C oast o f A fric a . 1899 R ep o rt on the N o rth e rn T erritories o f the G old Coast. 1875 F o u r Y ea rs in A sh a n tee.

1923 A sh a n ti. 1927 R eligion a n d A r t in A sh a n ti. 1929 A s h a n ti L a w a n d C onstitution. 1895 H isto r y o f the G o ld Coast. 1819 N o te s on A fric a . 1962 ‘Brandford Griffith’s Offer of British Protection to Ashanti (1891)’, T rans. H ist. Soc. G hana, Vol. VI. 1957 ‘T h e Rise of the Akwamu Empire, 16501710’, T rans. H is t. S o c. G h a n a , Vol. III. ii.

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Wilks, I.

1961 T h e N o rth e rn F a cto r in A s h a n ti H isto ry. 1966a ‘T h e Position of Muslims in M etropolitan Ashanti in the early 19th C entury’, in T h e Influence o f Isla m in T ro p ica l A fric a , ed. I. M . Lewis. 1966b ‘Aspects of bureaucratization in Ashanti in the nineteenth century J o u r n a l o f A f r i ­ can H isto ry , Vol. V II, No. 2. U npublished

G eneral S ta te A rch ives, T h e H a g u e

K vG .

Archives of the D utch Settlements on the Guinea Coast: 82-167: E lm in a Jo u rn a ls, 1715-1788. 349-370: J o u r n a l o f th e S ettlem en ts, 1815-1870, containing: (a) Huydecoper : Journal of a Mission to Ashanti, 1816-17. (b) Journal of D irector-General Daendels.

P ublic R eco rd Office, L on d o n

Lonsdale. R eport by R. la T . Lonsdale dated 24 M arch 1882. Parliamentary Papers xlvi, 1882, C.-3386, 42, enc. 2. K u m a s i S ta te A rch ives

Proceedings of the Kum asi divisional court, used by kind permission of Otum fuo the Asantehene. In stitu te o f A fr ic a n S tu d ie s, U n ive rsity o f G h a n a

IAS/AS 1-n. Ashanti stool histories recorded by M r. J. Agyeman-Duah. IA S A S/CR 1-n . T ranscripts of proceedings of the Kum asi divisional court.

T H E M E N D E C H I E F D O M S O F S IE R R A L E O N E 1 K

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I n 1843 D r. R o b ert Clarke, assistant surgeon to th e C olony, in d icated th e extension of M en d e -lan d as described by a friend w ith som e tw en ty years experience o f S ierra L eone : ‘T h e K u sso h c o u n try appears to lie b etw een th e parallels o f 7 ° and 8° 15' n o rth latitu d e an d in a so u th -east direction, betw een th e degrees o f 10°30' an d 120 w est lo n g itu d e.’ T h a t is to say, east o f th e R iver Jo n g an d so u th o f M ongeri. G iving fu rth e r particulars of M en d e -lan d , C larke says : ‘T his country is said to be divided . . . into several principalities or states, or head towns ; it is bounded on the north by the Tim nehs, on the east and south by tribes of which I have not yet got any account, except that one on the east is said to be the Konah nation; on the west by the Sherbro, Krim , or Kixxum, and the Fye or Vye nations. ‘. . . T h e Sherbro country, commencing at the R ib b ie.. . . river on the north, and ending at the sea bar on the south, runs east to the Kussohs’ (K up, 1961: 157). N ow adays, M en d e in h a b it a som ew hat larger stretch o f co u n try w h ich includes th e w estern co rn er o f L ib eria as w ell as a fairly co m p act area o f nearly 12,000 square m iles in th e central and eastern p a rt o f th e fo rm er S ierra L eone P rotectorate. A ccording to th e 1921 S ierra L eo n e census th e y n u m b ere d 557,674 o u t o f a to tal P ro tecto ra te p o p u latio n o f 1,672,058. T h e re w ere som e seventy chiefdom s varying w idely in area an d p o p u latio n : som e o f th e sm aller ones had p ro b ab ly no m ore th a n 5,000 in h ab itan ts ; th e largest, L uaw a, a K issi-M e n d e chiefdom on th e b o rd e r of th e th e n F re n c h G u in ea, h ad in 1941 over 26,000 (L ittle, 1951: 61-2). U n til recen t tim es m o st o f th is region consisted o f dense ra in ­ forest, an d tra d itio n suggests th a t it w as once in h ab ited b y sm all b an d s o f h u n te rs w ho follow ed a sem i-nom adic life. S ettlem ent, alth o u g h sparse, was o n peaceful lines, an d it is said th a t th e arts o f w ar w ere eith er b ro u g h t to o r forced o n th ese people b y invaders fro m th e n o rth d u rin g a p erio d relatively recen t in history. T h e

Sketch Map of Southern Sierra Leone

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invaders p u sh ed th e ir w ay into th e c o u n try and w aged w ar against anyone o pposing th e ir rig h t to settle th ere. T h e y killed any o f th e local ru lers w hom th ey ca p tu red , an d m ade slaves o f th e younger m e n an d w om en or p u t th e m to w ork on th e ir farm s. T h e ir leaders set them selves u p as chiefs; b u t difficulties over b oundaries b ro u g h t th e m into co n stan t conflict w ith each other, as well as w ith an y o f th e n eig h b o u rin g people w ho w ere able to w ithstand th em . T h is h elp ed to establish w arfare as a prin cip al form of activity an d in stitu tio n . T h is trad itio n al account is n o t incom patible w ith w h at is know n historically ab o u t p o p u latio n m ovem ents d u rin g th e seventeenth an d eig h teen th centuries. R efugees from th e fo rm er g reat em pires o f th e w estern S u d a n w ere stream in g into th e forests to th e south, an d m u ch o f th e G u in ea C oast was in turm oil. A ccording to O gilby, w ho is th e first E nglish au th o r to m en tio n th em , one of th e g ro u p s jockeying for position th ere w ere called th e M endi. T h e y are described as subjects o f th e em p ero r o f M anow and, so far as can b e ju d g e d , th ey c o n stitu te d p a rt o f a congeries o f closely related peoples in h ab itin g Q uoja, a co u n try inlan d from C ape M o u n t. T h is was at th e h e ig h t o f th e A tlantic slave trad e, an d th e in h ab itan ts of Q uoja acted as m id d lem en betw een M anow in th e in terio r an d th e trad e rs on th e C oast, exacting tolls u p o n every­ th in g sen t to or b ro u g h t u p fro m th e sea-ports. C am e th e tim e, how ever, w hen th e em p ero r desired a d irect p a th to th e E u ro p ean ships and , b ein g m ilitarily m o re pow erful, he was able to p u sh m an y of th e in h ab itan ts of Q uoja aside. As a resu lt o f th is and of o th er upheavals a n u m b e r of trib es w ith close affinities, including th e M en d e, w ere forced w estw ard. A t first th e M en d e did n o t p en etrate deeply into S ierra L eone, b u t by th e end of th e eighteenth cen tu ry th e ir raids h ad tak en th e m as far as th e new B ritish colony in F reeto w n (K u p , 1961: 152-54). I t w ould appear th a t th e ir onw ard m arch w as m ade b y tran sfo rm in g th e original settlem en ts in to p rim itiv e fortresses. I n o th er w ords, each sm all tow n w ith any strategic value for m ilitary or adm inistrative p u r­ poses was strongly stockaded. F ig h tin g was carried on partly for th e p u rp o se of en h an cin g prestige, and, even today, it is a m a tte r of p rid e on th e p a rt of a M en de m an to lay claim to som e big w arrio r as an ancestor. Stories of th e exploits, p a rt historical an d p a rt fictional, of fam ous M en d e fighters and chiefs, like N daw a and K ai L u n d o , th e fo u n d e r of th e K issi-M en d e chiefdom

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o f L uaw a, are th e co m m o n heritage o f th e p re sen t generation of M en d e ch ildren. T h e m ain incentive, how ever, was slaves. Slaves co n stitu ted th e p rin cip al fo rm o f w ealth a n d w ere b arte red an d exchanged fo r goods, n o tab ly fo r salt fro m th e C oast and u p -c o u n try for cattle. A single slave w as w o rth fro m th re e to six cows, and a m an, w om an, o r ch ild w ere all co nsidered as one ‘h ea d ’ o f m oney. T h is was eq u iv alen t later in th e cen tu ry , i.e. 1890, to £ 3. Slaves also fo rm ed an invariable an d im p o rta n t p a rt o f b rid ew ealth and w ere dep o sited as secu rity in th e case o f d e b t o r any k in d of d isp u te. T h e y p ro v id ed th e basis, in fact, o f th e social system , an d u p o n th e ir lab o u r as dom estics d ep en d ed very largely w h at­ ever ag ricu ltu re th e M en d e possessed. I t was th ey w ho felled and cleared th e h ig h v irg in fo rest in p re p ara tio n fo r th e rice crop, an d th ey w ere also resp o n sib le fo r th e collection an d cracking o f palm kernels an d ex tractio n o f oil. P alm kernels w ere th e m ain com m o d ity su p p lied to tra d e rs fro m th e C olony d u rin g th e n in e­ te e n th cen tu ry . M i l i t a r y O r g a n iz a tio n a n d T a c tic s

T h e fact th a t personal p restig e a n d affluence, as w ell as safety, d ep en d ed alm ost en tirely on success in w ar led to q u ite an elabo­ ra te m ilitary tech n iq u e, w hich can be reco rd ed in som e detail. T h e presence of so m u c h th ick b u sh m ade o p en fighting a rare occurrence, and re n d e re d th e m ovem ents of an o p p o n en t difficult to detect. T h is m ean t th a t b o th sides fo u n d it convenient to co n cen trate th e ir p rin cip al goods and m ain defence inside th e k in d of stro n g ly stockaded to w n w hich was th e only m eans of w ard in g off a su rp rise attack. T o m ake th e su d d en approach of an enem y difficult, all p a th s leading to th e tow n w ere left as narrow an d as overgrow n as possible, so th a t progress along th em could be m ad e only in single file. O nly a single road led into th e tow n itself, and it was so c o n stru c te d as to be easily blocked, if necessary. T h e actual gate in to th e to w n was so narro w th a t it w ould barely ad m it a m an. In sid e th e to w n itself th e houses w ere deliberately b u ilt close to each other, so as to co n stitu te a veritable m aze an d m ake it difficult for attacking w arriors to find th eir way about. T h e tow n itself was encircled and g u ard ed b y fences, usually th re e in n u m b er. T h e re was also, as a rule, a fu rth e r o u ter fence

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consisting o f a light b reastw ork o f m aterial, p iled u p betw een co n v en ien t co tto n trees an d along a bank. T h is w as n o t regularly defended, an d its o b ject w as m erely to provide a tem p o rary brake o n th e attack. T h e n ex t tw o fences w ere regularly g u a rd e d and defen d ed b y w ar-boys, statio n ed at intervals b eh in d each one. T h e re was a shed, o r g u ard -h o u se — g o lo h g boie — at each p o in t o n eith er fence w here th e ro a d passed in to th e tow n, an d fo u r w arriors w ere p o sted th e re at n ig h t-tim e. I n charge o f th e m was an ‘officer’— K o tu le i- m u i (one w ho passes th e stone)— w hose d u ty it w as to see th a t an efficient w atch w as m aintained. A stone w as h a n d e d to one o f th e w arriors on d u ty at th e gu ard -h o u se an d he carried it along to th e n ex t p ost, w hence it was relayed com pletely ro u n d th e fence back to th e original p oint. I t w as th e n h an d ed to th e second m an an d com pleted a fu rth e r circuit. Its re tu rn to th e th ird m an m ark ed th e changing o f th e guard, an d th e second tw o w arriors, w ho h ad been re stin g in th e m eantim e, took over fro m th e ir com rades. T h e w arriors did tw o day s’ d u ty at a tim e, and d u rin g it th ey cooked food for them selves, because no w om en w ere allowed betw een th e w ar fences. O n cam paign only th e principal w arriors w ere allow ed to take w om en w ith th em . E very effort was m ade to effect a su rp rise attack, an d generally one o r tw o individuals w ere sent on ahead to spy o u t th e way. I f possible, th e y w ould insinuate them selves inside th e to w n itself, or gain w h at new s an d inform a­ tio n th ey could by listening in th e n earb y b u sh to w om en’s gossip on th e farm or at w ater places. O n th e stren g th o f th is intelligence th e attackers decided o n w hich p a rt of th e w ar-fence to m ake th e ir assault. T h e w hole b o d y th e n c re p t u p as stealth ily as possible; and, pro v id ed th e o u ter fences w ere reached, th e follow ing tactics w ere th e n followed. T h e p rim ary resp o n sib ility rested on a n u m b er o f special w arriors called respectively th e M i j i (the ‘needle’ o r ‘ju m p e r d o w n ’); th e F a n d e (‘th re a d ’); th e K a n y e (‘w ax’); and th e H a k a ­ h o u m o i (holder o f th e ladder). T h e se acted as leaders in th e assault, an d before it w as u n d e rta k e n th e o rdinary w arriors ( K u g b a n g a a ) arran g ed them selves in parties b e h in d each one. T h e re does n o t ap p ear to have b ee n any definite n u m b e r to each leader, b u t p e r­ h ap s th e average w ould b e a b o u t tw enty, depending, o f course, o n th e size o f th e force. I f th e M i j i th o u g h t he had insufficient m en to follow h im he m ig h t choose from those left. If, as was R

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usually th e case, th e attack w as to b e m ade in th e dark, tw o M en d e p ro p e r nam es, su ch as V a n d i an d K a n g a , w ere used as w a tc h ­ w ords. I f tw o m en m e t an d one said ‘V andi’ th e o th er w ould rep ly ‘K a n g a ’. L e d b y th e M i j i , th e various p arties th e n sw arm ed as best th ey could over th e o u te r fences. I f any o f th e fences pro v ed u n s u r­ m o u n tab le th e H a k a h o u tn o i, o r lad d er bearer, ru sh e d forw ard w ith his lad d er to h elp th e M i j i ’s ascent. I t was th e custom to h a n d th e la tte r a b o ttle o f very stro n g p alm w ine, before he m ade his leap, to give h im ex tra courage. I t w as th e d u ty o f th e M i j i an d his p a rty to overcom e all o p position as quickly and as silently as possible betw een th e fences. A t th e final stockade th e M i j i w as expected to call o u t his n am e as he ju m p e d into th e tow n itself. H e w as th e n follow ed, in d u e o rder, by th e F a n d e and th e K a n y e an d th e ir m en , a n d th e n b y fo u r w arriors know n as k o k o ­ y a g b la (drivers fro m th e fence), w ho im m ediately sp lit in to tw o couples. T h e latter w e n t aro u n d th e inside o f th e fence, killing all th e y m e t an d p re v en tin g anyone fro m escaping. I t w as im possible, o f course, for all th e w arrio rs to use th e sam e ladder, a n d th e rem ain d er sw arm ed over th e fence b y m eans o f poles, once a footing inside h ad b ee n gained. T h is m ore general p a rt o f th e attack was carried o u t b y tw o fu rth e r categories know n as n g o ­ m b u h u b la (m en in th e m id st o f b attle) and g b a m a i (o rdinary m en), w ho served in reserve. T h e re w ere also k o -s o k ilis ia (‘w a r-sp ar­ row s’), w ho w ere you n g recru its an d served as carriers, and m ight be called u p o n to fight. T h e chief him self, w ho bore th e m ilitary title of K o - m a h e i, left ev ery th in g in th e h an d s o f his M i j i and did n o t e n te r th e actual fig h tin g unless th e day seem ed to be going against his m en. O nce th e in n er fence h ad b een forced, th e cap tu re of th e to w n was alm ost certain, an d any fu rth e r resistance was soon overcom e. F ugitives, w ho escaped b y th e back gate, som etim es scattered ants b e h in d th e m on th e b u sh p ath to p u t th e ir p u rsu e rs off th e trail. W o m en a n d ch ild re n w ere sh u t u p in th e w om en’s houses d u rin g th e fighting, an d th e first w arriors to en ter th e tow n w ere allow ed to slash th e o u ter walls o f these houses w ith th eir sw ords, o r leave som e o th er token, such as a sheath, on them . T h is was a sign th a t th ey claim ed th e inm ates as th eir captives. T h e rem aining w arriors w ere expected to co n tin u e th e fight u n til th ey h eard th e M i j i call o u t tw ice, ‘A - w a - o ’ (‘A ll co m e!’), w hich was th e sign

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o f victory. T h e n th ey could jo in th e others in m arking houses and securing booty. O nce th e assault h ad b een started no q u arte r was given. T h e actual com bat was practically all h an d to hand, w ith sw ords and spears as th e m ain eq u ip m en t, an d a species of shield called k a fa -lo w o i (fork of th e kafa tree), w hich was of very h ard wood. S trip s of iron w ere placed across th e fork, and th e w hole was u sed to w ard off blow s of a sw ord, to deflect th e flight of a spear. D ane g u n s an d m uskets w ere also used, b u t w ere o f little value after th e first volley, as it took too long to reload th em . F o r success, as w ell as pro tectio n , th e w arrio r also relied on n u m ero u s charm s, m ainly p ro c u red from 'M o r i- m e n ’ (M uslim advisers o f chiefs), w hich he w ore all over th e body. T h e se w ere supposed to be p ro o f against even a sh o t fro m a gun. B efore his d ep artu re to w ar th e w a rrio r’s fam ily also m ade offerings on his b eh alf to th eir ancestors, an d his uncles p rayed fo r him . W h e n ap proaching an adversary in th e fight th e w arrior w ould call o u t th e nam e o f his ow n w ar chief, and his o p p o n en t w ould rep ly in th e sam e way. W h e n th e to w n was en tered th e unsuccess­ fu l defenders m ig h t escape d etectio n b y clim bing into th e eaves o f th e houses or by som e secret p a th o u t o f th e tow n. W arrio rs c a p tu red in th e fight w ere b ro u g h t fo rw ard as a group, an d those w ho h ad resisted m ost stro n g ly w ere p u t to death. B efore executing th e m th e victors danced ro u n d th e tow n. T h e captives w ere led o u t an d stab b ed as th ey passed th ro u g h th e fences. T h e ir bodies w ere covered w ith leaves an d left in th e bush . F o r m em bers o f th e v icto rs’ side w ho h ad b een killed in th e fight th e usual cerem onies w ere p erfo rm ed at a fork in th e road. T h e ca p tu red w om en a n d ch ild ren , an d th e p lu n d e r, w ere th e n b ro u g h t before th e head w arrio r fo r division. O u t o f every fo u r captives, tw o w ent as slaves to th e ch ief him self ; one to th e head w arrior, and one to th e m an w ho h ad m ade th e capture. I f th e people inside a tow n knew th a t an attack w as im m in en t th e ir ch ief’s decision as to w h e th e r to resist o r sue fo r peace d ep e n d ed m ainly o n th e forecast o f his M u slim adviser, as well as o n th e prestige o f individual w arriors am ong th e opposing forces. T h e presence before a to w n o f a w ell know n fighter, su ch as N daw a, is said to have b een eno u g h in itself to com pel su rren d er. I f th e besieged ch ief decided to call fo r a tru c e h e w ould sen d a w om an o f lig h t-co lo u red skin as his am bassador, w ith a w hite

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co u n try cloth, a g u n , a n d som e salt. She w ould pro b ab ly be his d au g h te r o r one o f th e m o st valued w om en h e had, and she au to ­ m atically becam e th e w ife o f th e conqueror. A lternatively, he m ig h t appeal fo r h elp fro m n eig h b o u rin g chiefs by sending th em gifts o f co u n try cloths an d a gow n. I n th e event o f it being decided to m ake a stan d , th e m orale o f th e d efenders w ould b e stren g th en ed b y sacrifices carried o u t b y th e ch ief’s M uslim s, an d by w ar­ dancing. A w a rrio r m ig h t b e statio n ed a t th e only exit from th e to w n to c u t d o w n any w o u ld -b e deserters. T h e exigencies o f th is k in d o f w arfare an d th e p ractice o f p u ttin g slaves to w o rk o n th e lan d d eterm in e d b o th th e p a tte rn o f settle­ m e n t a n d th e general political s tru c tu re . T h e im m ediate p ictu re w e have is o f a large n u m b e r o f sm all tow ns, each o f w hich lodged a local chieftain an d his co m pany o f w arriors, o r ‘w ar-boys’. T h e la tte r acted as his b o d y g u ard an d p rivate arm y. A ch ief derived his pow er an d a u th o rity fro m h is o w n prow ess an d th a t o f his follow ers, an d w arrio rs. T h e la tte r served h im alm ost en tirely in th e capacity o f m ercenaries, an d th ey in clu d ed you n g m en w ho cam e for m ilitary train in g . Som e o f th ese m ercenaries w ere alloc­ ated farm in g sites as a rew ard for th eir services in ad d itio n to a share of th e slaves cap tu red . Since th e slaves them selves w ere h ou sed as close as possible to th e fresh tra c ts o f lan d th ey cleared on b eh a lf of th e ir m asters, th is ad d ed fresh sections to already existing tow ns. I t m ean t th a t th e villages in h ab ited b y th e slaves w ere sim ply an extension into th e cou n try sid e o f th e p a rtic u la r kin group to w hich th ey ap p e r­ tain ed . F u rth e r lan d w as allow ed to w arriors w ho answ ered a beseiged to w n ’s call fo r help as w ell as to refugees flying from o th e r w ars. Som etim es, also, fresh villages w ere ad d ed th ro u g h th e initiative of in d iv id u al free m en seeking new places to farm an d th u s settlin g them selves an d th eir descendants at th e sites w h ere th e clearing w as m ade. T h e ju risd ictio n o f th e w a rrio r­ ch ief w ould extend to all th ese satellite villages established from th e tow n, in clu d in g th e villages w h ich h ad b een established by his w arriors. H e m ig h t also seek to fo u n d new tow ns as outposts. T h is w ould involve a sim ilar p ro c ed u re— th e settlem en t of w a r­ riors on th e sp o t chosen an d th e allocation o f p o rtio n s of virgin forest to them . Since, in th ese circum stances, so m u ch d ep en d ed u p o n m ilitary stren g th , th e re was a co n stan t n eed for m ilitary alliance and p ro -

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tection on th e p a rt o f th e w eaker chiefdom s. F o r this reason, b u t m ainly as a re su lt o f conquest, th e re was often a single chief, or ‘h ig h ch ie f’, w hose general leadership was recognized by his neighbours. E ach o f th e la tter k ep t his ow n adm inistration, b u t th e arb itra tio n of th e h ig h chief was accepted in im p o rtan t cases, in clu d in g disp u tes betw een fellow m em bers o f th e ‘confederacy’. F ealty was displayed, som etim es, in th e shape o f periodical pay m en ts o f trib u te , an d it m ig h t also involve th e provision of m ilitary assistance, if th e h ig h chief w ere attacked. H e, in re tu rn , w ould go to th e aid o f chiefs w hose tow ns lay w ith in his sphere o f influence, w h en w ar th rea ten ed th em . T h e alliance w as also sym bolized b y th e periodical exchange o f custom ary presents. T h is k in d o f p a ra m o u n t role seem s to have b een played by the chiefs o f P angum a, B um pe, M ongeri, an d T ikonko d u rin g the latter p a rt o f th e n in etee n th century. A ccording to A stley’s descrip tio n o f Q uoja, an o th er im p o rtan t prerogative o f th e h ig h chief was th a t o f crow ning each new chief w ho succeeded to office in th e trib u ta ry state. T h is rig h t probably d erived from th e original co n q u est o f th e chiefdom concerned, it b ein g th e cu sto m o f th e victor to leave one o f his w arriors in charge. I t was th e n th e d u ty o f th is viceroy to ‘look after th e co u n ­ try ’ o n his o w n ch ief’s behalf. A lternatively, a w eaker chiefdom m ig h t invite a w ell-know n w a rrio r from o utside to serve as its leader. T h e fact th a t th is political affiliation w as continuously confirm ed b y th e h ig h ch ief’s cerem onial rig h t o f coronation p ro b ab ly explains a fu rth e r com plication in th e system . T h u s, it was q u ite possible fo r a trib u ta ry state situ ated geographically o n th e b o rd e rs o f th e confederacy to u n d ertak e m ilitary conquests o f its ow n. T h is w o u ld give rise to an ad ditional p a tte rn o f over­ lo rd sh ip , b u t w ith o u t alterin g th e original relationship o f th e chiefdom co ncerned to its ow n h ig h chief. Finally, a trib u ta ry m em b er o f th e second hegem ony m ight, in its tu rn , carve ou t y et a fu rth e r ‘em p ire’, w hile co n tin u in g fealty to its ow n overlord. I t was also possible fo r a given people to pay hom age to m ore th a n one h ig h ch ief at th e sam e tim e (A stley, Vol. 2 : 17 et seq.). G iv en th is loosely k n it system o f su p ero rd in atio n an d su b ­ o rd in atio n , it is te m p tin g to speculate ab o u t its operation. F ig h tin g b ein g o n a lim ited scale, it w as q u ite possible fo r a w arrio r chief o f resource, backed b y co m p eten t follow ers, to w in one o r tw o q u ick victories an d th u s to overaw e a w hole co u n try w ithin a

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sh o rt space of tim e. T o keep it p erm an en tly u n d e r control by m ilitary m eth o d s alone w as an o th er m atter. S hould w ar break ou t afresh, his co m m unications w ith th e disaffected area w ere likely to b e im p ed ed n o t only b y fo rest an d rivers b u t b y th e presence o f fortified to w n s o n th e ro u te. H e h ad also to reckon on th e possibility of trea ch ery at hom e sh ould he m ove his personal b o d y g u ard o f tra in e d w arriors too far from th e capital tow n. A d d itio n al safeguards consisted p artly in th e m easures o u tlined above. H ow ever, th e e x ten t to w h ich a p u p p e t ru le r could b e u sed w as obviously lim ited, an d th e re w as th e co n stan t d anger o f a viceroy’s au th o rity b ein g locally u s u rp e d o r o f his becom ing too closely associated th ro u g h in term arriage, o r in o th er w ays, w ith th e people u n d e r his charge. I n o th e r w ords, som e sanction w as necessary w hich could o p erate m o re w idely an d m ore effectively th a n m ere physical force o r trad itio n ally ing rain ed h ab its o f allegiance. P o ro

I t is very likely th a t th is san ctio n w as su p p lied by th e P oro. A b elief in th e su p e rn a tu ra l p o w er o f sp irits an d o f m edicine seem s to have b e e n co m m o n to all th e peoples o f th e G u in ea C oast, a n d th e P o ro su p p o sed ly co n trolled m o st o f th ese forces. I n ad d itio n to possessing m edicines o f g reat stren g th , its leading officers claim ed to have in terco u rse w ith th e w orld o f sp irits, w h ich th ey im p erso n ated b y th e aid o f m asks. M oreover, since it was v irtu ally co m p u lso ry fo r every y o u th to b e initiated, th is m ean t th a t m o st o f th e y o u n g er m en w ere en tirely u n d e r th e society’s co m m an d as re p re se n te d b y th e ‘in n er circle’ o f senior m em b ers. T h e la tter w ere fu lly en title d to place th e initiates u n d e r P oro oath, an d after th is everyone was b o u n d to ad h ere to w hatever plans h ad b ee n d ecided u p o n in secret. So fa r as can b e ju d g ed , how ever, th e re w as no p erm an en tly existing P oro in th e sense o f a con tin u o u s a n d u n in te rru p te d ro u n d o f organized activities. M em b ers w ere called to g eth er at indefinite tim es for th e a ttain ­ m en t o f specific objects an d , w h en th ese objects h ad been attained, th e ‘p o ro ’ bro k e u p o r dissolved. E ven th e periodic initiation school for new m em b ers was no exception to th is rule or principle. N o r d id th e P oro possess any centralized fo rm o f organization. I t was called to g eth er an d organized locally th ro u g h th e m edium of w hat, for lack o f a b e tte r te rm , have been called ‘lodges’.

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T h e ‘lodges’ w ere q u ite in d ep en d e n t o f each o th er, so far as th eir ad m in istrativ e an d specific activities w ere concerned. A t th e sam e tim e th ey o p erated along lines an d carried o u t ritu als an d practices w h ich w ere su b stan tially th e sam e all over M en d e country. In o th e r w ords, if a p erso n h ad b ee n in itiated in one area he w ould be ad m itte d to a g ath erin g anyw here else an d , according to his p artic u la r statu s, m ig h t p artic ip a te fully in w hatever was going o n in th e place visited. F o r th is reason th e P o ro as an association was, in all likelihood, th e m eans b y w hich a u n ifo rm system o f g o vernm ent as well as set of custom s was possible am ong a large n u m b e r o f politically separate an d scattered com m unities. A s an arb itra to r in chiefdom disputes, th e P o ro acted th ro u g h an arm ed b an d o f its officials, an d th eir in terv en tio n was sufficient to overaw e any p arty rejecting th e society’s decision. In d e ed , all w arfare had to cease w hile th e society was in session, an d p ro h ib itio n s placed in th e nam e o f th e P o ro o n th e h arv estin g o f palm fru it o r on fishing a t certain seasons w ere ignored only at th e greatest peril. T h e P oro also reg u lated trad in g practices an d fixed prices at w hich various com m odities sh o u ld b e sold an d a t w hich certain services, for instance, a day’s load-carrying, sh o u ld b e perform ed. I t is probable, th erefo re, th a t th is society a n d th e chieftainship m u tu ally rein fo rced each o th er. Since th e ch ief’s fu n ctio n as ru le r largely derived fro m his role as d irec to r a n d leader in tim e o f w ar, his ability to co m m an d an d to exact obedience was based o n physical p o w er an d p ersonality a n d n o t th e m ystical sources fro m w h ich th e P o ro d eriv ed its voice. N o r h a d th e M en d e chief an y religious o r ritu a l d u ties to p erfo rm w h ich w ere o th er th a n p resid en tial. H e w as expected to sp o n so r certain p u b lic cere­ m onies, b u t n o t to officiate in th em . I n fact, any a ttrib u te s o f a religious k in d th a t th e ch ief possessed w ere m erely th o se w hich any senior p a rtic ip a n t in th e ancestral cu lt also shared. H e was a p u re ly secular figure. T h is ap p a re n t lack o f religious elem ents in th e business of ad m in istratio n w as re m e d ied b y th e P oro in a n u m b e r o f ways. F o r exam ple, th e society signalized th e resp ect d u e to secular au th o rity b y p arading, at th e fu n e ral o r coronation o f a chief, its p rin cip al an d m o st sacred sp irit, th e G ben i , w hich ordinarily cam e o u t in p u b lic only o n th e m o st im p o rtan t occasions. A t th e fu n e ral th e p ro c ed u re was for one o f th e society spirits to go

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first to th e house w here th e ch ief was b u ried , and th en ce to every house in th e tow n, an n o u n cin g th e ch ief’s death. A t each place h e was given a p resen t. A n o th er P o ro sp irit w en t ro u n d th e tow n dancing an d w as also given m oney. A fter this, every P oro m an was o rd e red to th e b u sh so th a t th e G b e n i could appear. A m idst g reat beatin g of d ru m s, th e G b e n i p roceeded to th e b u rial place an d bow ed over it. H e rem ain ed u n til th e ch ief’s fam ily h ad given h im m oney. A fu rth e r p o in t was th a t th e chief, w hen dying, was tak en to th e P oro b u sh for m edical treatm en t. S e c u la r A d m in is tr a tio n

I t is obvious, therefo re, th a t th e connexion betw een th is society an d political au th o rity w as very strong. H ow ever, before discussing th is com plicated qu estio n it w ill b e convenient to re tu rn to th e secular ad m in istratio n o f th e M en d e chiefdom . T h is w as vested p rim arily in a ru lin g lineage w hose m em b ers held m o st o f th e p rin cip al offices. As already im plied, th e ir rig h t to ru le h inged m ainly on descent fro m th e w a rrio r chief an d w arriors w ho first ru le d in th a t p a rt of th e co u n try . I t h a d its basis in lan d ow nership o f a su b stan tial p ro p o rtio n o f th e chiefdom an d inclu d ed th e dying ch ief n o m in atin g his successor. T h e nam e o f th e p erso n w ould be k ep t a secret as long as possible in case o f h a rm befalling him , an d his fam ily h ad to ‘b eg ’ th e o th e r ‘b ig m e n ’ o f th e chiefdom w ith gifts o f slaves before he w as ap p o in ted . T h e successor w as usually th e first-b o rn , b u t m ig h t be a n o th er so n o f th e late chief, if th e la tte r’s m o th e r stood in h ig h er favour. I n som e cases a series o f b ro th e rs follow ed each o th er as chiefs before th e son o f th e first b ro th e r was ap p o in ted . T h e idea in th is— th a t th e sons o f th e fo rm er ch ief stood in closer relationship to h im th a n his so n ’s sons— d en o ted th e g u id in g principle. In d efault of a suitable successor, th e re was n o th in g to p re v en t a w om an, su ch as a d au g h ­ te r o f th e late chief, b ein g ap p o in ted , an d even a d au g h ter’s child h ad a rig h t to succeed in th e absence of n earer heirs in th e m ale line. Som etim es a p o w erfu l w arrio r or o th er p erso n o f influence w ould act as re g en t ch ief d u rin g th e senility of th e actual chief, or d u rin g th e m in o rity of th e rig h tfu l successor, b u t th is conferred n o rig h t eith er on h im o r his descendants to in h e rit th e chiefdom . A n u m b e r of social insignia an d special characteristics o f th e office m ark ed th e ch ief o u t fro m o rd in ary society. O ne o f these was th e w earing of leo p ard ’s te e th — a sign o f royal rank and of

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m em b ersh ip o f su ch a fam ily— an d o th er em blem s, su ch as an ele p h a n t’s tail, w ere b o rn e b y th e ch ief’s followers. O ne o f th e latter, a tru s te d atte n d a n t, w as know n as th e ‘B earer o f th e C h ief’s L ife’. H e h ad charge o f various special m edicines to safeguard th e ch ief’s life a n d h ea lth fro m w itch craft a n d o th er m isfortunes. T h e re w as also th e ch ief’s mo r i- m an , w ho acted as special adviser an d assisted h im to carry o u t p u b lic sacrifices, w h en th e occasion arose. N o t only w as it co n tra ry to M en d e custom to use personal nam es in ad d ressin g a p erso n b u t, in th e case o f th e chief, a serious offence to m en tio n h is nam e p u blicly at all. T o do so co n stitu te d grave d isresp ect an d earned th e fu rth e r suggestion th a t th e p erso n u sin g it w as w orking som e m edicine against th e chief. T h e ap p ro v ed title o f address w as m a r d a — ‘g ra n d fath er’, th e title o f ch ief itself— m a h a — b ein g ap p lied m ore freq u en tly to o th er leading officials in th e chiefdom . A p erso n approaching th e chief, in clu d in g th e y o u n g er m em b ers o f his ow n fam ily, w as expected to m ove to w ard s h im w ith b o d y b e n t an d w ith h an d s o n knees, a n d to u n co v er his h ead . I t w as also etiq u ette fo r th e ch ief to be accom panied b y a crow d o f co u rtie rs w henever he w alked or m oved o u tsid e h is ow n co m p o u n d . G enerally, h e w as carried in a ham m ock follow ed b y a g ro u p o f w om en singers and m ale d ru m ­ m ers, w hose d u ty was to extol his praises. N eedless to say, a fu rth e r im p o rta n t sign o f th e c h ie f’s status was th e large n u m b er o f wives. T h e m eans o f u p h o ld in g th is dig nity and prestige, as w ell as discharging th e ch ief’s office, w ere su pplied by various custom ary form s o f service an d trib u te fro m th e chiefdom . T h e first o f these w as n d ɔ-ye n g e, o r chiefdom labour, w hich m ean t th a t th e chiefdom , in te rm s o f levies fro m w orkers fro m th e individual sections, had th e resp o n sib ility o f m aking th e ch ief’s m a n ja (rice) farm s. I n th e sam e way, th e chiefdom su p p lied lab o u r for th e p u rp o se of keeping th e ch ief’s co m p o u n d in good repair, or of build in g a new one if need be, as w ell as clearing m ain roads, etc. I n addition, th e ch ief was en title d to a sm all p ro p o rtio n o f th e rice an d palm oil p ro d u c ed b y every farm in g h o usehold in th e chiefdom . T h is was collected th ro u g h th e sub-chiefs. T h e re w ere also various custom ary p resents. W h e n th e chief visited one of his sub-chiefs th e la tte r was ex p ected to ‘p u t dow n th e ch ief’s ham m ock’— m b o m a h itie — b y offering h im a fairly valuable gift, su ch as a n u m b e r o f cows, an d en tertain in g h im and his follow ers on a

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lavish scale. T h e ch ief also h a d th e rig h t to certain anim als killed in th e chiefdom , su c h as th e leopard, an d could claim , in som e cases, a sm all ‘d ash ’ fro m anyone tap p in g p alm w ine. A fu rth e r an d m ore im p o rta n t source o f incom e was th e fees an d fines gained in th e h earin g o f co u rt cases. A s already im plied, th e ch ief’s ow n p rim ary obligation was as th e m ilitary p ro te c to r o f h is people. H e w as also responsible for th e civil as w ell as th e m ilitary ad m in istratio n o f th e chiefdom , and acted as th e p rin cip a l a d ju d ica to r in th e case o f disputes. I n ad d i­ tio n to en tertain in g stran g ers, h e w as also expected to keep open h o u se an d to su cco u r n ee d y m em b ers o f his ow n chiefdom . As already stressed, he h ad no ritu a l o r religious function. T h e second p erso n in th e political h ierarch y w as th e Speaker, o r L a v a lie . I t w as possible th a t th e office originated in th e original leader ap p o in tin g one o f his follow ers as d ep u ty ; som etim es it w as a siste r’s son. I n any case, th e p ractice seem s to have led to th e estab ­ lish m e n t o f re g u la r S p eak ers’ ‘h o u ses’ (ju st as th e re w ere regular chiefs’ ‘h ouses’) fro m w h ich th e S peaker w as invariably chosen. T h e Speaker h a d tw o p rin cip al fu n ctio n s in th e chiefdom . F irst, he was essentially th e ch ief’s d ep u ty . H e took over these du ties w henever th e la tte r was ill, o r ab sen t fro m any p u blic occasion. I n su ch an event th e S peaker officiated in full capacity an d w ith en tire resp o n sib ility for th e chiefly office. Secondly, th e Speaker was th e m ain in term ed iary betw een ch ief an d th e chief­ dom , and com plaints an d d isp u tes w ere b ro u g h t initially to his notice fo r tran sm issio n , if necessary, to th e chief. P a rt o f th e S peak er’s role, in th is respect, w as to act as a ‘so u n d in g b o a rd ’ to p u b lic opinion, o n th e one h a n d ; an d , o n th e o th er, to let th e people know if th e ch ief sh o u ld d ep art, in his actions, from trad itio n al custom an d practice. T h e Speaker was also resp o n sib le fo r passing th e ch ief’s orders an d in stru ctio n s dow n to su b o rd in ate officials, an d w as essentially, in th is respect, as th e title o f his office (from lа-m o u th ) im plied, th e ch ief’s ‘m o u th p ie ce’. T h e S peaker w as th erefo re su p p o sed to be diplom atic, tactfu l, a n d elo q u en t. T h e general practice, in th e event o f any p artic u la r com m and, w as fo r a m essenger to set o u t w ith a sign o f th e S peak er’s cred en tials to each su b -c h ie f in tu rn . I t w as fo r each o f th e la tte r to see th a t th e m essage w as im p le­ m en ted in h is p artic u la r section o f th e chiefdom . Sim ilarly, in th e general assem bly o f th e chiefdom council, it was custom ary for

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th e Speaker first to in form th e g ath ering of th e business o f th e m eeting before th e chief h im self addressed it. T h e S peaker’s duties m ade h im , in fact, a kind o f ‘chief o f staff’ in th e general business o f th e chiefdom . S ub-chiefs, w ho cam e n ext in o rd e r o f precedence, w ere also assisted by th e ir ow n speakers. T h e y n o t only h a d sim ilar privileges an d duties as th e chief b u t also m ain tain ed bodyguards w hich w ere used to m ain tain law an d o rd e r an d fo r raids. A su b -c h ie f settled disp u tes b ro u g h t to h im b y th e people u n d e r his ju risd ic ­ tion, re p resen te d th e m at a chiefdom council, an d saw th a t th e decisions of th e chief w ere carried out. S ub-chiefs also gave annual gifts to th e chief, a share o f th e spoils tak en in raids, and provided w arriors w h en th e n ee d arose. S u b o rd in ate to sub-chiefs w ere tow n-chiefs an d village h eadm en, w ho h ad sim ilar privileges and du ties an d derived th e ir incom e fro m th e sam e sources. L ike the o th er holders of titles, th ese fu n ctio n aries w ere usually descended from or connected w ith th e ru lin g lineage. I t w as to th e latter officials an d to th e local elders th a t qu arrels an d d isputes w ere tak en fo r settlem en t. If, how ever, th e p rincipals w ere persons o f consequence th e case w as tak en to th e ch ief for arb itratio n . In th e latter case th e ch ief h eld co u rt an d was assisted by th e principal m en in th e chiefdom . A ccording to an elderly inform ant, the follow ing was th e ju d icial p ro c ed u re : ‘In the old days, if your wife w ent to stay with her father’s people and became pregnant, you called on them for satisfaction (i.e., “woman damage” ). If they did not m eet you, you send a “ shake hand” (custo­ mary present) to some big m an in the town, asking him to take the m atter up in the Chief’s court. T h e Chief sent his messenger to summon you and the defendant, and the case was heard in his barri. Each m orning you and the defendant would “ awaken” the Court with presents to the courtiers. You, as plaintiff, would be asked to state your case, and to swear on your opponent’s medicine. T hen the defendant stated his case and was sworn on your medicine. T h e Chief would ask how m uch damages you were claiming, and you were required to deposit the amount in a nearby house. I t m ight be forty country cloths and a num ber of slaves. T h e defendant was called upon to do likewise, and a kind of “ betting m atch” ensued. I f you did not own any slaves, you m ight offer your sister’s son or daughter as a pawn, bu t not your own son, because you had no right to pawn him. I f after pledging your nephew, you lost the case, you had to redeem him. T h e father and m other of the pawn also had to work to redeem him.

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‘After the cases of both the plaintiff and the defendant had been heard, the Chief called upon them to name their witnesses. T he w it­ nesses were sent for, and would ask the Chief to “ introduce them ” to the parties concerned, i.e., they required a “ hand shake” from both suitors. T h e witnesses then gave their version of the m atter, after being duly sworn, and were asked to withdraw and “hang heads” on it. Providing their verdict was unanimous, the Chief pronounced judgem ent accord­ ingly. If it was not unanimous the witnesses were fined, and it was left to the C ourt to bring in a verdict. T h e plaintiff and the defendant were asked to make a further statement, and the courtiers retired and “ hanged heads” . On their return, the Chief asked each one on whose side he stood, and the courtiers arranged themselves accordingly. T h e Chief then gave his verdict according to the majority of opinion.’ A custom ary m e th o d o f su m m o n in g th e co u rt was fo r th e p lain ­ tiff to sen d a q u a n tity o f p alm w ine to th e elders. T h e d efen d an t was expected to do likewise if h e w ished to co n test th e claim . F ailu re to do th is w as eq u iv alen t to a n adm ission o f g uilt, hence th e q u estio n w h ich th e eld ers w o u ld p u t to him , M b a n d o e la h w e i lo? — W ill you cross th e sum m ons? T h e re w as (and still is) a g re at variety in m eth o d s o f ad m in isterin g th e oath. I t m ig h t take th e fo rm of ta p p in g to g eth er tw o pieces o f iron, o f stirrin g a m ix tu re o f ch o p p e d kola, salt, an d w ater, etc. I f th e m edicine u sed h ad to be d ru n k , th e p a rty su p p ly in g it h a d to taste it first him self. T h e w itnesses gave evidence in each o th ers’ hearing, an d th is h ad th e effect o f p ro d u c in g closer collaboration, p articularly if th ey h ad b een ap p ro ach ed b efo reh an d by eith er p arty . T h e co u rtiers, in clu d in g th e ch ief’s Speaker (his deputy), m ig h t also be b rib ed , an d th e la tter m ig h t in tercede on th e side in w hich he was in tere ste d b y indicating, b y m ovem ents o f his sw itch, th e ap p ro p riate answ ers to questions p u t by th e court. T h e co u rt m em b ers in d icated th e ir ow n allegiance to eith er o f th e parties concerned b y w earing th e ir caps in a distinctive way. T h e suitors them selves w ere p e rm itte d to cross-exam ine each o th er ‘on the b rid g e ’. T h is m ean t th a t th ey stood directly opposite each oth er at a close distance, an d th e one questioned th e o th er w ith th e object o f p ressing h im to ad m it a certain point. T h e chief, alone, was su p p o sed to be im m u n e fro m b rib ery , as th is was one o f th e specific obligations u n d erta k en at his ‘crow ning’. W e have, th en , in th ese term s a form al p ictu re of M ende political organization. I t is extrem ely difficult to say how far the

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system actually fu n c tio n e d in th is w ay because th e ex ten t o f local sovereignty was obviously variable. Probably, as im plied above, th e re w ere th ree types of political u n its: firstly, a to w n w ith its satellite villages; secondly, chiefdom s consisting o f several such local g ro u p s; an d finally, large confederacies. I n th e first case th e re is reason to suppose th a t th e ch ief’s adm in istratio n was perso n al an d was carried on w ith th e aid o f his Speaker an d of th e leading m en in th e to w n w ho w ere th e ch ief’s close relatives or friends. I n th e second case th e ch ief’s ow n council was enlarged to in clu d e all title-h o ld ers in th e chiefdom . T heoretically, the ch ief was sup p o sed to co n su lt th is b o d y over any m easure affecting th e chiefdom as a w hole, an d was responsible to it fo r his actions. I n fact, ow ing to difficulties o f com m unication and for oth er reasons, th e p ro b ab ility is th a t it was rarely convened as a full assem bly an d th a t th e chief ru led w ith th e help o f his ow n council. U n d o u b ted ly , for new s an d intelligence concerning events and affairs in th e chiefdom he w ould have to rely largely on those m o st closely ab o u t him . T h e se people and those w ho took care o f h im by, for exam ple, tastin g his food, w ere know n respectively as th e ch ief’s ‘gossipers’— n g a f a b la , a n d as th e ch ief’s ‘eyes and ears ’— m a h e i m a k u m g b e i b la . P robably, in th e last resort, he d e ­ p e n d e d largely o n th e su p p o rt o f th e P oro society to en su re th e m ain ten an ce o f cu sto m ary law an d behaviour. T h e im p licatio n o f th e latter p o in t— th a t th e P oro an d th e chief­ taincy are to be re g ard e d as com plem entary forces in governm ent— is especially relevant to th e confederacies. N orm ally, political p ow er w as balanced betw een th e tw o in stitutions. I t was th e prero g ativ e o f th e society, as m ain custodian o f trib al trad itio n , to w a tc h th e ch ief; to en su re th a t his actions as ru le r conform ed w ith cu sto m ary practice. A m ong th e S h erb ro (culturally very akin to th e M en d e) th e P o ro supervised his installation. W h e n th e new ch ief w as chosen h e w as p u t into k u n g h , i.e. rem ained in seclusion fo r som e weeks, o r longer, an d d u rin g th is tim e h e was u n d e r th e in stru ctio n a n d co n tro l o f P o ro elders (H all, 1938). A m ong th e M en d e them selves n o t only h a d questions o f succession to be decided in P o ro b u t all im p o rta n t cases affecting th e chiefdom at large h a d also, in th eo ry , to be tak en th ere. T h e chief, on his p a rt, w as expected to h o ld th e P oro in check, an d to see th a t its officials d id n o t take u n d u e advantage o f th e ir special privileges by exploiting th e people. F o r exam ple, h e could w ith h o ld his p er-

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m ission w hen th e society w ish ed to initiate new m em bers. A session w hich lasted fo r th re e years o r m ore w as a serious d ra in o n th e p u b lic w ealth. T h e ch ief an d o th er b ig m en w ere also en title d to th e lab o u r o f P o ro initiates on th eir farm s. T h e exp lan atio n o f th is re latio n sh ip is possibly th a t indigenous g o v ern m en t fu n c tio n e d a t tw o levels, n o t m u tu ally exclusive, b u t overlapping. T h e first, w h ich m ig h t be term e d th e civil phase, was concern ed w ith th e everyday m anagem ent o f th e co u n try an d its citizens, co m m o n law s g overning conduct, etc. T h is in clu d ed th e external organization o f chiefs an d m in o r officials. O n th e second level, w h ich m ig h t b e th o u g h t o f as religious, w ere th e m echanism s fo r h an d lin g th e crises an d em ergencies o f life, ‘I t was in th is second level o f g o vernm ent, calculated to deal w ith th e h id d en sp iritu al forces, th a t th e (Poro) m asks fo u n d th e ir special place’ (H arley, 1950: viii). I n these term s, th erefo re, th e re w as a sense in w h ich th e P oro was practically su p rem e in a chiefdom . D iscussions affecting b o th in tern a l affairs an d relations w ith o th e r chiefdom s w ere h eld in th e P o ro council. T h e ch ief w as a m e m b er o f th a t council, b u t its au th o rity could override him , an d th e real pow er lay in th e hands of th e P o ro ‘in n e r circle’ (H all, 1938). H ow ever, according to H a rley ’s d escrip tio n o f th e M an o th e re was usually one ch ief in th e co m m u n ity w ho w as a p eer o f th e P oro elders. H e was som e­ th in g o f a king, an d h ad pow er of life and d eath over his subjects p ro v id ed he w orked th ro u g h th e P oro, never against it (H arley, 1941: 7). E vidence given to th e Royal C om m ission suggests th a t certain chiefs in S ierra L eo n e enjoyed sim ilar prerogatives. T h u s, after explaining th e p ractice o f placing th e w hole co u n try u n d e r oath, one o f C h alm er’s w itnesses w en t on : ‘T h e head chief is always at the head. . . . As a rule the porro is brought down to the head chief of the country, who forms a porro bush in his town, and he will then initiate the chiefs of various districts under him, and they, as they call it, buy the porro bed from him, and take it to their own town where they initiate the people . . . Several Head Chiefs may combine in a porro—indeed very rarely is anything attem pted by one man. T here is always a tribe of several . . . W hen several Head Chiefs resolved on a war, they would m eet and form their porro, then communicate with the Sub-Chiefs, and spread it through the country. A one word porro would mean a one opinion’ (Parlia­ mentary Papers, 1899: 489).

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T h is illustrates th e w ay in w h ich th e signal could be given for w ar. T a k e n in co n ju n ctio n w ith th e still earlier rep o rts, it m ay also explain how law an d o rd e r could b e m ain tain ed th ro u g h P oro o n an extensive scale. I n p artic u la r, L ie u ten a n t Jo h n M atthew s, w ho lived in S ierra L eo n e betw een 1785 an d 1787, says th a t th e society h ad som e v ery su m m ary ways o f re strain in g co n ten d in g p arties once its w o rd h ad gone o u t th a t th e re sh o u ld be peace. I t sen t dow n a p a rty o f fo rty or fifty m en, all arm ed an d disguised. T h e y p u t to d ea th anyone w ho w as o u t o f doors, a n d rem oved as m u ch livestock an d provisions as th e y pleased (1788: 84-5). W h a t th is an d additional evidence o f P o ro ’s political fu n ctio n suggest is th a t th e larger confederacies an d hegem onies m ay have b een h eld to g eth er m ainly th ro u g h th e society’s control. A great deal d epen d ed u p o n th e ch ief’s relationship w ith P oro, and ab o u t his exact p o sitio n th e re th e in fo rm ation is am biguous. Provided, how ever, a h ead ch ief w as influential in th e ‘in n er council’, th e a ttitu d e o f local headm en a n d chiefs w ould b e less im p o rtan t.3 H e w ould have at his disposal a b o d y o f secret agents, w ell dis­ ciplined an d already u n d e r oath, to police th e p articu lar territo ry in w hich th ey belonged. T h e se agents w ould keep th e head chief con tin u o u sly in fo rm ed ab o u t w h at w as going on, an d h e w ould be able to use th em , if n eed arose, to stam p o u t disaffection o r civil u n re st. F u rth e rm o re , in ad d itio n to m obilizing th e co u n try for pu rp o ses o f m ilitary aggression o r defence, these local lodges could be em ployed, in o rd in ary tim es, to regulate trad e and oth er econom ic affairs. T h e y could also b e used by th e high chief to p ro m u lgate legislation. T o th is sh o uld be added th e generally w ide fu n ctio n s o f secret societies in trad itio n al life. T h e P oro and th e S ande societies tra in respectively th e younger m en an d w om en fo r th e ir everyday o ccupational an d o th er duties and indoctrinate th e m w ith trib al values. O th e r associations exist to regulate sexual co n d u ct, in clu d in g th e laws o f m arriage, an d to operate im p o rta n t social services. T h e y provide, for exam ple, m edical tre a tm e n t an d take care o f th e sick, as well as organizing en tertain ­ m e n t an d recreation. I n view o f all this, th e re is no reason to object to E isen stad t’s typification o f th e M en d e political system as a m onarchy based o n associations an d secret societies (E isenstadt, 1959: 10). In o th e r w ords, we find— follow ing his categorization—a centralized chiefdom in w hich m o st political positions are vested in m em bers

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of h ered itary g roups an d w ith th e additional factor of associations. T h e se p erfo rm im p o rta n t political and adm inistrative functions, especially in econom ic an d cu ltu ra l fields an d in th e general m ain ten an ce o f social control. H e re is also a g reater elaboration o f special political an d ad m in istrativ e apparatus, som e o f w hich is u n d e r th e control of th e h ig h ch ief and som e u n d e r th e control o f th e associations. Som e degree o f personal politics pro b ab ly also existed in th e u p p e r echelons o f th e secret associations and in relations betw een th e secret associations and the m ore pow erful chiefs. I t seem s im p o rta n t to stress th e latter considerations because th e original arrangem ents for ad m in istering th e S ierra L eone P ro te c t­ orate m ade use o f th e chiefs an d headm en, b u t no serious notice was tak en o f th e political fu n c tio n o f th e secret societies. O nly in a negative sense was th e ir influence recognized, as w hen, in 1897, it was m ad e a crim inal offence to em ploy P oro laws as a m eans o f in terfe rin g w ith trad e. M oreover, in ad o p tin g fo r adm inistrative p u rp o ses w h at was believed to re p resen t th e indigenous hierarchy, th e G o v e rn m en t lim ited itself to individual chiefdom s, p u ttin g all th e native ru lers w h o m th e y recognized as ‘p aram o u n t chiefs’ on th e sam e footing. I n a n u m b e r o f cases persons w ere recognized as chiefs w hose p o sitio n a n d stan d in g w as o f a very m in o r and su b o rd in ate n atu re . T h e statu s o f o th er native ru lers w as m is­ re p resen te d o r m isu n d ersto o d th ro u g h m istakes, deliberate or otherw ise, o n th e p a rt o f in te rp re te rs, and, in som e instances, too, th e chiefly staff o f office w as aw arded to individuals w hose only claim to th e te rrito ry con cern ed lay in th e ir having agreed to b rin g in H o u se T a x fo r it. A gain, in th e early days th e F ro n tie r P olice v irtu ally created chiefs o u t o f p ersons w ho w on th e ir favour o r w ere useful to th em . A nalogous circum stances have clouded th e reco n stru ctio n o f p re-C o lo n ial political system s n o t only in S ierra L eo n e b u t also elsew here in W e st A frica. O n e w onders, therefore, if a renew ed analysis o f som e o f th ese earlier kingdom s m ig h t p erh ap s give g reater p ro m in en ce to th e associational factor. Y oruba and D a h o ­ m ey are cases in p o in t, an d it m ay be th a t this p articu lar special­ ization o f political fu n c tio n w as ch aracteristic o f a m u ch w ider region th a n th e G u in ea C oast.

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NOTES 1. T his essay is substantially based on the account published in the author’s book, T h e M e n d e o f S ie rra L eo n e: a W est A fric a n People in T ransition , 1951. (The author is indebted to the publishers for permis­ sion to reproduce sections from Chapters 1, 9, and 12.) 2. K ussoh or K ossa appears to be a Tem ne word for the M ende. It has developed an impolite meaning, although it occurs in the m id-nine­ teenth-century treaties signed by the M ende leaders themselves apparently without objection (K up, 1961: 156). 3. Space does not perm it a fuller examination of this complex ques­ tion, but it is discussed in the author’s ‘T h e Political Function of the Poro,’ (1965-6). REFEREN CES Astley, Thom as

174547

D apper, Oliver Eisenstadt, S. N.

Hall, H. U. Harley, G. W.

K up, A. P. Little, K. L.

M atthews, John Ogilby, J. Parliam entary Papers

1686

N e w G eneral C ollection o f Voyages a n d T ravels, Vols. 1-4. London. D escription de l ’A friq u e , trans. Flamand,

Amsterdam. ‘Primitive Political Systems : a pre­ 1959 liminary comparative analysis’, A m e r. A n th r ., Vol. 61, 2. T h e Sherbro o f S ie rra Leone. Pennsyl­ 1938 vania. 1941 ‘Notes on the Poro in Liberia’, P eabody M u seu m P apers, No. 2, Vol. 19. 1950 ‘Masks as Agents of Social Control’, P eabody M u seu m P apers, No. 2, Vol. 32. 1961 A H isto ry o f S ie rra L eo n e: 1 4 0 0 -1 7 8 7 . Cambridge. 1951 T h e M e n d e o f S ie rra Leone. 1965- ‘T h e Political Function of the Poro’, 66 Parts I and II, A fr ic a , Vol. xxxv, 4, pp. 349-65 ; Vol. xxxvi, 1, pp. 62-72. 1788 A V oyage to th e R iv e r S ie rra Leone. London. 1696 A fr ic a , the R egions o f E g y p t, B a rb a ry a n d B illedulgeria. London. 1899 R e p o rt on the In su rrectio n in the S ie rra Leone P rotectorate.

s

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in c e n t

M

o n t e il

T h e H is to r y o f K a y o r 1

K ayor, now a province o f Senegal, is in h ab ited m ainly by W olof, an eth n ic g ro u p speaking a W est A tlantic language, w ho n u m b e re d m ore th a n a m illion in 1965. T h e W â lo C h ro n ic le 2 confirm s th a t th ey w ere in th e ir p re sen t geographical p osition by th e th irte e n th century. K a y o r extends 150 m iles fro m sou th -w est to n o rth -e a st an d 80 m iles fro m n o rth to so uth— betw een S aintL o u is an d R ufisque; it is b o u n d e d b y W aalo, D yolof, an d Baol. T o d a y th e railw ay cuts across its en tire length. T h e m ap on p. 261 show s K ay o r as it was in 1883 ; th e railw ay, d atin g fro m 1885, is a later ad dition. T h e m ain provinces of K ayor are show n: D y a m b u r, M baw ar, S anyokhor, D y a n d er, an d G h e t.3 B arthélém y (1848: 39) quotes M a lte -B ru n ’s estim atio n of p o p u latio n fo r K ay o r: 100,000 souls. T h e people of K ayor, unlike o th er W olof, are n o t know n b y th e d o u b lin g of th e nam e of th e ir co u n try : i.e. W aalo-W aalo, Baol-Baol, D yolof-D yolof, S iin-S iin, and S aalum -S aalum , th e two last lying so u th o f Baol. T h e y are called A adyor o r W aadyor— people of th e ‘dry, re d s a n d ’ (d y o r ). T h e y live in circular h u ts ‘like beehives’ (M ollien, 1820: 103). T h e ir m ajor crops are m illet an d rice ; an d g ro u n d n u ts, in tro d u c e d from B razil, b u t n o t m e n ­ tio n ed by M ollien, 1820, have b ee n system atically cultivated in K ay o r an d ex p o rte d since 1849. G andiole a n d R ufisque have becom e im p o rta n t tra d in g cen tres b ased on th e p o rts o f G orée an d S ain t-L o u is.4 A t L ey b ar, th e king— o r D a m e l —im posed fixed du es o n all ex p o rts fro m K ay o r to S ain t-L o u is. I n 1850 h e d em an d ed seven h u n d re d guineas as his ‘cu sto m ’— i.e. trib u te . F arm ers p aid h im a p ro p o rtio n o f th eir harvest. Villages, on th e average, n u m b e re d one h u n d re d an d sixty in h ab itan ts. A typical village w as form ed b y a ‘sq u are’ (k ӧ r ) aro u n d a w atering-place, sh ad ed b y large trees. E ld ers sat in th e cen tre o n a k in d o f p latfo rm ( d a t ). I n th eo ry , village chiefs, w ho w ere o ften m arab o u ts, w ere ap p o in ted b y th e D a m el. T h e ir m ain fu n ctio n s w ere to keep p u b lic o rd e r an d collect trib u te fo r th e

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S k e tc h M ap o f K a y o r (1883)

D a m el. M atrilin eal descent was form erly im p o rtan t for sucession an d in h eritan c e; at th e p re sen t tim e, how ever, u n d er the influence o f Islam , p atrilin eal descent is stressed. In M uslim villages ca d is (k h a a li ) delivered Islam ic ju stice, tem p ered by custom ary codes. A t th e capital th e m arab o u t, w ho advised th e king on Islam ic affairs, often h eld a co u rt o f final appeal. O ral trad itio n s indicate th a t th e W olof originated in W alo ab o u t th e tu rn of th e tw elfth cen tu ry from a fusion of Serer, Sose (M andinka), F u lb e , an d T u co lo r elem ents. W alo and D y o lo f are th e oldest W olof states. A ccording to oral trad itio n s im p arted b y Y oro D yaao, ch ief o f W aalo, K ayor rem ained a vassal state o f th e D yolof em pire u n til th e sixteenth century. I t becam e in d ep en d e n t follow ing th e refusal of its D a m el to pay trib u te : ‘L in k s w ere sn ap p ed an d th e prickly th o rn s rem oved’ (Rousseau, 1933 an d 1941; B rigaud, 1962: 85-115). By the en d of the n in e-

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te e n th c e n tu ry th irty D a m els h a d reigned in K ayor. C alculating backw ards fro m 1854 (th e y ear o f th e chronology p u b lish ed in th e M o n ite u r d u S é n é g a l), d ates have b een established fro m th e len g th s o f th e ir reigns as p reserv ed b y trad itio n . A p a rt fro m one o r tw o details th e griots are basically in ag reem en t; I was able to check th e M o n ite u r list o n 21 M a rc h 1963 w ith th e fam ous g rio t E l-H ad j A ssane M arokhaya, k n o w n as ‘S am b ’. I n th is trad itio n ally m atrilin eal society th e king w as chosen fro m a p artic u la r m atrilineage ( k h e e t o r m e e n ). Seven royal m a tri­ lineages (g a r m i ) have p ro v id ed seven successive dynasties : G eedy (11 kings), M u y o y (6), D o ro b ê (5), Sonyo (3), G elw ar (2), and W ag ad u (1). T ra d itio n re co u n ts th a t th e Sonyo an d G elw ar lineages w ere p ro b ab ly o f M an d in k a origin an d th a t th e W agadu o rig in ated in th e S oninke k ingdom o f th e sam e nam e. T h e D orobê m ig h t have b ee n th e T u c o lo r T o ro d B e. G eed y in W olof m eans th e sea ; th e ir o rig in is acco u n ted for in m any legends. W h atev er his m atrilineage, th e D a m el takes his m o th e r’s nam e, w h ich is placed after his ow n, i.e. L a t-D y o r N g o n e -L atir. H e is also given th e p atro n y m ic (s o n t ) o f his ‘b e lt’, o r patrilineage (g e n y o o ), w hich in L a t-D y o r’s case was F al. A s a m em b er o f th e F al patrilineage a D a m el could trace h is d escen t in th e m ale line fro m th e first ru le r o f K ayor. T h e K a y o r D a m el w as always a m em b er o f one o f th e seven g a r m i an d w as chosen b y a council o f g reat electors : rep resen tativ es o f th e nobles, th e free-b o rn , slaves, and, later, M u slim s.5 O n th e w hole th e h isto ry o f th e D am els w as th e h isto ry of th e stru g g le fo r p o w er b etw een th e seven m atrilin e­ ages. O th e r W o lo f kings w ere called: B u u rin S ine (Siin) an d Salum , B u u r - b a in D yolof, T e e n y in Baol, an d B r a k in W aalo. E ig h t D a m els o f K ay o r w ere also T e e n y o f Baol. A ccession rites w ere h eld a t M b u l, th e capital. S eated on a m o u n d o f sand, th e k ing-elect was given a p o t o f m illet seed, an d a tu rb a n placed on his head. H e th e n re tire d to th e sacred w ood, w here he was in itiate d according to indigenous rites. H e also u n d e rw e n t a ritu a l lu stratio n — a cu stom w hich originated fro m th e influence o f a six te e n th -c e n tu ry M o orish m arab o u t. T h e en tire h isto ry o f th e D a m els reveals a n interm in g lin g o f Islam ic an d indigenous religious practices. T h e D am el was, above all, co nsidered a m agician w ho ob tain ed p ow er only th ro u g h a reco u rse to p otions. T h e w h ereab o u ts o f a

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OF KAYOR

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D a m el’s grave w as nev er divulged, to p rev en t th e m an u factu re o f talism ans fro m his bones. I n th e early n in e te e n th cen tu ry th e D am els show ed considerable hostility to Isla m : it w as a v ain b o ast for th e M u slim E m ir o f th e T ra rz a M oors, M o h am m ed E l-H a b ib , to sw ear to ‘m ake his salaam in th e M a -Isa T e n d e ’s h u t’ (1832-55). I n 1 8 5 9 th e M uslim s o f D y a m b u r province reb elled against th e exactions o f th e D am el’s soldiers (ty e d d o )— d ru n k a rd s an d looters for th e m ost p art. T h e D a m els w ere also n o te d fo r th e ir love o f alcohol— trad e gin an d sib a k h , a beverage m ad e o f ferm en ted m illet an d berries. T h e D am els w ere co n stan tly at w ar w ith th eir neighbours. T h e y also cam e into conflict w ith th e F ren c h . M a -K o d u (1859-61) was deposed w hen he atte m p te d to p re v e n t th e installation o f a telegraph line fro m S ain t-L o u is to G orée. A n d b etw een 1877 and 1883 L a tD y o r p u t u p a fierce o p p o sitio n to th e co n stru ctio n o f th e railway. T h e nam es of th e D a m els (w ith th e ir m atrilineages) have been given b y Y oro D yao (it is h is list w h ich is pu b lish ed in th e M o n ite u r d u S é n é g a l in 1864), F aid h e rb e (1883), Sabatié ( ?1925), an d D ug u ay -C Iéd o r (1931). T h e se sources w ere cross-checked by ‘S am b ’ th e g rio t— E l H adj A ssane M arokhaya— in 1963. F ro m ab o u t 1549 u n til 1790 tw en ty -th re e D am els reigned. T h e tw e n ty -fo u rth king, A m ari N g o n e -N d ela-K u m b a (G eedy), 1790-1809, reig n ed for n in eteen years. H e w as a nephew o f his predecessor, w ho h ad b ee n exiled to W aalo. H is free-b o rn subjects recognized h im as D am el an d T ee n y . H e p u t dow n th e M a ra b o u t revolt in K ay o r a n d defeated th e A lm am i o f F o u ta, ‘A b d u l-Q a d ir (1790). T h e tw en ty -fifth king, B ira y m a F a a tm a -T y u b (G eedy), 1809-32, w as h is pred ecesso r’s nephew . H e reigned tw en ty -th re e years as D am el a n d w as also T e e n y o f Baol. T h e tw en ty -six th k in g was M a -Isa T e n d a D y o r (G eedy), 18 3 2 -55. H e w as his p red ecesso r’s nep hew and reigned for tw en ty th re e years. O n th e advice o f his slaves (the D y a a m - G e e d y or G eed y slaves) he m arried his m o th e r’s sister; th e ir tw o daughters, N g o n e -L a tir an d D eb o -S u k o , b o th becam e lin g e r (a title reserved fo r th e close u te rin e k in o f W olof kings). H e reigned over Baol as well as K ayor. H is siste r an d his nephew w ere exiled to W aalo. H e co n q u e red th e T ra rz a M oors. I n 1849 h e received a gift o f a h u n d re d an d fifty guinea pieces in o rd e r to encourage th e g ro u n d ­ n u t trad e. I n 1853 h e w as looting w recked ships.

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T h e tw en ty -se v en th king was B irahim a F al or B iram N goneL a tir (G eedy), 1855-59, a d a u g h ter’s son of his predecessor. H e fo u g h t against Baol. I n 1856 th e re was a rebellion led by his p rin cip a l councillor, th e D y aw d in M b u l, chief o f th e ‘free m e n ’ ( d y a a m b u r ) (see p. 265). I n 1859 th e province o f D y am b u r, in h a b ite d m ainly b y M u slim s, rose against th e king. T h e D am el B irah im a d ied o f ‘excessive in tem p eran ce’. D u rin g his reign F a id h e rb e sto p p e d th e ‘cu sto m ’ (a m o n etary trib u te to th e D am els) a n d rep laced it b y a d u ty o n all ex p o rts fro m K ayor, collected by th e D a m el’s agent. B irahim a agreed to th e installation o f th e teleg rap h . T h e tw en ty -e ig h th k in g w as M a -K o d u K u d u D y u f (G elw ar), 1859-61 ; h e was h is p red ecesso r’s fa th e r and son o f th e tw en ty -th ird D a m el, B irahim a F aatin -P en d a , an d a G elw ar w om an fro m Salum , K o d a -K u m b a . A n ill-n a tu re d d ru n k a rd , h e w as deposed by th e F re n c h arm y fo r a tte m p tin g to oppose th e telegraph. H e was re p la ced b y M a-D y o d y o F al, a d a u g h ter’s son o f th e tw en ty fo u rth D am el, A m ari N gone. T h e tw e n ty -n in th D a m el, M a-D y o d y o D egen F al (D orobe), 1861 an d 1863-64, was ap p o in ted by th e F ren ch . H e tried to p re v e n t th e looting o f his soldiers ( ty e d d o ). I n 1862 L a t-D y o r N g o n e -L a tir (G eedy th ro u g h his m o th er, b u t D yop th ro u g h his fa th e r) was chosen b y m alco n ten ts to replace M a-D y o d y o . H e w as th e first D am el n o t to have F al as his patronym ic. M a-D yodyo w as rein stalled as D am el in D ecem b er 1863. T h e th irtie th king was L a t-D y o r-N g o n e -L a tir D yop (G eedy), 1862-82. H e reigned in te rm itte n tly betw een tw o rebellions. H e m ad e his sub m issio n in N o v e m b e r 1868. H e was D a m el again b etw e en 1871 an d 1882. H e was killed in b attle at D yaqle on 26 O c to b e r 1886. T h e th irty -first king was A m ari N gone F al (D orobe), Ja n u a ry A u g u st 1883. H is real nam e was S am ba-Y aya Fal. H e was a d ru n k a rd an d k ep t co m pany w ith griots an d w om en. H e fled b efo re th e forces o f L a t-D y o r, an d was exiled to S aint-L ouis, w h e re he th rew h im self into th e riv er on 18 O ctober 1891. T h e th irty -sec o n d king, S am b a L aobe F al (G eedy), 1883-86, w as th e m atern al nephew o f L a t-D y o r. H e was killed on 6 O ctober 1886 at T iw aw an. A fter his d ea th K ayor was annexed to th e C olony o f S enegal.6

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K a y o r S o c ia l S tr u c tu r e

Social classes in K ay o r w ere ranked pyram idally. A t th e to p w ere th e nobles (g a r m i ), follow ed b y th e D yaam bur, th e free-b o rn ( geer ) m arab o u ts an d com m oner subjects. A fter th ese cam e m em b ers o f th e special caste gro u p s (n y e n o o ), and at th e b o tto m o f th e p y ram id w ere th e slaves ( d y a a m ), w ho despised th e n ye n o o . T h e origins o f th e seven g reat royal m atrilineages are com pli­ cated b y co n stan t in term arriag e. G eedy w om en, fo r exam ple, w ere several tim es m arrie d an d divorced to kings o f neighbouring states: th e E m ir o f th e T ra rz a , th e king o f th e M andinka, Saltigi K oli, B u u r Siin, B u u r-b a D yolof, T een y Baol, etc. L in g e r w ere m o th ers, m atern al aunts, o r u terin e sisters o f th e D a m els. T h e title is also given to a D am el’s d au g h ter w hose m o th er is a d a u g h te r o f a D am el. T h e lin g e r h ad h e r ow n villages an d people w h o m she p lu n d e re d at will. T h is pro v id ed a constant source o f conflict w ith th e D am el. L in g e r w ere highly respected, since it w as th ro u g h th e m th a t th e royal blood w as tran sm itted . T h e y w ere at one tim e extrem ely pow erful, an d som e o f them achieved fam e as w arriors. A b o u t 1888 th e qu een m o th er o f Salum , K u m b a D aga, p re ferred d ea th ra th e r th a n serve a griot. T h e k in g ’s co u rt was com posed o f d a g (courtiers), w ho resided at th e capital. D ig n itaries (k a n g a m ) w ere given territo rial co m m an d s: th ey w ere know n as n d o m b o -y ta n k after th e anklets th e y w ore as sym bols o f th e ir office. T h e re w ere seven principal officials: tw o governors or d y a w r in , called M b u l and D y in y en ; th e provincial chief o f G u e t (B ӧ r - G e t ); th e G a n k a l ; th e chief ( D y a r a f ) o f th e province of N d y a m b u r; th e B ӧ r d y a k ; and the F a r a - K a b a , an all-pow erful officer w ho was chief of th e th ro n e slaves an d was him self a slave. T h e k a n g a m w ere fam ed for th eir courage: flight th ey considered a cardinal sin. T h e k a n g a m p re sen t a difficult p ro b lem : th eir position is still unclear. I t is n o t know n how th ey w ere ap p o in ted, or w h at p a rt th ey played in th e election o f th e D am el, b u t th ey app aren tly retained a degree of in d ep en d en ce an d w ere n o t royals. T h e D y a am b u r w ere free-b o rn com m oners. O ne is tem p ted to look for th e origin of th eir nam e in th e tw o w ords d y a a m (m eaning slave) and b u u r m eaning king. T h e y w ere not, how ever, th ro n e slaves ( d y a a m - u B u u r - i ). N ow adays th e w ord d y a a m b u r (w ith a sh o rt final vowel) has com e to m ean a sober m em b er of the

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m iddle classes ; and th e derived w ord d y a a m b u re is used to describe th e quality o f resp o n sib ility associated w ith a d y a a m b u r . T h e explanation m ay be co n tain ed in th is saying, associated w ith the D a m els: K a d y o r y o p , sa m a d y a a m le n y u — ‘all th e people of K ayor are m y slaves’. M o llien (1820: 95) m entions th e fact th a t all K ayor subjects called one an o th e r ‘slaves o f th e D am el’. T h e m ajo rity o f th e D y a a m b u r w ere, o f course, p easan t farm ers. A n o th er nam e— b a a d o lo — ap p eared in 1826, in J. D a rd ’s G r a m ­ m a ire w o lo fe, as b a d o lo . I n 1685 it was given in th e P r e m ie r V o y a g e d u S ie u r d e la C o u rb e in th e gallicized form o f basses doles — ‘people o f little clo th ’ (C u ltru , 1913: 116). H e n ri G a d en (1914: 215) believes th a t th e w o rd w as b o rro w ed fro m th e F u la n i b a a y d o o la (p l. w a a s n d o o lB e ) : a sim ple citizen, som eone en tirely at one’s beck an d call. T h e w o rd itself is derived fro m th e verb w a a s / de m eaning ‘to be w ith o u t, to b e p o o r’. W o lo f b a a d o lo have th e preo ccu p ations o f peasants th e w orld over. T h re e th in g s are necessary to sub sisten ce according to th e m : seed (d y t ), h arv est (g o o b ), an d food ( le k ). T h u s , th ree fu rth e r th in g s are v ital to m a n : crops (sa k h le ), th e g rain -sto re (s a k k h a ), an d good chew ing (s a k h a m i ). T h e sam e idea is expressed a little less crudely th u s : ‘T h e th ree good things of life are a healthy body, frien d ly n eig h b o u rs an d p o p u larity .’ A pro v erb celebrates th e th re e qualities of a fo rtu n a te m an : ‘to have (a m ), to be able (m a n ), an d to know (k h a m ) . ’ Baadolo as w ell as D y aam b u r had stro n g age-sets (m a a s), w hose im p ortance has recently been stressed b y A. Sadji (1964: 52-56). K ayor, like W aalo, D yolof, Baol, Sine, an d Salum — th e oth er Senegalese kingdom s— h ad its m arabouts. T h e y w ere doctors, am ulet-m akers, an d ra n K o ran ic schools. T h e y often acted as arb itra to rs in private an d village disputes. I n K ayor, as elsew here, th e pagan D am el favoured th e m from m otives of prestige and charism a. T h e y w ere also indispensable as scribes, being th e only literates in th e kingdom . T h is gave th em a tw o-fold value in th e eyes o f th e people. I t was th ey w ho encouraged rebellions in K ayor. By 1862 th e y w ere so feared— even in S ain t-L o u is— th a t it was im possible to b rin g th e m to justice. ‘N o native w ill bear w itness against a m a ra b o u t’ (R ap p o rt Flize 14 N o v em b er 1862: P ap iers Ballot, N o. 15). T h e S e r in y — m arabouts, farm ers, soldiers, m agicians, diviners, w arriors, an d scribes— occupied a p ro m in en t p osition in th e social organization of K ayor.

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T h e social gro u p s so far considered consisted of free-b o rn subjects w ho w ere n o t m em bers of occupational ‘caste’ groups. T h e nyen o o , on th e o th er h and, w ere endogam ous ‘castes’, m em b er­ sh ip of w h ich was based on b irth , w ith w hich professional quali­ fications w ere associated. A m ong th e W olof th ere w ere jew eller an d blacksm ith castes (t ӧg ) — m em bers o f w hich w ere b o th despised an d feared ; w o odcutters an d carvers ( laobe) ; and leatherw orkers (u u d e ) an d w eavers (ra b a ). T h ese distinctions m ay co rresp on d to a fo rm er division of lab our according to th e m aterial w orked— m etal, w ood, leather, or cotton. A caste m em b er m ay usually be identified b y his p atro n y m ic (s a n t), indicative of his specialization. I n Senegal th e T h ia m ( ty a m ) are jew ellers. T h e caste of griots re p resen t a special category. T h e W olof call th em g ew el, th e F u lb e g a u lo , th e Soninke gesere. I n K ayor each D am el h ad his ow n kin group of griots. T h e y w ere m asters in th e a rt o f playing on nam es (k h e e t an d s a n t) : th ey referred obliquely to th e object o f th e ir m ockeries or praises w ithout nam ing him . O nly an ex p e rt w ould identify th eir su b ject and u n d e rsta n d th e im plications. I n fo rm er tim es th e g rio t also filled a less peaceable fu n ctio n . I n K ay o r th ey bore th e royal stan d ard to w ar an d could in n o circum stances tu rn back. T h e sto ry is to ld o f a g rio t w ho, at th e h eig h t o f a battle, prom ised his D am el to ca p tu re th e king o f Baol. H e arriv ed and, finding th e king on his m at, said, ‘T h e D am el w an ts y o u ,’ only to b e felled to th e g ro u n d an d overcom e b y blow s. A t G uild on 6 Ju n e 1886 th e K ay o r nobles advanced o n horseback, preceded by th eir griots loudly sh o u tin g th e ir fam ilies’ praises. W h e n M u se B uri D egen D yeng, th e D am el’s lieu ten an t an d friend, fell u n d e r fire his griot w as killed te n paces ahead o f h im (D uguay-C lédor, 1931: 30-31). K ay o r society w as su stain ed b y a slave class (d y a a m ). U n til recently d y a a m w ere categorized according to th e ir status. Slaves b o u g h t in th e m ark et w orked fo r th e ir m asters from six in th e m o rn in g u n til tw o in th e afternoon, w hen th ey w ere free to w ork th e ir ow n farm s. M ondays and F ridays w ere free. I f a slave o f th is category w as ‘m altreated b y his m aster and w ished to leave h im an d take refuge w ith an other, he w ould m ake a cu t in th e ear o f th is p e rso n ’s child, or b e tte r still his horse. H e th e n belonged to th is m an legally.’7 M o st slaves, how ever, w ere slaveb o rn (d y a a m d y u d y u ) an d co n stitu ted th e b u lk o f th e dom estic slaves. T h e ir n u m b ers are n o t know n fo r K ayor, b u t S ain t-L o u is

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an d G orée in 1825 h ad 12,300 slaves o u t o f a pop u latio n of 16,000 (A rchives Sénégal, Série 1 G 9). In a letter to th e governor, dated 21 A u g u st 1865, th e M a ra b o u t o f N diagne (S eriny N dyany) in K ayor sta te d : ‘W h en ev er a slave m ark et is established here I refuse to allow any to be sold u n til I am certain— th ro u g h q u estio n ­ ing th e m m yself—th a t th ey are really slave-born. E ach one m u st state “ I am a slave an d m y m o th er was a slave” ( a n a a , 'a b d , u m m i j a a r i y a ) ’ (A rchives d u Sénégal, I D 7). T h e dom estic slaves w ere ‘trea ted as th eir m aster’s children. . . . T h e y m ig h t even b u y slaves them selves.’8 O n 29 Jan u ary 1836 D ire cto r G u illet w ro te : ‘I t is n o t in fre q u en t in Senegal to find slaves w ho are rich e r th a n th e ir m asters and w ho eat and d rin k at his ta b le ’ (A rchives, K 7). A Senegalese stu d en t, M baye G ueye, has reached th e sam e conclusion (1962: 124): ‘D om estic slaves lived as m em b ers of th e fam ily o f th eir m aster, w ho was n o t th e ir selfish o p p resser b u t acted as th eir g u ardian and fa th e r.’ T w o -th ird s o f th e day th ey w orked for th e ir ow ner. ‘W hen w ork was done an d th e h arv est b ro u g h t in, these slaves travelled th e c o u n try as w eavers’, to re tu rn in J u n e fo r th e rain y season (C arrère et H olle, 1855: 53-55). T h e D ecree o f 27 A pril 1848 suppressed dom estic slavery in all th e F re n c h colonies. H ow ever, it was no t effective in th e in te rio r; th e G o v ern o r h ad to ask th e people of K ayor, W aalo, an d F o u ta to ‘com e an d rem ove those slaves th ey h ad p ro v id ed as securities in S ain t-L o u is and G o rée’ (ib id : 151). W a r captives c o n stitu te d a th ird category o f slaves. T h e y w ere w om en fo r th e m o st p a rt, an d usually becam e concubines ( ta a r a ) as au th o rized in th e K o ra n . I n G alam slaves w ere exchanged fo r iro n b ars— at least in th e eig h tee n th cen tu ry . A le tte r fro m L a t-D y o r in 1880 m entions th a t a h o rse w as v alued a t tw o slaves (A rchives, 13 G 260). O n 23 A pril 1880 Ib ra F a a tim Sar, one o f th e D a m e l’s m inisters, w rote to th e G ov­ e rn o r: ‘I n o u r co u n try slaves take th e place o f m oney’ (A rchives, 13 G 260). T ra d itio n s collected b y th e g rio t M arokhaya (1963: 3) for th e p erio d before K a y o r’s in d ep en d en ce fro m D yolof show th a t n eith er m oney n o r gold (k h a a lis o m u l, w u r u s a m u l) w ere th en in circulation. I n D y o lo f trib u te in k in d (g a la k ) was levied on vassal p ro v in ces: fine san d fro m K ayor, salt fro m G andiole, fish from W aalo, co tto n fro m Sine, b u y o r m on k ey-bread (fru it o f th e baobab) fro m S alum . G o ld w as in tro d u ce d only w ith th e developm ent o f E u ro p e an trad e .

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L a st b u t n o t least w ere those b o rn in servitude, w ho belonged to th e state— th e th ro n e slaves ( d y a a m - u B u u r - i ). W e m u st be careful h ere n o t to let o u r m o d ern anti-slavery prejudices disto rt o u r ju d g e m e n t o f th is capital and original in stitu tio n .9 M ah m o u d K a ti, au th o r o f th e fam ous T a 'r ik h a l- F a tta a s h , w riting of W est A frica in th e sev en teen th century, said th a t the N egro states of K anyaga, M ali, an d Songhay all ow ed th eir suprem acy to a bloc o f tw en ty -fo u r servile trib es w hich belonged successively to each em p ire.10 In K ay o r w e have sixteen villages organized into th e sam e n u m b e r o f patrilineages an d m atrilineages com posed of th ro n e slaves. T h e y w ere slaves of th e G eedy m atrilineage. T h ey m ade an d u n m ad e kings, w on an d lost th eir battles, and closely supervised th e ir exercise o f pow er. A m ong these D yaam -G eedy w e should single o u t th e fo u r sons of D y o r M b ay N d e n d é (or N deede), h erself th e d au g h ter o f th e chief o f th e th ro n e slaves in Baol. O f h er sons th e m o st fam ous was D em b a-W aar D y o r Sal, th e F a r a - K a b a o f th e D am el L at-D y o r. T h ese state slaves w ere th e only stable elem ent in society, and th is was th e basis o f th e ir pow er. T h is is p articularly tru e o f K ayor. T h e y w ere th e only section o f th e p o pulation on w hom th e D am el could absolutely d ep e n d : th ey w ere his p ro p e rty and w ere no t rebellious. T h e d isp u te betw een L a t-D y o r an d his slave chief, D em b a-W aar, was one o f th e reasons fo r his dow nfall. ‘T h e g reat­ est offices in th e k in g d o m w ere usually confided to th e th ro n e slaves’ (P apiers Ballot, N o. 35, 1884). O n 28 A ug u st 1883 th e tre a ty in stitu tin g th e F re n c h P ro tecto rate was signed by th e D am el o f K ayor, S am ba L aobé, an d ratified b y six th ro n e slaves (A rchives, 1 D 48). N o n e th e less, even th ese officers w ere expected to place iro n s above th e ir b ed to re m in d th e m o f th e ir servile condition (M ollien, 1820: 501). I t was fro m th e D y a a m - u B u u r - i th a t th e D am el re cru ited his soldiers ( ty e d d o ). T y e d d o is a w o rd w hich in W olof has now taken o n th e im pious co n n o tatio n o f ‘fetich ist’. T h e F u lb e use it to re fer to th e ‘blacks’ (ty e D D o , p l. s e B B e ), as opposed to them selves an d th e M oors. T h e ty e d d o earn ed a rep u tatio n as w ild d ru n k ard s an d incorrigible looters. So ad d icted w ere th ey to gin (sa n g a ra ) th a t th ey w o u ld even go so far as to paw n th eir rifles to get hold o f som e (A rchives, I D 24). I n 1869 th e T e e n y o f Baol sen t ho rsem en to sm ash th e dem ijohns o f gin, to keep his soldiers sober b y p re v en tin g its arrival in Baol (A rchives, 13 G 264). L o o ting

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w as th e ir lesser vice. I n 1864 th e ir d ep redations in K ayor (con­ doned b y th e lin g e r) b ro u g h t a stro n g reaction fro m th e G overnor. I n Jan u ary 1865 th e N gigis p o st re p o rted th e p lu n d erin g o f th e m ara b o u t villages in K ayor. T h e m arab o u ts w ere p u t to ransom by th e ty e d d o of th e D am el (M a-D yodyo) and ‘the w om en w ere strip p e d n ak ed ’ (A rchives, I D 27). T h e exactions o f the ty e d d o caused th e historic revolts of K ay o r M uslim s against th eir D a m e l. T h is was certainly th e case for th e ‘M arab o u t W a r’, w hich occur­ re d tow ards th e en d of th e sev en teen th century. I n external appearances th e ty e d d o co n trasted strongly w ith th e ru stic b a a d o lo an d th e se rin y (m arabout) w ith his shaven skull an d dignified m ien. ‘T h e y w ore long tresses, ear-rin g s an d silver b racelets’ (Ba, 1957: 584). T h e A b b é B oilat m ade a sketch o f one, com plete w ith his b o ttle o f gin, in th e E sq u isses sénégalaises. I n th e six teen th c e n tu ry K a y o r’s w ar o f in d ep en d en ce against D y o lo f was fo u g h t w ith staves an d cattle tend o n s. D am el L a tSukaabe b o u g h t his co u n try ’s first guns fro m A n d ré B rüe in 1701. In 1818 (M ollien) soldiers w ere still fighting w ith bow s an d arrow s. B ullets (m ade ‘fro m b its o f legs o f m etal p o ts’) w ere u sed in th e G uilé w ar o f 1886 (D u g u ay -C lédor, 1931: 23, 29). E u ro p ean trad e rs exchanged g u n p o w d er fo r gold. W e have no exact in fo rm ­ ation on th e size o f th e K ay o r arm y, although a t G uilé in 1886 it was 3,500 strong. T h e ty e d d o w ere in tre p id co m b atants. M ollien recounts an in cid en t d u rin g a b attle b etw een K ay o r an d Baol w h en each soldier ‘to m ake flight im possible, filled his bulky breeches w ith sand, and overcom e b y th e w eig h t o f th e load, fell to his knees and p rep ared to sh o o t’. A n official view p u b lish ed in 1876 is w o rth q u o tin g at th is point. ‘T h e o n ly a r m y in K a y o r w a s a g u a r d c o m p o s e d o f tié d o s , la w le s s a n d fa ith le s s w a r r io r s , h o s tile to w o rk o f a n y k in d , d r in k e r s o f a b s i n th e a n d th e a d u lt e r a t e d sa n g a ra ; o n th e o th e r h a n d th e y w e re b r a v e b e y o n d c o m ­ p a re . W i t h o u t a n y e x a g g e ra tio n th e y m a y b e lik e n e d to o u r b r a v e m e d ie v a l k n ig h ts . T i é d o s w e re c a lle d t h r o n e sla v e s a n d c o n s t it u te d a v e r ita b le a rm y , ir r e g u la r b u t r e d o u b t a b le . . . . I t g o e s w i t h o u t s a y in g t h a t t h e i r a g r i c u lt u r a l ro le w a s n u g a to r y ’ ( N o ti c e s u r le S é n é g a l, u n ­ s ig n e d , d a te d 1876, P a p ie r s B a llo t, N o . 2 6 ).

L a t-D y o r’s g randson, A m adou B am ba D iop, to ld m e th a t the ty e d d o slaves p re ferred th eir servile condition. T h e y had m ore

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influence th a n th e free-b o rn — certainly m ore th a n th e u n fo rtu n a te b a a d o lo . T h e y h a d p o w er o f life an d d eath over th e D a m e l; an d even m arrie d his d au g h ters. I t is tru e to say o f th e ty e d d o

th a t ‘alth o u g h th ey belonged to th e D am el, th e D am el also belong­ ed to th e m ’. T h is fa ct is b ro u g h t hom e by th e histo ry o f L at-D y o r, th irte e n th D am el (1862-82)— th e m o st typical an d b est know n k in g o f th e n in e te e n th cen tu ry . T h e L ife a n d L eg en d o f L a t-D y o r

L a t-D y o r w as b o rn a b o u t 1842 in a pagan environm ent, for, c o n tra ry to general belief, he w as n o t b o rn a M uslim . H e atten d ed a K o ra n school ru n b y th e m ara b o u t B abakar M bay— w hich goes to show o n ly th a t p rin ces took good care to ‘recognize’ Islam in o rd e r to g ain th e goodw ill o f th e m arabouts. H e th e n m oved to N gigis, h o m e o f h is m atern al g ra n d fath er M a -Isa T e n d e D yor, th e n D am el o f K ay o r an d T e e n y o f Baol (1832— 55). F ro m tim e to tim e h e w e n t back to stay w ith his fa th e r at Sagata. A t th e age of th irte e n L a t-D y o r w as ap p o in ted B o r - G e t an d D y o g o m a y b y his eldest u te rin e b ro th e r, th e D am el B o ray m aN g o n e-L atir (1855-59). O n th e la tte r’s d eath in 1859, th e G eedy th ro n e slaves (D y a a m G e e d y - i ), L a t-D y o r’s su p p o rters, cam e into op en conflict w ith th e d y a a m b u r (freem en) o f K ayor, w ho backed th e new D am el M a-K o d u , th e fa th e r of his predecessor. M a -K o d u defeated L a t-D y o r’s su p p o rters, b u t in 1861 he got into tro u b le w ith th e F re n c h and was replaced b y M a-D yodyo. T h e m alcontents (the D yaam -G eed y -i) th e n tu rn e d to th e y o u th fu l L at-D y o r. L a t-D y o r, n in eteen years old, w an ted to u ndergo th e initiation rite of circum cision, w h ich alone could m ake h im socially adu lt. H e w en t to his adviser, D e m b a W aar (b o rn ab o u t 1837), w ho w as chief o f th e th ro n e slaves a n d said : ‘D e m b a !’ ‘D y o p !’ replied th e other, calling h im b y his p atro n y m ic (s a n t ). ‘I w ish to becom e a d u lt!’ ( d a m a bӧg n y u m a g a l-m a ). T h e cerem ony was held in G u e t, at T yilm akha, before a g reat crow d o f people— m u ch to th e chagrin of D am el M a-D y o d y o . W h e n L a t-D y o r’s fath er an d his follow ers grew nervous o f in terv en tio n th e new ly circum cised m a n ’s se­ clusion sh ed ( m b a a r -d u n d y u li) was tran sferred to land belonging to th e pow erful S erin y K oki, Sam ba A m inata, w hose m other, A m inata D yop, was th e d au g h ter of th e B ӧ r - G e t, Saa K hew er F aatm a, patern al g reat-g ra n d fath er o f L a t-D y o r. A s always, everything h in g ed o n m arriag e alliances and slaves. I n 1862 th e

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G eed y p re te n d e r, L a t-D y o r N g o n e -L atir D yop, su p p o rted by D e m b a W aar, defeated th e D am el M a-D yodyo. L at-D y o r, his circum cision com plete ( bӧ rlo o l ), was installed in his place as D a m e l. F ollow ing d isp u tes w ith th e F ren c h , he w as obliged to sp en d fo u r years in exile (1864-68). H e trie d unsuccessfully to w in th e kings o f S ine a n d S alu m over to his cause. T ra d itio n tells th a t th e fo rm e r m ad e a jo k e a b o u t L a t-D y o r’s sm all statu re and received th e reply : ‘A k in g does n o t carry his co u n try aro u n d w ith h im on his h e a d !’ (k e n n a d u - y e n u re e w -u m t y i sa b o p ). H is only alternative was to sell his soul to M a-B aa D yakhou, w h ich h e did in 1864. M a-B aa, th e T u c o lo r m ara b o u t, was b y th e n absolute ru le r in S alum . H e w elcom ed L a t-D y o r w arm ly as th e son o f th e L in g e r N g o n e -L a tir, w ho h ad once given h im a g u n to h elp pay a fine follow ing a co u rt conviction. T h e y ear 1864 has always b een re­ m em b ered as one o f locusts an d fam ine ( a t- u m k h i if- b a ). I n 1865 L a t-D y o r w as m ad e M a-B aa’s assistant com m ander-in-chief. B ut, after inv ad in g a n d ravaging D yolof, M a-B aa w as defeated at N io ro o n 29 N o v e m b e r an d , tw o years later, on 18 Ju ly 1867, after a long cam paign ag ain st th e S erer o f Sine, h e was killed at Som b. ‘L a t-D y o r, feeling th a t defeat w as inevitable, abandoned th e fig h t’ (Baa, 1957: 585). I n N o v em b er 1868 h e re tu rn e d to K ay o r to m ake his su b m issio n : w ith M a-B aa h e h ad lost his greatest ally an d s u p p o rte r; his W o lof follow ers refused to con­ tin u e being exploited b y R ip m a ra b o u ts; a n d his m o th er was suffering fro m th e clim ate o f S alum . I t w as n o t u n til 12 F eb ru a ry 1871 th a t he signed th e tre a ty recognizing h im as D am el o f K ayor. F o r ten years he ru le d K ayor. D u rin g th is tim e his m ain am b i­ tio n was to b rin g Baol u n d e r his sway, as o th er D am el-T e e n y h ad done in th e past. H e finally succeeded in 1874, w hen he defeated th e T e e n y o f Baol, an d ru th lessly p u t dow n his attem p ts to regain th e th ro n e . I n 1875 L a t-D y o r an d th e F ren c h w ere allied against A m ad o u S heikou, th e T u c o lo r m arab o u t w ho h ad rebelled in 1870. H e w as b e a te n at th e b a ttle o f B oum dou on 11 F eb ru ary . B u t L a t-D y o r’s o p p o sitio n to th e railw ay fro m D ak ar to S aintL o u is th e n led to his flight to Baol, an d S am ba-Y aya F al, a m atern al n ep h ew o f L a t-D y o r, w as installed as D am el b y th e G o v ern o r in Ja n u a ry 1883. O n 28 A u g u st 1883 a F re n c h P ro te c t­ o rate w as proclaim ed over K ay o r an d S am ba L ao b é becam e D a m e l. H e reig n ed only th re e years. H is jealousy o f th e B u u r-b a D yolof, A l-B u ri N d y ay , led to th e b attle o f th e ‘G uilé ta m a rin d ’

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( D a k h a a r - u G iile ), w here he w as defeated (6 Ju n e 1886). T h e tw en ty -fo u r-y e ar-o ld D a m e l, a colossus o f a m an, w as fined b y th e G o v ern o r a n d later accused o f m olesting th e T iw aw an trad e rs. H e w as killed o n 6 O cto b er 1886 b y L ieu ten a n t C hauvey— in legitim ate self-defence according to th e official version. T h e R é v e il d u S é n é g a l o f 10 O cto b er calls it ‘execution’ (Archives, I D 48). L a t-D y o r, always a t loggerheads w ith Baol, h a d possibly conceived a g ra n d p la n o f action. I n 1864 C olonel P in e t-L ap rad e h ad w ritte n to th e G o v e rn o r: ‘L a t-D y o r is p rep arin g a coalition o f W o lo f states against us, in clu d in g C ayor, Baol, Sine, an d Saloum — as w ell as th e T ra rz a M o o rs’ (16 Jan u ary , A rchives, 1 D 26). O nly W aalo an d D y o lo f w ere left out. A t all events it w as clear to th e F re n c h th a t L a t-D y o r was am bitious— K ayor h ad never been en o u g h for h im . A n d it was tru e th a t th e kingdom he h ad in h erited in 1871 h a d b een d ep riv e d o f th e districts o f S aint-L ouis and D akar, as w ell as th e p ro v in ce o f D y an d er. H e p ro tested and tried to p re v en t it— b u t th e G o v ern o r w as adam ant. T h e all-im p o rtan t role of th e th ro n e slaves ( d y a a m - u B u u r - i) h ad already b een referred to. U n d e r th eir chief, th e F a r a - K a b a , D e m b a -W a ar D y o r Sal (1837-1902), th ey h ad su p p o rted L atD y o r as p re te n d e r an d D a m e l. H ow ever, from 1879 tension began to m o u n t betw een th e tw o m en. L a t-D y o r w rote to th e G ov ern o r: ‘I have given th e m territo ria l com m ands. B ut th ey are too greedy. T h e y have treach ero u sly trie d to kill m e an d set trap s for m e.’ A n d he asked th e G o v ern o r for ‘an officer to m ake m y slaves obey th eir k in g !’ O n 28 N o v em b er he w ro te: ‘T h e y are try in g to depose m e in favour o f m y nep h ew Sam ba L aobé, a th in g I shall never p erm it. T h e y are m y slaves, sons of m y slaves. T h e y shall all be disgraced an d re d u ced to n othing. A fter I have finished w ith th e m they w ill be no m ore th a n th e ashes left by a dry log w hich has b een th ro w n into th e flam e’ (A rchives, 13 G 260). I n th e sam e year (1879) L a t-D y o r dism issed Ib ra F aatim S ar and th e F a r a - K a b a , D e m b a -W a ar Sal, once th e ‘veritable ru ler of K a y o r’. T h e D am el cruelly m issed th e s u p p o rt o f D em b a-W aar w hen he fo u n d h im self in conflict w ith th e governor over th e proposed railw ay. O n 16 Ja n u a ry 1877 B rière de l’I sle announced to L a tD y o r his in ten tio n o f b u ild in g a line from S ain t-L o u is to D akar th ro u g h K ayor, w ith h alts for th e collection o f g ro u n d n u ts— now

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one o f S enegal’s p rin cip al exports, already totalling tw o an d a h alf th o u san d to n s in 1850. F ro m 1873, according to a G orée com ­ m u n icatio n (A rchives, 13 G 307/3), L a t-D y o r did all h e could to sto p th e cultivation of g ro u n d n u ts. ‘H e tells his follow ers th a t once th ere are no m o re n u ts th e W h ite M an will go aw ay and he will b e absolute m aster of th e co untry. . . . T h ese views are n o t en tirely w ith o u t sense.’ O n 10 S ep tem b er 1879, how ever, L a tD y o r h ad agreed to th e railw ay, signing a treaty w hich he k ep t secret. I n Ju n e 1882 th e Société des B atignolles was given th e conces­ sion to carry o u t th e co n stru ctio n . F o r tw o years (1881-82) L a t-D y o r m ade co n tin u al p ro tests, taking advantage o f m o st of his su b jects’ general hostility. T h e G o v ern o r’s re p o rt (N o. 750/D A P , 8 S ep tem b er 1882, 13 G 261) contained a letter from th e D a m e l’s councillor, Ib ra F aatim Sar, w hich reveals th eir c o n stan t anxiety. H e co m m en ted o n th e ru m o u rs w hich h a d b een sp read b y Sam ba Fal, th e D akar in terp re ter: ‘H e to l d u s t h a t th e p r o p o s e d ra ilw a y tr a c k w a s h ig h e r t h a n a v e r y ta ll m a n a n d t h a t p e o p le f r o m t h e w e s te r n s id e w o u ld n o t b e a b le to c o m m u n ic a te w i t h th o s e f r o m t h e e a s t e x c e p t w h e n t h e g a te s w e re o p e n — i.e . tw ic e a d a y , in th e m o r n in g a n d t h e e v e n in g .’ S a m b a F a l a ls o to ld L a t - D y o r : ‘T h e G o v e r n o r is o n ly b u il d in g t h i s ra ilw a y to t r a p y o u a n d k id n a p y o u . H e t o l d u s t h e ra ilw a y w o u ld b e f a s te r t h a n lig h tn in g . T h i s is w h y L a t - D y o r g re w f r ig h te n e d a n d o p p o s e d t h e n e w r a ilw a y .’

L a t-D y o r felt th e railw ay w ould b rin g th e en d o f th e D arnels an d rin g a d ea th knell fo r K ay o r independence. H e jib b ed , argued, b u t finally gave way. H is stru ggle h ad becom e anachronis­ tic. H e h ad really b ee n b ea te n in 1859 b y th e installation o f th e S a in t-L o u is-G o ré e teleg rap h th ro u g h K ayor. H e h ad been beaten b y F re n c h artillery, th e railw ay line, an d th e grow ing im portance o f g ro u n d n u ts in th e ex tern al econom y. H e h a d arrived on th e scene too late— th e an cien t s tru c tu re w as cracking u n d e r th e co m b in ed blow s o f F re n c h colonialism an d egalitarian Islam . I t was still too soon for A frican em ancipation. L a t-D y o r had relied too m u c h on th e old p ro v e rb : g a n d u - ta b a k h , ‘th e stran g er never b u ild s ’ : th ey w ere passers-b y w ho h ad com e to trad e a little. B ut once th ey b eg in to b u ild p e rm a n e n t posts, railw ay stations, and th e like, th ey are h ere to stay. I n oral tra d itio n th e D am el is tenacious, p ro u d , and b o ld — a

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fearless an d irrep ro ach ab le kn ig h t, accom panied b y his six favourite horses. Islam plays no p a rt in p o p u lar legends and the h erio c sagas o f th e griots. L a t-D y o r’s d eath at D yaqlé is reco u n ted in a frankly p ag an fashion. A ccording to M arokhaya ‘S am b’, th e g rio t, th e D am el w as killed b y a b u llet m elted in gold ( b a l-u w u r u s) w h ich an u n circu m cised boy (a a t, p a k h e ) h ad b u ried b e n e a th a lavatory (s a w u k a y ) for a week. ‘S am b ’ adds (1963: 56): ‘T h is practice, b ein g absolutely un k n ow n to th e w hite m an, m u st b e a ttrib u te d to th e ir B la c k follow ers. I t is th ey w ho w ere im m e­ d iately resp o n sib le fo r L a t-D y o r’s d ea th .’ A n o th er version is to ld b y th e griots o f th e fam ily o f Sal, ch ief o f th e th ro n e slaves. A t th e b a ttle o f D y aq lé D e m b a -W a ar called o u t to his form er m a ste r to take off th e am u let he w ore aro u n d his neck to keep him in v u ln erab le ( tu l ). W h atev er h ap p en ed, a defeated D am el could nev er re tu rn to face his subjects. H e m u st die w ith his soldiers. L a t-D y o r rem oved th e talism an an d w as killed by a b u llet fired b y D e m b a-W aar. H is b o d y w as h id d en in th e Seriny N d a ttu m osque, an d later b u rie d a t th e village o f N d u k u m an -u D yere in K o r G aran g M a-D y ig en (M arokhaya, 1963: 55). Q uestioned o n th is p o in t b y a Senegalese audience after m y lecture on 27 M a rc h 1963, A m adou-B am ba D io p replied sim ply: ‘T h e w here­ ab o u ts o f a D a m e l’s grave is never divulged. I t is o u r trad itio n . P erh a p s it is a pity, since o u r you n g people all w ant to m ake th e pilgrim age, b u t th a t is how it is. L a t-D y o r’s ow n son, m y father M b ak h an , to ld m e one day th a t he h ad seen it— in 1937.’ T h e L a t-D y o r legend rem ains b ath ed in a haze of m em ories and native taboos. Y et L a t-D y o r h im self h ad been converted to Islam , an d his exam ple led to th e m ass conversion o f th e W o lo f o f K ayor. T h e I s la m iz a tio n o f K a y o r

W h e n L a t-D y o r so u g h t refuge in S alum in 1864 h e stayed w ith th e pow erful m ara b o u t M a-B aa D iakhou (D yakhu), in th e R ip. M a-B aa w as a d escen d an t o f th e illustrious D enyanke w ho ru led over F o u ta T o ro u n til th e era o f th e A lm aam i T u c o lo r (the end o f th e eig h teen th cen tu ry ). A t th is tim e M a-B aa h ad follow ers as far aw ay as S ain t-L o u is, w here T u co lo r m arab o u ts h ad been im p riso n ed for su p p o rtin g his cause d u rin g th e an ti - ty e d d o revolt (R ap p o rt de Flize, 14 N o v em b er 1862, P apiers Ballot, N o. 15). O n 24 J u n e 1864 G . d ’A rcy, G overnor o f B ritish G am bia, T

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advised a co n certed A n g lo -F re n ch action against M a-B aa, th e ‘M ah o m m ed an P rie st a n d w a rrio r . . . p e rp e tra to r o f atrocities u n d e r th e cover o f religion, fanatical d estroyer o f villages, w ho slays th e m en an d takes th e w o m en and ch ild ren as slaves’ (A rch ­ ives, 13 G 304). B etw een Ju ly an d O cto b er 1864 re p o rts from local posts call M a-B aa a p ru d e n t an d skilful m an w ith a ‘p ro p h e t­ like gift for u b iq u ity ’. H e w as said to be ‘absolute ru le r o f Saloum (in A u g u st) w ith h is sights fixed o n Sine, th e n Baol an d finally K ay o r’. H is arm y w as estim ated at fo u r to five th o u san d m en, all M u slim , w ith a m ajo rity o f T u co lo r. T h e y w ere m ostly arm ed w ith staves (A rchives, 13 G 304 an d 271). O n 17 A p ril 1864 L a t-D y o r w as in Sine. B etw een N ovem ber a n d D e cem b er o f th a t y ear th e F re n c h signed a trea ty w ith M aB aa recognizing his au th o rity in S alum . T h e K aolakh co m m an d an t invoked th is tre a ty w h e n h e asked M a-B aa to drive o u t L at-D y o r. M a-B aa re fu se d ; in stead h e m ade th e D am el his assistant com ­ m an d er-in -ch ief. I n 1866 h e agreed to invade Sine, b u t he died a t S om b o n 18 Ju ly 1867. H e h a d ‘firm ly established th e M oslem religion over a g re at p a rt o f S enegal; an d is p raised by griots and b lin d m en alike. M a-B aa’s d eath w as felt very strongly b y th e M oslem s an d his grave becam e th e centre o f pilgrim age in to th e very h e a rt o f pagan S in e’ (Baa, 1957). H o w d id th e co n v erted L a t-D y o r behave after his subm ission in 1868 an d his re tu rn to K ay o r a y ear later? A ccording to local officers’ rep o rts, L a t-D y o r let it be know n th a t he w ould n o t agree to becom e D am el again unless ‘everybody becam e m ara b o u t’. H e an n o u n ced his decision to abide by th e ‘advice o f tru e m ara­ b o u ts’. I n Ju n e ‘m an y o f th e people are shaving th eir skulls and loudly an n o u n c in g th e ir in ten tio n to rally b eh in d L a t-D y o r’ (A rchives, 13 G 264). L a te r, w h e n he h a d b een reinstalled as D am el, a p e titio n fro m R ufisque tra d e rs accused h im o f b ein g th e ‘m ara­ b o u t lead er’ w hose religious fanaticism led h im to attack Baol. O n 9 F e b ru a ry 1874 a le tte r fro m th e D am el a t G orée began w ith th e p h rase ‘L a t-D y o r, d efen d er o f th e M oslem faith in K ay o r’. O n 19 F e b ru a ry 1874 he w rote ‘F ro m th e S u ltan o f Believers, L a t-D y o r D y o p . . . . M y w hole p reo ccu p atio n is w ith th e h ereafter. . . . I can only p ra y fo r g o d ’s help and stren g th . . . . I am th e S u ltan o f Believers in th e c o u n try o f th e blacks’ (A rchives, 13 G 307/3). M o reo v er, th is attitu d e , a t least in th e beginning, w as fa r fro m b ein g eyed w ith disapproval b y th e F re n c h au th o ri-

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ties, m ainly fo r reasons o f tra d e and security. I n 1876: ‘T h e conversion o f L a t-D y o r an d all his tiédos to Islam m ay b e a sign o f th e en d o f th is p lu n d e rin g .’ T h e people m ig h t be able ‘to b rin g a b u n d a n t sup p lies o f g ro u n d n u ts to o u r trad in g p o sts’ (N otice s u r le Sénégal, u n signed, 1876, P apiers Ballot, N o. 26). I n those days converts w ere given th e nam e o f s ilm a k h a , m eaning b o th b lin d -m a n an d beggar. T h is h ad been th e case w ith L a t-D y o r’s g re at-g ra n d fath er S aa-K hew er F aatm a D yop. I n th e sam e w ay L a t-D y o r, o n his re tu rn to K ayor in 1869, w ent begging fo r food fo r his soldiers as a sign o f hum ility. W h e n one village ch ief sen t h im aw ay em p ty -h a n d ed he left w ith o u t taking reprisals (A m adou-B am ba D io p , 1963). A t all events, th e D am el is called ‘S ilm akha’ o r ‘Silm akha D y o p ’ in several letters fro m K ayor nobles (S am b a L aobé, fo r exam ple; 24 Jan u ary 1880, 13 G 260). H is b eh av io u r bears w itness to his conversion, although shades o f trad itio n al cu sto m persist. H e h ad n ineteen wives (‘for his am use­ m e n t’) an d th irty -n in e ch ild re n (M arokhaya, 1963: 57); yet th e K o ra n p e rm itte d h im o n ly four. S till it w as th e cu sto m o f th e tim e, an d it is follow ed by certain m arab o uts, even to day: one o f th em has th irty -six wives. T h e A rchives of Senegal contain approxim ately 200 letters from L a t-D y o r: 95 cover th e p erio d from 1876 to 1877 (13 G 259); 40 fro m 1878 to 1880 (13 G 206); 40 from 1881 to 1882 (13 G 261); an d a few for 1874 (13 G 307/3). T h e letters, in A rabic, w ere d ictated in W o lo f to his m ara b o u t scribes. T h ese scribes w ere usually c a d is : M o m ar A n ta-S ali in 1868-69, M o ri K u m b a in 1877, M a-D y ak h até K ala in 1886. L a t-D y o r him self was illiter­ ate, an d his sig n atu re never appears o n his letters, w hich, how ever, b ear his seal in F re n c h and A rabic (6 F eb ru a ry 1880, A rchives, 13 G 260). H o w was th e process of Islam ization achieved in K ayor, and w h a t w ere its consequences? A rn a u d (p. 9) w rote w ith rare insight in 1912: ‘I n W o lo f c o u n tr y , a t o n e tim e , th e in t r u s i o n o f I s la m c o n s t it u te d a re a l so c ia l re v o lu tio n . I t w a s in fa c t a c la s s s tr u g g le , a c la s h b e tw e e n th e la b o u r in g c la s se s a n d t h e a ris to c ra c y . T h e fa r m e r s d e te s te d th e s o ld ie rs w h o e x p lo ite d th e m . T h a n k s to I s la m th e y w e re a b le to f o r m a b lo c a g a in s t t h e p a g a n a r is to c r a ts . F o r a lo n g ti m e t h e m a r a b o u ts w e re th e n a t u r a l le a d e rs o f th e p e o p le a g a in s t t h e o p p re s s o rs . T h e s o ld ie rs n e v e r hid t h e i r c o n te m p t fo r t h e m a r a b o u t s .’

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T h e cause o f th is w as clear. I n th e W o lo f states, and especially in K ay o r, th e king w as chosen fro m th e princes o f th e blood b y a b o d y o f electors w ho dep o sed h im if he proved n o t to th e ir liking. H e received h is only p e rm a n e n t and solid su p p o rt fro m his ‘legions’. H is w arriors, ty e d d o , how ever, gave th e ir backing only if h e allow ed th e m free re in to p lu n d e r th e coun try sid e u n d istu rb ed . T en sio n s co n seq u en tly m o u n te d betw een th e p lu n d erers and th e p lu n d e re d (th e b a a d o lo , peasants). T h e d o w n tro d d en b a a d o lo w ere h elp ed b y th e im m ig ra n t m arabouts, w ho d id th e ir b est to sh elter th e m in th e ir villages. T h e pagan ty e d d o an d th e m arabouts soon cam e in to o p en conflict. O n th e o th er h an d , b y th e second h alf of th e n in etee n th cen tu ry th e kings re p resen te d a v anishing o rd e r (one o f ‘established d iso rd e r’) an d a d angerous despotism . T h e se w ere th e m en w ho w ere co n fro n ted b y a foreign colonial pow er. T h e F re n c h fo u n d th e D arnels u n ru ly an d in tractab le. ‘T h e governm ent, n o t co n ten t w ith settin g th e m arab o u ts against th e tiédos (w hile su p p o rtin g th e form er), set tiéd o against tiéd o and D am el against D am el’ (N o tice su r le Sénégal, u n sig n ed , 1876, P ap iers Ballot, N o. 26). T h e policy o f th e colonial g o v ern m ent w as expressed in th e ‘G en eral P o litical P ro g ram m e fo r th e C olony o f S enegal’ p resen ted in 1864 b y G o v ern o r F aid h erb e . ‘W e a re n o t c o n c e r n e d w i t h e i t h e r t h e s u b j u g a ti o n o r t h e a d m i n is tr a ­ t i o n o f th e s e p e o p le s (o f t h e i n t e r i o r ) . . . (n e v e r th e le s s ) w e m u s t n e v e r h e s i ta t e to e s ta b lis h p o s ts o n i m p o r t a n t lin e s o f c o m m u n ic a t io n i f th e in t e r e s t s a n d p r o t e c ti o n o f o u r c o m m e rc ia l v e n tu r e s d e m a n d it . . . . W e s h a ll e v e n tu a lly f in d t h a t th e c h ie fs o f a ll t h e s t a te s w ill b e c o m e o u r lo y a l a llie s , a n d b e firm ly c la s p e d in o u r w a r m e m b r a c e .’11

W h e n th e D am el L a t D y o r w as deposed or exiled he w as only able to reassert his p o sitio n th ro u g h external in terv en tio n . M a-B aa, th e fighting m a ra b o u t an d ru le r o f Salum , w as th e only possible choice. T h e D am el so u g h t h im ou t as A l-B u ri N dyay, th e B u u r-b a D yolof, h ad done before. T h e A lm aam i agreed to help o n certain co n d itio n s: th e p re te n d er and his ty e d d o w ere to accept Islam an d jo in h im in his ‘H oly W a r’ ; an d on his re tu rn to K ay o r th e D am el w as to co n v ert his people. T h is he set ab o u t doing. In 1869 he was back in K ay o r and, according to A m adouB am ba D iop, he su p p ressed looting (m o y a l ) an d rap in e an d co n v erted his villages to Islam ‘b y p ersu asio n ’. H e even conceived

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an idea for a ‘p ro fo u n d social re fo rm ’ based on Islam ic ten ets: th eo cratic an d egalitarian. U n fo rtu n ately h e was u n ab le to over­ com e th e basic obstacle stan d in g in his w ay: n eith er his ‘nobles’ n o r th e colonial g o v ern m en t w ould tolerate an ‘oriental m o n arch ’. L a t-D y o r su ccu m b ed because he opposed th e g ro u n d n u t trad e an d th e railw ay. H is new policy now led h im into a final conflict w ith th e th ro n e slaves an d th e ir chief, D em b a-W aar Sal. T h e D am el h ad to go; b u t K ay o r rem ained. H is W olof subjects, having been show n th e way, becam e M uslim to a m an.

NOTES 1. A m ore detailed version of this essay, under the title of ‘L at Dior, Damel du Kayor, et l’islamisation des Wolofs’, was published in A rch ives de Sociologie des R eligions , P a ris , No. 16, Juillet-Décem bre, 1963, pp. 77-104.

2. C hronique d u W âlo sénégalais (1186?-1855), B u ll, de l ’I .F .A . N . , T . X X V I , Sér. B, Nos. 3-4, 1964, pp. 440-98. 3. W olof is w ritten phonetically: e and o are closed vowels; long vowels are doubled ( a a , ee, ii, oo, u u) k h is a velar, close to the hard G erm an ch and the Spanish jo ta . T h e liquid consonants (palatals) are followed by y ( ty , d y , n y ). 4. T h e information on Kayor economy is thin. Though the Wolof never had the same reputation for long-distance trading as the Serahuli or the Jula branch of the M andinka, they formerly played an im portant part in the salt trade with the interior (Gamble, 1957: 36). According to Diagne (cited in Ames, 1962: 32), the mines of Gandiole were con­ trolled by Kayor and the salt traded as far south as Fouta Jallon. Carrère and Holle (1855) state that men of Kayor bought Saint-Louis guns, powder, swords, iron bars, tobacco, printed cloths, and glass beads. Kayor furnished Senegal with grain, cattle, sheep, fowls, hide, soap, beans, fruit, palm wine, gourds, melon seeds, cassava, yams, ground­ nuts, and salt (cited in Ames, 1962: 34). E d . 5. Gamble (1957: 56), citing Sabatié, gives as the electors in Kayor a council of seven : three representing the free-born, two the marabouts, one the warriors and one the royal slaves. E d. 6. As noted by Gamble (1957: 50), the history of the D amels in the nineteenth century indicates certain characteristic features of succession : rivalry between son and sister’s son, and marriages with close relatives across generations to secure the succession for own children. E d. 7. Explanation : the guilty man is sent back to the owner of the horse

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in ‘compensation’. T h e same custom is reported for the Rgeibat and in Hoggar, in the Air. 8. ‘R eport on the Slaves,’ by H am et Fall, interpreter at Saint-Louis, 16 February 1884, Papiers Ballot, No. 35. 9. In the history of Islam a similar role was played by the ‘white slaves’ of Baghdad, Cordova, and Cairo. 10. French translation 1913, p. 107. 11. Papiers Ballot, No. 17. Faidherbe’s text, a hundred years in advance, makes this curiously prophetic statem ent: ‘I shall make no m ention . . . of so-called Portuguese Guinea which exists only in the imagination of the Lisbon G overnm ent.’

REFEREN CES

Baa, Tam sir, Ousmane

1862- Archives du Gouvernem ent du Sénégal, 86 Dakar. Boxes 13 G (35, 259, 260, 261, 263, 265, 271, 304, 307/3); I D (22, 24, 26, 27, 32, 40, 48); O 33. 1862- Papiers du Gouverneur Victor Ballot (1853-1939), microfilmed in 1961 by the Archives Nationales, Paris, N o.185 M 1 (four reels). See the detailed list in ‘Papiers d ’Afrique’, by M lle G . Ganier, B u ll. I F A N , Vol. XXV, 1 -2 , 1963, pp. 145-70. 1962 ‘T h e Rural W olof of the Gambia’, in M a r k e ts in A fr ic a , ed. by Bohannan, P. and D alton, George, N orthw estern U ni­ versity Press. 1912 ‘L ’Islam et la politique musulmane française’, Paris, R en s, col. de l 'A f r . f r . , January, pp. 3-29, 115-27, and 142-54. 1863- ‘Notice sur le Oualo’, Paris, R e v u e m a rit. 64 e t col., Vols. IX and X, pp. 492-5. ‘Essai historique sur le Rip (Sénégal)’, 1957 B u ll. I F A N , Vol. X IX , B, 3-4, pp. 564-9 1.

Barthélémy, E.

1848

Boilat, Abbé P. D.

1853

Esquisses sénégalahes. Paris. X VI + 496

Brigaud, Félix

1962

pp. ‘Histoire traditionnelle du Sénégal’, E tu d es sénégalahes, N o. 9, 335 pp.

Ames, D.

Arnaud, Robert

Azan, Capitaine H.

N o tic e historique sur les établissem ents fra n ç a is des Côtes fra n ça ises d 'A fr iq u e .

Paris.

T H E W O L O F K IN G D O M O F KAYOR

Carrère, F. & Holle, Paul C ultru, P.

18 5 5

D e la Sénégam bie fra n ça i s e. Paris, 396 pp.

1913

P rem ier voyage d u S ie u r de la Courbe f a i t à la caste d ’A friq u e en 1685.

Duguay-Clédor, Amadou

1931

Faidherbe, Gl.

1883 1889

Gaden, H. Gamble, D . P.

281

1 9 14 1957

Marokhaya, El-Hadj Assane

1963

M baye Guèye

1962

‘L a bataille de Guilé’, 143 pp. Contains ‘L ’histoire des Darnels du Kayor’, from the M o n ite u r d u Sénégal, J.O . 1864, and L e Sénégal, by Sabatié, undated (1925), pp. 109-32. ‘Notice historique sur le Cayor’, B u ll. S o c. geog. de P a ris, Vol. IV, pp. 527-64. L e Sénégal. Paris. 501 pp. L exiq u e P oular-français. Paris. T h e W o lo f o f Senegam bia, together with Notes on the Lebu and the Serer, London (E thnog. S u r v e y , W . A f r . , XIV). E ssa i sur l ’histoire d u C a yo r, translated from the W olof by Samba Fall Samb. Dakar. 63 pp. L a tra ite des N o irs a u Sénégal, de la f in d u X V I I I e siècle a u m ilieu d u X I X e siècle.

Dakar, D .E.S. (Fac. des Lettres). 173 pp. (TS). Mollien, G.

1820

Voyage dans l ’intérieur de l ’A friq u e , a u x sources d u S én ég a l et de la G am bie, f a i t en 1818. Paris. 2 vols. Vol. I, 339 pp.

M onteil, Vincent

1962

‘Une confrérie musulmane, les M ourides du Sénégal’, A rc h . Socio. R elig ., N o. 14, pp. 77-102. ‘L at Dior, Damel du Kayor, et l’islamisa­ tion des Wolofs’, A rc h . Socio. R elig ., N o. 16, Juillet-D écem bre, pp. 77-104. ‘Le Sénégal d ’autrefois, Étude sur le Cayor, Cahiers de Yoro Dyâo’, B u ll. C E H S A O F , Vol. XVI, 2, Avril-Juin. E ducation africaine et civilisation. Dakar. 9 2 pp.

1963

Rousseau, R.

1933

Sadji, Abdoulaye

1964

INDEX ABIODUN, Alafin of Oyo, 40-.p Abomey, see Dahomey administrative systems: Ashanti, 221-3; Benin, S-12; Dahomey, 75-7S; Gonja, 1SS-92; Kom, 142, 143-6; Maradi, 100-4; Mende, 2So-S; Mossi, I6o-6; Oyo, 40, 4S-so, 63, 64 adultery, 62, S9, 10S, n6, 141, 146 Agadja, Dahomey king, 72, 73, 74 age grades, sets, 9, 67-6S, note 10, II9, 126 Agyei, career of, 219, 220 Akinjogbin, Dr. I. A., 66, note 1 Alafin, see kings Allada, kingdom, 37, 39, 70, 72, 75, ss Amazons, So, S4, S6, S7-SS ancestors, 9, 25, 26, 32, 4S, 53, s6, 76, 7S, So, S4, Ss, 90, 134, 146, 174 Ardra, kingdom, 39, 70 army: Ashanti, 210, 219, 226; Benin, 5, 7; Dahomey, So, S6-S9; Gonja, 19S-2oo; Kayor, 269-71; Maradi, nS-19; Mossi, 171-2; Oyo, 57; see also Amazons; military organization, war Asantehene, see kings Ashanti, S7, 90, 159, 171, ISI, IS2, IS3, 19S-9, 206-36; -government, 206-3 6; accumulation of power, 223-S; applications of power, 22S-32; apogee of power, 232-4; area, :n2; chiefdoms (amanto:J) 207-11, 22S-32; emergent bureaucracy,

221-34; finance, 214-1S; history, 207-S, 2n-1S; Kwadwoan revolution in government, 2n-1S; political service, 21S-21; provincial administration, 221-3 associations, 6, 19-20, 127, 140-2, 15S, 257-S; see also age grades, sets; societies Atiba, Alafin of Oyo, 36, 44, 454S, 49, so, ss, 6I, 65 authority, 9, 13-15, 2S-29, 121, 143-4 Bafut, 123, 127, 132, 133, 144, 147 Bali, I23 Bamileke, I23, 127 Bamum, 123, I25, 127, 147 Bariba, 39, 44 Benin, kingdom of, 1-35, 39; boundaries, 3, 5; capital, 12-13; decline, 6-S; dynastic myth, I-3; extent, 5-6; historical and territorial background, I-I 2; the Oba, 2S-34; palace organization, IS-24; political institutions, 12-34; territorial administration, S-12 Bini, see Edo Bowdich, R., 209, 2II, 212-I3, 215, 21S, 2I9, 220, 22I, 223, 226, 230 bride price, -wealth, II4, I34• I39· 242 British, 1, 7, 66, I99· 227, 22S, 229, 233 Bum, I27, I2S, I29, 133 bureaucracy, Ashanti, 2I4-23, 225

INDEX

burial, 31, 48, 61, 63, 136, 157, 172-5, 201, 249; see also graves 'cantons', 161, 162, 163, 164, 165, 170 castes, 267; see also griots, smiths cattle, 103, 160 Chamba, 123, 125 ceremonial: coronation and installation, 53, uo-u, 136-7, 146,247, 262; mortuary, 136-7, 141, 145, I72-S, 249-so; puberty, 136 chiefdoms: Ashanti, 207-u; in Cameroon, 125-9 chiefs: Ashanti, 209-u, 213, 226, 227; Benin, Palace, 12, 18-24; Benin, Town, 12, 18, 21, 22, 25-28; Gonja, r89-9o, 191, 192-4, 195; Gonja, paramount, 196-7; Maradi, 10o-4, 109-12, II4-15, u9; Mende, 244, 246, 247· 248, 249· 250-6; village, 9, 75-77, 88, lOO, 132, 133, 140, 141, 148, 162, 191; see also kings; office-holders children, 19, 20, 51, 132, 137, 139, 169, 193 circumcision, 202, 271 clans: Ashanti, 207, 223; Benin, 8, 16, 30, 34, note 4; Gonja, 187; Kom, 128, 129, 135, 138, 139 Clarke, Dr. Robert, 239 compounds, so, sr, 57· 138-9, 140 concubines, 83, 104, 167, 268 councillors, councils: Ashanti, 228-9; Benin, 24, 26; Dahomey, n, 8I-84; Gonja, zoo; Maradi, 99-100, 106, 109, 121; Mende, 252, 253; Oyo, 41, 42, 43, 53-57, 59, 66; see also officeholders

courts, 101-4, 146, 17o-I, 192-4; see also judicial institutions and procedure crafts, craftsmen, 21, 24, 25, 87-88, II2, 158, 184 crops, 34, note I, 134, 158, 260 cults: Ashanti, 231; Benin, 12, 33; Dahomey, 76, 84-85, 79-8o; Gonja, 184, 190, 201-3; Hausa bori, ro8, I 12; Kom, 127, 135, 146-7; Mossi, 157, 161, 166; Oyo, 48, 56, 57, 58-61; Yoruba Ogboni, 42, 53, 59, 62 Dagomba, 163, 181, 182, 185, 215 Dahomey: kingdom of, 39, 40, 44· 46, 70-92, 258; court officials, 81-84; extent of, 70; external relations, 86-89; history, 70-73; incorporation of conquered groups, 75-76; judicial institutions, 89; king and central organization, n-81; military organization, 86-89; ritual and ideology, 84-86; social categories, 73-75; territorial organization, 76-77; trade and economic resources 89-9 I Damel, see kings Dan Baskore, 93, 98, 99, 105, 106, 120, 121 dances, dancing, 25, 64, I 10, 127, 147 Dan Kasawa, 93, 95, 100, IOI, 108, 120 Daura, 93, 95, 96 death,3I,33>53,85,III,I46,I72, 174· 197, 200, 210, 216, 231, 250; see also burial; graves; suicide divination, diviners, 19, 55, 6o, 81, IIO drunkenness, 264, 266

INDEX

economy: Benin, 6, 10; Dahomey, S9-9I; Gonja, IS3-4; Kom, I33-5; Kayor, 260, 279, note 4; Maradi, II2-IS;Mossi, ISS-6o; see also trade Edo (Bini), 1-35; see also Benin, Kingdom of cgba, 37· 40,43.49· 66 Ekiti, 39, 46 elders: Ashanti, 209; Benin, 9, I3-I6, 20; Gonja, I9o; Kayor, 26o; Kom, I35, 13S; Mende, 253; Mossi, r6I espionage, 79, S2, 226, 243, 257 eunuchs: Ashanti, 22S; Dahomey, S3; Maradi, 99· lOO, I04, IOS, IOS, IIO, I I I, II2, II6, II9; Mossi, 170; Oyo, 4I, so, 53, 55, 6o, 62-63 Europeans: and Benin, 6, 7, 23; explorers, I23, I24, I25; and Mossi, 175; and Oyo, 37; traders, 72, 90, 24I; travellers, 70, S5, S6; see also British; French; Germans Eweka, Oba of Benin, I, 2-3 exports, 273-4 facial marks, 100, I91, 202 Fada n'Gourma, kingdom, I54, rs6 farmers, farming, 134· ISS, 266 fief-holders, 10-II, 17 finance, 209-10, 214-1S Fon, 7o-