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  • Indian Textiles and Gum Arabic in the Lower Senegal RiverGlobal Significance of Local Trade and Consumers in the Early Nineteenth Century
ABSTRACT

This article proposes to give a new answer to one of the central questions in African and global economic histories: how West Africa contributed to economies outside the region. Recent studies have highlighted that consumers played a significant role in the processes of trade and production. The article combines this consumer-led perspective with a new set of quantitative and qualitative data. Trade figures drawn from the British and French trade statistics reveal the peculiar demand for Indian indigo-blue cotton textiles, called guinées, in Senegal compared with other regions of West Africa in the early nineteenth century. This finding revises Joseph Inikori's argument about the triumph of British cottons in West Africa. Subsequently, this article places the consumption of guinées within the wider context of commercial networks in the trade in gum arabic in the lower Senegal River region and analyzes the social and ecological factors that underpinned the persistent demand for guinées among local consumers, taking into account the continuation of local textile production in West Africa. In so doing, this article argues that consumer behavior in Senegal mattered not only for the gum trade and but also conditioned a [End Page 27] part of global trade networks that extended from South Asia through Western Europe and reached Africa in the early nineteenth century.

Introduction

One of the central questions in African and global economic histories is how West Africa contributed to economies outside the region. The debate has often focused on West Africa's contribution to the origin and development of Britain's Industrial Revolution since Eric Williams's seminal work, Capitalism and Slavery, appeared in 1944.1 In his recent studies, Joseph Inikori has highlighted that the diaspora from West Africa played a crucial role in the plantation production of commodities in the Americas and in the formation of the Atlantic economy, which, he argued, provided large export markets for British manufactured goods, such as cotton textiles produced in Lancashire. He also argued that West African consumer tastes stimulated technological changes in British manufacturing.2

Meanwhile, David Richardson, Joseph Miller, Marion Johnson, Robin Law, John Thornton, Roquinaldo Ferreira, Mariana Candido, and more recently Colleen Kriger have shown that regional differences in consumption patterns in West and West-Central Africa influenced Europe's economic activities in Africa in the era of the Atlantic slave trade. They stressed that African entrepreneurs and consumers had a strong preference for Indian cotton textiles among the imports from Europe into the continent and that British manufacturers needed to gain a competitive edge for Lancashire cotton goods over rivals, namely production by South Asian weavers.3 Thus, the locally varied connections between West Africa and India in the eighteenth century, created by European commercial and imperial expansion, have emerged as one key factor in developing a more nuanced picture of the African linkages with industrialization in Western Europe in the nineteenth century.4 Because these works have focused mainly on cases in the era of the Atlantic slave trade, however, they have paid less attention to the West African contribution to economies outside the region in the post-abolition period, and particularly from 1807 onward. This article seeks to remedy this lacuna and does so by paying close attention to consumer taste in the lower Senegal River region.

This region in West Africa affords us an ideal platform for scrutinizing existing accounts of the place of African actors in the global economy in the early nineteenth century. Using British trade statistics, Inikori has argued that the import of British cotton textiles from Britain into West Africa overtook that [End Page 28] of Indian cotton textiles between the 1820s and the 1840s.5 However, as will be shown later in this article, his argument cannot be applied to Senegal. Philip Curtin, Roger Pasquier, James Webb, and Richard Roberts have indicated that, during the first half of the nineteenth century, Senegal remained a major market for Indian dark-blue cotton textiles, called guinées, rather than European copies and counterfeits, and that guinées served as an important exchange medium in the trade in gum arabic along the Senegal River.6 Despite these contributions, we have yet to understand exactly why the consumer demand for Indian guinées turned out to be so resilient in the lower Senegal River region well into the early nineteenth century. If we can throw new light on this problem, we should then be able to start unveiling the hitherto neglected global interactions between a part of West Africa and other regions.

This is why I propose to pay close attention to consumer taste in the lower Senegal River region. Recent studies by Jeremy Prestholdt and Pedro Machado have in fact highlighted the role of consumers in East Africa and Mozambique and their interaction with South Asia, Western Europe, North America and Latin America in shaping the trajectory of long-distance trade and commodity production. The social dimension of demand, consumers' desire for foreign commodities, and consumer tastes played a significant role in the processes of trade and production.7

This article combines this consumer-led perspective with a new set of quantitative and qualitative data drawn from archives in France, Senegal, and the United Kingdom. This enables us to substantiate the peculiar demand for guinées in Senegal compared with other regions of West Africa. In so doing, the article argues that consumer behavior in Senegal mattered not only for the gum trade but also conditioned a part of the global trade networks that extended from South Asia through Western Europe and reached Africa in the early nineteenth century.

The article begins by explaining how local textile production and trade in West Africa had shaped consumer preference for textiles from India and Europe. Then, it moves on to focus on particular items of trade: guinées and gum arabic. Based on a new set of quantitative data derived from British and French trade statistics, it shows the import of Indian dyed cotton textiles into West Africa in the early nineteenth century, revealing the peculiar demand for guinées in Senegal compared with other regions of West Africa. Subsequently, the demand for guinées will be placed in the context of commercial networks in the region that reveals the variety of people and linguistic complexities involved. Furthermore, the article pays close attention to the social and ecological factors that underpinned the continued demand for guinées among consumers in Senegal. [End Page 29]

Shaping Consumer Preferences for Textiles in West Africa before 1800

Textile production and trade in precolonial West Africa shaped consumer preferences for textiles later imported from Europe and Asia. West Africa has a very long history of textile production, consumption, and trade that precedes the contact with Europeans dating back to the fifteenth century. The region had been rich in materials available for textile production, and its products had been made from various kinds of fibers, from animals, or plants. In the northern part and desert areas, cloth was made from sheep, camels, and horses, while in the forest zones of West Africa, the protein fiber from the silkworm was used. African weavers also used vegetable fibers such as linen, cotton, costa of raffia, and tree bark and leaves. In addition to various fibers used for cloth production, Africa offered plenty of other resources that could be used as dyestuff, including insects, shellfish, plants, and minerals.8

The spread of Islam played a major role in diffusing the technology of textile production in West Africa at an early stage. After all, the wearing of clothes was a custom adopted by converts that marked their membership of the ummah and distinguished them from followers of animism. Men who converted to Islam wore long flowing robes and baggy pants. From the seventeenth century onward, on the occasions of important Islamic ceremonies and burials, the people in Hausaland wore white clothes because of their association with Islam.9

In many areas of precolonial West Africa, textile production generally drew on the household division of labor. Spinning was the principal occupation of women during the dry agricultural off-season, and weaving was that of men.10 The technology of textile production used in precolonial West Africa was simple. West African weavers were familiar with textile production using narrow looms with pulleys and foot pedals. In Senegambia and other Upper Guinea regions, the treadle loom on which the weavers wove cloth was the only horizontal one, while vertical looms were found in the forest and south-savanna areas of West Africa.11 The major manufacturers in the Upper Guinea regions included the Wolof, Mandinga, Fulbe, Banhun, Casanga, and Biafada, and in the land of Waalo, workmen called Rabeseyr produced piece goods of cotton.12

Using the narrow loom, whether horizontal or vertical, was a choice in the textile industry in precolonial West Africa. The narrow loom was not costly, and it was easy to assemble and to dismantle, so weavers could take the loom indoors in case of rain.13 From the perspective of factor endowments, A. G. Hopkins and more recently Gareth Austin have explained [End Page 30] that, in precolonial West Africa, labor was scarce in terms of the size of the region and the cultivable land. However, during the dry season, when farming was not possible, labor was temporarily abundant and the opportunity cost of labor was low. As for cotton, Austin wrote, it "could be grown over wide areas of the savanna but it had to be planted during the same short season as food crops, creating a risky trade-off which severely constrained the price-elasticity of the supply of raw cotton."14 Austin has argued that these conditions facilitated the choice of the narrow loom that required a labor-intensive method of production but reduced labor output.15 Thus, weavers produced cotton textiles of high-quality that spread through trade across and beyond West Africa and contributed to shaping consumers' tastes in textiles for centuries in ways that influenced European commerce in the region.

In precolonial West Africa, locally produced textiles were not only consumed as clothing but also used as a currency along with cowries, copper, iron, gold, and silver coins. During the precolonial period, especially as the Atlantic slave trade expanded, uncertainties in the supply and demand in West African markets became so significant that they encouraged not only the emergence of a system of credit and delayed payments but also an alternative medium of exchange. In theory, in order for a commodity to serve as a currency, it was vital that it was widely available and traded. Indeed, cloth in precolonial West African economies fulfilled these requirements, and thus West African textiles were circulated not only as a commodity but also as a currency.16

In Senegambia, a piece of locally produced textile was called pagne in French, "country cloth" in English, soro in Pulaar, and tama in Soninke. As the basic unit for transactions, each strip of cloth woven on the narrow loom in the region measured approximately 2 meters in length and 15 to 18 centimeters in width, and strips were sewn together to make a piece. In the market exchanges, cloth currencies could serve as either money of large denomination or small change depending on their length.17 As for sewing strips into a piece of cloth, Walter Rodney noted that "the neat craftsmanship made the stitching virtually indiscernible."18

However, it was Indian guinées, not locally made cotton textiles, that formed the major currency in the gum trade in the Senegal River valley from the late eighteenth century. In order to understand why guinées served as a currency in the river trade at that time, we should note that the period from 1600 to 1850 witnessed an increasing aridity that caused serious droughts and subsequent famines in Senegambia. As for the lower Senegal River region, the ecological zone shifted from the western savanna to the western Sahel (or the southern frontier of the Sahara) during this [End Page 31] period. Webb noted that this ecological shift "pushed rainfed agriculture south to within 100 kilometers of the Senegal River."19 Indeed, the aridification and subsequent ecological crises brought about a change in life of the inhabitants in the region. As one of the effects of the aridification, droughts displaced the weaving industry from the lower Senegal River region around the middle of the eighteenth century. The consequence of the displacement of the weaving industry from the Senegal River would suggest that the local weavers might be unable to carry an adequate supply of textiles across and beyond Senegambia.20 This explains partly why guinées could serve as a new currency in the Senegal River regions since it was possible for guinées to be constantly supplied from India in abundance by the French merchants.21

Guinées

Guinée, or pièce de guinée, was one variety of Indian cotton textiles imported into West Africa during the periods of the Atlantic slave trade and "legitimate" commerce.22 The French term for cotton textiles derives from Guinée (Guinea in English), a coastal area of West Africa. Guinée was the term for dark blue, fine cotton textiles produced along the Coromandel Coast in South India, in particular Pondicherry and Salem, mainly for Western European trade with Senegal.23

The assumption that guinée was identical to guinea cloth might be misleading. Guinea cloth was also produced in India for European trade with West Africa, and the origin of the English appellation was derived from the Guinea coast. However, John Irwin notes that guinea cloth was produced in western India, and that guinea cloth was "the generic term for a wide range of cheap, brightlycoloured Indian calicoes, mostly striped or chequered, and very popular" among black Africans.24 Curtin has also admitted that most guinea cloths were not shipped to Senegambia.25 For these reasons, this article employs the term guinée in order to avoid confusion with other appellations.

The mercantilist and geographic contexts for the Senegalese trade ensured that there was no direct trade of guinées between Saint Louis of Senegal and Pondicherry at that time. According to the French mercantilist policy called exclusif or the pacte colonial, trading between colonies was banned, and commerce between France and its colonies had to be carried out by metropolitan merchants.26 In addition, the geography around the island of Saint Louis, which was separated from the Atlantic by the Langue de Barbarie—the long sandbar extending southward from Mauritania—would shape the trajectory of the maritime trade from Saint Louis, which [End Page 32] maintained a close connection with France during the period.27 Therefore, due to the combination of the French mercantilist policy and the topography surrounding Saint Louis of Senegal, guinées were always imported into Saint Louis via ports in France.

Figure 1. The Proportions of Bordeaux and Marseille in the Re-exports of Guinées from France, 1832–50. (Sources: Direction générale des douanes, Tableau décennal de commerce de la France avec ses colonies et les puissances étrangères, 1827 à 1836 (Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1838); Direction générale des douanes, Tableau général du commerce de la France avec ses colonies et les puissances étrangères [Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1839–51]).
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Figure 1.

The Proportions of Bordeaux and Marseille in the Re-exports of Guinées from France, 1832–50. (Sources: Direction générale des douanes, Tableau décennal de commerce de la France avec ses colonies et les puissances étrangères, 1827 à 1836 (Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1838); Direction générale des douanes, Tableau général du commerce de la France avec ses colonies et les puissances étrangères [Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1839–51]).

With regard to the French ports from which guinées were transported into Senegal, Colin Newbury remarked that these South Asian textiles were "carried and imported exclusively by merchants of Bordeaux."28 Margaret McLane stated that Bordeaux and Marseille achieved "near parity at the end of the 1830s" in the Senegal trade. However, neither provided quantitative evidence to support their claim.29

Figure 1 provides just such support drawing on the entrepôt section of the French trade statistics. It charts the shipping of guinées from Bordeaux and its major rival, Marseille, into external markets in the 1830s and 1840s, indicating that Bordeaux played the leading role in the trade in guinées until 1850. The shipping was carried out by prominent Bordeaux merchants such as Justin, Bruno, and Éduard Devès, Albert Teisseire, and Hilary Maurel. Although any instances of business success cannot be attributed to one or two factors alone, the success of Bordeaux merchants [End Page 33] was most probably founded on the expansion of family enterprise and the collaboration with local intermediaries.30 Given that the export section of the French trade statistics shows a persistently high share for Senegal of between 85 percent and almost 100 percent in the shipping of guinées from France,31 these findings would allow us to confirm that by far the most important outlet for guinées brought from Bordeaux in this period was Senegal, as suggested by Newbury. Senegal proved so important as a re-export market for guinées that in 1843 the French government came to standardize the size and weight of guinées produced in Pondicherry for Senegal.32

Figure 2. Guinées and Indian Dyed Cotton Textiles Imported from Britain and France into West Africa, 1827–50. (Sources: France: Direction générale des douanes, Tableau décennal de commerce de la France avec ses colonies et les puissances étrangères, 1827 à 1836 [Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1838]; Direction générale des douanes, Tableau général du commerce de la France avec ses colonies et les puissances étrangères [Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1839–51]. Britain: The National Archives [Kew, United Kingdom], CUST 10/18-41.) Note: In order to construct the geographical entity "West Africa" from the French trade statistics, I take the data of the three sub-regions of Senegal, St. Thomas, and "Other" parts of Africa. In order to construct "West Africa" from the British trade statistics, I take the data from the six sub-regions of Cape Verde Islands, Senegal, Gambia and Sierra Leone, Windward Coast, Cape Coast Castle, and Rio Volta to the Cape of Good Hope.
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Figure 2.

Guinées and Indian Dyed Cotton Textiles Imported from Britain and France into West Africa, 1827–50. (Sources: France: Direction générale des douanes, Tableau décennal de commerce de la France avec ses colonies et les puissances étrangères, 1827 à 1836 [Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1838]; Direction générale des douanes, Tableau général du commerce de la France avec ses colonies et les puissances étrangères [Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1839–51]. Britain: The National Archives [Kew, United Kingdom], CUST 10/18-41.)

Note: In order to construct the geographical entity "West Africa" from the French trade statistics, I take the data of the three sub-regions of Senegal, St. Thomas, and "Other" parts of Africa. In order to construct "West Africa" from the British trade statistics, I take the data from the six sub-regions of Cape Verde Islands, Senegal, Gambia and Sierra Leone, Windward Coast, Cape Coast Castle, and Rio Volta to the Cape of Good Hope.

Now we can juxtapose this powerful French inflow of Indian guinées against British performance. As discussed in the introduction, Inikori stresses the triumph of British cotton goods in West Africa, but studies by Curtin and others have indicated the existence of a large inflow to Senegal [End Page 34] of guinées from France during the early nineteenth century. Figure 2 confirms these suggestions with quantitative data; it shows a larger quantity of guinées shipped from France into Senegal in comparison with Indian dyed cotton textiles carried from Britain into West Africa from 1827 to 1850. The data are derived from the official trade statistics of Britain and France; both countries were major partners of West African (in particular, Senegalese) overseas trade in the period under review. Figure 2 also shows that Indian cotton textiles continued to be shipped from Britain into West Africa, mostly into Sierra Leone, but the scale of business gradually diminished in the second quarter of the nineteenth century. This was probably due to the development of the textile industry in Lancashire, which boosted British exports of cotton textiles of various kinds, from white calicoes to dyed and patterned goods.33

In contrast to the Anglo-West African trade in Indian dyed cotton textiles, the Franco-West African trade in Indian guinées increased continually in the early nineteenth century, and Senegal, in particular Saint Louis, was the largest consumer of guinées. This increase was partly made possible by the development of Pondicherry's textile industry, which was funded by the French government and French entrepreneurs. For example, Le Prince et Poulain, a private company in Paris, introduced a new spinning machine with a steam engine from France in its factory in Pondicherry around 1830.34 Figure 3 illustrates that there were similar trends between the trade of guinées from Pondicherry to France and that from France to Senegal in the 1830s and 1840s.

Guinée was the flagship commodity among those imported by Senegal from France throughout the early nineteenth century. The commodity made up 50 percent and 40 percent of the total value of all goods imported into Senegal in the years 1820–1823 and 1824–1828, respectively.35 The shares were similar in the late 1830s, the mid-1840s, and the late 1840s, amounting to 47 percent, 39 percent, and 39 percent, respectively.36 Thanks to this statistical evidence, we can now conclude with more certainty that Inikori's argument that "British cottons won a decisive victory over East India cottons in Western Africa very early in the nineteenth century" needs firm qualification at least when it comes to Senegal.37

Gum Arabic

The flow of guinées was linked directly with an African commodity that also had a global significance: gum arabic. The Indian cloth served as the major currency in the gum trade in Senegal from the late eighteenth century onward. In particular, there was a "gum fever" around 1830, when France's agricultural project in Waalo resulted in failure. Among various purposes, [End Page 35] gum arabic from Senegal was indispensable as a stiffener in dyeing textiles in Western Europe in the age of industrialization.38 Of course, we should note that this period saw the invention of dextrin in France, which was intended to serve as a cheaper chemical alternative to gum arabic. However, a letter from the Minister of Agriculture and Commerce to the Admiral noted that dextrin deteriorated easily and that it did not suit some of the purposes that gum arabic served.39 Thus, the gum trade from Senegal to France (and other countries in Europe) continued even after dextrin had been invented.

Figure 3. Guinée Trades from French India (Pondicherry) to France and from France to Senegal, 1827–50. (Sources: Direction générale des douanes, Tableau décennal de commerce de la France avec ses colonies et les puissances étrangères, 1827 à 1836 (Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1838); Direction générale des douanes, Tableau général du commerce de la France avec ses colonies et les puissances étrangères [Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1839–51]).
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Figure 3.

Guinée Trades from French India (Pondicherry) to France and from France to Senegal, 1827–50. (Sources: Direction générale des douanes, Tableau décennal de commerce de la France avec ses colonies et les puissances étrangères, 1827 à 1836 (Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1838); Direction générale des douanes, Tableau général du commerce de la France avec ses colonies et les puissances étrangères [Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1839–51]).

Gum arabic is "a concrete vegetable juice, which oozes from clefts in the bark of" acacia trees of the family of Mimosoideae (e.g. acacia verek or acacia senegal) "either naturally or by incision, and which afterwards coagulates."40 In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Arguin and Portendick had been the major places for gum trade in Mauritania. However, aridification had made Arguin unsustainable by the late eighteenth century, and Portendick followed the same fate as Arguin by the middle of the nineteenth century. Instead of these Mauritanian ports, Saint Louis at the mouth of the Senegal River, which flows between southern Mauritania and northern Senegal, became the single source of gum arabic during this [End Page 36] period.41 Indeed, as James Searing described, the gum trade was already "the lifeblood of Saint Louis" in the early nineteenth century.42

The gum harvesting was very sensitive to two ecological conditions. One factor was the harmattan, the hot and dry trade wind from the Sahara Desert that split the acacia bark. The harmattan would start to blow from the end of October or the beginning of November and persist until June. The best season for gum harvesting were the months between March and May, when the harmattan would be at its strongest. Also, it is important to note that the harmattan weakened as it approached the savanna, partly because of blockages such as the trees and shrubs at the desert's edge. The decrease in its intensity created different productivity zones between the north and south banks of the Senegal River. The northern zones (the domains of nomadic emirates) were the major producing-regions of good-quality gum arabic.43

The other factor in determining the amount of gum exuded was rainfall. Excess rainfall increased moisture inside the gum trees, so it could prevent the bark from cracking, and the quality of gum could be friable. The best quality gum arabic was produced in areas where rainfall was 400 millimeters per annum. On the other hand, severe drought, which occurred in four or five consecutive years, might have also seriously affected the exudation of the gum trees. Webb noted that "[t]he most productive years are when intense wind and little rainfall follow years of plentiful rainfall."44

A rough estimate by Curtin on gum exports from Saint Louis suggests that French traders imported 200–400 tons of gum arabic annually from the late seventeenth to the end of the eighteenth century.45 In precolonial West Africa, gum arabic fed slaves or provided nourishment during famines, but it was not necessarily used for local industries. For this reason, it would be possible to export a large amount of gum arabic from Mauritania and, more importantly, Senegal.46 Toward the end of the seventeenth century, French merchants undertook comparative experiments that indicated that gum arabic from Senegal "was more mucilaginous and adhesive" than any other gums, notably those from Arabia imported via Egypt.47 By the end of the eighteenth century, gum arabic from Senegal had replaced all other types of gum in Europe, and Senegal had become the sole supplier of gum to Europe.48 Around the lower Senegal River, the suppliers of high-quality gum arabic were traders in nomadic emirates, such as Trarza and Brakna, whose people referred to themselves as Bidan (white men) and were commonly known as "Maures" or "Moors" by Europeans.49

Figure 4 shows that the import of guinées from France to Senegal was highly correlated to the export of gum arabic from Senegal to France from around 1830, when the gum fever set in. Under the regime of exclusif, only [End Page 37] French vessels were allowed to transport goods from Senegal to France. However, this commercial regulation was modified in 1832 so that French vessels could ship gum arabic directly from Senegal to foreign countries such as Britain, which offered large markets for the product.50 That means that the real quantities of gum exports from Saint Louis after 1832 were probably larger than those given in Figure 4. For example, one source on the exports of gum arabic from Saint Louis between 1837 and 1843 recorded that 4,738 tons of gum arabic were exported from Senegal in 1837. It also indicates that that number fell to the level of 1,068 tons in 1843.51

Figure 4. Exports of Gum Arabic from Senegal to France and Imports of Guinées from France to Senegal, 1827–1850. (Sources: Direction générale des douanes, Tableau décennal de commerce de la France avec ses colonies et les puissances étrangères, 1827 à 1836 [Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1838]; Direction générale des douanes, Tableau général du commerce de la France avec ses colonies et les puissances ètrangéres [Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1839–51].)
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Figure 4.

Exports of Gum Arabic from Senegal to France and Imports of Guinées from France to Senegal, 1827–1850. (Sources: Direction générale des douanes, Tableau décennal de commerce de la France avec ses colonies et les puissances étrangères, 1827 à 1836 [Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1838]; Direction générale des douanes, Tableau général du commerce de la France avec ses colonies et les puissances ètrangéres [Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1839–51].)

There were fluctuations in the gum trade during this period, which reflected unpredictable output of the gum trees on the desert edge. Because it took one to two years for an order for Indian guinées to arrive in Saint Louis, oversupply of guinées would occur.52 After the good harvesting years in the mid-1830s, the market for guinées reached saturation in the Senegal River valley during some years from 1838 onward, which led to a relative increase in the gum price in Senegal. Correspondence between the Minister of the Navy and the Colonies in Paris and the governor in Saint Louis recorded that the exchange rate between a piece of guinée and gum arabic [End Page 38] in the lower Senegal River increased from 40 livres (15–20 kilograms) of gum arabic per piece of guinée in June 1839 to 27 livres in May 1840.53 La Sémaphore de Marseille, dated 20 May 1842, published an article on the commerce of Senegal that reported the poor harvest in 1840 and 1841 and its consequences:

The trade is not propitious. Gum is in short supply, guinées are flooding the market, and there is severe competition. The traitants [Senegalese middlemen] have operated at a loss. For us it is a crisis of commerce due to the prosperity of previous years which attracted many foreign traders. Besides, the manufacturers in Pondicherry and the shippers in France have doubled their shipping of guinées. The result: a lack of harvest of gum for two years.54

Due to this severe competition, the French merchants tried to sell their stocks of guinées as soon as possible, even if this meant dumping goods at a low price.55

Commercial Networks in the Lower Senegal River Region

While the literature on the economic history of precolonial Senegal relevant to the guinée trade tends to narrow its focus on the gum trade in the Senegal River region,56 I argue that the river trade was linked to West African and Saharan trade networks.57 Figure 5 illustrates the major commercial networks around the lower Senegal River from 1817 to 1854 (see also Map 1). It visually reveals who participated in this river trade in guinées and gum arabic, and entered and left each point of exchange. The gum trade in the lower Senegal River in the first half of the nineteenth century witnessed the collaboration between French merchants (mainly from Bordeaux) and those who were called habitants, although upper river areas such as Bakel were used for the trade of slaves and gold before the French withdrawal from the slave trade in 1831. The latter region also supplied gum arabic, but its quality was crumbly and lacking in richness compared to that which was harvested in lower river regions such as Rosso and Dagana.58 For example, in 1840, a piece of guinée could be exchanged for 27 livres in the lower river region, although it could fetch a price of 80 livres at Bakel in the upper river region.59 In addition, one official document noted that 70 percent of gum arabic exported from Saint Louis of Senegal was supplied by the lower river region in the late 1840s.60 Therefore, Figure 5 pays close attention to the commercial network of the gum trade extending from Saint Louis through the lower Senegal River to the gum harvesting area.

The maritime trade between France and Saint Louis was the province of the French merchants; especially those from Bordeaux. Under the regime [End Page 39]

Figure 5. Commercial Networks in the Lower Senegal River Region in the Early Nineteenth Century.
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Figure 5.

Commercial Networks in the Lower Senegal River Region in the Early Nineteenth Century.

[End Page 40]

Map 1. Senegal River Regions in the Early Nineteenth Century.
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Map 1.

Senegal River Regions in the Early Nineteenth Century.

of the exclusif, the metropolitan merchants dominated the trade between France and its colonies.61 Commodities shipped from France to Senegal in this period included textiles (mainly from India and some from Europe), metals and metalware, arms and ammunition, beads and semi-precious stones, alcohols, and tobacco.62

The trade between Saint Louis and the fixed seasonal markets in the lower river, called escales, was under the control of the habitants and their river traders, who mediated between French merchants at Saint Louis and the nomadic emirates such as Brakna and Trarza at the escales. The habitants were descendants of metis, offspring between Europeans and Africans in Saint Louis and the Island of Gorée. Ibrahima Thioub described the habitants as "the vertebral column of the social architecture of the island [of Saint Louis]."63 In Saint Louis society, they—including female habitants known as signares—were socially respectable and wealthy enough to own their own houses, boats, and domestic slaves, which allowed them to enter into the trade in the Senegal River. Their ability to speak European [End Page 41] languages enabled them to serve as translators for Europeans, and they profited not only from their role as middlemen in river trade but also engaged in overseas trade with France.64 French merchants needed their help for the river trade; partly because they had no immunity against tropical diseases, such as malaria and yellow fever, and partly because there were sometimes rivalries between the French and the Trarza emirate in the lower Senegal River.65 In other words, European business at that time had to rely on local intermediaries to reduce potential risks associated with the trade in West Africa.

In Saint Louis, the French merchants offered guinées and other goods on credit to the habitants. The intermediaries were expected to deliver an adequate amount of gum arabic to the French merchants by the end of the trade season. The habitants could secure their loans with their trade slaves. In the case of non-fulfillment of the initial contract, the creditors would allow them time to conduct another river trade, although the second agreement could bear heavy interest—generally 50 percent per trade season. The failure to fulfill the second agreement meant that trade slaves of the debtor could be seized by the creditor.66

The habitants consigned guinées and other goods to their river traders, who conducted the river trade on their behalf. The river traders included the laptots, the gourmets, and the maître de langue. The laptots served as sailors, roustabouts, and deckhands on the river fleet; the gourmets served as pilots, helmsmen, and boatswains. The maître de langue were skilled Africans and métis who served as translators and interpreters between the French and the nomads at the escales, who spoke Hasaniya. As they could apprehend political and economic behavior on both sides, their role as diplomats and intermediaries was crucial in Saint Louis and in the Senegal River region.67

The harmattan and rainfall determined the output of gum harvesting, and thereby the season of the gum trade in the Senegal River. The best season of gum harvesting lasted from March to May, which experienced the strongest harmattan of the year. Therefore, the major gum trade in the peak season was called grande traite in French, while the minor one in the off-peak season from November to the end of January was known as petite traite.68

The river traders carried guinées and other goods by boat from Saint Louis to the escales over several weeks. The latter included millet, salt, and dried fish from both Waalo and Kajoor. Kajoor was a large kingdom stretching from north to central Senegal at that time; its production of foodstuffs accounted for half of the total value of the goods brought to the escales in 1852.69 A piece of guinée served as a standard unit of value in local trade at that time, as did millet.70 However, little is known about the recognized exchange rate between millet and guinée/gum in the literature. The Compromis [End Page 42] for the gum trade in three escales in 1841 suggests that the price of a piece of guinée was fixed at 54 livres (27 kilograms) of gum arabic, and that the price of one barrel of millet was fixed at two pieces of guinées. This means that one barrel of millet was equal to 108 livres of gum in the escales.71

The exchanges of the imported goods shipped from Saint Louis and gum arabic took place in the escales in the lower Senegal River. In the early nineteenth century, there were three escales: escale des Darmancours, escale du Coq, and escale du Désert. Each escale was held under the jurisdiction of the warrior nomads of the desert edge, called hassani or arab. Among the hassani groups, the Darmancours controlled the escale located at the nearest point from Saint Louis. The Brakna controlled the escale du Coq, which was ranked second in importance to the escale du Désert controlled by the Trarza, the most powerful group in the lower river region.72 These hassani groups protected the clerical lineages, known as zawaya (marabout), who in return paid taxes called mudarat to the hassani, and designated the escales as the locations of transactions between the zawaya groups and the river traders.73

The hassani also imposed taxes on the river traders who traded in the escales. These taxes fell into two categories. One tax was levied on the weight of gum traded: the river trader paid in goods and foodstuffs to the rulers of the escales, with the tax payment amounting to a piece of guinée per half ton of gum traded. The other, higher tax was based on boat tonnage and was independent of the size of the trade. This tax was an important source of revenue for the rulers of the escales, but it became burdensome for the river traders, especially in years of poor harvest of gum. In such cases, the traders faced risks not only of losing money in the river trade but also of failing to repay the debt to the creditor in Saint Louis. Therefore, the river traders requested the abolition of the tax on boat tonnage at various points between the 1830s and the 1840s, and only the Darmancours accepted their request in 1847, when gum was not a major commodity traded at their escale.74 The river traders also forwarded "gifts" to the nomads and caravans at the escales a few weeks or months before the actual delivery of gum in the escales.75

Thus, the river traders paid much more than the market price to purchase gum arabic in the escales in the lower Senegal River. This means that market prices of gum per piece of guinée quoted in the official statistics and used in the existing literature should be treated with caution, especially if we try to estimate the profit from the exchange rate difference between Saint Louis and the escales. Since Marcson did not take into account other costs, such as the previously-mentioned taxes and transport costs, his assumption regarding the exchange rate differential is misleading. Take the example of the exchange rate differential in 1841. Marcson estimated it at [End Page 43] fewer than 21 livres of gum per guinée by subtracting the price in the escales (fewer than 54 livres) from that in Saint Louis (fewer than 33 livres). However, according to the correspondence dated 11 September 1841 that Marcson used, the transport cost per piece of guinée was 45 percent of the price of 16.5 kilograms in Saint Louis, or 7.5 kilograms of gum. Considering the tax paid to the nomadic emirates, as well as the transport cost, the margin that the habitants gained from the trade was much smaller than Marcson thought.76

The zawaya merchants dispatched groups of up to 50 slaves with a supervisor to the harvesting area of gum, far away from their camps. These slaves, who engaged in farming or herding in the other seasons, included the slaves of the supervisor and those of his kinsmen and allies. They built huts near a well around the gum grove, and ate and slept there during the harvesting period. The harvesting period was linked to the harmattan season discussed previously on the one hand, and to the slack season in agriculture that began at the end of October or the beginning of November, on the other hand. Under supervision, the slaves gathered gum in the grove. In return for his services, the supervisor received the amount of one day's labor of gum harvest per week from slaves who were not his. In an average year, eight grams of gum were produced from a single acacia tree, but the output of gum harvesting varied. In addition, the output of a slave was one to three kilograms per day, but this also depended on his industriousness, food supply, and abusive treatment by the supervisor.77 The slaves put the harvested gum arabic into bags of oxhide and brought them on the backs of camels or cattle to the escales, where the gum was exchanged for guinées, millet, and other goods that the river traders shipped from Saint Louis.78

Through such early nineteenth-century commercial networks, guinées were carried from Europe via Saint Louis into the Senegal River region, where they were exchanged mainly for gum arabic that was carried in the opposite direction. Some guinées were consumed within the realm of the nomadic emirates, and others were further circulated under the names of akhal or baysa into Sahara Desert regions via caravan trade networks. These networks brought a variety of goods from North Africa into the nomadic emirates, including salt, which was essential to the people and animals in the desert and savanna.79

Social and Ecological Factors Affecting the Persistent Demand for Guinées in the Senegal River Region

Why did consumers in the lower Senegal River prefer authentic Indian guinées rather than European goods? The key answers lie partly in their [End Page 44] taste for quality of textiles, and partly in the regional climate. In West Africa, in general, there was continued demand for Indian textiles rather than European products in the first decades of the nineteenth century because local consumers in West Africa preferred high-quality Indian cotton textiles to European textiles.80 A testimony from a British official of the Company of Merchants Trading to Africa highlighted that European products "appear to be chiefly defective in the colors (some not being fixed) and in the strength of the cloth."81

In Senegal, in particular, local merchants were known to reject European products of inferior quality. French traveler Silvester Golberry, who visited Senegal in the mid-1780s, wrote that merchants would stick their noses into cloth to ascertain from its smell whether it was an authentic guinée. Golberry reported that "a particular smell" of guinées came from indigo used in Pondicherry.82 Manufacturers in Europe could imitate the color of guinées, although it was impossible for them to imitate the smell of guinées. The essential difference between Indian and European dyed textiles was also thought to be due to the proportion of aluminum in the water, which explains the superiority of blue dyeing in Pondicherry.83 That is why the French needed to import authentic guinées produced in Pondicherry into Senegal at that time.

As for the consumption of guinées, French explorer Gaspard Mollien noted that wearing indigo-dyed cloth had been a sign of prosperity that differentiated the wearers from farmers in Senegambia, who wore white cloth.84 This was a pattern of conspicuous consumption that was seen widely in precolonial West Africa.85 Meanwhile, David Boilat portrayed a princess of the Trarza emirate who wrapped herself with guinées loosely.86 Ghislaine Lydon accounts for the loose clothing of desert nomads that "provided windshield, sunscreen, and ventilation, while functioning as a resting sheet." The indigo blue dye used for textiles "stained the skin, acting as a protective coating against sun rays."87 Thus, the consumption pattern of guinées in the lower Senegal River region was linked to the regional climate. In other words, guinées had use-value as clothing that suited the life in the consuming areas.

Conclusion

This article has explored the role of consumers and the trade of guinées and gum arabic in the lower Senegal River region in order to reveal their global significance in the early nineteenth century. Trade figures drawn from the British and French trade statistics have enabled us to revise Inikori's argument about the triumph of British cottons in West Africa in the early [End Page 45] nineteenth century. Yet, this article has done more than present the new statistical data. It has put forward a range of qualitative evidence in order to explain precisely why cotton textiles manufactured in India continued to play a significant role in African trade than European textiles into the early nineteenth century.

Contemporary correspondences and travelers' records have revealed that local consumers along the Senegal River, and in the Sahara Desert, preferred Indian textiles in terms of quality, particularly their color and smell, which European textiles could not match. Guinées also had use-value among these consumers—wrapping bodies loosely with guinées and the dark-blue color of the textiles suited the life in the savanna, Sahel, and desert, where the population was exposed to relentless sunshine and desert wind. Meanwhile, in the local African context, wearing dyed textiles had a social significance; it was a sign of luxury. On the other hand, natural environment and local industry also need to be taken into account in order to explain what conditioned the inflow of guinées to serve as a currency in the gum trade along the Senegal River. Droughts that hit the region displaced the domestic cloth industry from there before guinées were imported in abundance. This created conditions that favored the importation of textiles from overseas, as factor endowments limited the capacity for local producers to meet demand.

This article, therefore, argues that increasing consumer demand for guinées in Senegal was shaped not simply by the specific taste that nomads such as Trarza had for the blue goods and by the resilient European demand for gum arabic that these nomads exclusively supplied. The demand for the high-quality Indian cloth continued also because of environmental changes that hit the lower Senegal River region and the subsequent declining of local textile production. It was conditioned more broadly by a combination of the French mercantilist policy, local geography around Saint Louis, and French and African commercial networks. The powerful consumer demand, combined with these factors, determined the patterns of trade between France and India and between France and Senegal, and thereby influenced not only the textile production in Pondicherry but also the development of textile industry in Western Europe. Consumers in a West African region shaped the trajectory of economic development outside Africa even after the end of the Atlantic slave trade. [End Page 46]

Kazuo Kobayashi
University of Tokyo
Kazuo Kobayashi

Kazuo Kobayashi is a postdoctoral fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and a visiting scholar at the University of Tokyo. He received his PhD degree in Economic History from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2016. He is studying Indian cotton textiles in precolonial West Africa and his particular areas of interest are the history of early modern globalization, West African economic history and the history of Indian cotton textiles.

Acknowledgment

This article is based on my doctoral research in London. I am grateful for guidance and encouragement from Tirthankar Roy and Leigh Gardner and for useful comments from Gareth Austin, Richard Drayton, and Toby Green. Earlier versions of this article were presented at the annual meeting of the African Economic History Network (LSE, October 25–26, 2014), and the World Economic History Congress (Kyoto, August 3–7, 2015), and seminars at the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), the Institute of Historical Research, Osaka University, the World History Center (Pittsburgh), and the University of Tokyo. Also, I would like to thank Kate Frederick, Gerold Krozewski, Ryuto Shimada, John Styles, Koji Yamamoto, and anonymous reviewers of the AEH for helpful comments and suggestions. Any errors are all mine. This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 16J00121.

Notes

1. Eric Williams, Capitalism and Slavery (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1944).

2. Joseph E. Inikori, Africans and the Industrial Revolution in England: A Study in International Trade and Economic Development (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002); Joseph E. Inikori, "Africa and Globalization Process: Western Africa, 1450–1850," Journal of Global History 2, no. 1 (2007): 63–86.

3. David Richardson, "West African Consumption Patterns and Their Influence on the Eighteenth-Century English Slave Trade," in The Uncommon Market: Essays in the Economic History of the Atlantic Slave Trade, eds. Henry A. Gemery and Jan S. Hogendorn (London and New York, NY: Academic Press, 1979), 303–30; Joseph C. Miller, Way of Death: Merchant Capitalism and the Angolan Slave Trade, 1730–1830 (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1988); Marion Johnson, Anglo-African Trade in the Eighteenth Century: English Statistics on African Trade 1699–1808, eds. Thomas Lindblad and Robert Ross (Leiden: Intercontinenta No. 15, Centre for the History of European Expansion, 1990); Robin Law, The Slave Coast of West Africa, 1550–1750: The Impact of the Atlantic Slave Trade on an African Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), 201–202; John Thornton, Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400–1800 (2nd Edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998); Roquinaldo Amaral Ferreira, "Transforming Atlantic Slaving Trade, Warfare and Territorial Control in Angola, 1650–1800" (PhD diss., University of California at Los Angeles, 2003), 48–68; Mariana P. Candido, "Merchants and the Business of the Slave Trade at Benguela, 1750–1850," African Economic History, 35 (2007): 1–30; Colleen E. Kriger, Cloth in West African History (Lanham, MD: Altamira Press, 2006); Colleen E. Kriger, "'Guinea Cloth': Production and Consumption of Cotton Textiles in West Africa before and during the Atlantic Slave Trade," in The Spinning World: A Global History of Cotton Textiles, [End Page 47] 1200–1850, eds. Giorgio Riello and Prasannan Parthasarathi (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 105–26.

4. Christopher A. Bayly, The Birth of the Modern World, 1780–1914: Global Connections and Comparisons (Oxford and Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004), 19; Giorgio Riello, Cotton: The Fabric that Made the Modern World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 147–51.

5. Inikori, Africans, 444–47.

6. Philip D. Curtin, Economic Change in Precolonial Africa: Senegambia in the Era of the Slave Trade, vol. 1 (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1975), 261–263, 268–70; Roger Pasquier, "Les comptoirs du Sénégal au milieu du XIXe siècle," in Actes du colloque entreprises et entrepreneurs en Afrique (XIXe et XXe siècle), ed. Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch (Paris: Harmattan, 1983), 141–63; James L. A. Webb, Jr., "The Trade in Gum Arabic: Prelude to French Conquest in Senegal," Journal of African History, 26, issue 2 (1985): 149–68; Richard Roberts, "West Africa and the Pondicherry Textile Industry," in Cloth and Commerce: Textiles in Colonial India, ed. Tirthankar Roy (New Delhi: Sage Publication, 1996), 142–74.

7. Jeremy Prestholdt, Domesticating the World: African Consumerism and the Genealogies of Globalization (Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 2008); Pedro Machado, Ocean of Trade: South Asian Merchants, Africa and the Indian Ocean, c. 1750–1850 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014).

8. Carolyn Keyes Adenaike, "West African Textiles, 1500–1800," in Textiles: Production, Trade and Demand, ed. Maureen F. Mazzaoui (Aldershot and Brookfield: Ashgate, 1998), 1–2.

9. David W. Ames, "The Rural Wolof of The Gambia," in Markets in Africa, eds. Paul Bohannan and George Dalton (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1962), 38; Marisa Candotti, "The Hausa Textile Industry: Origins and Development in the Precolonial Period," in Being and Becoming Hausa: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, eds. Anne Haour and Benedetta Rossi (Leiden and Boston, MA: Brill, 2010), 189, 93–4.

10. Charles Monteil, "Le coton chez les noirs," Bulletin du comité d'études historiques et scientifiques de l'Afrique occidentale française, 9, no. 4 (1926): 637–42.

11. Marion Johnson, "Technology, Competition, and African Crafts," in The Imperial Impact: Studies in the Economic History of Africa and India, eds. Clive Dewey and Antony G. Hopkins (London: Athlone Press, 1978), 259; Curtin, Economic Change, vol. 1, 214. See also, Venice and Alastair Lamb, "The Classification and Distribution of Horizontal Treadle Looms in Sub-Saharan Africa," Textile History, 11, issue 1 (1980): 22–62.

12. Walter Rodney, A History of the Upper Guinea Coast, 1545–1800 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1970), 181; Boubacar Barry, The Kingdom of Waalo: Senegal before the Conquest (New York, NY: Diasporic Africa Press, 2012), 26.

13. Angela W. Browne, "Rural Industry and Appropriate Technology: The Lessons of Narrow-Loom Ashanti Weaving," African Affairs, 82, issue 326 (1983): 30–1.

14. A. G. Hopkins, An Economic History of West Africa (Harlow: Longman, 1973), 15; Gareth Austin, "Labour-Intensity and Manufacturing in West Africa, [End Page 48] c. 1450–c. 2000," in Labour-Intensive Industrialization in Global History, eds. Gareth Austin and Kaoru Sugihara (London and New York, NY: Routledge, 2013), 202–3. However, this factor endowments approach does not work for the case of precolonial Kano. Marisa Candotti, "Cotton Growing and Textile Production in Northern Nigeria: From Caliphate to Protectorate, c. 1804–1914" (PhD diss., School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 2015), 92–4.

15. Austin, "Labour-Intensity," 203–7.

16. Linda Newson, "The Slave-Trading Accounts of Manoel Batista Peres, 1613–1619: Double-Entry Bookkeeping in Cloth Money," Accounting History, 18, no. 3 (2013): 357.

17. Curtin, Economic Change, vol. 1, 237. Johnson noted that cloth was quantified by length alone. Marion Johnson, "Cloth as Money: The Cloth Strip Currencies of Africa," Textile History, 11, issue 1 (1980): 195. See also Lars Sundström, The Trade of Guinea (Uppsala: Studia Ethnographica Upsaliensia XXIV, 1965), 166.

18. Rodney, A History, 181.

19. James L. A. Webb, Jr., Desert Frontier: Ecological and Economic Change along the Western Sahel, 1600–1850 (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1995), 3–26. Quotation is from p. 11. For a chronology of ecological crises such as droughts, locusts, and famines in precolonial Senegambia, see Curtin, Economic Change, vol. 2, 3–7; Boubacar Barry, Senegambia and the Atlantic Slave Trade, translated by Ayi Kwei Armah (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 108–12; George E. Brooks, Western Africa to c. 1860: A Provisional Historical Schema Based on Climate Periods (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University African Studies Program Working Papers Series, 1985), Part V.

20. Jan S. Hogendorn and Henry A. Gemery, "Continuity in West African Monetary History? An Outline of Monetary Development," African Economic History, 17 (1988): 131–2; Newson, "The Slave-Trading Accounts," 358.

21. Akinobu Kuroda highlights that an additional supply of money or local credit was required in the one-way movement of money along a circuit. Akinobu Kuroda, Kahei Shisutemu no Sekaishi (2nd edition, Tokyo: Iwanami, 2014), 10.

22. For Indian cotton textiles of various kinds imported into West Africa during this period, see Stanley B. Alpern, "What Africans Got for Their Slaves: A Master List of European Trade Goods," History in Africa, 22 (1995): 5–43.

23. Saugnier, Relations de plusieurs voyages à la côte d'Afrique, au Maroc, au Sénégal, à Gorée, à Galam, etc. (Paris, 1791): 287; J.–P. Duchon-Doris, Jr., Commerce des toiles bleus dites guinées (Paris, 1842), 3–4.

24. John Irwin and P. R. Schwartz, Studies in Indo-European Textile History (Ahmedabad: Calico Museum of Textiles, 1966), 65.

25. Curtin, Economic Change, vol. 1, 260.

26. Bernard Schnapper, "La fin du régime de l'exclusif: le commerce étranger dans les possessions françaises d'Afrique tropicale (1817–1870)," Annales Africaines, 1 (1959): 149–99.

27. Ibrahima Thioub, "L'esclavage à Saint-Louis du Sénégal au xviiie–xixe siècle," Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin: Jahrbuch 2008/2009 (2010): 337. For example, the [End Page 49] American vessels were not allowed to trade at Saint Louis until 1865. George E. Brooks, Yankee Traders, Old Coasters & African Middlemen: A History of American Legitimate Trade with West Africa in the Nineteenth Century (Boston, MA: Boston University Press, 1970), 299.

28. Colin W. Newbury, "The Protectionist Revival in French Colonial Trade: The Case of Senegal," Economic History Review, 21, issue 2 (1968): 338.

29. Margaret O. McLane, "Commercial Rivalries and French Policy on the Senegal River, 1831–1858," African Economic History, 15 (1986): 41.

30. Yves Péhaut, "A l'époque de la « traite » de l'arachide: Les « Bordelais » au Sénégal," Revue historique de Bordeaux et du département de la Gironde, 30 (1983–4): 51–2, 61; McLane, "Commercial rivalries," 43–4.

31. Direction générale des douanes, Tableau décennal de commerce de la France avec ses colonies et les puissances étrangères, 1827 à 1836 (Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1838); Direction générale des douanes, Tableau général du commerce de la France avec ses colonies et les puissances étrangères (Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1839–51).

32. No. 66, Ordonnance du Roi, 18 May 1843 and No. 88, Ordinnance du Roi, 1 September 1843, in Sénégal, Bulletin administratif des actes du gouvernement (Paris, 1846), 87–8, 125–26; Archives nationales d'outre-mer, Aix-en-Provence, France (hereafter ANOM), Inde 494, Dossier 871, L'Arrêté signée par Gouverneur Du Camper, 23 August 1844, Pondicherry.

33. As for British-made dyed cotton textiles, the British exports into West Africa soared from 524,000 yards (equivalent to 52,400 pieces) in 1819 to 16,281,000 yards in 1849. The National Archives, Kew, United Kingdom, CUST 8/4-70. See also Kazuo Kobayashi, "Indian Cotton Textiles and the Senegal River Valley in a Globalising World: Production, Trade and Consumption, 1750–1850" (PhD diss., London School of Economics and Political Science, 2016), 68–74, 88–90.

34. For the details of the textile industry in Pondicherry at that time, see Mireille Lobligeois, "Ateliers publics et filatures privées à Pondichéry après 1816," Bulletin de l'Ecole française d'Extrême-Orient, 59 (1972): 3–100; Jacques Weber, Les établissements français en Inde au XIXè siècle (1816–1914), vol. 1 (Paris: Librairie de l'Inde, 1988), 233–479; Roberts, "West Africa."

35. ANOM, Sénégal XIII, Dossier 1, Notes sur le système exclusif qui régit à l'importation et à l'exportation le Sénégal et ses dépendances by Bruno Devès, 1 February 1829, Bordeaux.

36. For the data in the late 1830s, see Curtin, Economic Change, vol. 2, 88. For the data in the mid-and late-1840s, see Direction générale des douanes, Tableau général du commerce de la France avec ses colonies et les puissances étrangères.

37. Inikori, Africans, 447.

38. S. M. X. Golberry, Travels in Africa, vol. 1 (2nd Edition, London, 1808), 138; Georges Hardy, La mise en valeur du Sénégal de 1817 à 1854 (Paris: Émile Larose, 1921), 253–5; Barry, The Kingdom of Waalo, 136, 151–61, 219.

39. ANOM, Sénégal XIII, Dossier 33a, Correspondance du Ministère de l'Agriculture et du Commerce à l'Amiral, Paris, 3 December 1839. [End Page 50]

40. Golberry, Travels, vol. 1, 138.

41. Webb, "The Trade in Gum Arabic," 153.

42. James F. Searing, West African Slavery and Atlantic Commerce: The Senegal River Valley, 1700–1860 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 166.

43. Webb, "The Trade in Gum Arabic," 153–4.

44. Ibid.; Curtin, Economic Change, vol. 1, 216.

45. Curtin, Economic Change, vol. 2, 96–7. Curtin noted that the information on the quantity of gum arabic from the Senegal River region does not necessarily reflect actual export. Some figures are based on expectations by the authors of the records that Curtin used. Also, the data presented by Curtin seem to suggest that the years 1718 and 1750 were exceptional, as exports in each year amounted to 2,200 tons and 1,028 tons of gum, respectively. Curtin acknowledged that the former figures were based on expectation. I have, therefore, ignored these figures in my calculations.

46. Jutta Wimmler, "Material Exchange as Cultural Exchange: The Example of West African Products in Late 17th-and Early 18th-Century France," in Cultural Exchange and Consumption Patterns in the Age of Enlightenment: Europe and the Atlantic world, eds. Veronika Hyden-Hanscho, Renate Pieper and Werner Stangl (Bochum: Dr. Rieter Winkler Verlag, 2013), 142.

47. Golberry, Travels, vol. 1, 138–9.

48. P. Bellouard, "La gomme arabique en A. O. F.," Bois et foréts des tropiques, 9 (1947): 4; Curtin, Economic Change, vol. 1, 215–16.

49. Geneviève Désiré-Vuillemin, "Un commerce qui meurt: La traite de la gomme dans les escales du Sénégal," Cahiers d'outre-mer, 17 (1952), 90–4; Michael D. Marcson, "European-African Interaction in the Precolonial Period: Saint Louis, Senegal, 1758–1854" (PhD diss., Princeton University, 1976).

50. Duchon-Doris, Commerce, 17.

51. ANOM, Sénégal XIII, Dossier 27a, Notes annexées à l'Etat de commerce de Saint Louis (Sénégal) pour l'année 1843.

52. Webb, "The Trade in Gum Arabic," 163.

53. Archives nationales du Sénégal, Dakar, Senegal (hereafter ANS), 1B29, Correspondance du Ministère de la Marine et des Colonies à Ed Devès, 11 June 1839, Paris, F 181; 2B18, Correspondance du Gouverneur au Ministrère de la Marine et des Colonies, No. 156, 20 May 1840, Saint Louis, F 30. Webb noted that the gum price changed throughout the year; especially between the peak season of the gum trade and the rest of the year. Webb, "The Trade in Gum Arabic," 159.

54. Cited in Xavier Daumalin, Marseille et l'ouest africain: L'outremer des industriels (1841–1957) (Marseille: Chambre de commerce et d'industrie Marseille-Provence, 1992), 22. My translation.

55. Ibid.

56. For example, although Marcson gives a detailed description of the commercial networks along the Senegal River in this period, the connections between the Senegal River region and Saharan trade are completely missing from his account. Marcson, "European-African Interaction." [End Page 51]

57. On the Saharan trade at that time, see Colin W. Newbury, "North African and Western Sudan Trade in the Nineteenth Century: A Re-evaluation," Journal of African History, 7, issue 2 (1966): 233–46; Hopkins, An Economic History of West Africa, 130–31; Ghislaine Lydon, On Trans-Saharan Trails: Islamic Law, Trade Networks, and Cross-Cultural Exchange in Nineteenth-Century Western Africa (Cambridge and New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2009); Ralph A. Austen, Trans-Saharan Africa in World History (Oxford and New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2010).

58. Désiré-Vuillemin, "Un commerce," 92. It should be noted that even after the French withdrawal from the Atlantic slave trade in 1831, the slave trade and domestic slavery along the Senegal River valley continued into the first decade of the twentieth century. Barry, The Kingdom of Waalo, 229–31.

59. ANS, 2B18, Correspondance du Gouverneur du Sénégal au Ministre de la Marine et des Colonies, No. 202, 9 August 1840, Saint Louis, F 37–8.

60. ANOM, Sénégal XIII, Dossier 2, Relevé comparatif des quantités exportées de la colonie à toutes destinations, pendant la période quinquennale de 1845 à 1849, 9 December 1850.

61. See note no. 26.

62. Curtin, Economic Change, vol. 2, 88.

63. Thioub, "L'esclavage à Saint-Louis du Sénégal," 338.

64. L'A. P.–David Boilat, Esquisses Sénégalaises (Paris, 1853), 209–12. In the 1840s some métis families accumulated wealth, which was comparable to that of the Parisian middle class. Pasquier, "Les traitants," 152.

65. Marcson, "European-African Interaction," 51–56.

66. Saugnier and Brisson, Voyages to the coast of Africa (London, 1792), 274–83; Curtin, Economic Change, vol. 1, 306–7; James L. A. Webb, Jr., "On Currency and Credit in the Western Sahel, 1700–1850," in Credit, Currencies and Culture: African Financial Institutions in Historical Perspectives, eds. Endre Stiansen and Jane I. Guyer, (Stockholm: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, 1999), 51–52.

67. Marcson, "European-African Interaction," 11–13; Thioub, "L'esclavage à Saint-Louis du Sénégal," 340. Hasaniya was the Western Saharan lingua franca. Lydon, On Trans-Saharan Trails, xix.

68. G. Donnet, Une mission au Sahara occidental (Paris, 1896), 46; Webb, Desert Frontier, 117–24.

69. Marcson, "European-African Interaction," 21.

70. Gaspard T. Mollien, Travels in the Interior of Africa, to the Sources of Senegal and Gambia (London, 1820), 60.

71. ANS, Q18, Compromis pour les trois escales année 1841. One barrel was equal to 280 liters. Notices statistiques sur les colonies françaises, vol. 3 (Paris, 1839), 306.

72. In terms of the scale of the gum trade in each escale, the escale of Trarza supplied 695,000 kilograms of gum to the river traders, that of Brakna 605,000 kilograms, and that of Darmancours 84,000 kilograms from January to April 1840. ANOM, Sénégal XIII, Dossier 25, Etat des gommes traitées aux escales 1 Janvier au 1 Mai 1840. [End Page 52]

73. Marcson, "European-African Interaction," 4–5; Lydon, On Trans-Saharan Trails, xx.

74. Webb, "The Trade in Gum Arabic," 157–59.

75. The gifts included guinées, sugar and grain. Désiré-Vuillemin, "Un commerce," 90–92.

76. Marcson, "European-African Interaction," 159–60; ANS, 2B18, Correspondance du Gouverneur du Sénégal au Bureau du Régime politique et du Commerce, 11 September 1841, No. 390, F 119.

77. J. P. L. Durand, Atlas pour servir au Voyage du Sénégal (Paris, 1802), Planche 29; F. Carrère and P. Holle, De la Sénégambie française (Paris, 1855), 328–29; Webb, "The Trade in Gum Arabic," 154–5; Abdel Wedoud Ould Cheikh, "Herders, Traders and Clerics: The Impact of Trade, Religion and Warfare on the Evolution of Moorish Society," in Herders, Warriors, and Traders: Pastoralism in Africa, eds. John G. Galaty and Pierre Bonte (Boulder, San Francisco and Oxford: Westview Press, 1991), 212; Searing, West African Slavery, 168.

78. Abdoulaye Ly, La compagnie du Sénégal (Dakar: Présence Africaine, 1958), 282.

79. Lydon, On Trans-Saharan Trails, 251–52. For the significance of the Saharan salt trade, see E. Ann McDougall, "Salts of the Western Sahara: Myths, Mysteries, and Historical Significance," International Journal of African Historical Studies, 23, no. 2 (1990): 231–57. In this section, I have discussed that the lower Senegal River functioned as a gateway from the Atlantic coast to the Sahara Desert, but it must be remembered that it also operated similarly to the upper river region and the Western Sudan. For the guinée trade in the upper river region and the Western Sudan in the nineteenth century, see Roberts, "West Africa."

80. British Parliamentary Papers, 1816 VII Pt. B (506), Report from the Select Committee on the Papers Relating to the African Forts, 163–64.

81. Ibid., 178.

82. Golberry, Travels, vol. 1, 173–74.

83. Lobligeois, "Ateliers publics," 22–23; ANOM, Inde 537, Dossier 1034, Procés-verbal de la séance du conseil de gouvernement et d'administration qui a eu lieu à l'hôtel du gouvernement, 26 August 1825, Pondicherry.

84. Mollien, Travels, 256; Richard L. Roberts, Two Worlds of Cotton: Colonialism and the Regional Economy in the French Sudan, 1800–1946 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996), 54. For a similar case in Wolof societies, see David A. Ames, "The Use of a Traditional Cloth-Money Token among the Wolof," American Anthropologist, 57, issue 5 (1957): 1018.

85. Thornton, Africa and Africans, 48–53.

86. David Boilat, Esquisses Sénégalaises, Planche XII.

87. Lydon, On Trans-Saharan Trails, 60. [End Page 53]

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2163-9108
Print ISSN
0145-2258
Pages
27-53
Launched on MUSE
2017-12-15
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