By John Ralph Willis
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Extra resources for Slaves and Slavery in Africa: The Servile Estate (Slaves & Slavery in Muslim Africa)
There may, perhaps, be a reference to these groups in one of the questions which Askia Muhammad I put to al-Maghili which refers to those who “have among them slaves who are neither sold nor given away. 70 At first sight this does not appear to refer to the Songhay state. The question is framed in such a way that it sounds as if a third party is being referred to; secondly the practice of succession passing through a sister’s son sounds Tuareg rather than Songhay. However, the question itself, in the form in which it has come down to us, no doubt owes its phraseology to alMaghili himself and in this fatwa-type literature issues are usually dealt with by discreetly avoiding the mention of specific names.
Le Sahara: Rapports et contacts humains, Aix-en-Provence, 1967. D. Thesis, Cornell, 1974. Khalid, al-Istiqsa Li-Akhbar Duwal al-Maghrib al-Aqsa, vol. 7, Casablanca, 1966. , Cairo, n. d. Yahya, Jalal, al-Maghrib al-Kabir, 4 vols. Cairo, 1966. Hunwick This paper is an attempt to assemble and, so far as is possible, to analyse the information available on the institution of slavery in a single African state. Although there was a Songhay state from as early as the eighth century in all probability, virtually nothing is known of its history and institutions until the time when it expanded from its nucleus in Songhay proper1 to become an imperial power in the second half of the fifteenth century, asserting its complete domination over the Middle Niger “from Kanta to Sibiridugu”2 and raiding and exacting tribute from a much wider belt of the Sahel from the R.
Askia Dawud, in fact claimed that the men of his jund were his slaves and he began the practice of inheriting the entire possessions of a deceased jundi. e. 61 The Askias, at least from Dawud onwards, also made extensive use of slaves as agricultural labourers. Dawud possessed (whether by inheritance from his predecessor or otherwise is not known) large tracts of rich agricultural land along the banks of the river Niger from Dendi in the south-east to the Lake Debo area in the north-west. These royal estates were set aside for the production of rice, of which over 4,000 sunnu (about 800 tons) were sent back to Gao each year.