The role of the Nyamwezi traders in nineteenth-century East African trade is still a matter of debate. In his influential work Slaves, Spices and Ivory in Zanzibar. Integration of an East African Commercial Empire into the World Economy 1700-1873, Abdul Sheriff argues that the Nyamwezi traders held a prominent position in the long-distance trade until the 1870s and then they declined in favour of coastal and Indian traders. Stephen Rockel, instead, in a recent article asserts that Nyamwezi traders were still predominant in the 1870s and even after, until the 1890s. The aim of this article is to propose an analysis of the role of Nyamwezi traders in the interregional and long-distance trade networks and to stress some aspects of Nyamwezi participation that emerge from the study of missionary sources. After a brief historical introduction, the first part is devoted to outline the main characteristics of the Arab and Nyamwezi traders taking part in long-distance trade having its main centre in Tabora, the main commercial town in the interior. The second part focuses on the contribution that the use of missionary sources, particularly those collected in the White Fathers Archive in Rome, gives in enlightening some aspects of Nyamwezi participation in nineteenth century East African long-distance trade. Finally the article investigates which was the connection between long-distance trade and Nyamwezi interregional trade.

Nyamwezi Participation in Nineteenth-century East African Trade: some Evidence from Missionary Sources

PALLAVER, KARIN
2006

Abstract

The role of the Nyamwezi traders in nineteenth-century East African trade is still a matter of debate. In his influential work Slaves, Spices and Ivory in Zanzibar. Integration of an East African Commercial Empire into the World Economy 1700-1873, Abdul Sheriff argues that the Nyamwezi traders held a prominent position in the long-distance trade until the 1870s and then they declined in favour of coastal and Indian traders. Stephen Rockel, instead, in a recent article asserts that Nyamwezi traders were still predominant in the 1870s and even after, until the 1890s. The aim of this article is to propose an analysis of the role of Nyamwezi traders in the interregional and long-distance trade networks and to stress some aspects of Nyamwezi participation that emerge from the study of missionary sources. After a brief historical introduction, the first part is devoted to outline the main characteristics of the Arab and Nyamwezi traders taking part in long-distance trade having its main centre in Tabora, the main commercial town in the interior. The second part focuses on the contribution that the use of missionary sources, particularly those collected in the White Fathers Archive in Rome, gives in enlightening some aspects of Nyamwezi participation in nineteenth century East African long-distance trade. Finally the article investigates which was the connection between long-distance trade and Nyamwezi interregional trade.
Nyamwezi; COMMERCIO PRECOLONIALE AFRICANO; AFRICA ORIENTALE
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/62073
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