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Journal Article

Peanuts and Colonialism: Consequences of the Commercialization of Peanuts in West Africa, 1830-70

George E. Brooks
The Journal of African History
Vol. 16, No. 1 (1975), pp. 29-54
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/181097
Page Count: 26

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Topics: Peanuts, Commerce, Nuts, Slavery, Trade, Merchants, Tariffs, Imports, Commercial production, Colonialism
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Peanuts and Colonialism: Consequences of the Commercialization of Peanuts in West Africa, 1830-70
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Abstract

The commercialization of peanuts on the Upper Guinea Coast began along the Gambia River in the early 1830s, expanded to southern Guinea and northern Sierra Leone in the late 1830s, and Senegal and Portuguese Guinea in the early 1840s. African cultivators and traders responded to the new marketing opportunities with remarkable swiftness, and everywhere peanut cultivation spread it occasioned far-reaching economic and social changes for the societies concerned. A rapidly growing demand for peanuts in France, together with favourable changes in French tariffs, greatly benefited French and Senegalese traders in competition with British and Sierra Leonean rivals. The consequence was that the former attained a dominant commercial position on the Upper Guinea Coast by the 1860s, an advantage that would be exploited in the achievement of French political hegemony over much of the area in the colonial partition which followed.

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