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The Origins and Structures of Political Institutions in Pre-Colonial Black Africa: Dynastic Monarchy, Taxes and Tributes, War and Slavery, Kinship and Territory

The Origins and Structures of Political Institutions in Pre-Colonial Black Africa: Dynastic Monarchy, Taxes and Tributes, War and Slavery, Kinship and Territory (Hardback)

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This book examines the states of pre-colonial Sub-Saharan Africa - their different origins and institutions, their evolution and development, and the enduring strength of their traditions in present-day Africa. The book begins with an introductory chapter exploring the terminology used in historical and anthropological research into the state. The author then describes the geographic and chronological origins of African states from antiquity to the 19th century, and examines the process by which the number of states increased over the centuries, the regions where this process was more intense, and which regions were passed by. Against this historical background, the author describes and analyzes the causes and bases for the emergence and development of states: the impact of the natural environment, demography, and economics. He discusses the specific catalysts and circumstances favoring the formation of states and presents the methods by which states were established. The author then discusses monarchic systems, types of dynasties, rules of succession, forms of legitimation of power, ceremonies, insignia, genealogies, and oral traditions.

He presents the ways in which rulers were controlled by councils, the role of courts and central offices, and the delegation of power. He considers types of states and the role of the centre and the peripheries. In connection with types of legitimacy and differences in organization, taxation, and tribute collection, he discusses the division between the ruler and the ruled, and changes in the social structure of African states. A characteristic of African history was the co-existence and long-lasting vicinity of state and non-state organizations. The author discusses the fact that states did not emerge automatically, the barriers to development, the reversibility of development and functioning, and disintegration. In summary, the author analyzes various ideas in the literature on pre-colonial African states and argues that the Early State theory best explains the origins and functioning of pre-colonial states in Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to the historical and anthropological material, the author has provided photographs of African iconography and art.

These include subjects such as power insignia; sculptures of legendary ancestors, rulers, and warriors; ceremonial sites and rulers' burial grounds; as well as, other cult locations connected with myths about states' origins. Many of these objects reveal the legitimation of power through art. The illustrations are accompanied by extensive commentaries.

History & PoliticsRegional & national historyAfrican history Publisher: The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd Publication Date: 01/05/2009 ISBN-13: 9780773447189  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
Availability: To Order. Estimated despatch in 1-3 weeks.  

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