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Rodney, Walter Anthony (1966) A History of the Upper Guinea Coast, 1545-1800. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis is concerned with the relatively small section of the West African coast between the Gambia and Cape Mount, It seeks to reconstruct a picture of that society in the mid-sixteenth century, while it was still free of profound European influence. Such a picture provides the indispensable basis for analysing the impact of external forces on the narrow coastal strip, being used to embrace not only the Europeans but also influences from the hinterland and adjacent coastal areas. In 1545 Sierra Leone (the southern portion of the Upper Guinea Coast) was subjected to invasions from Africans who were called 'Manes’. This is the starting point of the study of the external forces (Ch.Il), and the purely African influences are treated once more in Ch. IX. However, it is the presence of the Portuguese (Ch.IIl) and other European traders, which is the external factor most in evidence; and the European association with the Upper Guinea Coast was based largely on the development of the Atlantic slave trade. This latter topic is treated in Chs. IV and X, while Ch. VI; deals with African products other than slaves. European rivalries as such constitute a very minor theme (as treated in Ch. V), for the aim has been to portray European activity in this region only in relationship to the African rulers, African peoples and African polities. Owing to the great differences in European and African culture, and owing to the potency and viciousness of the Atlantic slave trade, the Afro European relationship incorporated violent contradictions, which resolved themselves to the detriment of the society of the Upper Guinea Coast, By 1800, the littoral society was overwhelmed both from the landward and the seaward side by forces set in motion by the Atlantic slave trade.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
Supervisors Name: Richard Gray
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2019 14:10

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