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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The evolution of the Idaw al-Hajj commercial diaspora
Author:Webb (Jr.), James L.A.ISNI
Periodical:Cahiers d'études africaines
Geographic terms:Northern Africa
Cayor polity
Waalo polity
mercantile history
External link:https://doi.org/10.3406/cea.1995.1456
Abstract:During the precolonial centuries 1600-1850, the Idaw al-Hajj commercial diaspora linked the black African Wolof States of northwestern Senegambia (present-day Senegal) with the Arabo-Berber world of the western Sahara and North Africa. Their network at its apex stretched from the commercial town of Wadan in the western Sahara south to the Trarza region in what is today southwestern Mauritania and across the Senegal river into the Wolof kingdoms of Waalo and Kajoor. By the late 17th century the Idaw al-Hajj had established their influence in the burgeoning gum arabic trade, and by the 1740s they had become the key actors articulating the flow of grain from the Wolof States to the Bidan ('whites') who were pastoral nomads on the northern side of the desert frontier. Over time, the 'white' Idaw al-Hajj fully integrated themselves culturally into the Wolof world. Their history demonstrates that the ethnic identities of both 'white' Arabo-Berbers and 'black' Wolof were subject to transformation as a result of changing historical circumstance. This paper draws upon Idaw al-Hajj oral traditions collected in the Trarza and upon evidence drawn from French and British archives to establish a general outline of the history of expansion and decline of the Idaw al-Hajj commercial diaspora in the context of regional economy and Atlantic trade. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French.