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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Consul Dupuis and Wangara: A Window on Islam in Early Nineteenth-Century Asante
Author:Wilks, Ivor
Periodical:Sudanic Africa
Geographic term:Ghana
Ashanti polity
History and Exploration
Religion and Witchcraft
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Abstract:Joseph Dupuis, British Consul in Kumase (present-day Ghana) in 1820, obtained lots of information from Muslim informants, which he incorporated in his 'Journal of a Residence in Ashantee' (1824). At a time of heightened European interest in the interior of Africa, Dupuis was greatly interested in what he described as 'the Moslem system of geography'. This paper examines Dupuis' understanding of the name 'Wangara'. Dupuis' informants seem to have insisted that 'Wangara' referred to the lands between 'Soudan' and the ocean; as Dupuis himself commented, to the region known by 'that vague appellation Guinea'. The paper argues that it is in the context of the challenge which reformist doctrines offered to the adherents of the Suwarian tradition in Islam that Dupuis' account of 'Wangara' should be reconsidered. It suggests that the usage of the term which Dupuis adopted was one peculiar to the Muslims of Asante, and that it was used by them to mean no more than the lands of the southern Wangara (or Juula) diaspora. Notes, ref.