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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Women chiefs in Sierra Leone: a historical reappraisal
Author:Abraham, ArthurISNI
Periodical:Odý: Journal of Yoruba and Related Studies
Geographic term:Sierra Leone
Subject:women rulers
Abstract:In pre-Protectorate times, women hardly held political positions of absolute sovereignty over any state. But after the proclamation of the Protectorate in 1896, and especcially after the abortive resistance war of 1898, one striking phenomenon which stands out clearly is the high incidence of women holding the office of 'Paramount Chief', the colonial equivalent of traditional political office of the highest order. The colonial authorities themselves gave popularity to this new phenomenon, which soon fossilized into tradition that has ever since accepted without question. The author reviews the development of the institution of female 'Paramount Chiefs' (who are only found among the Mende and the Sherbro). While originally women had no historical rights to claim a 'Paramount Chieftaincy', it became accepted without misgivings that men and women could be Paramount Chiefs. Notes and ref. (See also with regard to this article: Discussions and replies, in Odu N.S. 1976, 14, by Kenneth Little, p. 124, and C. Magbaily-Fyle, p. 125/126).