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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Political Ecology of the Copal Trade in the Tanzanian Coastal Hinterland, c.1820-1905
Author:Sunseri, ThaddeusISNI
Year:2007
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Volume:48
Issue:2
Period:July
Pages:201-220
Language:English
Geographic term:Tanzania
Subjects:resins
mercantile history
international trade
textiles
1850-1899
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
History and Exploration
Economics and Trade
colonialism
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/4501039
Abstract:Between 1830 and 1880 copal was the major trade commodity from mainland Tanzania apart from ivory. Unlike ivory, copal was a product of a distinct environment, the lowland forests of the East African coastal hinterland. This region's copal was the best in the world for making high-value carriage varnish. It therefore found a ready market in the West, especially New England, whose traders brought cotton textiles to trade with East Africans for copal. The monopolization by hinterland polities of the copal-cloth trade nexus enabled them to consolidate politically as a sub-entrepôt of the Zanzibar commercial State. After 1880 a global demand for wild rubber, a product of far more diverse landscapes, posed a threat to the copal economy, and in part ushered in German colonialism. New colonial tax, labour and conservationist policies spelled the decline of the copal economy and its communities as they lost access to the coastal forests. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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