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The War Of The Hunters: Maji Maji And The Decline Of The Ivory Trade

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Chapter Summary

In 1905, Hans Paasche, sent to secure the Rufiji River from Maji Maji rebels, encountered a band of suspected rebels armed with muskets just south of the river. This chapter focuses on the decline of elephant hunting and the ivory trade as a factor in the Maji Maji war, it is appropriately discussed alongside other conflicts over environmental control that came with German colonialism. The role of hunters, particularly elephant hunters, in the Maji Maji war is not surprising given the importance of ivory in nineteenth century East African history. Between 1896 and 1903 the German colonial government introduced comprehensive hunting laws in German East Africa, modifying them steadily over the years in progressively draconian way with respect to African hunting. The centrality of elephant hunting to wealth and power relations among people of southeastern Tanzania offers context for understanding the participation of elephant hunters in the Maji Maji rebellion.

Keywords: elephant hunters; German colonialism; German East Africa; ivory trade; Maji Maji war; southeastern Tanzania



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