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Colonialism and the Economic Demise and Transformation of Northern Nigeria's Slave Fundamental Extractors, from 1903 to the 1920s

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British colonial policies such as military force, anti-slavery legislation, taxes, commodification, and indirect rule all combined to change Northern Nigeria's rural social formation. For slave owners, who made up to a growing part of Northern Nigeria's social formation before colonial rule and who used slave labor on plantations, mining, leather works and textile production, the nature of transformation was two-fold. First, British colonial rule weakened the economic conditions of slave owners. Second, after weakening their economic base, British colonial rule transformed these slave owners into various class and non-class positions. The paper concludes that the transformation of former slave owners into these new class and non-class positions negatively affected their ability to accumulate wealth as they previously had. Therefore, they found it difficult to transform themselves to feudalists or capitalists. Colonial rule reduced them to positions of traders and administrators. In these positions they could not participate in productive economic activities until the end of colonial rule.

Affiliations: 1: Economics Department, Connecticut College, New London, CT 06230, U.S.A.


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