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African Settlers on the West Coast of India: The Sidi Elite of Janjira

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image of African and Asian Studies
For more content, see Journal of Asian and African Studies.

This paper discusses the political history of the Indian princely state of Janjira on the west coast of India. It was ruled by Sidis (Africans) from the early seventeenth century until the merger of princely states immediately after the independence of India in 1947. The Sidi rulers of Janjira were of African origin, having initially entered India as traders and serving in administrative capacities with the medieval Deccan kingdoms. The emphasis of this paper will be on the manner in which the rulers of Janjira were elected by a group of African Sidi chiefs or Sardars from amongst them for almost two centuries, as opposed to relying on hereditary primogeniture as a system of succession, and the implications that such a system had on the history of Janjira.

Affiliations: 1: Department of History and Welsh History Hugh Owen Building, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion SY23 3DY, Wales UK, Email:


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