Ransoming Prisoners in Precolonial Muslim Western Africa
Title Details

228 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

Series: Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora

Series Vol. Number: 97

Imprint: University of Rochester Press

Ransoming Prisoners in Precolonial Muslim Western Africa

by Jennifer Lofkrantz

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
  • Reviews
Examines African debates on captivity, legal and illegal enslavement, and religious and ethnic identity in the era of West African jihads.

In this pioneering study—the first to cover ransoming, or the release of a prisoner prior to enslavement for cash or kind, in African regions south of the Sahara—Jennifer Lofkrantz focuses on a broad temporal and geographical area ranging from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries and including present-day Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Morocco. The work concentrates particularly on the nineteenth-century jihad era and on the Sokoto Caliphate and the Umarian States. The overall period was a time of intense intellectual debate over the questions of who was and who was not a Muslim, how Islamic law could and should be implemented, what rights and protections recognized freeborn Muslims should have, and what role governments should play in ensuring those rights especially during a time when slavery was legal.


Ransoming discourses and procedures expose Muslim West African answers to these questions as well as providing a lens on broader issues and ideas on slavery, freedom, and religious and ethnic identity. Based on research conducted mostly in Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and France and on Arabic-, French-, and English-language archival sources, treatises, personal correspondence, oral sources and testimony, biographical data, travel reports, and early colonial documents, this study approaches the question of ransoming of captives through an examination, first, of intellectual debates among pre-nineteenth-century West African scholars on issues of ransoming; second, of nineteenth-century policies based on understandings of those intellectual debates in the context of the jihads; and, finally, of West African practices of ransoming in the nineteenth century.
Acknowledgments
List of Tables
Introduction
Chapter 1 - Islamic Discourse on Slavery and Ransoming before 1800
Chapter 2 - The Policy and Practice of Ransoming in the Maghrib
Chapter 3 - Jihad, the Sokoto Caliphate, and Ransoming
Chapter 4 - The Jihad of 'Umar Taal and its Ransoming Non-Policies
Chapter 5 - The Negotiation and Practice of Ransoming Prisoners
Conclusion
Bibliography
Index

JENNIFER LOFKRANTZ is an Associate Professor of History at Gulf University for Science and Technology, Kuwait.

"This brief book with its extensive bibliography is an excellent contribution to the ongoing discussions on the role of slavery and the slave trade in Islamic Africa." H-NET

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June 2023

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Title Details

228 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

Series: Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora

Series Vol. Number: 97

Imprint: University of Rochester Press