Mountain Farmers

Mountain Farmers

Moral Economies of Land and Agricultural Development in Arusha and Meru

Thomas Spear


James Currey



Studies the impact of colonialism on a mountainous region of Tanzania.
This work examines the struggle between the Meru and Arusha peoples and their German and British rulers over the issue of land and agricultural development on Mount Meru in northern Tanzania. It shows how the Meru and Arashi, faced with an iron ring of land alienated by European settlers successfully intensified their own irrigated agriculture to bring about what has been termed an indigenous agricultural revolution.

Tanzania: Mkuki na Nyota


January 1997
18 black and white, 11 line illustrations
272 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9780852557372
Format: Paperback
James Currey
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... highly readable... TANZANIAN AFFAIRS
... The result is social history in the broadest, most compelling sense. Economics, Upper-division under-graduates and above. - R.R. Atkinson in CHOICE ... Elegantly written and richly allusive, Mountain Farmers enhances our understanding of the impact of colonialism and the market economy on African societies. Employing both anthropological and historical perspectives, Spear tries to understand African actors on their own terms as they struggled to adapt to the wider political and economic forces affecting them... - Mustafa Kemal Mirzeler in AZANIA
... The montane environments of eastern central Africa offer a treasure house of special evidence which has so far been little exploited by historians... Mountain Farmers is a distinguished contribution to the historiography of eastern Africa. Concise and lucid, it places the pre-colonial history of this small but significant region in perspective with the wider issues introduced by the colonial period. - Roland Oliver in JOURNAL OF AFRICAN HISTORY
It is a beautifully written text, full of fascinating and well-researched detail, yet never missing the broad historical context. For those interested in the whole process of agricultural innovation and intensification, as population growth and a shrinking land base force adjustments to technical practices and the social control of resources, this is a superb account.' MOUNTAIN RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
...fascinating. Spear weaves history, anthropology, political and economics insights into a compelling account. His powerful and vivid analysis of the assimilation and transformation of Christianity into the basis of political organization by the Arusha and Meru rings true. This book is a must for anyone contemplating working in East Africa, whether as a researcher or development worker, agronomist, economist, historian or anthropologist. - Katherine Homewood in HISTORY