Agricultural and manufactured products in 19th century Africa

Using only the three excerpts attached from 19th century travelers’ accounts of Darfur, construct an argument supporting, opposing, or revising John Iliffe’s view that Africa’s ancient rocks, poor soils, fickle rainfall, abundant insects, and unique prevalence of disease produced an environment hostile to agriculture and populations that were short lived and sparse.

The aim of this assignment is to enable you to construct in your own words a very succinct account of the complex ways in which women, men and children produced and traded in a wide range of agricultural and manufactured products in 19th century Africa, and to be able to do so on the basis of a close reading of texts written by three people close in age at the time of their travels to what you are now, i.e. their late teens and 20s.

Only use the short excerpts from the texts linked to this assignment. Make sure you use material (citations, quotes) from ALL three.

Please footnote quotes and other direct citations from the excerpts, and include a separate bibliography listing your three sources with full publication details (you will find these on the title page of each except) according to Chicago Style (a description of that system, widely used by scholars in the humanities and social sciences) is attached.

Muhammad ibn ‘Umar ibn Sulaimān al-Tūnisī (1789-1857), born in what is present-day Tunisia, joined his father (who had been educated at al-Azhar University in Cairo), in Darfur (can you find its present day existence on a map?) in 1803 when he was a teenager and lived there for eight years. He first published his account of his travels in Arabic, later translated into French and then the English version that you have. al-Tunisi 1854 Travels of an Arab Merchant in Soudan.pdfPreview the document

Mungo Park (1771-1806), Mungo Park traveled to Africa when he was 24, after having alredy spent time in Southeast Asia. He was the first European to explore the hinterland of the Gambia River. Due to illness he spent six months in the town of Kamalia (can you find its present day existence on a map?) where he used his time well to study the local community in detail. Mungo Park Travels in West Africa 1799.pdfPreview the document

William George Browne (1768-1813), after briefly attending Oxford University, traveled to Egypt in 1792, when he was in his early 20s, and joined the annual caravan from Cairo to Darfur where he lived for three years. William Browne 1799 Travels in Africa Egypt and Syria.pdfPreview the document.


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