Originally published in 1980 and here re-issued with an updated preface, this book deals with the role of the horse in the societies of West Africa during the pre-colonial period. It traces the history of its introduction and its diffusion within West Africa, and examines the problems of maintaining horses in such a harsh environment. The use of horses in warfare in analysed but the non-military aspects of the West African horse culture are also discussed, principally the use of horses as tokens of status and wealth. The book includes a review of the decline of the West African horse culture in the 20th century, reflecting the passing of a political system based on warfare and slavery.
1. The Introduction and Diffusion of the Horse in West Africa
2. The Supply of Horses
3. Maintenance, Health and Training
5. Cavalry Warfare
6. Non-Military Aspects
7. Horse and Society in pre-colonial West Africa
8. The Decline of the Horse in West Africa
Routledge is delighted to be re-issuing 79 volumes originally published between 1931 and 1988 in association with the International African Institute. Unavailable outside a few key libraries, many of these republished volumes were at the cutting edge of a fieldwork and ethnographic revolution in African anthropology in the decades after 1930. It involved the production of a wide body of fieldwork-based ethnographic documentation about the cultures of the different societies in Africa. Secondly, it saw a methodological turn to intense, localized investigations of cultural tradition and social change in a rapidly modernizing context. These investigations involved a more sustained and systematic, more professional and ‘scientific’ form of immersion and participant observation, than anything that had gone before. The sites of engagement were urban as well as rural; the pioneering researchers were female as well as male. No longer was the journal essay the repository of the latest research in the discipline, but rich ethnographies running into hundreds of pages.
The volumes are supplemented with maps, which will be available to view on https://www.routledge.com/ or available as pdfs from the publishers.