Cover image for Senegambia and the Atlantic slave trade
Senegambia and the Atlantic slave trade
Barry, Boubacar.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Sénégambie du XVe au XIXe siècle. English
Publication Information:
Cambridge, U.K. ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
xxi, 358 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm.
Geographic Term:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DT532.25 .B3713 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Boubacar Barry is one of the leading figures in West African historiography. His authoritative study of 400 years of Senegambian history is unrivalled in its detailed grasp of published and unpublished materials. Taking as its subject the vast area covering the Senegal and Gambia river basins, this book explores the changing dynamics of regional and Atlantic trade, clashes between traditional African and emergent Muslim authorities, the colonial system and the slave trade, and current obstacles to the integration of the region's modern states. Professor Barry argues cogently for the integrity of the Senegambian region as a historical subject, and he forges a coherent narrative from the dismemberment and unification which characterised Senegambia's development from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century. This newly-translated study is a vital tool in our understanding of West African history.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Originally published in French in 1988 by this exile from Guinea living in Senegal, Barry's account of the "geopolitical dismemberment" of the west African region that encompasses six contemporary states is encyclopedic in its details of the political history of the communities involved. His themes expand Walter Rodney's A History of the Upper Guinea Coast, 1545-1800 (CH, Feb'71). For both of these scholars the coming of Europeans to Africa had one result: the export of slaves. With the rise of slavery and slave exports came the rise of authoritarian states, an increase in violence, the collapse of the traditional economy, widespread famine and disease, and general chaos. Only Islamic leaders opposed this destructive impact and became the "main vehicle of popular opposition" to Europeans and their allies among the traditional elites. In time, even the revolutionary Islamic societies succumbed to the insatiable demand for slaves. With his emphasis on the destructive nature of slave exports, Barry has to argue that their numbers were large. Thus he carries on a running battle with Philip Curtin, whose two books, Economic Change in Precolonial Africa: Senegambia in the Era of the Slave Trade (CH, Oct'75) and The Atlantic Slave Trade, (1969) contend otherwise. Regardless of slave export numbers, Barry describes 400 years of political turmoil, community by community, year by year. Graduate, faculty. R. T. Brown Westfield State College

Table of Contents

Part I Senegambia from the Fifteenth to the Seventeenth Century: A Haven for Incoming Populations, A Station for Migrants on the Move
1 Senegambia in the 15th and 16th centuries: dependence on the Sudan and the Sahara
2 Social dynamics in Senegambia
3 The Atlantic trading system and the reformation of Senegambian states from the 15th to the 17th century
4 The partition of the Senegambian coast in the 17th century
Part II Senegambia in the Eighteenth Century: the Slave Trade, Ceddo Regimes and Muslim Revolutions
5 The slave trade in the 18th century
6 The strengthening of Ceddo regimes in the 18th Century
7 Muslim revolutions in the 18th century
8 The impact of the slave trade: economic regression and social strife
Part III Senegambia in the first half of the Nineteenth Century
9 The crisis of the trans-Atlantic trading system and the triumph of legitimate trade in the first half of the 19th century
10 Popular rebellions and political and social crises in Futa Jallon
11 Futa Jallon expansion into the Southern Rivers region
12 The colony of Senegal and political and social crises in Northern Senegambia
13 Defeat of the holy warriors in Northern Senegambia
Part IV Senegambia in the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century: Colonial Conquest and Resistance Movements
14 Colonial imperialism and European rivalries in Senegambia
15 Last-Ditch Resistance Movements of Legitimist Rulers in Northern Senegambia
16 The conquest of the Southern Rivers Region
17 The balancing act of the Alamis of Timbo in their attempts to cope with centrifugal forces
18 Bokar Biro and the conquest of Futa Jallon