Between 1961 and 1978, Muslim Fula immigrants from different West African countries became one of the most successful mercantile groups in Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone. African Entrepreneurship, published by Ohio University Press on December 31, 1999, examines the commercial activities of Fula immigrants and their offspring in Sierra Leone. Author Alusine Jalloh explores the role of Islam in Fula commercial organizations and social relationships, as well as the connection between Fula merchants and politics.
Departing from the prevailing scholarship, Jalloh characterizes the Fula businesses as independent, rather than appendages of Western expatriate commerce. In addition to establishing successful businesses, Fula merchants established Islamic educational institutions for propogating the Muslim faith and promoting Islamic scholarship.
This study also examines the evolution of Fula chieftaincy from the colonial era to the postcolonial period and documents the importance of mercantile wealth and networks in the election of Fula chiefs in Freetown. African Entrepreneurship makes an important contribution to the understudied role of African business in Sierra Leone.
A Confluence of Transatlantic Network demonstrates how portions of interconnected trust-based kinship, business, and ideational transatlantic networks evolved over roughly a century and a half and eventually converged to engender, promote, and facilitate the migration of southern elites to Brazil in the post–Civil War era. Placing that migration in the context of the Atlantic world sharpens our understanding of the transborder dynamic of such mainstream nineteenth-century historical currents as international commerce, liberalism, Protestantism, and Freemasonry. The manifestation of these transatlantic forces as found in Brazil at midcentury provided disaffected Confederates with a propitious environment in which to try to re-create a cherished lifestyle.
Two of the world’s leading scholars of the Aztec language and culture have translated Sahagún’s monumental and encyclopedic study of native life in Mexico at the time of the Spanish Conquest. This immense undertaking is the first complete translation into any language of Sahagún’s Nahuatl text, and represents one of the most distinguished contributions in the fields of anthropology, ethnography, and linguistics.
Written between 1540 and 1585, the Florentine Codex (so named because the manuscript has been part of the Laurentian Library’s collections since at least 1791) is the most authoritative statement we have of the Aztecs’ lifeways and traditions—a rich and intimate yet panoramic view of a doomed people.
The Florentine Codex is divided by subject area into twelve books and includes over 2,000 illustrations drawn by Nahua artists in the sixteenth century.
Book Nine begins with how commerce grew in Mexico from the trade of only feathers to jewelry, precious stones, animal skins, embroidered clothing, and chocolate. It discusses how the merchants prepare for a journey and the celebrations that take place when they arrive home safely. This book also lists different types of merchants, such as lapidaries, who worked with precious stones, and ornamenters, who made feather articles.
Honor Among Thieves examines associations of craftsmen in the framework of ancient economics and transaction costs. Scholars have long viewed such associations primarily as social or religious groups that provided mutual support, proper burial, and sociability, and spaces where nonelite individuals could seek status supposedly denied them in their contemporary society. However, the analysis presented here concentrates on how craftsmen, merchants, and associations interacted with each other and with elite and nonelite constituencies; managed economic, political, social, and legal activities; represented their concerns to the authorities; and acquired and used social capital—a new and important view of these economic engines.
Philip F. Venticinque offers a study of associations from a social, economic, and legal point of view, and in the process examines how they helped their members overcome high transaction costs—the “costs of doing business”—through the development of social capital. He explores associations from the “bottom up,” in order to see how their members create status and reputation outside of an elite framework. He thus explores how occupations regarded as thieves in elite ideology create their own systems of honor.
Honor Among Thieves will be of interest to scholars of the ancient economy, of social groups, and Roman Egypt in all periods.
Both a history of an overlooked community and a well-rounded reassessment of prevailing assumptions about Chinese miners in the American West, In Pursuit of Gold brings to life in rich detail the world of turn-of-the-century mining towns in the Northwest. Sue Fawn Chung meticulously recreates the lives of Chinese immigrants, miners, merchants, and others who populated these towns and interacted amicably with their white and Native American neighbors, defying the common perception of nineteenth-century Chinese communities as insular enclaves subject to increasing prejudice and violence.
While most research has focused on Chinese miners in California, this book is the first extensive study of Chinese experiences in the towns of John Day in Oregon and Tuscarora, Island Mountain, and Gold Creek in Nevada. Chung illustrates the relationships between miners and merchants within the communities and in the larger context of immigration, arguing that the leaders of the Chinese and non-Chinese communities worked together to create economic interdependence and to short-circuit many of the hostilities and tensions that plagued other mining towns.
Peppered with fascinating details about these communities from the intricacies of Chinese gambling games to the techniques of hydraulic mining, In Pursuit of Gold draws on a wealth of historical materials, including immigration records, census manuscripts, legal documents, newspapers, memoirs, and manuscript collections. Chung supplements this historical research with invaluable first-hand observations of artifacts that she experienced in archaeological digs and restoration efforts at several of the sites of the former booming mining towns.
In clear, analytical prose, Chung expertly characterizes the movement of Chinese miners into Oregon and Nevada, the heyday of their mining efforts in the region, and the decline of the communities due to changes in the mining industry. Highlighting the positive experiences and friendships many of the immigrants had in these relatively isolated mining communities, In Pursuit of Gold also suggests comparisons with the Chinese diaspora in other locations such as British Columbia and South Africa.
Merchants and Scholars was first published in 1965. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.This volume of essays, collected in memory of James Ford Bell, reflects in some measure the broad scope and rich diversity of the James Ford Bell Collection of the University of Minnesota Library. All ten of the essays are based on or related to materials in the Bell collection.Founded by the late Mr. Bell, who was a prominent figure in the modern economic history of Minnesota, the collection had its origins in his interest in the commercial penetration of North America. As the collection developed, it became apparent that it would not be possible to study the merchants and explorers who came to North America apart from their contemporaries who probed South America, Africa, and Asia. The scope of the collection thus was expanded until it became worldwide, including the works of philosophers, geographers, navigators, merchants, and others who provided European readers with the knowledge they needed to enlarge their sphere of commerce.In an introduction, John Parker, former curator of the collection, explains the significance of the concept of the Bell collection to an understanding of history. He makes it clear that we cannot understand the reality of a world laced together by the bonds of commerce until we have learned how these bonds developed.The essays, which cover a wide range of subjects, show the interdependence of men of adventure and their scholarly contemporaries. Essays by Thomas Goldstein and Elisabeth Hirsch show that the scientists and humanists of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were deeply concerned with geographic thought and new discoveries. David Quinn and Ward Barrett discuss economic undertakings by merchants of the Old World in the New, while Burton Stein and Paul Bamford deal with historic problems of economy in Asia and the Mediterranean, respectively. John Webb, Frank Gillis, and Ernst Abbe relate economic enterprise and exploration to the development of the cartography of Russia and Hudson Bay. Helen Wallis and O.H.K. Spate concern themselves with English and French interests in the southern oceans. In its publication of these studies the Bell collection continues the tradition of cooperation between the merchant and the scholar.
The period from the late seventeenth to the early nineteenth century—the so-called long eighteenth century of English history—was a time of profound global change, marked by the expansion of intercontinental empires, long-distance trade, and human enslavement. It was also the moment when medicines, previously produced locally and in small batches, became global products. As greater numbers of British subjects struggled to survive overseas, more medicines than ever were manufactured and exported to help them. Most historical accounts, however, obscure the medicine trade’s dependence on slave labor, plantation agriculture, and colonial warfare.
In Merchants of Medicines, Zachary Dorner follows the earliest industrial pharmaceuticals from their manufacture in the United Kingdom, across trade routes, and to the edges of empire, telling a story of what medicines were, what they did, and what they meant. He brings to life business, medical, and government records to evoke a vibrant early modern world of London laboratories, Caribbean estates, South Asian factories, New England timber camps, and ships at sea. In these settings, medicines were produced, distributed, and consumed in new ways to help confront challenges of distance, labor, and authority in colonial territories. Merchants of Medicines offers a new history of economic and medical development across early America, Britain, and South Asia, revealing the unsettlingly close ties among medicine, finance, warfare, and slavery that changed people’s expectations of their health and their bodies.
Maritime history tends to draw stark lines between legal and illegal trading practices, with the naval and commercial vessels of sovereign states on one side and rogue pirates and smugglers on the other. This book reveals how, in the centuries before the emergence of the nation-state, maritime societies were shaped equally by both sanctioned and illicit trade—and that the line between the two was much less defined than it is now. The kind of high-seas activity now called piracy was often viewed in the early modern period as, at worst, a disruption of established distribution channels, but just often, it was viewed as simply another legitimate economic stream. Depending on one’s perspective, the same person could be seen as a bandit or an entrepreneur. Merchants, Pirates, and Smugglers tells the story of how these individuals came to be labelled as criminals as a way to enforce the codified economic and political positions that arose from sustained European state-building between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Combining social, political, and economic history, Louisa Schell Hoberman examines a neglected period in Mexico’s colonial past, providing the first book-length study of the period’s merchant elite and its impact on the evolution of Mexico. Through extensive archival research, Hoberman brings to light new data that illuminate the formation, behavior, and power of the merchant class in New Spain. She documents sources and uses of merchant wealth, tracing the relative importance of mining, agriculture, trade, and public office. By delving into biographical information on prominent families, Hoberman also reveals much about the longevity of the first generation’s social and economic achievements. The author’s broad analysis situates her study in the overall environment in which the merchants thrived. Among the topics discussed are the mining and operation of the mint, Mexico’s political position vis-a-vis Spain, and the question of an economic depression in the seventeenth century.
As with any enterprise involving violence and lots of money, running a plantation in early British America was a serious and brutal enterprise. In the contentious Planters, Merchants, and Slaves, Burnard argues that white men did not choose to develop and maintain the plantation system out of virulent racism or sadism, but rather out of economic logic because—to speak bluntly—it worked. These economically successful and ethically monstrous plantations required racial divisions to exist, but their successes were measured in gold, rather than skin or blood. Sure to be controversial, this book is a major intervention in the scholarship on slavery, economic development, and political power in early British America, mounting a powerful and original argument that boldly challenges historical orthodoxy.
Vivid sources for reconstructing the lives of Assyrian women
In this collection Cécile Michel translates into English texts related to wives and daughters of merchants and to their activities in nineteenth-century BCE Aššur and Kaneš. Discovered in excavations of the Old Assyrian private archives at Kültepe (ancient Kaneš) in Central Anatolia, these letters sent from Aššur reflect the preeminent role of Assyrian women within the family and in the domestic economy, as well as their contribution to long-distance trade. Contracts and other legal texts excavated at Kültepe attest to Assyrian and Anatolian women as parties in marriage and divorce contracts, last wills, loans, and purchase contracts. These unique finds paint a vivid portrait of women who aspire to be socially respected and provide a rare opportunity to reconstruct their daily lives as both businesswomen and housewives.
More than three hundred letters and documents transliterated and translated with commentary
An overview of the study of women and gender in Assyriology
A reconstruction of women's roles as textile producers, investors, and creditors within a long-distance commercial network
Cécile Michel is Senior Researcher at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS, France) and Professor at Hamburg University (Germany). She is a member of the international group of scholars in charge of the decipherment of the 23,000 tablets found at Kültepe (ancient Kaneš) and of the Kültepe archaeological team. She is the coeditor of and contributor to The Role of Women in Work and Society in the Ancient Near East (2016), Textile Terminologies from the Orient to the Mediterranean and Europe, 1000 BC to 1000 AD (2017), and Mathematics, Administrative and Economic Activities in Ancient Worlds (2020).