By Edda L. Fields-Black
Mangrove rice farming on West Africa's Rice Coast used to be the reflect photo of tidewater rice plantations labored through enslaved Africans in 18th-century South Carolina and Georgia. This publication reconstructs the advance of rice-growing expertise one of the Baga and Nalu of coastal Guinea, starting greater than a millennium prior to the transatlantic slave alternate. It finds an image of dynamic pre-colonial coastal societies, particularly in contrast to the static, homogenous pre-modern Africa of past scholarship. From its exam of inheritance, innovation, and borrowing, Deep Roots models a concept of cultural switch that encompasses the variety of groups, cultures, and varieties of expression in Africa and the African diaspora.
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Extra resources for Deep Roots: Rice Farmers in West Africa and the African Diaspora (Blacks in the Diaspora)
Given the authority and power of calendar dates, particularly for historians accustomed to dealing with documents, it is imperative for this historian to emphasize that the dates cited in this study and generated by glottochronology are provisional. Some readers, particularly linguists, may discount the importance of the study because of its reliance—out of necessity—on a single source of dating. Other readers, particularly historians, may discount the provisional nature of the dates, treating them as they would dates conﬁrmed against independent sources—or worse yet, as guild historians would treat calendar dates.
Annually, the river swells with the torrential downpours of the rainy season, creating seasonal streams, ﬂoodplains, and inland swamps. As the Nunez River passes through the highland plateaus bridging the extremes of the mountains and the sea, it deposits rich alluvium in coastal ﬂoodplains. Tidal ﬂooding of low-lying areas deposits silt and saline along the banks of the Nunez. During the rainy season, the ﬂow of the tides and of the river, swollen by seasonal ﬂooding, virtually submerge many sparsely inhabited coastal The Rio Nunez Region 33 villages.
It presents the historian with a methodological challenge. By and large, the lack of documentation for coastal Guinea’s early pre-colonial history is not unusual when compared to other regions of West and West-Central Africa. However, a lack of sources for historical reconstruction is acute for West Africa’s coastal regions, for a number of reasons. First, little archaeological research has been conducted in West Africa’s coastal societies. According to Olga Linares, who has examined the archaeological remains left by Jola rice farmers in the Casamance area of present-day Senegal, the acidic nature of coastal soils favors decomposition of many fossilized materials.
Deep Roots: Rice Farmers in West Africa and the African Diaspora (Blacks in the Diaspora) by Edda L. Fields-Black