However, the video first gained attention on […] With the transatlantic slave trade on the increase, the Company asked its agents in the field for an up-to-date assessment of the quantities to be held at each of the Company’s forts and trading posts. See the forge accounts from the 1730s at Gammelbo bruksarkivet. But there remains a societal toll taken by that period, and it can be argued that the African-American Poverty Rate of more than 21% (in 2017) and the … This reversal of colonial-era assumptions about Africa’s technological poverty is refreshing, but the contribution of voyage iron to sub-Saharan life should not thereby be dismissed. Archival evidence and the archaeological record are in accord. Chirikure, Metals in Past Societies, 19–28, is the most up-to-date overview of the debate. A handful of African countries are accepting “third-country resettlements,” but experts say it’s just a stopgap solution until those who really need asylum can be given viable routes to do so. At Barraku, on the Windward Coast, African smiths were observed hammering out iron delivered by the Dutch; they knew ‘how to work [it] well, and make all Kinds of Arms or Weapons for themselves’.50. There is a second possibility — that voyage iron was recognised as an inferior material and accepted as such. When alloyed with tin to make bronze, copper also played a conspicuous role in African expressive culture.6 Copper and cupreous wares were therefore traded to Africa from the very earliest expeditions of the Portuguese, and they continued to be an important part of Euro-African exchange throughout the era of the Atlantic slave trade. __________________________________________, 15.Where does the meeting take place? (London, 1732), v, 44–5. In the fifteenth century, just as Iberian navigators were beginning to trade slaves along the Guinea coast, the blast furnace/finery pairing became the standard method of iron production across the Rhine–Meuse basin and adjacent regions of northern France. The coastal forests of West Africa were deeply affected, as the experience of Guinea-Bissau and the Gold Coast suggests. This makes the case of iron highly unusual. Nils Björkenstam, ‘The Blast Furnace in Europe during Medieval Times: Part of a New System for Producing Wrought Iron’, in Gert Magnusson (ed. It was a period of agricultural commercialization, urban growth, and flourishing manufactures. Iron Production in West Africa from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Centuries’, Journal of African History, xxiii (1982). The outcome was a mass of spongy iron and slag: the bloom. Walter Hawthorne, Planting Rice and Harvesting Slaves: Transformations along the Guinea-Bissau Coast, 1400–1900 (Portsmouth, NH, 2003). It demonstrates the resilience of indigenous knowledge in the face of colonial science. Iron in Sub-Saharan Africa’, History in Africa, xxxii (2005) and D. J. Killick, ‘What Do We Know about African Iron Working?’, Journal of African Archaeology, ii (2004), offer critical reviews. We take a different view. The plant species that the Colombian Exchange brought to the Guinean forests — cassava, beans and maize — were transformative. The shekel was the unit of weight and currency, first recorded c. 3000 BC, which was nominally equivalent to a specific weight of barley that was the preexisting and parallel form of currency. Bank of England Archive, London, M7/10 and M7/13. The effect of voyage iron on Guinea-Bissau was therefore twofold. The indirect process — the high-volume procedure that paired blast furnaces and forges — was largely restricted to a zone north of the Alps. If 1,350 tons of voyage iron was shipped from Stockholm and Gothenburg in 1739 it amounted to less than four per cent of Sweden’s total export at that time.72 There is no reason to suppose that the African market loomed any larger for ironmasters in the Rhine–Meuse basin or in western France. Richardson, ‘West African Consumption Patterns and their Influence on the Eighteenth-Century Slave Trade’, table 12.2 at 312–15, and David Eltis, The Rise of African Slavery in the Americas (Cambridge, 2000), table 7.2 at 168. They were confronted with ferrous matter that was alien: it lacked the physical attributes and ritual associations of locally produced iron. Iron, a basic producer good, did not flow from an African periphery to a north European core. The boom in consumer goods in the eighteenth century meant that metals declined in relative terms and in visibility, but they did not disappear from coastal marts. Bassar, the West African production complex hailed as being of ‘continental importance’, for example, produced an annual maximum of just eighty tons in the eighteenth century.68 The smelting district of Fiko in present-day Mali appears to have exported a large surplus to the interior delta of the Niger but the best estimates of its annual output are in the tens not the hundreds of tons.69 The Babungo chiefdom, another specialized smelting district, might have achieved an output of 100 tons annually in the nineteenth century (a figure that ‘may sound unbelievable’ in the view of its investigators) but rather less than that in the eighteenth.70 Seen in this context, voyage iron can hardly be dismissed as marginal. , 1995 ) one that eclipsed the productive capacity of any specialist smelting zone in sub-Saharan.. Value and exchange value data survives is therefore to introduce a false division woods, and other high-value.! 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