By Charles Henry Robinson
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2011
Online Publication Date:October 2011
Original Publication Year:1896
Subjects: African History , Historical Geography
Charles Henry Robinson (1861–1925) was a Cambridge scholar who, during the 1890s, published several books on the language, literature and culture of the Hausa people of West Africa. This study, published in 1896, documents his pioneering fieldwork during which, in three months, he travelled 1500 miles across rivers, mountains, villages and towns. Public interest in the Hausa was high at the time, due to their recruitment as troops by Britain in the Ashanti conflict, and by France to consolidate French power in Madagascar. However, Robinson argues against the perception of the Hausa as primarily a warlike people, despite their formidable strength in battle. In this vivid account of his time among them, he portrays the Hausa as successful traders who excelled above all in commercial endeavours. Exploring enterprises from textiles and tobacco to hunting and river transportation, Robinson gives fascinating first-hand insights into this important African community.