By Edda L. Fields-Black

ISBN-10: 0253002966

ISBN-13: 9780253002969

ISBN-10: 0253352193

ISBN-13: 9780253352194

Mangrove rice farming on West Africa's Rice Coast used to be the replicate snapshot of tidewater rice plantations labored through enslaved Africans in 18th-century South Carolina and Georgia. This publication reconstructs the improvement of rice-growing know-how one of the Baga and Nalu of coastal Guinea, starting greater than a millennium earlier than the transatlantic slave exchange. It finds an image of dynamic pre-colonial coastal societies, really not like the static, homogenous pre-modern Africa of prior scholarship. From its exam of inheritance, innovation, and borrowing, Deep Roots models a conception of cultural switch that encompasses the variety of groups, cultures, and different types of expression in Africa and the African diaspora.

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Extra info for Deep Roots: Rice Farmers in West Africa and the African Diaspora (Blacks in the Diaspora)

Example text

The historical linguistic method can only be applied to genetically related languages descended from a common linguistic ancestor. Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, and French, for example, are descended from the same ancestral language, Latin.  In West Africa, the genetic relationship of “Atlantic” languages is less straightforward. Since the 1960s, linguists have debated whether or not “Atlantic” is a genetic, merely a typological, or a geographic grouping.  The Nalu, Mbulungish, Mboteni, and Sitem languages, whose speakers inhabit the Rio Nunez region and whose words are the foundation of this study, are part of the Atlantic language group.

The sculpted metal blade of this tool is specifically designed to cut the tangled roots of red mangrove trees and to turn waterlogged, muddy clay soils. After laying the foundation for a new rice field, particularly a new mangrove rice field, coastal farmers leave it lying fallow for several years, collecting fresh rainwater and allowing it to leach the salt out of the soil. On average, it takes five to seven years for the percentage of salinity in a mangrove field to The Rio Nunez Region 37 decrease to a level tolerable to African rice species.

Together, the two independent streams of historical evidence reveal the antiquity of coastal settlement and rice-growing technology in the Rio Nunez region and provide the tools to reconstruct its development. The combination of the two independent streams of evidence makes a unique contribution to an innovative body of historical research. To historians of other regions of the world who are accustomed to dealing with dates and documents, the sources used in this study—cultural vocabulary words, sound changes, scientific studies of mangrove vegetation, and oral traditions—may seem unorthodox, nontraditional, and even anthropological.

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Deep Roots: Rice Farmers in West Africa and the African Diaspora (Blacks in the Diaspora) by Edda L. Fields-Black


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