Round Table: focus on sources

Category
Research, Students, Teaching
Date(s)
Tuesday 5th February 2013 (16:00-19:00)
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From Afnu to Copenhagen: Tripolitan diplomatic circulation, a Hausa slave, and knowledge of Africa in 1772

Camille Lefebvre (CNRS Paris)

In the 1740s-1750s, the two Nordic Kingdoms of Sweden and Denmark signed a series of treaties with Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli to support expanding trade relations across the Mediterranean. In this context, two consecutive delegations of Tripolitan diplomats were sent to the Nordic capitals to negotiate the treaties and to strengthen the relations between Tripoli and the Nordic Kingdoms. The encounter between the Tripolitan envoy Abderahman Aga and the German traveler Carsten Niebuhr in Copenhagen in 1772 led to a discussion of the interior of Africa as it was known at the time. The exchange between Abderahman Aga, his two African slaves, and Niebuhr yielded one of the few reports on the Central Sudan available in the second half of the Eighteenth Century. By focusing on the intellectual context of this encounter and the report that followed, this paper reassesses the contribution of this source to our knowledge of the Central Sudan in the late Eighteenth Century.

Niebuhr's Das Innere von Afrika in relation to some later German research on interior West Africa

Mark Duffill (independent researcher)

This paper will advance some hypotheses on the importance of Zamfara in Niebuhr's account of Hausaland and the connection - if any - between Niebuhr's references and Kurt Krieger’s Geshichte von Zamfara (of which there exists no English translation). I shall also examine the contributions to the study of Hausa history and culture of other German scholars, who were probably following where Niebuhr had led, with special reference to Mishlich, Prietze and Krause.

This paper will advance some hypotheses on the importance of Zamfara in Niebuhr's account of Hausaland and the connection - if any - between Niebuhr's references and Kurt Krieger’s (of which there exists no English translation). I shall also examine the contributions to the study of Hausa history and culture of other German scholars, who were probably following where Niebuhr had led, with special reference to Mishlich, Prietze and Krause.

Part of the Fifty Years of African Studies series