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Fistful of Shells: West Africa from the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of Re

Fistful of Shells: West Africa from the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of Re

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By the time of the 'Scramble for Africa' in the late nineteenth century, Africa had already been globally connected for many centuries. It's gold had fuelled the economies of Europe and Islamic world since around 1000, and its sophisticated kingdoms had traded with Europeans along the coasts from Senegal down to Angola since the fifteenth century. Until at least 1650, this was a trade of equals, using a variety of currencies - most importantly shells: the cowrie shells imported from the Maldives, and the nzimbu shells imported from Brazil. Toby Green's book transforms our view of West and West-Central Africa.