The Journal of African History



Ecology and Conflict in the West African Sahel

ECOLOGY AND POWER IN THE PERIPHERY OF MAASINA: THE CASE OF THE HAYRE IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY 1


MIRJAM DE BRUIJN a1 and HAN VAN DIJK a1
a1 African Studies Centre, Leiden

Abstract

This article explores political tensions between successive nineteenth-century rulers of the inland delta of the Niger in central Mali (the Fulbe Diina of Hamdullahi and the Futanke successors of al-Hajj Umar) and the pastoral interests of the Fulbe chiefdoms on their eastern periphery, in a region known as the Hayre. A close study of changing forms of local governance and natural resource management demonstrates that although different strategies were employed by the Fulbe and Futanke states to control the Hayre, the internal dynamics of the region can only partly be explained by the influence of these central powers.


Key Words: Mali; kingdoms and states; pastoralism; environment.


Footnotes

1 The research upon which this article is based was sponsored by the Netherlands Foundation for the Advancement of Tropical Research (WOTRO, grant W52-494). The project, entitled ‘Fulani society in a changing world: Central Mali’, was conducted for the Department of Cultural Anthropology of the University of Utrecht (Mirjam de Bruijn) and the Departments of Agrarian Law and Forestry of Wageningen Agricultural University (Han van Dijk), both in the Netherlands.