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10.3 Note on the Pioneering Study of Slavery in Yorubaland

10.3 Note on the Pioneering Study of Slavery in Yorubaland

E. Adeniyi Oroge’s “The Institution of Slavery in Yorubaland with Particular Reference to the Nineteenth Century,” Ph.D. thesis, Centre of West African Studies, University of Birmingham (UK), September 1971, is the pioneering study of slavery in Yorubaland, and has been widely cited by other scholars. Pages: i-xi; 1-454. It contains a synopsis, a preface, six chapters, 11 appendices, and “Sources and Select Bibliography.”

The author notes in his Preface that his study seeks to overcome the limitations of short-period analyses of anthropology by viewing domestic slavery not as a static, but as a dynamic social institution. It examines the role of the domestic slave in government, politics and the economy, and hopefully will prove of some benefit to African economic and social history. The response of the institution to the challenge of Westernization, manifesting in various forms as legitimate commerce, missionary evangelization and colonialism, is also examined in some detail. . . . its disappearance in the first half of the [twentieth] century was largely a function of the changing social situation under the British colonial regime. (Oroge, “Institution of Slavery in Yorubaland,” vi-vii)

In the context of this Archive, the thesis is particularly useful for purposes of comparison with studies of slavery in Ilorin. It is now available free of charge in digitised form at

E. Adeniyi Oroge is also the author of  “Iwofa: An Historical Survey of the Yoruba Institution of Indenture,” African Economic History, no. 14 (1985): 75-106

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