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8.2b Interior Mission to Yorubaland 1893: Extracts from the Diary of G. B. Haddon-Smith, Political Officer. Notes on the extracts

22 February. His Excellency and the Political Officer visited the slave market, which is held in the Ghambari [Gambari] market from 3pm to 5pm. “There were a number of slaves in two sheds, about 30 altogether, comprising old men, old women, middle-aged men and women, and children. Their clothes were rather scanty, and they did not appear to suffer from overwashing; otherwise they appeared alright. They evidently were well fed and did not seem to mind their position with the exception of one woman who had a very sad expression. Behind the slaves sat the dealers, who appeared to be fairly well-to-do Mohammedans.”

[See also “Slave Markets” in the section titled “Notes on Ilorin,” below.]

24 February. The messengers from the camp authorities arrived and the emir sent them to the governor. The messengers were from the four Ilorin baloguns; also the messenger of “the Magaji, who represents the Emir in the camp . . . [they said] that they were all slaves of the Emir’s, that they were the messengers from all the Baloguns at the camp.”

8 March. Meeting with the Ibadans—

The Ilorin delegates included “Ogunkojoli, alias Alihu.”

12 March. Reference is made to Alihu, the emir of Ilorin’s representative, who has been taking a “leading part seeing after the evacuation of Offa.” “He had some trouble with Adamu [Balogun Gambari of Ilorin], but soon brought him to his senses by threatening to behead him.”

13 March. Reference to “Alihu, the confidential slave of the Emir.”

[Re: entries for 8, 12, and 13 March: Ogunkojoli (Ogunkojole) also called Alihu, was an important royal slave in Ilorin, who for some time enjoyed considerable power. However, having remained loyal to Emir Moma during the emir’s struggle with the baloguns (war leaders and ward heads), he shared the emir’s fall in 1895, and he committed suicide together with the emir. See Ann O’Hear, “Elite Slaves in Ilorin in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.” International Journal of African Historical Studies, vol. 39, no. 2 (2006): 258-259, including note 51. For the article in full, see section 2 of the Dr. Ann O’Hear Archive]

Notes on Ilorin:

Emir’s Officers: there follows a list of “the chief officers” of the Emir.

Included was “The Dongare the jailer and chief executioner. He has a number of prisoners in his own yard in chains, only a few being kept in the Emir’s. The name of the present man is Salihu.”

[The Sarkin Dongari/Dogari/Dongare was an elite slave of the emir. See O’Hear, “Elite Slaves,” 252-253, including note 26.]

Slave Markets: There are two slave markets in Ilorin, one in the Gambari market and the other in Oja Oba, a market in the rear of the Emir’s palace. Slaves are “exposed for sale” from 2pm to 5pm. “The rule is that no slave is to be exposed after that hour, and I must say from what I saw it seems as if the rule was obeyed. The slaves for sale are handed over to a class of people called “Bilalis” [dilali = middleman], who act as agents of the owners.” For each slave they sell they are entitled to 5 heads of cowries. This is paid by the purchaser “exclusive of the purchase money.” When a bargain has been concluded, the purchaser pays an advance of 5 strings of cowries. “This advance binds the bargain.” The slave is taken home by the purchaser and nine days as a rule are allowed for final payment. “The time is given for the detection of organic diseases. If any be deleted the sale may be cancelled or a deduction made in the amount. The price of slaves varies from £5 to £8, boys and young men fetching the highest price.”

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