Paths in the Rainforests: Toward a History of Political Tradition in Equatorial Africa

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University of Wisconsin Press, Nov 15, 1990 - History - 428 pages
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Vansina’s scope is breathtaking: he reconstructs the history of the forest lands that cover all or part of southern Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, the Congo, Zaire, the Central African Republic, and Cabinda in Angola, discussing the original settlement of the forest by the western Bantu; the periods of expansion and innovation in agriculture; the development of metallurgy; the rise and fall of political forms and of power; the coming of Atlantic trade and colonialism; and the conquest of the rainforests by colonial powers and the destruction of a way of life.

“In 400 elegantly brilliant pages Vansina lays out five millennia of history for nearly 200 distinguishable regions of the forest of equatorial Africa around a new, subtly paradoxical interpretation of ‘tradition.’” —Joseph Miller, University of Virginia

“Vansina gives extended coverage  .  .  . to the broad features of culture and the major lines of historical development across the region between 3000 B.C. and A.D. 1000. It is truly an outstanding effort, readable, subtle, and integrative in its interpretations, and comprehensive in scope.  .  .  .  It is a seminal study  .  .  .  but it is also a substantive history that will long retain its usefulness.”—Christopher Ehret,  American Historical Review
   

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About the author (1990)

Jan Vansina is the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor and the Vilas Professor in History and Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His many books include his 1994 memoir Living with Africa, Oral Tradition as History, Kingdoms of the Savanna, and The Children of Woot, all published by the University of Wisconsin Press.

 

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