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1 - Who Owned What?

Early Debate over Land Rights and Dispossession

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 September 2022

Mariana P. Candido
Affiliation:
Emory University, Atlanta
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Summary

The uses and transformations of the concept of land use, occupation, and possession in West Central Africa from the late sixteenth to the early nineteenth century are examined. Rather than stressing the concept of wealth in people, this chapter explores how people exercised land rights and control and displayed wealth. In West Central Africa, as elsewhere in the continent, claims over land, people, and things were based on and shaped by notions of kinship, community membership, and the broader social context. The distinction between the public and the private was blurred. Recognition of claims and rights was the result of political and economic competition among rulers, subjects, and neighbors. All actors, some with more power than others, engaged in the definition of land use, rights, occupation, and inheritance, retaining control of goods and wealth that could be expressed in a variety of ways. With the arrival of Europeans in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, more actors engaged in the principle of territorial occupation and subjugation to make bold claims of sovereignty based on the idea that land was unused or unoccupied. Since different ideas of possession and jurisdiction were at the center of these interactions, clashes between conceptions of land use, access, and occupation are analyzed.

Type
Chapter
Information
Wealth, Land, and Property in Angola
A History of Dispossession, Slavery, and Inequality
, pp. 35 - 63
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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  • Who Owned What?
  • Mariana P. Candido, Emory University, Atlanta
  • Book: Wealth, Land, and Property in Angola
  • Online publication: 22 September 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009052986.002
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  • Who Owned What?
  • Mariana P. Candido, Emory University, Atlanta
  • Book: Wealth, Land, and Property in Angola
  • Online publication: 22 September 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009052986.002
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Who Owned What?
  • Mariana P. Candido, Emory University, Atlanta
  • Book: Wealth, Land, and Property in Angola
  • Online publication: 22 September 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009052986.002
Available formats
×