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Wealth, Land, and Property in Angola
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Book description

Exploring the multifaceted history of dispossession, consumption, and inequality in West Central Africa, Mariana P. Candido presents a bold revisionist history of Angola from the sixteenth century until the Berlin Conference of 1884–5. Synthesising disparate strands of scholarship, including the histories of slavery, land tenure, and gender in West Central Africa, Candido makes a significant contribution to ongoing historical debates. She demonstrates how ideas about dominion and land rights eventually came to inform the appropriation and enslavement of free people and their labour. By centring the experiences of West Central Africans, and especially African women, this book challenges dominant historical narratives, and shows that securing property was a gendered process. Drawing attention to how archives obscure African forms of knowledge and normalize conquest, Candido interrogates simplistic interpretations of ownership and pushes for the decolonization of African history.


‘This book breaks with decades-long traditions and preconceived ideas about African history and the concept of landed property in West Central Africa. Candido’s approach, insights and poignant arguments will ignite profuse discussions and challenge common views regarding Africa and Africans. She is a unique historian and perhaps the most accomplished Africanist of the 21st century.’

Cátia Antunes - Leiden University

‘Carefully researched and sensitively conceptualized, Candido brings to life African struggles over the land in the face of European encroachment. Not only does this book rewrite existing understandings of land in the region, but it is a powerful example of how detailed research can act as a tool for countering the harms of colonial narratives and practices.’

Claudia Gastrow - University of Johannesburg

‘Mariana Candido's book offers a major intervention in the historiography of precolonial Africa. The extraordinary archival detail and rich understanding of Africanist historiography’s origins and contexts have produced a significant book which confirms her as one of the leading historians of her generation in the field.’

Toby Green - King’s College London

‘In well-documented Angola, centuries of land records challenge today’s beliefs that African land was too plentiful for ownership, so that only people had value. Candido shows that, by 1900, colonial ideology renounced centuries of land transactions. Historians must face the findings and implications of this important study.’

Patrick Manning - University of Pittsburgh

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