The region of Souroudougou played a dynamic role in the regional slave
trade of the western Niger Bend during the nineteenth century, supplying slaves
to neighboring states. A number of mechanisms, termed here ‘indirect linkages’,
connected sources of slaves in Souroudougou to the broader regional slave trade.
These took the form of commercial activity by Muslim mercantile groups,
banditry and alliances formed between neighboring states and local power brokers
in Souroudougou. At the same time, the growing slave trade triggered important
internal processes of change in the local social landscape, termed here the ‘espace
de compétition’. In particular, heightened individual and group competition
transformed established codes of behavior and social networks.