ORIGINS AND STRUCTURES OF POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS IN PRE-COLONIAL BLACK AFRICA: Dynastic Monarchy, Taxes and Tributes, War and Slavery, Kinship and Territory

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This book examines the states of pre-colonial Sub-Saharan Africa – their different origins and institutions, their evolution and development, and the enduring strength of their traditions in present-day Africa. This book contains nineteen black and white photographs and four black and white maps.


“There are but few books at the moment which present Africa’s past so concisely, clearly, and in such an objective way. And, notwithstanding the shameful ways in which Africa’s cultural and political achievements were destroyed, the book also conveys a message of hope: Africa is not a lost cause. Its great achievements in the past show that Africans once were able to rise independently to great heights – why should a renaissance of the African culture be impossible in the future? The book demands close reading – and fully deserves it.” – Prof. Henri J.M. Claessen, Leiden University

“. . . a major contribution to our understanding of African States seen in a historical perspective. It is built upon a broad comparative basis, both in space and time, and due to this basis, new problems – till now overlooked – arise.” – Prof. Emmanuel Terray, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Maps
Foreword by Henri J.M. Claessen
1. Introduction: The State – Problems of Terminology
2. The Pre-Colonial States of Africa: Chronology and Geographical Location
3. Characteristics of the Formation of African States
4. Features of Pre-Colonial African States
5. The Coexistence of States and Non-State Organizations
6. The State in Pre-Colonial Africa – Issues and Debates
Commentary of Illustrations
Captions for the Maps

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