Slaves in Agricultural Development of Ibadan, 1835-1893

SALAMI, B. Olawale


Nations are generally endowed with the natural resources which are exploited for the physical and human development of such a geographical entity. Such natural resources may include fertile land and deposits of all kinds of liquid and solid natural resources. The Ibadan of our period may not have paraded the latter, but the former was available and very fertile. In other words, the pre-colonial Ibadan advertised fertile land that was suitable for the production of both cash and subsistence crops to feed the town. Ibadan also has advantage of abundant human resources that could be mobilised at the shortest notice. These were mainly the producer slaves and they produced more than seventy percent of labour that was required on the farms. Agriculture thus became one of the mainstays of the economy of Ibadan.

The focus of this article therefore, is to underscore the indispensable role the producer slaves played in tilling the land to produce food in large quantities both from the small and large farms, which were in most cases owned by the civil and military chiefs.

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