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Ahmadu Bello University (1985)

THE DEVELOPMENT AND FUNCTIONS OF CITY WALLS IN THE SAVANNA BELT OF THE NIGERIAN AREA

ACHI, BALA

Titre : THE DEVELOPMENT AND FUNCTIONS OF CITY WALLS IN THE SAVANNA BELT OF THE NIGERIAN AREA

Auteur : ACHI, BALA

Université de soutenance : Ahmadu Bello University

Grade : MASTER OF ARTS (HISTORY) 1985

Résumé
The purpose of this dissertation is to trace the development and discuss the roa.jor functions which city walls performed in the Savanna belt of the Nigerian area from (1100 A.D, to 1503 A.D.) During this period, the Savanna belt of the Nigerian area witnessed the development of many cities and the : construction of city walls. This made such walled settlements quite prominent in the history of the Nigerian area. This development coincided with the period when such settlements were undergoing significant demographic, economic, political and religious changes. Despite these, obscurity still shrouds much of the history of these walled settlements. The construction of the walls, materials used, the building techniques and the changes in the sizes and shapes of the walls which reflected changes in population, technology and culture of the society of trie Savanna region, have hardly been studied. It is suggested in this work that the consolidation of the power of the Sarki, the evolution of the city and the construction of the city walls are positively related to the develoxjmental process. The increase in the power of the Sarki was shown by the extent and elaborateness of the walls of his city and towns. Thus, cities that grew to become state capitals with extensive trading networks, stratified social classes with communitarian values in labor relations and relatively advanced technology, built very extensive, high and thick walls. The size and nature of the walls built are a reflection of the power of the Sarki, the functions they were meant to serve, the nature and extent of the society’s technology, its values, beliefs and of its geographical environment. In most cases, the walls served defensive, economic, political and religious functions. Attainment of security made possible by the walls enabled the walled citiesj, to expand at the expense of relatively weaker areas. This political expansion increased the power of the Sarki and the economic base of the city through booty, enslavement and the attraction of skilled craftsmen from relatively unstable areas. The work is limited to the Savanna belt, an area of open vegetation, relatively enabling easy inter-communication arid contact between societies. Although the study focuses more on Kano, Zaria and Oyo-Ile, I have drawn upon data that are related to ether city walls, stockades and Manorial Castles both in Africa, Europe and Asia because their development and functions had a number of similarities. The development and functions of city walls in the Savanna belt of the Nigerian Area cannot be understood in their true perspective without a proper study of the emergence and the consolidation of the power of the Sj3£ki, sources of wealth and of labour of the city and the types of relationships which existed between the city and the peripheral towns and villages. It is suggested that the emergence of the Sarki and the consolidation of his power, helped to tilt the balance between the rural areas and the political centres in favour of the latter. This went hand in hand with the construction of the walls, territorial expansion by the political centres and the emergence of states with the walled cities acting as the states’ capitals. This prominent role of some of the walled cities continued up to 1903 when the British forces shelled the walls and shifted the centre of power from the walled city to the newly created towns.

Mots clés : DEVELOPMENT, FUNCTIONS, CITY WALLS, SAVANNA BELT, NIGERIAN AREA

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Page publiée le 9 mai 2020