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Demographic History of West Africa

Korean Minjok Leadership Academy
International Program
Kim, Ji Yang
Term Paper, AP World History Class, December 2009

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
II. Basics Regarding the Study of Demographics of West Africa
II.1 Basic Background of West African Regions and Border Changes
II.1.1 Atlas and Subdivision of West African Regions
II.1.1.1 Atlas of West Africa
II.1.1.2 Subdivision of West African Regions
II.1.2 Brief History of the Metamorphosis of Political Entities in West Africa
II.2 Methods of Analyzing the Demographics of West Africa
II.2.1 Census and Specialized Surveys
II.2.2 Source Criticism
III. Chronological Study of Internal and External Migrations in West Africa
III.1 Pre-colonial Migrations
III.2 Slave Trade and European Contact
III.3 Migrations in the Colonial Era
III.4 Migrations in the Post-Colonial Era
III.4.1 Nigerian Oil Boom
III.4.2 Sahel Droughts
III.5 Migrations since Urbanization
IV. Factors that Determined the Population Shifts and Transitions in West Africa
IV.1 Slave Trade and its Abolition
IV.2 Economic Reasons : Labor Migrations
IV.2.1 Seasonal Labor Circulations
IV.2.2 Casual Day Labor System and Decline of the Farm Labor
IV.3 Economic Reasons: Technological Advances
IV.4 Natural Disasters
IV.5 Military Conflicts
IV.6 Maternal Deaths
IV.7 Religion
V. Gender Balance and Epidemics in Recent West Africa
V.1 Gender Balance and Predominance of Youth
V.2 Epidemics
VI. Conclusion
Primary Sources
Secondary Sources
Sources for Further Consideration

I. Introduction
            Demography is the history of human population - or more precisely, the scientific study of human populations, including their size, composition, distribution, density, and growth as well as the causes and socioeconomic consequences of changes in these factors. In this paper, we are to analyze the demographic history of West Africa: we will go over the basics regarding the study of demographics in the western African region, chronologically list the internal and external migrations in the region, account for the factors that determined the population shifts and transitions, and lastly look at the recent issues of gender balance and epidemic diseases.

II. Basics Regarding the Study of Demographics of West Africa

II.1 Basic Background of West African Regions and Border Changes

II.1.1. Atlas and Subdivision of West African Regions

II.1.1.1. Atlas of West Africa
            West Africa is obviously the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes following modern countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d'lvoire, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo. Parts of Algeria, Chad, and the Central African Republic are sometimes classified as countries of West Africa yet more fit into the range of North or Central Africa.

figure II.1
Area shaded in dark green is the west sub-region of Africa as designated by the United Nations. This paper would only be dealing with the area shaded in dark green

            West Africa is oriented west of an imagined north-south axis lying close to 10 degrees eastern longitude. The Atlantic Ocean forms the western and southern borders of the region. The northern border is the Sahara Desert, with the Niger Bend generally considered the northernmost part of the region. The eastern border is less precise, with some placing it at the Benue Trough, and others on a line running from Mount Cameroon to Lake Chad.

II.1.1.2. Subdivision of the West African Region
            Subdivision of the West African region is difficult to draw out in historical stages of early empires, as empires in West Africa tend to dominate the entire area for a certain period of time until it is replaced by another empire instead of sharing the area with other competing empires. In the early nineteenth century, the region started to disintegrate as a series of Fulani reformist jihads swept across Western Africa. The most notable include Usman dan Fodio's Fulani Empire, which replaced the Hausa city-states, Seku Amadu's Massina Empire, which defeated the Bambara, and El Hadj Umar Tall's Toucouleur Empire, which briefly conquered much of modern-day Mali.
            However, the French and British continued to advance in the Scramble for Africa, subjugating kingdom after kingdom. France unified Senegal, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Cote d'Ivoire and Niger into French West Africa. Portugal founded the colony of Guinea-Bissau, while Germany claimed Togoland, but was forced to divide it between France and Britain following First World War.
            After the Second World War, nationalist movements across West Africa commenced, and numerous countries in western Africa attained independence from the European nations. By 1974, nations in West Africa were entirely autonomous. Although the European nations did make a little effort in considering cultural and ethnic boundaries while dividing the area in the colonial area, most of the subdivisions were made in terms of political wartime treaties and economic relationships. Thus, since independence, West African nations have been hassling over their rightful boundaries and have been plagued by corruption, instability and civil wars.
            While subdivision of West African region may be possible in a certain era, adopting a consistent subdivision of West Africa over history is not plausible as there are too diverse ethnicities scattered around the region, and with the exception of perhaps Togo and Guinea-Bissau, most of the region have been integrated and systematically divided by France without the proper knowledge of cultural division of West Africa. Thus, this paper would approach the demographics of the area in accordance with chronology instead of a spatial arrangement.

II.1.2. Brief History of the Metamorphosis of Political Entities in West Africa
            History of border change in a region is indispensable in the study of demographics, as population shifts with the border change. Although the changes in borders started in the era of early empires, most of the borders in western Africa are established in the colonial times in the last nineteenth century. Cultural and ethnic boundaries in natural terms have not yet fully developed in West Africa when the European nations leaped into the Scramble for Africa and forced their colonial boundaries.
            Colonial boundaries are reflected in the modern boundaries between contemporary West African nations, cutting across ethnic and cultural lines, often dividing single ethnic groups between two or more countries. As most of the political boundaries between the current nation-states is the legacy of European colonialism, most African states have become multi-ethnic. During the colonial period, the colonizers cleverly favored some groups and exploited the tensions among others as a divide-and-conquer method. Upon gaining independence, many African nation-states have had to face the challenge of reconciling a multi-ethnic population. The convoluted sources of identity and affiliation play a particularly important role among many African people and still greatly affect how these people interact. Nonetheless, the population of West Africa is working its way to get over the inconsistency between these relatively recent boundaries and longstanding tribal affiliations; its great ethnic and cultural diversity may benefit the richness of the region in the long run. (1)

II.2 Methods of Analyzing the Demographics of West Africa

II.2.1. Census and Specialized Surveys
            The principal sources of population data are official censuses, administrative enumerations, and registration records (2). For many nations of Africa, credible national censuses only began in the twentieth century. For instance, the first census is conducted in Senegal in 1976, Mali in 1987, and in Chad in 1993. As the information from the census is limited, specialized surveys done by a number of individual scholars and agencies are used as ample resources to the study of demographics of West Africa. From 1981 to 1984, survey on child mortality, a longitudinal study of women who had had children that consisted of eight interviews between the time the children were born to age 2 years and 4 months, was conducted in Senegal. Studies of life expectancies in a national basis and historical abortion statistics also provide more insight in analyzing demographics of West Africa. International Historical Statistics by B.R. Mitchell and supply moderately reliable information about the statistics required to predict lines of demographics of West Africa.

II.2.2. Source Criticism
            It is said that censuses are "reasonable to assume that regular censuses, other than the first one or two of a series, are accurate to within less than ten percent overall, and probably a good deal less than that in many cases, especially in developed countries." (2a) However, the scope and reliability of the national censuses are rather displeasing especially in developing countries in western Africa, and the specialized surveys in colonial era may be expected to be distorted from reality.

III Chronological Study of Internal and External Migrations in West Africa

III.1 Pre-colonial Migrations (From 12000 B.C to 1591 A.D)
            Early human settlers, probably related to the Pygmies, arrived in West Africa around 12,000 B.C. Farming began in, or around the fifth millennium B.C, as well as the domestication of cattle. By 400 B.C, ironworking technology allowed an expansion of agricultural productivity, and the first city-states formed. From the fourth century, the rise and fall of empires and kingdoms in the forests and savannahs precipitated shifts of population through conquest, colonization and enslavement. The great Sudanese empires of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai were established by invaders from North Africa (3), or by the Sudanese who acquired the weapons of conquest through the trans-Saharan trade.
            The Ghana Empire was a continuation of the cultural complex at Tichitt-walata attributed to Mande people known as the Soninke who started to dominate the Ghana Empire after contact with the Muslim Almoravid traders from the North. Between 1180 and 1230, the empire started to disintegrate as the Sosso people control the southern part of the Ghana Empire and the empire lost its trading monopoly and was impacted negatively by excessive drought. With the decline of the empire, the Almoravid Muslims from the north heavily migrated towards the south and invaded the country. Soon in 1230, Sundiata Keita, a powerful Mande ruler established the Mali Empire, originally a federation of Mandinka tribes called the Manden Kurufa. The Mali Empire reached its largest size under the Laye mansas, spanning the modern-day countries of Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Mali, and part of Niger. In 1340, the Songhai people, thought to have settled at Gao as early as 800 A.D., took advantage of the decline of the Mali Empire and successfully asserted its independence. Although the empires coexisted for a short amount of time, both collapsed due to the Muslims from the north. Muslim Saadi sultan of Morocco dispatched an invasion force under the Spaniard enuch Judar Pasha to invade the Songhai empire, and the Mali Empire was divided into three spheres of influence that would diminish one another¡¯s power through endless wars and squabbles.
            Trade, religion, and oppression from the empire stimulated shifts in the population in the pre-colonial era. The Hausa and the Mandinka were the most important of the trading peoples, and their economic presence throughout West Africa was underpinned by the establishment of migrant settlements, which in Hausa are called "zongos" or "sabongaris." In the western Sudan, the jihad of Umar Tal led to tens of thousands of Senegal valley residents who would migrate some four hundred miles to Kaarta where they joined the Umarian garrison at Nioro, although the French would forcibly return half the Fulani population of Kaarta back to the Senegal valley.
            States also developed in the forests, notably Oyo, Benin, Dahomey and Asante. The Yoruba kingdom of Oyo was at its eight in the eighteenth century and expansion created colonies and petty tributary states. The founding and organization of the Asante state among the Akan owes to the migrants from the northern savannah states, while eventually the Akan migrated southwards, which subsequently led to the unification of several Akan states centred on Kumasi under the Asantahene (4). Conditions in the pre-colonial states often led to mass movements of people who sought to escape from oppressive rulers facilitated by low population densities and the absence of formal political boundaries.

III.2 Migrations during the era of Slave Trade and European Contact
            As seen before, the Moroccan invasion at the end of the sixteenth century destroyed the Songhai empire and creates a period of social and political instability that provided an opportunity for the formation of other states such as S?gou and the Bamana Empire. In 1630, the Bamana of Djenne declared their version of holy war on all Muslim powers in present day Mali, targetting Moroccan Pashas still in Timbuktu and the mansas of Manden. The economy of the Bambara Empire flourished through trade, especially through the trading of the slaves captured in their many wars. The demand for slaves then led to further fighting, leaving the Bambara in a perpetual state of war with their neighbors. Increased contact with European merchants along the Atlantic coast draws trade away from traditional routes in the interior, and increased slave trading causes hardship among the local population.
            As such, the rise of the Sudanese empires and trade networks included the trade in slaves northwards across the Sahara, but it was during the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that there occurred a huge surge in forced migration, especially with the development of the Atlantic slave trade. Perhaps the most significant impact on external migration, approximately 4.5 million slaves were exported from West Africa from 1700 to 1809 (5). Slaves became commodities in the world economy as West Africa became a labor reserve for New World plantations. On the African side the military expansion of states led to capture and enslavement of populations, while arguably the trade led to increased conflicts as rival states sought to control slave sales. Another factor in enslavement was periodic drought: in the great drought of 1738 slave exports in Senegambia rose, as the people sold themselves into slavery as a last resort. (6)

III.3 Migrations in Colonial Era
            In pre-colonial times, migration was internal and occurred largely in search of security and land for farming. However, colonial regime altered the motivation and composition of migration by introducing and enforcing various blends of political and economic structures, imposing tax regimes and establishing territorial boundaries. A series of economic and recruitment policies - compulsory recruitment, contract and forced labor legislation and agreements - were employed to stimulate regional labor migration from Mali, Togo and Upper Volta to road networks, plantations and mines in Gold Coast and Ivory Coast. Transportation development also facilitated labor migration by reducing the distance and hazards of journeys that hitherto hampered long distance migrations. These developments stimulated and altered large-scale population movements, giving rise to the male-dominated, seasonal and cross-border migration which subsequently became institutionalized. Most migrations in the colonial era was labor-oriented.

III.4 Migrations in the Post-Colonial Era

III.4.1 Nigerian Oil Boom
            By the 1970s, long distance movements of agricultural labor began to sag, and a new internal migration stream of impressive and possibly unique proportions appeared as Nigeria emerged as a world petroleum producer. Possibly between two and a three million entered Nigeria between 1975 and 1983. Over one million came from Ghana, 500,000 from Niger, some 150,000 Chadians, 120,000 Cameroonians, 5000 Togolese and 5000 Beninoise. Most were understandably illegal immigrants as they crossed uncontrolled borders, bribing border guards, while employers and officials did not bother to register unskilled workers.
            Cheap food, convenient transportation, relatively high wages, wide range of consumer goods, and abundant employment opportunities attracted many to Nigeria. In 1979, however, the Nigerian economy was indeed under strain; corruption in government was widespread and there was a sudden plunge into indebtedness as oil prices fell and interest rates rose. Industry contracted and unemployment increased. Urban crime rates climbed, and the population shift gradually halted as confusion and recrimination grew.

III.4.2 Sahel Droughts
            The droughts that affected the Sahel from 1968 to 1974 and from 1980 to 1982 were responsible for a southward drift of population throughout the region. In times of difficulty many turned to resources outside of their pitiful situations and moved over wider areas as the means of survival. Many looked towards the towns as the future of agriculture looked grim; the population of Nouakchott in Mauritania rose to over 200,000 in the 1970s which accounted for one fifth of the population. According to Mortimer, Nigeria showed an increase of out-migration from 26 to 43 percent and while Kano was the principal destination people were moving further south.

III.5 Migrations since Urbanization
            Although seasonal movements of labor continued throughout West Africa, long-distance migration has become blunted by economic recession in host countries, rising population levels and increased resistance to foreign workers. Even before gaining independence from the colonial powers, urban migrations in West Africa inexorably strengthened ever since the last 1940s because of better transportation systems, new economic opportunities and rural land shortages.
            After independence, town-ward migration accelerated even more rapidly so and many urban areas were growing at seven percent per year with strong inward flows of the young and economically active. Structural adjustment programs have reduced employment, especially in construction work, which has radically altered casual circulatory migration between town and village
            Most West African states are dominated by their capital cities, where the limited jobs and educational opportunities are concentrated, as well as being the sites of political power, where a wide spectrum of interest groups struggle for the control of the state. Towns such as Freetown expanded their population between 200 percent and 400 percent from the 1960s to the 1980s.
            However, structural adjustment programs have reduced employment, especially in construction work, which has radically altered casual circulatory migration between town and village. Most of the urban poor compete with their rural counterparts in the urban periphery, as both evidently search for casual day labor on farms.

IV. Factors that Determined the Population Shifts and Transitions in West Africa

IV.1. Slave Trade and its Abolition
            Before the arrival of Europeans, the Cape Verde Islands near Senegal were uninhabited. In 1462, Portuguese settlers arrived at Santiago and founded a settlement they called Ribeira Grande, the first permanent European settlement in the tropics. In the 16th century, the archipelago started to prosper from the transatlantic slave trade.
            During the late seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries, there was a huge surge in forced migration as the Atlantic slave trade became popular. From 1700 to 1809, approximately 4.5 million slaves were exported from West Africa. On the African side the military expansion of states led to capture and enslave the populations; the trade arguably led to increased conflicts as rival states sought to control slave sales (7). The periodic drought of 1738 also encouraged the slave trade. Slave exports in Senegambia rose as people sold themselves into slavery as a last resort.
            However, the story does not end with the termination of the slave trade - the abolition of slave trade also impacted the demography of West Africa. At the turn of the century the British were concerned with abolition of domestic slavery, which gave further impetus to the migrant labor system. Owners of the slaves were desperate to shed their once-prized slaves, as they were obliged to feed and pay taxes for them as household members. The effects of abolition that gathered momentum by 1910, produced a huge wave of migrant workers - a new class of poor farmers - in the seasonal labor circulation system.

IV.2. Economic Reasons : Labor Migrations

IV.2.1 Seasonal Labor Circulations
            After the Atlantic slave trade was prohibited, legitimate commerce rose with the European countries. Commercial crop zones developed near the coast because of the moister climate and proximity to rivers. Peasant farmers started to integrate the new crops into their existing cultivation systems, and more agricultural commodities such as palm oil, groundnuts, cocoa, coffee, cotton, and rubber began to be introduced with European merchant capital. As the export trade developed additional workers were needed to alleviate seasonal labor shortages during planting and harvesting, massive inputs of labor were required. With encouragement from the colonial powers that still reserved powers even after the slave trade was banned, the area of the Sudan-Sahel emerged as floating labor reserves where people could only gain their identity as migrant workers in a system of seasonal circulation.
            One of the first migrant labor systems in West Africa was connected with the groundnut trade in Senegambia and the Casamance - groundnuts were being exported in quantity by the 1850s. The migrants here were involved in share contracts which required them to give a share of their works in return for the land they could grow groundnuts on. With the abolition of slaves (discussed in IV.1.), the volume of migrants into Senegal reached 70,000 annually and into the Gambia in the 1970s there were still some 30,000 seasonal laborers drawn from within Senegambia, Mali, and Guinea.
            Migrant labors were crucial to the expansion of the agricultural export trade, so the system of seasonal circulation labor also expanded. Large numbers of seasonal workers headed for the Gold Coast, Ivory Coast and south-western Nigeria. In 1960 half a million men entered the Gold Coast and Ivory Coast each year, most of them from Upper Volta, now Burkina Faso: Ivory Coast attracted numerous labor immigrants from neighboring countries. In 1981 a World Bank survey confirmed the continuing importance of Burkina Faso as a supplier of migrant labor into the Ivory Coast. In south-western Nigeria around Sokoto was another significant stage of migration stream - migration among the areas became institutionalized and men constructed their migrations as "the walk of the world."

IV.2.2 Casual Day Labor System and Decline of the Farm Labor
            As the older groundnut areas land became scarcer and share contracted declined, however, soon farmers turned to casual day labor because they found the casual day system much more flexible and also because they could bargain over daily rates and the length of the working day.
            Also, from the mid-1950s farm labor in West Africa became scarcer: the state sector in general absorbed more labor; the timber industry expanded and there was a persistent drift of young men into the towns; the migrant stream into Ghana weakened as the price of cocoa began to plummet. As urbanization started to kick in, more and more people naturally began to be attracted to the urban areas.

IV.3 Economic Reasons: Technological Advances
            The practice of irrigation, be it instinctive or scientifically based, concerns human intervention in the management of soil moisture in the crop root zone, while ensuring the continued fertility of the soil itself. Introduction of the diesel pumps from Italy in the Sahel region, therefore, led to an increase in population and the excessive pumping of ground water. Tragically, however, the combination of the Sahel drought of 1971 and the environmental hazards caused by the diesel pumps and excessive human interventions soon accounted for an inhospitable environment to live in, then the population again drifted southward. (8)

IV.4 Natural Disasters
            In West Africa, natural disasters had been accounted for more of a factor for demographic changes as most people relied on natural resources for their survival until very recently. Not only the Sahel drought but also drought of 1738, floods, and other natural disasters forced West African people to move from their affected region for survival. Sometimes the migration patterns were not as obvious to detect and to analyze, yet in some cases as the Sahel drought, natural disasters did indeed account for much demographic shifts.

IV.5 Military Conflicts
            As of most locations in the globe, West Africa also have suffered from military conflicts and wars that engender demographic changes as people are forced to migrate for their own safety. Due to the rather random settings of boundaries set by the European nations non-regarding the African cultural or tribal settings and rather unstable politics in West African nations, wars and military conflicts have been frequent and the refugees account for much demographic shifts in the region even after the colonial times. Since independence rival interests have battled to control the state in West Africa, a battle sometimes shaped by ethnicity, sometimes orchestrated globally, which has led to political turmoil and waves of forced migration, both within and among countries.
            For example, in 1989 the Mauritanian-Senegal conflict led to the expulsion of Moors from Senegalese towns, while the Fulani on the Mauritanian bank of the Senegal River were pushed into Senegal. By July 1990 some 27,000 Fulani had been moved into the Senegalese district of Matam, while 20,000 Moorish shops were destroyed in Dakar. In southern Senegal the Casamance region has been disrupted since the late 1980s as a separatist movement has developed, largely dominated by Jolas.
            Internal conflicts, such as the civil war in Nigeria, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, and Sierra Leone, also led to widespread disruption and dislocation of the citizens. Especially the Nigerian Civil War from 1967 to 1970 led to massive demographic changes. During the colonial period Igbos moved into the Islamic north as government workers, artisans and traders. After the assassination of northern political leaders by Igbo-led army officers, easterners became a target for reprisals leading the September massacres of 1966, after which almost one million easterners fled southwards. In Liberia the situation is also tense as one fifth of the whole population fled the country after the overthrow of the Doe regime in 1990, and in Sierra Leone a little less than 200,000 people have been displaced in the eastern region as the result of the civil war destabilizing the former Momoh regime.
            Many of the military conflicts escalate from the minor issues regarding the competition between the agricultural and nomadic society. The Saharan region of West Africa was gripped with severe armed civil conflict and extreme human rights abuses between 1991 and 1995. The origins of the conflict can be traced to policies that exclude nomads from governance and policy making. Other major factors include the vulnerability of nomads during drought years, widespread corruption in the government, police and military, as well as racial inequalities rooted in historic inequities. The military situation remains unstable and many nomad civilians are still traumatized by events in the 1990s. The region urgently needs a truth and reconciliation process to face up to past events and build a better future.

IV.6 Maternal Deaths
            Complications of induced abortion account for nearly one-third of all maternal deaths in West Africa, according to a study conducted in 12 hospitals in Benin, Cote d'Ivoire and Senegal between May and October 1999. During that period, 4,116 women were admitted for obstetric complications during the first trimester of pregnancy, of whom 42 died of maternal causes, including 37 from complications of induced abortion. An additional 10,744 women were admitted for delivery, of whom 79 died of major complications such as hemorrhage, sepsis or uterine rupture. Thus, complications of induced abortion were responsible for 37 of 121 maternal deaths during the period studied. Accordingly, the researchers suggest that "previous World Health Organization estimates that complications of abortion may account for about 15% of all maternal mortality should be revised upward." According to the Historical Abortion Statistics, West African abortion rates are indeed above average, and most of the abortions are not carried in a safe and sanitary manner, inducing more maternal deaths. (9)

IV.7 Religion
            Islam is the predominant historical religion of the West African interior and the far west coast of the continent; Christianity is the predominant religion in coastal regions of Nigeria, Ghana, and Cote d¡¯lvoire. Elements of indigenous religions are naturally practiced throughout. Along with historic migrations, these religions have culturally linked the peoples of West Africa more than those in other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.

V. Gender Balance and Epidemics in Recent West Africa

V.1 Gender Balance and Predominance of Youth
            After urbanization, most of the flows to the towns had been dominated by males, yet many men have been followed by their wives into the city - this has increased social costs, such that female and child employment are now crucial to the reproduction of the household. By the 1980s gender differences appear to have lessened of the migrants, but the young still predominate, and a majority plan ultimately to return to their homes. In Lagos in 1978, 78 percent of the population was under thirty, compared with a national average of 3.4 percent.

V.2 Epidemics
            The 2004 locust outbreak was the largest infestation of Desert Locust in both West and North Africa in more than 15 years and affected a number of countries in the fertile regions. The increase in Desert Locust breeding activity was noted in the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Desert Locust Bulletins in the autumn of 2003 when four unrelated outbreaks occurred simultaneously in Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Sudan. By early 2004 the threat materialized as swarms of locusts started to form and move north into important agricultural areas in Morocco and Algeria, inflicting damage to crops. The collective fear was the potential destruction of a sizable portion of Africa's food supply if control operations could not be mounted quickly and successfully. (10)

VI. Conclusion
            Without widespread and reliable sources or censuses, demographic history of West Africa is hard to trace and almost impossible to reach any firm conclusions about. Interior migrations would continue and thus the internal population redistribution would definitely go on because of natural disasters and military conflicts within the region. Political conflicts have produced and would produce some forced traumatic movements of people in West Africa. As the world is dominated by economic stringencies and a search for new regional and national identities, West African populations would still show resilience for survival by adapting to numerous migrations and structural mobility.
            People are always on the move in West Africa. Demographic history of this region is more than a analysis of figures and numbers jotted down on a piece of paper - it is the history of people¡¯s tears as they are forced to leave their beloved land for survival, the history of people's hopes as they move to the Ivory Coast for a well-paying job. The population changes in each era mirror the general lives of the people living at those times.


1.      A study guide regarding the issue can be found in
2.      From the ¡°forward¡± from International Historical Statistics: Africa, Asia and Oceania, 2003
3.      From the review of Mabogunje, A. Regional Mobility and Resource Development in West Africa
4.      Fage, J.P. An Introduction to the History of Africa, London: Unwin Hyman, 1988 From Swindell, ¡°People on the Move in West Africa: From Pre-Colonial Policies to Post-Independence States¡± 2005
5.      Swindell, ¡°People on the Move in West Africa: From Pre-Colonial Politics to Post-Independence States¡± 2005
6.      Induced from Ilffe, John. The African Poor: A History. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988.
7.      Law, R. ¡°Dahomey and the Slave Trade¡± from Swindell, ¡°People on the Move in West Africa: From Pre-Colonial Policies to Post-Independence States¡± 2005
8.      For more information about Sahel Droughts, Hall, Anthony ¡°Sahelain Droughts: A Partial Agronomic Solution¡±
10.      For further information, visit


Note : websites quoted below were visited in June 2009.

Primary Sources :
1.      Historical Abortion Statistics
2.      Population Statistics
3.      Britannica: ¡°West Africa¡± Encyclopedia Britannica Online Vers. 99.1. Oct 2009
4.      Mitchell, B.R., International Historical Statistics: Africa, Asia, and Oceania 1750-2000: Fourth Edition. NY, Hampshire: Palgrave Mcmillian, 2003.

Secondary Sources
Wikipedia: 5.      Articles: West Africa
6.      Articles: Demographics of Africa
7.      Articles: Demography
8.      Naval Intelligence Division, French West Africa Vol.1, Vol. 2. London: Geographical Handbook Series, 1974.
9.      Peters, Gary L, et al. Population Geography, Sixth Edition. USA: Hunt Publishing Company, 1999.
Meyers Konversationslexikon, 1885-1892 edition
10.      Swindell, Kenneth. ¡°People on the Move in West Africa: From Pre-Colonial Policies to Post-Independence States¡±. The Cambridge Survey of World Migration :196-201. New York, USA: University of Cambridge Press, 1995.
11.      Minorities at Risk: Study of Ethnicity:
WHKMLA : Ganse, Alexander; World History at KMLA 12.      Article : History of Sub-Saharan Africa
13.      Atlas: French West Africa 14.      Livi-Bacci, Massimo. A Concise History of World Population, Second Edition. Malden,MA: Blackwell Publishers Ltd, 1989.
15.      Hall, Anthony E. ¡°Sahelian Droughts: A Partial Agronomic Solution¡± <>
16.      Cohen, Robert. The Cambridge Survey of World Migrations. NY, Stamford: Cambridge UP 1995.

Sources for Further Considerations 17.      Basset, Thomas J. ¡°Constructing Locality: The Terroir Approach in West Africa¡± Africa, Vol 77, 2007: Questia Library, 1 October 2009.
18.      Beauchemin, Cris, et al. ¡°Rural-Urban Migration in Africa: Theory, Towards a Reversal?¡± Boston, PAA Annual meeting
19.      Collins, Robert O. Western African History. Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener Publishers, 1990.
20.      Iliffe, John. The African Poor: A History. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

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