Guinée Cloth Exported to Western Africa Via France from 1815 to 1929: Focusing on Changes in Transit Points and Destinations at the Turn of the Century
Discussion Paper Series No.29 Faculty of Economics and Management, Institute of Human and Social Sciences, Kanazawa University
20 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2016 Last revised: 4 Nov 2016
Date Written: October 28, 2016
The inhabitants of the Sahel and surrounding area particularly appreciated indigo-dyed cloth.Indian cotton cloth that was meant to be sent to Africa was called giniyá gudda in Telugu, a local language along the Coromandel Coast in India and this became translated as ‘Guinea cloth’ in English and guinée in French. European merchants brought different types of Guinea cloth according to the tastes predominant in their markets.The people living in the territories that France obtained just after the conclusion of the Treaty of Paris in 1815 tend to appreciate cotton cloth dyed blue with indigo. As a result, guinée in French almost always indicates this type of cloth, while white guinée is occasionally reported.This research focused on the global trade of this guinée cloth from 1815 to 1929.
In this research, I created a trade database for guinée to discover where France imported it from and exported it to. This long-term database made me realize that the amount of guinée exported from France to Senegal decreased at the turn of the twentieth century, while that to Morocco and Algeria increased. In addition, the main transit port for guinée changed from Bordeaux to Marseille around the same period. This paper will focus on these new discoveries and reveal that this guinée cloth was transported to French Sudan via the Sahara trail.
Keywords: guinée cloth trade, Western Africa, France, transit point, Sahara trails
JEL Classification: N77, N97
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation