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Mombasa, the Swahili, and the Making of the Mijikenda$
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Justin Willis

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780198203209

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203209.001.0001

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The Control of Trade

The Control of Trade

(p.135) 6 The Control of Trade
Mombasa, the Swahili, and the Making of the Mijikenda

Justin Willis

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes how the government controlled trade. Government interference in the trade networks of the coast took two distinct forms. The first was through an attempt to limit participation in certain small-scale trades, notably that of palm wine, which were partly bound up with the clientship networks of Mombasa. The second form of government interference was through an attempt to destroy the influence of Arab and Swahili traders in the hinterland. The Palm Wine Regulations of 1900 were first introduced as a revenue-raising measure. By 1906, palm wine was associated with the shortage of labour on the coast and with the corrupting influence of Mombasa. Effective controls on the trade began after the 1912 labour commission had made a report. The District commissioner sought to fix and limit the trade by giving licences only to those who had permanent premises from which they can sell their wine.

Keywords:   trade networks, clientship networks, hinterland, Palm Wine Regulations, revenue-raising, labour commission

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