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work(s): Source: History in Africa, Vol. 24 (1997), pp. 205-219 Published by: African Studies Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3172026 . Accessed: 19/07/2012 19:56
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both as victims of the tradeand as sellers of slaves.4This raises interesting(but as yet little researched) questions about the ways in which African and European definitions of African ethnicity may have interacted. In this context as in others. for example. the peoples who now refer to themselves as History in Africa 24 (1997). This is because. For Africans. Americanmarketsdevelopedpreferences for slaves of particular ethnic origins. Both Africans and Europeans. which might well form the basis for a historicalstudy of ethnic identities.for their part.6and conversely. it is noteworthythat the classic discussion of this issue.is that of the Yoruba.7A case in point. The lately fashionable debate on "the invention of tribes"in Africa concentratedon the impact of Europeancolonialism in the twentieth century. discussed in this paper.rather than on that of the Atlanticslave tradeearlier-no doubtbecause it was addressedprimarily to Southern. Ontario Ethnicity was evidently critical for the operation of the Atlantic slave trade.2 ethnic identities served to define a category of "others" who were legitimately enslavable. that new ethnic identities constructedin the diasporacould be fed back into the homeland throughthe repatriationof ex-slaves to Africa. The importantrole played by Yorubain the Atlantic slave trade. through classification of West African peoples as Muslim or pagan. commonly employed. the actual term "Yoruba" occurs very seldom in the originaldocumentaryrecords (as opposed to the secondary historiography) of the slave trade. on both the African and the Europeansides of the trade.ETHNICITY AND THE SLAVE TRADE: "LUCUMI" AND "NAGO" AS ETHNONYMS IN WEST AFRICA' Robin Law University of Stirling and York University. by the Timbuktuscholar Ahmad Baba in 1615. the facial and bodily scarifications("tribalmarks") characteristic of different communities-a topic on which there is detailed information in Europeansources back at least into the seventeenth century. given the general convention against enslaving fellow citizens. not as a constant. is well established. as a means of distinguishing among African ethnicities. though here too. of course. approachesit mainly in terms of ethnicity. but as fluid and subject to constant redefinition.'However. ethnicity should be seen.5Yet it is clear thatAfrican ethnicities were subjectto transformations throughthe process of displacement across the Atlantic.regularlydistinguisheddifferent ethnicities and among the slaves they purchased. . Central and Easternratherthan Western Africa. 205-219. as is generally agreed. For African Muslims this function was performed by religion.3Europeans.
its extension to refer to the wider group being missionaries.""Euroba. Yoruba-speakersin Sierra Leone were called "Aku. in fact. however. the usage was established by the 1820s. from 1838 onwards. .12 It referredto one specific is normally supposedthat in origin the term "Yoruba" Yoruba state or sub-section.Adedirancites the fact that prior at of to the introduction the generalethnonyms"Aku"and "Yoruba. Oyo. these peoples did not call themselves by any othercollective name either--and by implication. but an external coinage."etc. being attestedin West African The name "Yoruba" sources as early as the seventeenth century: the earliest Arabic-language instance so far tracedbeing. but Adediran argues thatdiasporausage must have been based on conventionsalreadycurrentin the Yorubahomeland."These terms are best attested.10 was not a neologism. Berbice in 1819) at the time had much larger numbers of slaves of Hausa origin. ratherthan to the wider ethnic/linguistic group to which Oyo belonged. e ku. in which the Yoruba figure among the non-Muslim peoples whom it was permissible to enslave. however. by derivation. From Sierra Leone the usage was fed back into the Yoruba homeland through the returnof ex-slaves there." usage establishedby the 1840s. in the work of Ahmad Baba cited above."What seem to be versions of the name "Yoruba"("Yruba.as terms for the Yoruba ethnic group. been challenged by Adediran(1984).'3 presumptivelyan innovationof nineteenth-century The conventional view that the Yoruba lacked any sense of common ethnicity before the nineteenth century has. this is probablyalso a reflection of Hausa usage."derived from the commonestform of Yorubagreeting. includingmany Yoruba.""Uraba. in the diaspora. however. where slaves liberatedby the British navy from illegal slave-ships.9 Alternatively. the term "Yoruba" European sources. and throughthe establishment of the ChurchMissionarySociety's "YorubaMission" (includingCrowtheras a prominentmember)from 1843. Consistently with its does not occur in contemporary northernorigin. moreover. to be. they became a known as "Yoruba. but since the colonies concerned (Trinidadin 1813.) already occur among recorded ethnicities of slaves in the British West Indies in the second decade of the nineteenth century. It is generally acknowledged.it is doubtfulwhetherearlier they had any consciousness of forming any sort of nationalor ethnic unit. Originally. in the nineteenthcentury. "Lucumi"and "Nago.14 Among other arguments. and popularizedby the linguistic studies of the Yoruba missionary-scholar Samuel Crowther (beginning with his A Vocabulary of the YorubaLanguage in 1843). not a strictly indigenous term.in the Americas. until Europeansbegan to penetrateinto the interiorof West Africa." least two other terms are known to have been applied to the Yoruba in generalnamely.According to the conventional view.206 ROBIN LAW "Yoruba"were not so called before the nineteenth century. and thus to adoptnorthernusage. being a name used by the Hausa (and.and more specifically in SierraLeone. It is generally supposed that consciousness of Yoruba ethnicity first emerged in the diaspora. other northern peoples). were settled after 1808.
"etc. and is clearly derived from Yoruba religion." The later analysis of Lachatafier6(1939) A unequivocally includes the Arara as a "sub-group"of the Lucumi. curiously. generally called santerfa or la regla de ocha. the inclusion of non-Yorubas among the Lucumi is not an exclusively recent phenomenon.not the Arara. or alternatively.20 it is also known in Mexico.since Sandoval in the seventeenthcentury already includedthe Bariba ("Barbas") among the Lucumi. "Lucumi"slaves are documentedin Cuba. speakers of Aja-Ewe languages from the Dahomey area to the west. is associated with the Lucumi. In Cuba.17 in fact. Yorubaname for the Nupe. who were therefore linguistically assimilatedin the Americas. i. Yoruba may have served as a lingua franca for neighboring groups in West Africa. but very generally in Spanish colonies in America.) -though.e.albeit in small numbers.19 "Lucumi"the ethnonymoccurs in and Colombiaand Perufrom the first decade of the seventeenthcentury.IN "LUCUMI"AND "NAGO"AS ETHNONYMS WESTAFRICA 207 II The term "Lucumi"is best known as a term used in Cuba for slaves of Yoruba origin.and the There is. and seemingly even the Asante ("Chante")and Hausa ("Aguza. as "a sort of Lucumis. .22 In the diasporathe term"Lucumi"was certainlyused as a generic label to include all (or at least many) Yoruba-speaking groups.25 It would seem that non-Yoruba groups originally distinct from the Lucumi have become absorbed into them during recent times.. However.The earliest instanceof the term so far traced is a record of two slaves described as "Lucume"on an estate on As Hispaniola (Santo Domingo) in 1547. however.26 The inclusion of the non-YorubaNupe and Baribamay suggest that the term "Lucumi" was used with a geographical rather than a strictly linguistic reference. engaged in evangelizing African slaves in Colombia.as far back as the beginning of the eighteenthcentury. the neighbors of the Yoruba to the northwest) and the Ibo.And he also observedthat some people regardedthe neighbors Araras.23 as defined in Cubaalso included some non-Yorubagroups. the complicationthat the "Lucumi" the Ijesa ("Iechas"). which include not only the Tapabut also the Bariba (in Africa.Ortizthus included the as Lucumithe Tapa("Tacua"). the pioneering study of slave ethnicities by FernandoOrtiz (1916) named among the sub-groupsof the Lucumis:the Egbado("Egguado"). Oyo ("Eyo"). and elsewhere it certainlyexisted even earlier.it has sometimes been supposedthat the use of the term"Lucumi"is a recent (nineteenth-century) But development." The dominantform of Afro-Cubanreligion.24 recent lists over 130 names of Lucumi sub-groups (though many of these are study merely variantspellings).but had its origins in the time of the slave trade.16 Since the main exportation of African (including Yoruba) slaves into Cuba occurredrelatively late in the history of the trans-Atlanticslave trade. theirimmediate to the northeast.publishedoriginallyin 1627.the termwas used not only in Cuba.'8 Moreover.21In publishedsources it first appears(as "Lucumies") in the account of the Spanish missionary Alonso de Sandoval.
since (as Adediran suggested) diaspora terminologycannot have been wholly disconnectedfrom West African usage. Ibadan. comparable to the later term "Aku. "my friend!. though there consideredmerely as a sub-groupof the Lucumi.208 ROBIN LAW The actual term "Lucumi" is commonly supposed to derive from a Yoruba greeting oluku mi. and English. called candomble. which drew its support predominantly from the Nago. the predominantelements in the Afro-Brazilian religion.with "Nago"replacingit in the eighteenthcentury. I have found no referencesearlierthanthe eighteenthcentury. it was explicitly used as a generic term. The terms "Lucumi"and "Nago" are not entirely mutually exclusive in their American distribution. and indeed seems not to be currentin Cuba itself. as well as in the Americas. in a census of slaves in Colombia in 1759. and Ilorin. was made between them.33 and in Louisiana in the 1770s/1780s.27 such.3'Although the "voodoo"religion of Haiti is mainly derived from that of the Aja-Ewe peoples." which seems to be a specifically easternYoruba(Ijesa) dialect form-and indeed. The term "Nago"is best-known as a term for Yoruba-speakers Brazil." which like the latter would more probablyhave arisen in the diasporathan in Africa." occur together.as will be shown hereafter.30 The term "Nago" was also used in the French colony of Saint-Domingue(modem Haiti).32 British West Indian colonies. The most obvious distinction in usage was evidently among different Europeanlanguages--"Lucumi" being used in Spanish-speaking colonies and "Nago" mainly by the Portuguese.35 Although the published literaturedoes not explicitly discuss the date at which the term "Nago" became currentin the diaspora. noted that the Nago in Brazil included slaves from Oyo.34 In Brazil at least.variantsof the term "Lucumi"were currentin Africa itself. Both terms. it would be a classical type of As external coinage.29 As in Cuba. including various groups:the pioneering studyof slave ethnicities in Brazil by Yoruba-speaking Nina Rodrigues (1906). since both were . in especially through their involvement in the Bahia slave uprising of 1835. this hypothesizedderivation has been made the basis for inferences about the regional provenance of Yoruba slaves imported into Cuba. for example. Its plausibility is also underminedby the fact that. Ijebu ("Yebu"). the term "Nago" (in the form "Anago") also occurs in Cuba. though without any indication of what distinction.28 must be It stressed. it also The term is also attested in incorporatesa distinct Nago "nation"of deities. Egba. But it may be suggested that there seems also to be a chronological distinction: "Lucumi" being essentially a term used in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (though surviving in Cuba into the nineteenth). Ijesa. French. that this etymology is purely speculative. It might be that some light may be thrown on this issue by looking at the sources of slaves in West Africa.however.but the basis of the distinctionhas apparentlynot hitherto attractedexplanation or comment. Both "Lucumi"and "Nago"were not purely diasporic terms. Ketu. are clearly Yoruba in origin. for example. if any. "Lucumi" and "Nago.36 The existence of not one but two general ethnonyms for the Yoruba in the Americasis noteworthy. Lagos.
it is conceivable that it representsa survival of a usage formerlymore widespread in West Africa. for example. and nineteenthcenturies."but more commonly as a place (a "country" sometimes a "kingdom"). but mostly in that land they regardthe Alkomijsh as a noble language. IH In recent times."39 "Lucumi"was never visited by any European. it was explicitly conceived as having a distinctive linguistic identity.to the southwest."42 ."38 Although it does not seem likely that this group." "Ulkami. its language serving as a lingua franca outside its homeland. and Whethera populationor a region. the Dutchman Dapper in the midseventeenth century notes of Allada that "[t]heir own mother tongue is not esteemed by them.With referenceto West Africa. a small eastern Yoruba group which is reported to call itself "Onukumi.41 "Lucumi"was conceived sometimes as a "nation. demonstratethat variantsof the name "Lucumi" were applied to a community or communitieselsewhere in the Yorubaarea. could have been the origin of the use of the term in the Americas."40 It was known mainly throughAllada and Whydah. where no white men ever were. by looking at West African usage as reflected in contemporary European accounts of the seventeenth. with one possible (but so far poorly documented) exception: namely.but clearly also through Benin to the southeast--Sandoval.""Ulkuma. reportingon the prospects of missionary enterprise in Benin and neighboring areas. in fact. Europeansources of the seventeenthand eighteenthcenturiesdo. the term "Lucumi"does not appearto have been used of Yoruba-speakers in West Africa. noted as one of the advantagesthat "theirlanguage is easy. But it is noteworthythat it also appearssometimes with a prefix."which certainly looks like a variant of "Lucumi."LUCUMI"AND "NAGO"AS ETHNONYMS WESTAFRICA 209 IN in use in West Africa as well as in the Americas-and sufficiently early to make it unlikely that they were merely fed back into Africa from the Americas. analogous to the form "Onukumi"just noted: the mid-seventeenth century account of the Dutchman Dapper. offers the variants and "Alkomij. A French missionary on the island of Sdo Tome in 1640. as "Lucamee."etc. it is called the Licomin language and is universal in those parts. for example. eighteenth.37The present paper therefore seeks to clarify the meanings of the terms"Lucumi" "Nago"and the significanceof the apparent and shift from the former to the latter.but was known only by hearsay as a place in the interior: an English account of 1723 thus refers explicitly to "Lucamee. and they seldom speak it." Likewise. it may be noted that the name usually appearsin variantsof New World type. which was not only small but remote from the main routes of supply for the Atlantic slave trade. alludes to the fact that "Lucumies" were employed in the palace administration of the Benin kingdom.
which was purchased by Europeansfrom Allada and Whydahfor resale on the Gold Coast."45 "Whydah cloths are made at Lucamee. acknowledged in recent tradition to be a cult of Yoruba origin. Spanish missionaries visiting Allada in 1660 included "Lucumi"in a list of countries which had formerlybeen tributary to Allada.47 More surprisingly."49 Information about "Lucumi" other than its role as a source of commodities is exiguous." which is probably a miscopying of The English factory at Whydah in 1723 likewise reportedthat "Loucomi.""44 Second. it appears as a source of slaves sent for sale throughAllada (and laterWhydah)."Lucumi"is attested as a source of corn purchasedby Europeans for the provisioning of slave ships. then the principal coastal port of Allada. referringto divinerscalled locally "boucots[buko]."s The same account says that the founders of the Whydah kingdom came from "the kingdom of Laucommis"-in contradictionto more recently recordedtradition. "Lucumi"was known as a source of cloth. the Dutch geographerDapperin the mid-seventeenthcenturystates that"many slaves" were brought from "the kingdom of Ulkami or Ulkuma" for sale to EuropeansthroughAllada. The Dutch factory at Offra. noted in 1680 that corn came there from "Alkomij."This clearly relates to the priests of Fa (Ifa)."thatthese were "nearlyall strangersand come from the country called Laucommis.which claims that these founderscame from Tado to the west."48 furthercommodity which apparently A came from Lucumi was gum: a Dutch account of 1718 noted that gum on sale in Whydah market came from "Laconie.Dapperalso alludesto salt being tradedfrom Allada to "Ulkuma. formerly the port of Allada. The French traderDes Marchais in 1725 says that Whydah imported from the interior slaves of the "Loucomy" nation. And the English trader William Snelgrave in 1727." presumably in exchange for these slaves.210 ROBIN LAW "Lucumi"was known primarilyas a source of commodities broughtfor sale to the European traders at the coast. but were now independent."and a Frenchaccount of 1728 noted that maize was brought for sale at Jakin from "Loucoumy."46 After the Dahomian conquest of Whydah.nevertheless added that Jakin.43 The role of "Lucumi"as a source of slaves is also confirmed by two later sources of the 1720s."so anonymous French account of Whydah in the early eighteenth century. the King of Dahomey in 1753 sent cloths from the "Locomin" countryas a gift to the Viceroy of Brazil. was still able to import slaves from "Lucamee. Most obviously.Best known." of which the latter is More interesting is a statement in an presumably a variant of "Lucumi. A French accountof 1688 notes thatthe cloths purchasedby Europeansat Whydahcame from "the kingdom of Concomi." which is probably an error for "Lacomie.52 .and some sort of claim to authorityover Allada is also suggested by the fact that the king of Allada in 1670 described himself as "king of Ardres [Allada] and Alguemy. noting the disruptionof the delivery of slaves to the coast by the recentDahomianconquestof Allada andWhydah.
overlandbut by the coastal lagoon to the east of Whydah.. Only one source seems to suggest Des Marchaisin that a location in the interiorto the northof Allada/Whydah: the 1720s. who notes that tradersfrom Whydahpurchased"Loucomy"slaves in Dahomey to the north.. this evidently suggests that Oyo and "Lucumi"were in fact distinct. the maize from "Lucumi"being sold at Jakinin 1728 was broughtby canoe along the "river.57 If it is legitimate to associate these two passages together.55 That "Lucumi"was not Oyo seems also to be suggested by most of the more precise indications of its location. "from Rio Lagos and Laconie. Lagos.e. not in the mid-seventeenthcenturynoted salt was broughtto the marketof Dapper Ba (Apa?) on the lagoon east of Allada was "conveyed in canoes in great quantitiesfrom Jojo [unidentified. the coastal lagoon. other accounts state or imply that "Lucumi" was approached. speaks of an alliance against Dahomey of "three kings of the interior . without making any connection between the two." i. describinga form of trial by ordeal practicedthere. in fact merely juxtaposes the two names (referringto "the Oyeo and Ulkami")--and in any case. Acambu [Akwamu] and Ahcomi.e. The operations of pirates on the lagoon in that year the interrupted supply. although often cited as so doing. and which he says was also practised in "Lucumi. this now seems to me doubtful.the implicationis evidently that the salt was takenfrom Allada to "Lucumi"via Lagos. the port Whydah ("Iura").but nearbyto the west] and from there [i. It may also be noted that one account in 1728 of an Oyo invasion of Dahomey..4 Two sources in the 1720s which refer to both "Lucumi"and Oyo-Des Marchaisand Snelgrave--do so in separatepassages. which was probablyalready the most powerful of the Yoruba states in the seventeenthcentury. a Spanish missionary who visited Allada in 1660.e. however.No European source explicitly equates the two: the French traderBarbot in the early eighteenth century.58 Note also the evidence of Joseph de Naxara. The gum on sale in Whydahin 1718 was likewise said to have come from the direction of Benin to the east. and protected from Dahomian attacks"by means of a large river.. ratherthan from his own experience." of which the last is surely a variantor miscopying of "Alcomi" or "Lucumi"--if not merely a confusion. in which suspected criminals were made to swim across the lagoon near the coast.59 ." i." as well as in Hula ("Fulao"--here probablyreferringto Glehue. Ba] to Ulkuma. called Ayo Brabo [the King of Oyo].IN "LUCUMI"AND "NAGO"AS ETHNONYMS WESTAFRICA 211 Indications of the location of "Lucumi" are generally vague--in the interiorbetween Allada to the west and Benin to the east.56 More generally." And even more explicitly. causing the price of maize at Jakinto rise. of Whydah) and Benin-which may be held to imply that "Lucumi"was also situatedon the coastal lagoon."53 Although "Lucumi" has commonly been believed (by myself among others) to refer to Oyo."and in a second passage that salt was as taken from Allada in canoes by the people of "Kuramo. he derived these two names from two separateearlier sources which he conflated. Snelgrave in 1727 places it more precisely northeast of Jakin.
"the term "Nago" is well-known in Africa in recent times. and a Portugueserecordof 1807 speaks of "Nago"sold throughLagos.62 it is also used as a self-appellationby one small Yoruba group."65 In sources relating to West Africa.60 Against this. also includes the name (in the form "Nagots")in a similar list. it may be noted. it appears that. being commonly used by the Fon of Dahomey to the It west as a generic term for Yoruba-speakers."ischaracteristicof Yoruba loanwords into Fon (as also with "Fa"from "Ifa"). and the French missionary of 1640-although that might conceivably result from their combining material from different to sources. originatingin an insulting nickname given However. refer to "Nago" slaves as sold at Porto-Novo. it may be noted that "Lucumi" and Ijebu are distinguished by several sources.66Two later French accounts. which is acknowledgedin the Dahomey areato be the cradle of this cult. IV In contrast to the case of "Lucumi. in 1780 and 1789. indeed.since (as will be seen hereafter)its use with this generalreferenceis not clearly documentedin West Africa before the second half of the nineteenth century when. which was generalized by their non-Yoruba neighbors to include other Yorubagroups:the omission of the initial syllable.61 Very possibly.However.anotherFrenchsource of 1750.1640-1725).212 ROBIN LAW These indications might be interpretedto suggest that "Lucumi" was specifically Ijebu. it might very well representa feedback of Brazilianusage. in the form by them to their Yoruba neighbors. In Europeansources of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. abbreviating"Anago"to "Nago". the term occurs both in the New-World and the Fon form "Nago. "Lucumi"was a state or group of states inland from Ijebu." and in the presumptively original Yorubaform "Anago"-and in one source"Inago. which is known from other European sources of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries as a source of both slaves and cloth supplied for sale to the Europeansat the coast. among the nationalitiesof slaves sold through Whydah. has been suggested (and often repeated) that it is a Fon coinage. however. furthereast . our ignoranceof (in Ife (and southernYoruba)history may be held to leave this open at least as a possible interpretation. outside Dahomianjurisdictionto the east.which referred the same place underdifferentnames. the seductive assumption that the use of the term "Nago" as a generic term for Yorubas in the diaspora is is derived from Fon usage64 doubtful. describingthe tradeof Whydahafter its conquest by Dahomey.63 seems a logical inferencethat the latter is the origin of the term. including Sandoval and Dapper. The reference in the anonymous French account of Whydah to "Lucumi"as the homeland of the Fa divination priests might be argued to point specifically to Ife." It the Ipokia/Itaketearea to the southwest. Although archeological evidence would seem to suggest that Ife's period of prosperity was over long before the period of European referencesto the importanceof "Lucumi" ca. in "Anago. the name "Nago" first appearsin the Des Marchaisaccount of 1725.
"On one occasion. for example. and more particularlyas the victims of Dahomian slave raids. while . it does not seem that "Nago" were sold exclusively by the Dahomians. The distinctionis also regularlymade in later sources: Robertson. however. Des Marchais in the 1720s.IN "LUCUMI"AND "NAGO"AS ETHNONYMS WESTAFRICA 213 again. with no connectionmade between them. thus observes that "it is the Mailleys [Mahi] and Nagots who are ceaselessly stolen and sold in our establishments.69 More commonly. the Nago appear as the sold ratherthan the sellers. "Nago"appears(again alongside Mahi) as an "inland country"from which "auxiliaries"were recruitedfor a The relationshipof the Dahomian campaign. generically to refer to the Yorubaas a whole. Certainly.67 The French account of 1750 notes that the Portuguese traders at Whydah did not buy the "Nago. Pruneaude Pommegorge. It is doubtful whether in any of these West African instances. Dalzel's History of Dahomy thus refers to the "Nagoes.in succession. says that the "Anagoos" (as well as the Mahis) were subject to Oyo ("Eyeoo")." in an attemptto gathercaptives for sale into the Atlantictrade. little concrete is reportedof the "Nago." thereis evidently some confusion in his accountwith the Baribaof Borgu. as in the Americas. for example."togetherwith the Mahis (the immediate northeasternneighbours of Dahomey). which describes them as "of the worst sort" of slaves. The "Nago" slaves sold by Oyo may perhapshave been purchasedultimately from Dahomey." In some accounts the Nago appearas sellers of slaves into the Atlantic trade. since the two are regularly distinguished. The only source which uses both terms. "Nago" was not.""7In detail.71 However.the Frenchsource of 1780 describingthem as "the most appreciatedin the colonies." and "theNagots. Apart from their role in the slave trade. in normal West African usage. identical with (or inclusive of) Oyo. But the Frenchevidently valued them differently. those sold through Porto-Novo and Lagos in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were presumably brought there from Oyo. mentionsthem in separate passages. which was at this period the principalsupplierof slaves to these easternports. but it seems very likely that some at least of them were captives takenin Oyo's own wars." "a small countryof the Nagots." and this prejudice is corroboratedby the Portuguese source of 1807. since he also refers to Bussa ("Boussa")as "the capitalof Anagoo. Des Marchaisin the 1720s. however. The Directorof the Frenchfort at Whydahin the 1760s.68 to "Anagoo traders"coming to Badagry and Lagos-though. against Badagry on the coast. listed the Oyo ("Ayois") and "Nago" separately among the nationalities of slaves exported through Whydah. and obliged to supply military forces for its wars. "the countryof the Nagots. the term "Nago" was used. in 1784. as "inland merchants" who brought slaves for sale through Dahomey.72 newer term "Nago"to the older "Lucumi"is not made clear. until the monopolistic practices of the kings of Dahomey diverted the trade to PortoLikewise the English traderRobertson.in the 1800s refers Novo to the east. and distinguished the characteristic "tribal" marks by which they could be recognized. during 1788-89 the Dahomianswere reportedto have mountedthree campaignswhich attacked.
seem to be identical with those recorded by Dalzel as against a town he called "Croo-too-hoon-too.74 of More commonly. northeastof the Mahi country. The process whereby the name "Nago"became generalized.71 The British naval officer Frederick Forbes. however."Nago" clearly meantspecifically the westernYoruba. and other evidence suggests that this relates to Sabe. and presumablyin the coastal zone. and the informanthad been a slave in Brazil.75 John Duncan. belonging to Eyeo [Oyo]. has yet to be tracedin detail. But since this was recordedoutside West Africa (in Paris). therehad been a substantialsettlement By of Brazilians." If he was able to supply food." reportedly northwest of Dahomey. in 1845.79 local usage. to apply to the Yorubaas a whole. a Nago chief. such as Oyo and Abeokuta.76Of these. whereas that in 1789 was clearly the same as that recorded by Dalzel as against Ketu ("Ketoo"). for example. The two Dahomiancampaignsagainstthe "Nagots"in 1788. this probablyreflects Brazilian ratherthan local West African usage. was founded (in the seventeenth century) in what had earlierbeen Yorubaterritory. though this is not readily identifiable. may be to the Anago "proper" the Ipokiaarea. who visited Dahomey in 1849-50. including ex-slaves."as a term for the "greatnation"which includes Oyo.82 It thereforeseems quite possible thatthe generic use of a the term"Nago"represents feedbackinto West Africa of Brazilianusage. and implicitly distinguishedthem from other Yoruba states. "Inongo.s0In West Africa itself the earliest suggestion of a wider application of the name which I have traced is from 1851. so this reference. the first European explorer to travel in the interior immediately north and northeast of Dahomey. Dassa was Yoruba-speakingand Savalou."in one passage relatingto the Dahomian siege of Badagry in 1784. northeastof Dahomey.at least. he must have been situated close to Badagry. as reported In in Europeansources of the eighteenth and early nineteenthcenturies.214 ROBIN LAW another (anonymous) early nineteenth-century source describes the "Nagos" with the Mahis) as situated on the trade route between Oyo and (together As to the more precise location of "Nago. The subsequent consolidation of this usage in francophone (including French Lagos . where they had acquired considerable commercial and political importance."73 .77 Duncanalso refers to a "kingof Anagoo"who fought alongside the Oyo against Dahomey at the battle of Paouignan in 1823. Dalzel reports that provisions for the besieging army were supplied by "Kossu. however. likewise understood "the Anagoo provinces" to be located "on the north"of Dahomey. the detailed evidence suggests a location interior(northof) of Dahomey-consistently with the recurrent linking of the "Nago"with the Mahi. An accountrecordedfrom a slave of Yoruba (Ijebu) origin in 1839 uses what seems to be a variant of the name."8' this time. in the coastal towns of Dahomey and neighboring areas. applies the name "Anagoo" to Dassa and Savalou. although nonYoruba (Aja-Ewe). when a French of of visitor to Dahomey describedthe inhabitants Abeokutaas of the "nation" the "Nagots. communities situated to the north of the Mahi.
in their West African origins."on the otherhand. see the incident in 1682. Richard Thelwall. the evidence suggests that. were at war. and remainedcommon thereafter. My thanksto Christine Ayorinde for her assistance in identifying materialon "Lucumi"in Cuba.the disruptionof existing traderoutesby which slaves were brought to the coast by the Dahomian conquest of Allada and But Whydahbeing very well documented. when Abora and Kormantin. Anomabu. the generic use of the term "Nago" in West Africa in recent times probablyreflectinga feedbackof Brazilianusage.both members of the Fante confederacy.83 V The term "Lucumi" was thus current in West Africa during the seventeenth and early eighteenth century. 2. but it was noted that captives taken in the fighting were not available for export. The substitution of "Nago" for "Lucumi" in diasporic usage in the eighteenth century thus seems to have reflected shifts in trading patterns: more specifically. of which it was presumablyin some measurea consequence. For early documentation of which. San Francisco. The shift roughly coincided with the rise of Dahomey. "Nago. because "they dare not sell them for they are all of one country. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Annual Conference of the African Studies Association. the use of the term in Cuba in the nineteenthcenturymust representa survival of this usage within the diasporaratherthan deriving directly from Africa. and their general application in the diaspora therefore seems to reflect transformations in ethnic identities consequent on the displacement of slaves across the Atlantic ratherthan continuity from West African usage. Oxford: Rawlinson C746. and references to "Nago" to western Yorubaland. which supplied slaves mainly through Dahomey. appearedfor the first time in the 1720s. "Lucumi"and "Nago"were not merely alternativenames for the same entity. but had different geographical to "Lucumi"relating references--references to southern Yorubaland.9 August 1682.IN "LUCUMI"AND "NAGO"AS ETHNONYMS WESTAFRICA 215 colonial) discourseprobablyreflects the close relationswhich existed between locally-settled Brazilians and the French Catholic mission established at Whydahin Dahomey from the 1860s.Neither term is unambiguouslydocumentedin West Africa as a generic term for all Yoruba-speakers before the midnineteenth century. which exported its slaves and other primarily commodities throughthe Lagos lagoon." Bodleian Library. Notes 1. Beyond this. more commonly as victims of Dahomian raids than as voluntary traders.84 a connectionmightalso be posited with the rise of Oyo power within Yorubaland. November 1996. but virtually disappearedafter the 1720s. which may also have tendedto shift the main source of supply for the Atlantic slave trade towards the northwest. . a shift in the principal source of supply of Yoruba slaves to the coast-away from southern and towards western Yorubaland.
W. November 1996. Santeria from Africa to the New World (Bloomington. 1989)." HA. "Yoruba Acculturation in Cuba. the worst of Negroes. Papas [Popo] and some of unknown parts. 9. BernardBarbourand Michelle Jacobs. Use of the term "Yoruba"as a general ethnonym also spread to Trinidadin the West Indies. ed. 1985). 1:125-59. and few right Gold Coast Negroes among them." in Louise de la Gorgondiere. A possible earlier instance is a reference to "Giorback.. but constituted 5% of a sample in 1693-1714: L6pez Vald6s. "Notas."in Robin Hallett. 13. 319. San Francisco. 12. "Return. in informationcollected in Tunis in 1789: "Reportof RobertTraill. Slaves and Muslim Society in Africa (2 vols. 1964). A Missionfrom Cape Coast Castle to Ashantee (London. William Bascom. Culture and Religion Under Slavery. 11 (1990). 208-09. Yoruba Historiography (Madison. 17881831 (London. L6pez Vald6s. but of several nations and languages. 442-58. E. 1990). Lovejoy.May 1996. Meanings and Interpretations(Edinburgh. 2:312-47." The World History of Slavery. 1996). Edwyn Steed and Stephen Gascoigne. "Local Amateur Scholarship in the Constructionof Yoruba Ethnicity.. 5." in Pierre Verger. 18.g. cf. 1880-1914. 12 May 1686. 14. "'Central and Eastern Wangara:' an Indigenous West African Perception of the Political and Economic Geography of the Slave Coast. 1995). eds. and Sarah Vaughan. Estudios Afro-Cubanos: Selecci6n de Lecturas (4 vols. "The Yoruba Factor in the Atlantic Slave Trade. ed." perhaps as a misreadingof "Giorbah. 1985). 16. Records of the AfricanAssociation. 22 (1995).2 (1997). 1952). Abolition.216 ROBIN LAW 3. The earliest unambiguousinstance being T. see the complaint from Barbadosto the Royal African Company in West Africa that a cargo of slaves "by you styled Gold Coast Negroes. Robin Law. La regla de palo monte (Havana. 7. "Lucumi" are not represented in a sample of Cuban slaves in 1511-1640. which are here presently now discerned by every planteror inhabitantof this island from any other sort of Negroes.: London. 6. we here found not to be so.'Race. Leroy Vail.. 4. Robin Law. Cultosafrocubanos:La regla de ocha. George Brandon." Slavery and Abolition. The Invention of Tribalismin Zimbabwe (Gwelo. 281-305."paper presented at the Annual Conference of the CanadianAssociation of African Studies."317. "Notas para el estudio etnohist6rico de los esclavos Lucumi de Cuba"in LAzaraMen6ndez. 17. LorandMatory. 7 (1984). TrinidadYoruba:From Mother Tongue to Memory(Tuscaloosa. for an early example." Rawlinson C746. 1984). Paul E. 15." Africa: Revistado Centrodo Estudos Africanosde USP. 1807-1834 (Baltimore. Barbados. through the recruitment of indentured laborers from Sierra Leone in 1841-67: Maureen Warner-Lewis. as Alampo [Adangme]."YorubaEthnic Groupsor a YorubaEthnic Group?A Review of the Problem of Ethnic Identification. 55-90. 'Biodun Adediran.' and Religion in a TransatlanticYorubaNation. B. 1820. For a recent study see Rafael L. 11. Slave Populations of the British Caribbean.. 1819). Terence Ranger. 8. "The Mi"raj:a Legal Treatise on Slavery by Ahmad Baba" in John Ralph Willis. Kenneth King. as Recorded by Joseph Dupuis at Kumasi.. 42-57. Montreal. "The African Diaspora: Revisionist Interpretationsof Ethnicity. Higman. based on informationcollected from Muslim residents in Kumase in 1817. . 83. Adam Jones." paper presented at the Annual Conference of the African Studies Association. ed. in ed. For recent studies see Miguel Barnet. EdwardBowdich. 123-34." a place on the Atlantic coast. 1993). Les afroamiricains (Dakar. "RecaptiveNations: Evidence Concerning the DemographicImpact of the Atlantic Slave Tradein the Early 19th Century. But for some suggestion that the term may have been used in a wider sense in local West African usage earlier.. Paul E. Ethnicity in Africa: Roots.1996). "The Atlantic Slave Trade in Yoruba Historiography" Toyin Falola. 57-70. J. ed. 1991). The Creationof Tribalismin SouthernAfrica (London. and Emancipation. See furtherRobin Law.: Havana. Lovejoy and David Richardson. Again. 10.
1992). Slave Rebellion in Brazil: The Muslim Uprising of 1835 in Bahia (Baltimore. 112. 33. 139-41. 23-44. 58 (1958). policia sagrada i profana." etc.413."339-43. 27. Pierre Verger. 51. John Thornton. esp. Alonso de Sandoval.Os africanos no Brasil (3rd ed." 41. L6pez Vald6s. Naukeurige Beschrijvinge der Afrikaensche Gewesten (Amsterdam. 1957). 1819). 86-87. Un tratado sobre la esclavitud (Madrid. 25. 30. Sdo Paulo. 1987). apparently as a generic term for Aja-Ewe speakers ("Popos. are "Engiiei"and "Epa. et a l'ancienne COtedes Esclaves (Dakar. FrederickP. ed. 291-92.1992).492. "TribalOrigins of Slaves in Mexico. 35-58. 1992). costumbres i ritos. 1974). 123. "Notas." "Fulaos."JAH. References to "Lucumies"can be found at 65. 31. Bowser. 178. Jodo Jos6 Reis. Gwendolyn Midlo Hall. as they are from countries very far apart". The African Slave in Colonial Peru 1524-1650 (Stanford. disciplina i catecismo evangelico de todos Etiopes (Seville. H. "Notas. 1993). "Yoruba Acculturation. 31 (1946).): evidently from the common greeting a fon [dagbe]. "Notas. Tratado. Bascom. Other Lucumi subgroups named by Ortiz. "Provenience. 34. 28. A similar case is "Offoons. 139. 1972)."perhapsthe Sabe. Sandoval. 40-43." "Ardas. cited here from the modernedition. 1670-1830. "people of."Nigeria Magazine. Caravalies. EnriquetaVila Vilar."Tipos 6tnicos que concurrieronen la amalgama cubana. 5 vols. 37. note 21 above) incororatethe Aja-Ewe suffix -nu. 441. 52 (1967). 322-24. in the latter in the form "Lucumino. 39. 21." which evidently incorporates the Aja-Ewe suffix -nu. The variant forms "Anagonou. "The Oyo Yoruba and the Atlantic trade. ratherthan within the Lucumi. 38. also cites instances from Puerto Rico and Venezuela.IN "LUCUMI"AND "NAGO"AS ETHNONYMS WESTAFRICA 217 19.I now think that "the latter"here refers to the Ardas. "YorubaEnclave." 344n1." in El sistema religioso de los Afrocubanos(Havana. See esp. 41-56. David Pavy. G. ." given by Sandoval." 24. Fernando Ortiz. Civil and Commercial.often the Ardas [Allada] and Caravalies [Calabar] can understand one another. 125. ratherthan the Lucumies alone. and Lucumies together. 36. 1627). 35. African Slaves in Colonial Louisiana (Baton Rouge. which are not readily identifiable. R6mulo Lachatefier6. Age and Ethnicity in the Atlantic Slave Trade:Data from French Shipping and PlantationRecords." 22.U. "The Provenience of Colombia Negroes. Los negros esclavos (Havana. 140) actually says that through the use of pidgin Portuguese ("the language of Sdo Tom6") ". Olfert Dapper.Voodoo in Haiti (New York.." Journal of Negro History. of the British West Indies (5th ed. Pavy." Journal of Negro History.""Anaganu"in Cuba here again (cf. 20. 1668).Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World 1400-1680 (Cambridge. examples in Higman. 88. David Geggus.and are not understood [by each other]. 23. "Sex Ratio. 30 (1989). L6pez Vald6s. The only other Lucumi sub-group named are the "LucumiesChabas. cf. 2:60. The occurrence of "Lucumi"as an ethnonym in West Africa was already noted by Ortiz." JHSN 3/1 (1964). 491. 27. Alfred M6traux. Tratado.."Peter Morton-Williams. Beier. Notes sur le culte des Orisha et Vodouna Bahia. 238-51. Negros esclavos. and sometimes the Lucumies." 340. 32. 146-48. 166-67. L8pez Vald6s. Bryan Edwards. have earlier interpretedSandoval as saying that the Lucumi included people speaking mutually unintelligible languages.. republished. Nina Rodrigues. la Baie de Tous les Saintes au Brdsil. 1987). Slave Populations. 1945). It may be noted here that some writers. 198. a western Yorubagroup.. althoughthe latter [estos] tend to differ from one another.. 28. Naturaleza. including myself. 69. "Have you woken [well]?" 29. The passage cited (ibid. 442-58. 494. The History.under the title De instaurandoAethiopumsalute (1647). Aguirre Beltrin.: London. 141 ("Lucumies Barbas"). and the reference is therefore to linguistic differences between the Lucumi and other groups. 26.
62. Chevalier des Marchais. Baldwin. 59.New Account. PRO: T70/7.491. La giomancie a l'ancienne COtedes Esclaves (Paris. Theodosio Rodriguez da Costa. 55. 12 August 1728."34v. A. 1674-1742: A Collection of Documentsfrom the General State Archive at The Hague (Accra. MonumentaMissionaria Africana (1st series. 58. Trade Relations Between the Bight of Benin and Bahia (Ibadan. 65. 49. T70/7. Pierre Labarthe. Slave Rebellion. Paris (hereafter. Ibid. 56. 1819). Whydah. 61. Trade Relations. TradeRelations."18 March 1750. 1732).494. 8: no. ed. "Early EuropeanSources Relating to the Kingdom of Ijebu (1500-1800): a Critical Survey. 1687-1702 (Paris. 12 August 1728. 104). Whydah. fonds franqais 24223). 63. 46. 14 vols. Ant6nio Brisio. and Barlow. quoted in Verger. 1734). Eytzen. Sdo Tomd. AN: C6/25. Dayrie. 122-29. 195285). 67."Africa. Jean-Baptiste du Casse. 89. Snelgrave. Des Marchais. see BernardMaupoil. 234: Diary of Ph.9 August 1723. 54. Dutch." in J. 52.27 May 1753. Reis. Espejo mistico en que el hombre interior se mira prdcticamente illustrado(Madrid. 1976). Asiwaju. 48.Whydah. 58. 352.: Lisbon. Francisco Pereyra Mendes. 122. Sandoval. 64."28. 126 (referringto "lucumies estrangeros"). 50. 47. 163. 43.. Dapper also notes explicitly that "Lucumi" "does not extend to the coast" Naukeurige Beschrijvinge. A New Account of Some Parts of Guinea (London. 524. Robertson. 57. 164. Aix-enProvence: D^p6t des Fortifications des Colonies.I. Pruneau and Guestard. G.pendant la derniere guerre avec l'Angleterre. PRO). "Journal. 89. Albert van Dantzig. Eytzen." in Paul Roussier. 15. London (hereafter.."HA. Public Record Office. 18-19. 51. 237-67. no. cited in Pierre Verger. Toledo: Collecci6n de MSS Bornon-Lorenzo. Joseph de Naxara. 1803). For the Fa cult in the Dahomey area.AN): Dayrie. Voyage ila COtede Guinie (Paris.244). et depuis en execution du Traitt6 de Breda (Paris. Whydah. Parrinder. Governorof Bahia. 13 (1986). quoted in Verger. "Relationdu royaume de Judas. 3 May 1718. Offra. Tratado. Bruyningh. 45.9 August 1723. Baldwin. 154." 66.1024. Dapper. Whydah. both passages referring to trade at Lagos. John Barbot. L'dtablissementd'Issigny. J. AN: C6/25. "Yoruba-Speaking Peoples in Dahomey. .."129v. Van Dantzig.135: Colombin de Nantes. Western Yorubaland under EuropeanRule. 30 December 1780. but elsewhere the same source uses the form "Anagoo. 287. 1978). 5 April 1728.A. "Suite du journal du Sieur Delb6e. 1889-1945 (London. 41. 1976). ed. C8tes d'Afrique. Algemeen Rijksarchief. "Cosmographiae Descripcion del Mundo"  (Bibliotheca Piiblica del Estado. "Journal. William Snelgrave. Basilio de Zamora. "Relation du voyage de Guynde fait en 1687. 14 March 1680. 1671). 1935). "M6moire pour servir g l'intelligence du commerce de Juda. 234: Diary of Ph. 1943). no. 60. Naukeurige Beschrijvinge. Dapper. 491-92.491-92.1672). Ollivier de Montagubre. 7 October 1807. Notes on Africa (London. Jakin. Description of the Coast of North and South Guinea (London. "Journaldu voiage de Guin6e et Cayenne" (Biblioth6que Nationale. de Clodor6. 235. Relation de ce qui s"est passd dans les Isles et Terre-ferme de l'Amdrique. Robin Law. AN: C6/27. and Barlow. Archives Nationales. Mabyn. 53. The Hague: TWIC. Whydah. 27. E. Mabyn. Des Marchais. Naukeurige Beschrijvinge. The Dutch and the Guinea Coast. 42. Jakin. "Relation du royaume de Judas en Guin6e" (Archives d'Outre-Mer. 44. 3 May 1718.G. 129v.218 ROBIN LAW 40. Barbot's references to "Lucumi"are copied from Dapper. Whydah. 278. 26 December 1640. 17 (1947). 296.
79. Dahomey and the Dahomans (2 vols. 1847). 1:20. Report of 11 October 1851. AN: C6/27. 248. Curtin. Travels in Western Africa (2 vols." Bulletin du Comitd d'ltudes Historiqueset Scientifiquesde I'A. 16 July & 17 Nov. M. 245-46. Robin Law. "etude sur le pays Mahi. 81. Boston University. influenced by Sierra Leone usage. 2:41-12: for the identification with Sabe. 708-55.. Berg6." in Toyin Falola and Robin Law. The map of "Dahomyand its environs"by Robert Norris:ibid. Attahpahm [Atakpame. 9-25. London. The Times. Lloyd." cf. The History of Dahomy (London. frontispiece. 18 May 1816.Notes on Africa." "Yoribah")was in use in Dahomey (ibid. volume 2. 74. Dalzel. notably his listing (as victims/enemies of Dahomey) of "Eyeo [Oyo]. "The Oyo-Dahomey wars.IN "LUCUMI"AND "NAGO"AS ETHNONYMS WESTAFRICA 219 68. meaning presumablyagain Oyo]. 236. 73. 70. 75.. 1550-1750 (Oxford. 201-02.F. Africa Remembered:Narratives by West Africansfrom the era of the Slave Trade (Madison. 1991)... Yorihbah [Yoruba. d'Avezac-Magaya. "Return. see esp. Dalzel. Anagoo": ibid. 209. Auguste Bouet. History. in Jean-ClaudeNardin. 71. 21. 166-67). Forbes. 214. translated in P. 287.C. Note that Forbes implies that the name Yoruba ("Yorubah. 1788. Cf. 72.: London.O. 77. Cf. 78. 1851). 1793)."on the use of the term "Gege" for speakers of Aja-Ewe languages. Ibid. But some of Forbes' terminology suggests confusion. 1789. History. i. Pruneaude Pommegorge.. for tradersfrom "Inago"at Lagos. "Les Br6siliens: The impact of Former BrazilianSlaves upon Dahomey" (PhD. Robin Law. 83. 2: 23. 69. Whydah. Notice sur le pays et le peuple des Ydbousen Afrique (Paris. For which. 199. 1975). 97-98. ibid. ed.1789). 28 Feb. Robertson. Descriptionde la Nigritie (Amsterdam. eds. 1726-1823: a Military Analysis. ArchibaldDalzel.M.A. 183. J. the argument of Matory. which would be surprising at this date. 80. Jerry Michael Turner. a western Yoruba group]. The Slave Coast of WestAfrica. 268. John Duncan. For the location of "Croo-too-hoon-too. 84.25 (1967). 1992). "La reprise des relations franco-dahom6ennes au XIXe sidcle: La mission d'Auguste Bouet a la cour d'Abomey (1851). cf. cf. Warfareand Diplomacy in Precolonial Nigeria (Madison.R.A. 1845).Notes on Africa. 1967)." Cahiers d'ltudes Africaines. 82.. Travels. . 11 (1928).Gourg. "Osifekunde of Ijebu" in Philip D. 306. Robertson. Duncan. FrederickE. 182. 76. but he may have owed the term to one of his interpreters.
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