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HISTORY OF KOLANUT TRADE

ABSTRACT

This dissertation studies the kolanut trade in Sokoto city from 1900-2014. The virtues of kolanut as masticatory to the people of Sokoto as well as the roles it plays in the promulgation of socio-cultural activities cannot be over emphasized. Just like coffe, Kolanut is among the stimulants which Islam does not prohibit and this makes its trading the only ancient existing trade that is still lucrative despite the present day technology at man’s disposal. The kolanut trade between Sokoto and other parts of West Africa had been in existence even before the Jihad of 1804. During this period, many products were traded between Sokoto and Asante and Kurmi in the southwestern part of Nigeria. But kola has usually been singled out as the commodity of most interest by Sokoto people. This study examine the Socio-economic and cultural contact between the Hausa (Sokotawa) kolanut traders and the Yoruba of Southwest of Nigeria. Relations between different societies could derive from a common origin, trading connections and similar religious beliefs. This trade also brings about the emergence of certain settlements for both indigenes and Yoruba settlements as well as emergence of certain kolanut markets within Sokoto like shagon goro and famous kara market. The trade has also led to the emergence of prominent kolanut merchants who had contributed immensely towards the development of the kolanut business in Sokoto city. In the present era, due to the advancement in the technology, uses of mobile phones, modern means of transport, e-banking system etc. have came to affect the changing nature of kola transactions

CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.1         Introduction

Despite the economic revolutions which hit Nigerian vegetable products following the advent of Europeans occupation, the kolanut remains the only produce the value of which still seems to exceed the money paid for it.1

There are people in Hausa land who are addicted to kola: if they don’t eat it they feel like vomiting… the Hausa people are so fond of kola (goro) that it will buy anything a man can give it as payment and it will be accepted.2

Kola, a member of the family sterculiaceae, is a nut that comprises a large

amount of caffeine and other substances like  kolatin, kolanin, glucose, starch, fatty

matter, tennins, catechins, bataine and protein that act as stimulants which may also be

like coffee as it is mildly additive.3There are two major species of kola-cola nitida and

cola acuminate. For nitida, the specie was originally found along the western coast of

Africa from Sierra Leone to the Republic of  Benin with the highest frequency and

variability in the forest  areas of Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.           These areas have been

accepted as the centers of origin of Cola nitida.     The areas remained for long the most

prominent source of kolanuts (Gwanja kolanuts) to the West African trading routes.        In

the early twentieth century, kola trees were seldom planted, the nuts used for trade and

local consumption being obtained from spontaneous trees.4

Cola acuminata, the second important commercial species of kola, has its original

area of distribution stretching from Nigeria to Gabon. The Cola acuminata could be

found spontaneously in mountains areas of Angola, Zaire and Cameroon, while it has

long been in cultivation on the islands of Principe and Sao Tome. However, in Nigeria, the areas of Idanre and Ijare all in Ondo state are currently regarded as the place where Cola acuminate originated.5Meanwhile, kolanut has a long history in Sokoto city and the use of kolanuts among the people of Sokoto featured prominently in their religious, social and ceremonial activities. Kolanut is used during ceremonies relating to marriage, naming ceremony, as well as coronations.

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