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Karen A. Porter

Numbering approximately 300,000, the Pare regard as home the steep craggy Pare Mountains that rise suddenly from the thorn-scrub plains of northeastern Tanzania. The mountains form three distinct clusters: North Pare consists of a wide, fertile, and densely populated plateau; Middle Pare is low, dry, and sparsely populated; and South Pare has long, discrete ridges, small plateaus, and the highest peak, Mt. Shengena (8,080 ft. above sea level), a sacred site and apex of a complex irrigation canal system that twists and turns across and down the mountain slopes.

Composed of alluvial, postvolcanic sediments, gneissic rocks and nonlaterized and laterized soils, the mountains provide important resources such as sandstone, shale, and limestone for construction; clay for brick making and pottery; gemstones for sale; forests for firewood and furniture; and rich arable land for smallholder agriculture, the backbone of the Pare economy.

Pare men women and children cultivate small plots at ...


coastal Gabonese leader, was the son of an Asiga clan leader living on the south bank of the Gabon Estuary. He was known to French visitors to the Gabon Estuary as Denis and to English visitors as King William. The Asiga comprised one of the leading Mpongwe Omyènè-speaking clans in the Gabon Estuary in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Rapontchombo profited greatly from the rise of slave exports from Gabon to the Portuguese colonies of São Tomé and Principe, Brazil, Cuba, and the United States after the Napoleonic wars. When the British navy began patrolling West African waters to stop the trans-Atlantic slave trade, many slave merchants turned to Gabon. With no formal European presence, it was relatively easy to acquire and smuggle slaves. As oga clan chief Rapontchombo acted as the leader of a council of officials and leading male free notables rather than an autocratic ...