17 maps, 5 drawings, numerous tables and charts
Text language: English
As a water reservoir between desert and savannah, Lake Chad has attracted many immigrating groups and individuals from times immemorial until present. The annual fluctuation of the water level and the flood accompanying that cyclical change gave space for cultivation, fishery and hunting but also room for hide-outs and refuge. The political dynamics of the area is of similar importance. Lake Chad served as crossroads for ruling dynasties and commoners, as a region where new political formations developed but also as a natural barrier which diverted trade and interaction.
Despite its important role in the development of the wider region’s cultural history, the social sciences – unlike the natural sciences – discovered Lake Chad as a rich and promising field of study only comparatively late. The present volume attempts to address this shortcoming in drawing together essays from the academic fields of anthropology, archaeology, geography and history.
Most contributions to this volume originated within the context of the Collaborative Research Centre Cultural Development and History of Languages in the West-African Savannah (1995–2002) at the University of Frankfurt/Main (Germany). The contributors draw on their rich experiences in the field and present both new findings on historical and recent social and cultural transformations, and previously published data in re-interpretation.