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Ivory Trade in Africa

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Rozwi_Game10
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Ivory Trade in Africa

Post by Rozwi_Game10 on Fri Sep 23, 2016 6:46 pm

Ivory trade

From what I've read, while researching for my south-eastern African TGOK Rozwi position, the hunting of elephants wasn't too widely done pre-C19th Colonialism.

The main issue being that the African Tribal kingdoms didn't value ivory, so it was worthless to them and was left scattered about or piled up, unguarded, at the edges of settlements while waiting for trading opportunities with non-Tribal merchants. This is possibly why the White explorers believed that Ivory was so abundant, as they ventured into the African interior and made contact with the Tribal settlements, that they believed Ivory was to be found in huge quantities throughout Africa and ready for the taking. Ivory being a cheap commodity to the African Tribals, the non-tribal merchants could purchase the trade good for a relatively cheap amount, until the African Tribals came to understand the value of the commodity and in some cases decreased the sales and export of Ivory, so as to drive prices back up.

Pre-C19th Colonialism, I've read that the African Tribal people would only take Ivory that was to be found on elephant carcasses. It being too great a task to hunt and kill an elephant with bow or spear, and Ivory not being of value to the African Tribal economy, so they did not hunt elephant. Though, like in present-day India and elsewhere in Asia, elephants are a nuisance to crop farming and need scaring off land set aside for arable farming, so Pre-Colonial African Tribals would have had contact with elephants and be, no doubt, skilled in 'herding' them away from valuable food crops.  

Come the conquests of the White explorers, gunpowder weapons became widespread and African Tribals gained the use of these weapons to aid them in hunting elephants for Ivory, to sell on to the non-tribal market.

Now this is only what I have, so far, read. So please don't take it as reliable truth. It is, however, something to consider when playing The Glory of Kings, and a player sets out a trade investment in Ivory. Will guns need to be supplied to the hunters? Will these hunters be proficient in the weapons use? Will these gunpowder weapons be matchlock, or flintlock? Initially trade in Ivory may be good, as Ivory is stripped from dead elephants or purchased cheaply from tribal stockpiles, but once these sources are depleted the investment could suffer collapse due to the need to now hunt and kill elephants, and the weapons being used are not suitable for the task.

Just a thought Smile

Roy

[I'll just state that my reading was for Tribal South Eastern Africa. So what I've said above probably won't apply to West Africa]
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Basileus
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Re: Ivory Trade in Africa

Post by Basileus on Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:38 pm

I think in the Medieval period a lot of the "ivory" used was often more likely to be narwhale horn and other tusks etc so after the end of the ancient world ivory would have dried up as some supply routes were disrupted. I am not certain what the arab empire did forthe trade in ivory.

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Re: Ivory Trade in Africa

Post by Stuart Bailey on Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:12 pm

Pre modern times Africa had three types of Elephant:

The North Africa Elephant used my Hannibal for Alphine walking Holidays & by Romans & Arabs for Ivory Handled daggers etc was quite small for an Elephant & died out quite early (unsure when exactly but prior to 1700 & unsure if hunting or drying out of North Africa more to blame).

This left the two sub Sahara types....Forest Elephant which is a sod to find and can be very hostile.  Plus down with the Rowzi the Very, very big Africa Bush Elephant.  Trying to spear or even shot a Bush Elephant with a one shot musket is on a par with Spear Fishing for Great Whites.

So I suspect and hunting was done (as it still is today by African Poachers) by means of poison and snares or more likely Ivory was gathered from already dead Elephants.

Perhaps Rowzi need to find the legendary Elephants grave yard?  Think of all of those dagger handles for Indian & Arab markets?  Plus piano keys if anyone invents the piano.


Last edited by Stuart Bailey on Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:13 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)

Nexus06
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Re: Ivory Trade in Africa

Post by Nexus06 on Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:21 am

Dear Rowzy, you are always so stimulating that I miss not sharing a game with you. Starting from the point that I'm gonna send my Russians to search for Ivory, a silly idea came to my mind. Why not try my animal science academy try to bride back some mammoth? Silly idea for sure but would be interesting to see what happens
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Basileus
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Re: Ivory Trade in Africa

Post by Basileus on Mon Sep 26, 2016 10:33 am

There has been a lot of debate about which types of elephants were used as war elephants from North Africa. The smaller north African elephants found in the oasis' of North Africa (Loxodonta africana pharaoensis) were easier to handle and control. But they were probably not able to carry the castle's seen in the descriptions/inscriptions/carvings of Hannibal's entry into northern Italy. That being said probably few Romans saw these either as they all died from the cold/colds crossing the Alps and Hannibal did not use them in campaign. He did however receive later supplies. But these were probably smaller oasis elephants carrying one mahout sitting behind the ears.
But the critical information comes from the Seleucid/Ptolemy battle of Raphia. Both lined up elephants in the middle and they charged each other. The Ptolemy elephants ran from the bigger and smellier Indian elephants(Elephas maximus) indicating that the Ptolemy elephants were not Bush (Loxodonta africana africana). However, as Stuart says there were also the Forest elephants from North Africa and the Hellenistic world was desperate to breed elephants but it appears not very successfully. The Seleucids accepted 200 elephants for breeding in return for a whole province as part of a negotiated settlement with the Indians. So Forest elephants could have been bred in North Africa but this is extremely unlikely. Simply if they had them, they would have used them at Raphia.
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Rozwi_Game10
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Re: Ivory Trade in Africa

Post by Rozwi_Game10 on Mon Sep 26, 2016 4:49 pm

Stuart Bailey: To be honest, I can't be bothered going down the Ivory trade route in the game. Portugal's mentioned that they're looking into the trade, in this month's newspaper, and I'd expect that as a trading nation Rozwi won't be able to compete with the likes of them.

Nexus06: Thank you. Possibly your Russians would find fossils to place in a museum and help Honour and education. Or they might bring back different species of elephants and they could be placed in a zoo and help Honour. Maybe elephants could be trained to perform in a Russian State Circus?
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Re: Ivory Trade in Africa

Post by Deacon on Mon Sep 26, 2016 6:57 pm


In game 8, I invested a fair bit in just "africa trade" as Portugal, in addition to some specific commodities and Ivory is one of the products I apparently do a brisk business in.

(As I said in my guide, for large positions, my view is that you want to diversify your investments.)

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Re: Ivory Trade in Africa

Post by Stuart Bailey on Tue Sep 27, 2016 1:05 am

Rozwi_Game10 wrote:Stuart Bailey: To be honest, I can't be bothered going down the Ivory trade route in the game. Portugal's mentioned that they're looking into the trade, in this month's newspaper, and I'd expect that as a trading nation Rozwi won't be able to compete with the likes of them.

Dont think of Portugal as a Rozwi trade rival rather think of them as customers for your ivory and trade partners:D

Since the Rozwi lack shipping plus knowledge of how to get their......if your gold, slaves, ivory & exotic furs/hides are going to get to the markets of India, The Middle East & Europe you need Portugese, Omani, Indian merchants etc and the more who come the better price Rozwi sellers are going to get.

Likewise the more merchants who bring their goods to the Rozwi lands the better deal Rozwi buyers are going to get.

Trade rivals are other tribes in the market to sale gold, slaves, ivory and exotic furs to merchants who should be trading with you.

A good "crushing" may be needed.


J Flower
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Re: Ivory Trade in Africa

Post by J Flower on Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:19 am

Russia historically had an Ivory trade as well, digging up the Mammoths in the frozen Tundra & using the tusks as a lucrative Ivory trade source. May not have reached the levels of the African trade, but it is still a viable option for the cash strapped Russian player.

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