Originally published in 1976, this book combines detailed technical studies of the diplomacy of the land and waterborne warfare of pre-colonial West Africa. It draws attention to the connexion between these topics as dual aspects of international relations and refers to those parts of West African indigenous diplomacy, showing how these resembled and diverged from practice elsewhere. The causes and consequences of West African wars are analysed and the wide range of weaponry, armour and transport used by armies is also discussed. Strategy and tactics of the wars in relation to defensive operations are also examined. Throughout the book a considerable body of evidence from many sources is deployed to justify both the factual content and the conclusions which are drawn.

chapter I|10 pages

Peace and war

chapter II|30 pages

Peaceful relations

chapter III|20 pages

West African wars: their causes and character

chapter IV|28 pages


chapter V|38 pages

Arms and armour

chapter VI|27 pages

Static warfare and fortifications

chapter VII|32 pages

Strategy, tactics and the battle

chapter VIII|9 pages

A summing-up