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Colonialism or supersanctions: sovereignty and debt in West Africa, 1871-1914

Gardner, Leigh ORCID: 0000-0001-8638-5121 (2017) Colonialism or supersanctions: sovereignty and debt in West Africa, 1871-1914. European Review of Economic History, 21 (2). 236 - 257. ISSN 1474-0044

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Identification Number: 10.1093/ereh/hex001


West Africa has been neglected in literature on sovereign debt before 1914. However, it presented arguably the biggest test of investors’ willingness to overlook poor economic fundamentals due to colonial status. This paper presents data on bond yields for three British colonies and independent Liberia along with qualitative evidence on the mechanics of borrowing by West African countries. It suggests that a variety of imperial interventions were important in reducing borrowing costs for the poorer periphery of the empire. The contrasting case of Liberia shows that supersanctions did not fully replicate the effects of colonial rule.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 The Author
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT Africa
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2017 10:01
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2024 17:27

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