Robusta's homecoming: the expansion of the Angolan coffee frontier, c. 1820-1960
(University of Glasgow)
Aaron Davis (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew)
Paper short abstract:
This paper examines contrasting sets of knowledge about coffee cultivation in Angola from the early nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century.
Paper long abstract:
This paper examines different bodies of knowledge about coffee cultivation in Angola from the early nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. First, it surveys African ways of cultivating robusta coffee as they developed from the 1820s onward, and highlights the anthropogenic nature of the Angolan landscape, in contrast to the early colonial notion of a 'pristine' coffee forest. Second, it analyses the development of western scientific knowledge of the Angolan coffee landscape, culminating in the reintroduction by colonial botanists of foreign-bred robusta specimen in the 1920s. Finally, it contrasts the botanists' appreciation of African expertise in coffee growing with their criticism of the ways a new generation of European settlers planted coffee.
Commodity frontiers and knowledge regimes in Africa, 1800 to present