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The main valuable resource was land there were

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Unformatted text preview: thing happened in Ethiopia. The main valuable resource was land. There were di¤erent ways in which land was held but the main was a system called gult which involved a grant of land by the Emperor. The institution is mentioned in 13th century manuscripts though it may have originated much earlier. The term gult is derived from an Amharic word which means ‘ he assigned a …ef’and signi…ed that in exchange for the land the gult -holder had to provide services to the Emperor - particularly military ones. In turn the gult -holder had the right to extract tribute from those who farmed the land. This was really like feudalism and they even had horses, stirrups and ploughs in Ethiopia (White and Goody (coming soon)..)! James A. Robinson (Harvard) The Emergence of Modern Economic Growth: A Comparative and5, 2009 October Historical Analysis 12 / 25 Feudalism according to Marc Bloch p. 446 of Feudal Society. Economic Institutions in Ethiopia Before the 19th century when we have a lot of information, the main source of information about how economic institutions actually worked is from travellers. The Ethiopians, since they were Christians, tried very hard to forge alliances with European monarchs against Arab invasions and even persuaded the Portuguese King to send them soldiers. These soldiers along with diplomats and Jesuits left many accounts of the Empire. Some of the most interesting from an economic point of view are by Francisco Alvares a chaplain who accompanied a Portuguese diplomatic mission 1520-1527, a Jesuit Manoel de Almeida, who lived in Ethiopia from 1624, and by John Bruce a traveler who was in the country between 1768 and 1773. The general sense one gets from these works is that property rights were very insecure in Ethiopia and that this was driven by the political strategy of the Emperor. James A. Robinson (Harvard) The Emergence of Modern Economic Growth: A Comparative and5, 2009 October Historical Analysis 13 / 25 Economic Institutions in Ethiopia according to Bruce and Alvares “All the land is the King’ he gives it to whom he pleases during s; pl...
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