African Journal of
History and Culture

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Hist. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6672
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJHC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 188


Pawnship labour and mediation in colonial Osun division of southwestern Nigeria

Ajayi Abiodun
  • Ajayi Abiodun
  • Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo State, Nigeria.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 09 November 2019
  •  Published: 31 January 2020


Pawnship was both a credit system and an important source of labour in Yoruba land. It was highly utilised in the first half of the twentieth century Osun Division, sequel to its easy adaptation to the colonial monetised economy. This study examined pawnship as a labour system that was deeply rooted in the Yoruba culture, and accounts for the reasons for its easy adaptability to the changes epitomized by the colonial economy itself with particular reference to Osun Division in Southwestern Nigeria. The restriction here is to focus on areas that were not adequately covered by the various existing literature on pawnship system in Yoruba land with a view to examining their peculiarities that distinguished them from the general norms that existed in the urban centres that were covered by earlier studies. The study adopted the historical approach which depends on oral data gathered through interviews, archival materials and relevant literature. It is hoped that the local peculiarities that the study intends to examine on pawnship here, will make a reasonable addition to the stock of the existing knowledge on Yoruba economic and social histories.


Keywords: Pawnship, adaptability, Osun division, colonial economy, monetisation.