Headings Practice

Headings Practice

Yoruba Town

A. The Yoruba people of Nigeria classify their towns in two ways. Permanent towns with their own governments are called “ilu”, whereas temporary settlements, set up to support work in the country are “aba”. Although ilu tend to be larger than aba, the distinction is not one of size, some aba are large, while declining ilu can be small, but of purpose. There is no “typical” Yoruba town, but some features are common to most towns.

B. In the 19th century most towns were heavily fortified and the foundations of these walls are sometimes visible. Collecting tolls to enter and exit through the walls was a major source of revenue for the old town rulers, as were market fees. The markets were generally located centrally and in small towns, while in large towns there were permanent stands made of corrugated iron or concrete. The market was usually next to the local ruler’s palace.

C. The palaces were often very large. In the 1930’s, the area of Oyo’s palace covered 17 acres, and consisted of a series of courtyards surrounded by private and public rooms. After colonisation, many of the palaces were completely or partially demolished. Often the rulers built two storey houses for themselves using some of the palace grounds for government buildings.

D. The town is divided into different sections. In some towns these are regular, extending out from the center of the town like spokes on a wheel, while in others, where space is limited, they are more random. The different areas are further divided into compounds called “ile”. These vary in size considerably from single dwellings to up to thirty houses. They tend to be larger in the North. Large areas are devoted to government administrative buildings. Newer developments such as industrial or commercial areas or apartment housing for civil servants tends to be build on the edge of the town.

E. Houses are rectangular and either have a courtyard in the center or the rooms come off a central corridor. Most social life occurs in the courtyard. They are usually built of hardened mud and have roofs of corrugated iron or, in the countryside, thatch. Buildings of this material are easy to alter, either by knocking down rooms or adding new ones. And can be improved by coating the walls with cement. Richer people often build their houses of concrete blocks and, if they can afford to, build two storey houses. Within compounds there can be quite a mixture of building types. Younger well-educated people may have well furnished houses while their older relatives live in mud walled buildings and sleep on mats on the floor.

F. The builder or the most senior man gets a room either near the entrance or, in a two storied house, next to the balcony. He usually has more than one room. Junior men get a room each and there are separate rooms for teenage boys and girls to sleep in. Younger children sleep with their mothers. Any empty room are used as storage, let out or, if they face the street, used as shops.

G. Amenities vary. In some towns most of the population uses communal water taps and only the rich have piped water, in others piped water is more normal. Some areas have toilets, but bucket toilets are common with waste being collected by a “night soil man”. Access to water and electricity are key political issues.

List of paragraph headings

  1. Town facilities
  2. Colonisation
  3. Urban divisions
  4. Architectural home styles
  5. Types of settlements
  6. Historical foundations
  7. Domestic arrangements
  8. City defenses
  9. The residences of the rulers
  10. Government buildings


A. In China the issue of paper money became common from about AD 960 onwards but there had been occasional issues long before that. A motive for one such early issue, in the reign of Emperor Hien Tsung 806-821, was a shortage of copper for making coins. A drain of currency from China, partly to buy off potential invaders from the north, led to greater reliance on paper money with the result that by 1020 the quantity issued was excessive, causing inflation. In subsequent centuries there were several episodes of hyperinflation and after about 1455, after well over 500 years of using paper money, China abandoned it.

B. With the revival of banking in western Europe, stimulated by the Crusades, written instructions in the form of bills of exchange, came to be used as a means of transferring large sums of money and the Knights Templar and Hospitallers functioned as bankers. (It is possible that the Arabs may have used bills of exchange at a much earlier date, perhaps as early as the eighth century). The use of paper as currency came much later.

C. During the English Civil War, 1642-1651, the goldsmiths’ safes were secure places for the deposit of jewels, bullion, and coins. Instructions to goldsmiths to pay money to another customer subsequently developed into the cheque (or check-in American spelling). Similarly, goldsmiths’ receipts were used not only for withdrawing deposits but also as evidence of ability to pay, and by about 1660 these had developed into the banknote.

D. In England’s American colonies a chronic shortage of official coins led to various substitutes being used as money, including, in Virginia, tobacco, leading to the development of paper money by a different route. Tobacco leaves have drawbacks as currency and consequently, certificates attesting to the quality and quantity of tobacco deposited in public warehouses came to be used as money and in 1727 were made legal tender.

E. Although paper money obviously had no intrinsic value its acceptability originally depended on its being backed by some commodity, normally precious metals. During the Napoleonic Wars convertibility of Bank of England notes was suspended and there was some inflation which, although quite mild compared to that which had occurred in other wars, was worrying to contemporary observers who were used to stable prices and, in accordance with the recommendations of an official enquiry, Britain adopted the gold standard for the pound in 1816.

F. The break with precious metals helped to make money a more elusive entity. Another trend in the same direction was the growing interest in forms of electronic money from the 1990s onwards. In some ways e-money is a logical evolution from the wire transfers that came about with the widespread adoption of the telegraph in the 19th century but such transfers had relatively little impact on the everyday shopper.

List of Headings

  1. Bills of Exchange
  2. The English Civil War
  3. Gold standard
  4. The Knights Templar
  5. Paper money
  6. Goldsmith bankers
  7. Chinese copper coins
  8. Virginian money
  9. Intangible money
  10. The British pound

Answers to Passage 2

  1. Paragraph A – 5
  2. Paragraph B – 1
  3. Paragraph C – 6
  4. Paragraph D – 8
  5. Paragraph E – 3
  6. Paragraph F – 9

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