Dowry and Marriage History Cows and Bulls

About the history of dowries and marriage payments made in cows and bulls.


Price for a Girl: 3 Cows and a Bull. "Like most primitive peoples, the cattle-keeping Africans originally had but 2 uses for money: to pay a debt of 'blood money' to the relatives of one's victims and to purchase wives. A girl in the medium-price range went for 3 cows and a bull, though most fathers were open to any reasonable deal and prices were scaled to the year and model. Since no clear distinctions were made between women and cattle, a man who preferred girls to cows could invest his wealth in wives and count himself fairly successful when he had between 6 and 10. As late as January, 1964, in fact, a Masai chief who was impressed with actress Carroll Baker's efforts to understand tribal ways offered to buy the blond movie star for 150 cows, 200 goats and sheep, and $750 in cash--a princely price considering that Masai maidens were currently valued at only $200 and 12 cows."

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