Niumi is at the receiving end of two world-systems - basically at the edge of both Islamic and Western European Civilizations. In short, it slipped from dependency in one system to dependency in the other. Was it feasible for Niumi to behave more autonomously and what would that have taken to do so?
It is difficult to revert back to the historical dialectic and wonder the proverbial "What if ____ happened?" Yet, I think that one could see there are some aspects of the Niumi that can suggest that it was more than a victim to both dominant civilizations of the time period. Donald Wright makes the case that the Niumi were in a position of power to facilitate cross- cultural exchange. Those in the position of power in Niumi were not victims of dependence. Rather, Niumi "residents dealt with Europeans from a position of strength through most of the period." Wright suggests that this position of strength was one in which "Niumi rulers determined much about how the cross-cultural exchange took place,” that “people in Niumi made rational decisions about trading one body of commodities for another,” and that shippers “wanting to obtain slaves or other commodities ... had to do so on Niumi’s terms.” Such a characterization refutes the idea that the Niumi rulers were on the fringe of one order, and upon the entry of the new one, were dependent on this order. They were in a position of power, able to facilitate a sense of exchange that empowered their own sense of being in a condition of change. Wright suggests that there was a level of autonomy that the Niumi demonstrated.
If there was a dependency in the Niumi condition, Wright suggests that it took place in an overreliance on the globalization of colonialism/ imperialism to supply for all of its needs. The Niumi facilitated the conditions of change, but failed to recognize that indigenous strength in terms of possession of raw materials can help repel foreign control of the nation. Those in the position of power in Niumi did not recognize the need to have their own base of control in terms of developing indigenous markets. They were totally dependent on foreign capital and foreign participation. This made the Niumi dependent on other nations, making it susceptible to being overrun by other nations. The autonomy that those in the position of leadership of the Niumi had was lost when they failed to recognize their own frailty in a changing world dynamic.
GREAT answer! Thanks!! :-) Shirley