Historical linguistic studies have established that in ancient times the Vai-speaking people lived in the northern region of Mande. During those earlier times, the Vai and Kono people probably descended from a common ancestor. Some conjecture that, at some point, the Vai and Kono split. The reasons for that split, however, are not clear. Some suggest it occurred as a result of a search for salt on the part of some members of the group: Those who went in search of salt would have become the Vai people, whereas those who stayed might have constituted the Kono people. Another hypothesis is that the Vai split from the Kono because of migration, trade, and conquest. In any case, the Vai people currently reside on the coasts ...

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