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19 - Introduction:

Accounts by European Travelers

from Part Four - Slavery Observed: European Travelers’ Accounts

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 April 2013

Alice Bellagamba
Affiliation:
University of Milan-Bicocca
Sandra E. Greene
Affiliation:
Cornell University, New York
Martin A. Klein
Affiliation:
University of Toronto
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Summary

Pre-twentieth-century Europeans have long reported on their experiences in Africa. As travelers, traders, and colonial officials, they were moving around the continent from as far back as the late fifteenth century. Diaries, official reports, and published accounts abound with information on what specific individuals saw, heard, and experienced while in Africa. As slavery was ubiquitous, it is mentioned in many of these accounts, often as simply a fact of life, whether reported prior to or after the European abolition of the slave trade in Africa in early nineteenth century. While European travelers' accounts of slavery are not uncommon, rarely have they been examined as a means of unearthing the voices of the enslaved. Written by Europeans, it is their voices that predominate in these records. The reports span several centuries and geographical locations, and range from the seventeenth-century Gold Coast to the mid-late nineteenth century in Tunisia.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2013

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