Published online by Cambridge University Press: 22 September 2022
Regimes of property, whether held by African rulers or European administrators, were not transhistorical or total. The written regime of property in Angola emerged in specific contexts, articulated with imperialism, expansion of capitalism, and consolidation of the liberal notion of individual rights at the expense of collective ones. While Portuguese agents enforced a single model of property rights, local chiefs contested this model. Colonial property regimes altered the social order and allowed women, formerly enslaved people, and immigrants, often marginalized groups, to enjoy rights and subvert the economic and social order. The violence that exiled occupants from their own land also justified kidnapping and enslavement. This violence is almost erased in the colonial archives and scholarship that traces a linear progress from slave trade to legitimate trade and imperialism. Nonetheless, violence and appropriation pervade the histories of slavery, property, rights, consumption, and claims.
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