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The Trade in Domestic Servants (Morianer) from Tranquebar for Upper Class Danish Homes in the First Half of the Seventeenth Century

  • Jorge Simón Izquierdo Díaz

Abstract

This paper explores the Danish East India Company's slave trade practice in Tranquebar in the first half of the seventeenth century. In particular it focuses on a practice of acquiring black Morianer (Moors) as prestigious servants for aristocratic homes. The court of the Danish king Christian IV was familiar with the exotic inlay of Morians as represented in pictures, theatre, carrousels, and other artistic manifestations of the upper classes of that time. In this sense, I suggest that Hans Hansson Skonning's Geographia historica Orientalis (1641) provides seminal clues about ideology justifying slavery and representations of Africa and Asia in Scandinavian countries before they entered the slave trade.

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Jorge Simón Izquierdo Díaz holds an MA degree in anthropology from Copenhagen University and is currently completing a PhD in anthropology at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Spain. His thesis is about kinship relationships in the Andes, with fieldwork in Bolivia. He has previously published on Holberg, Strindberg, and Skonning.

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The Trade in Domestic Servants (Morianer) from Tranquebar for Upper Class Danish Homes in the First Half of the Seventeenth Century

  • Jorge Simón Izquierdo Díaz

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