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Slavery and coerced labor have been among the most ubiquitous of human institutions both in time - from ancient times to the present - and in place, having existed in virtually all geographic areas and societies. This volume covers the period from the independence of Haiti to modern perceptions of slavery by assembling twenty-eight original essays, each written by scholars acknowledged as leaders in their respective fields. Issues discussed include the sources of slaves, the slave trade, the social and economic functioning of slave societies, the responses of slaves to enslavement, efforts to abolish slavery continuing to the present day, the flow of contract labor and other forms of labor control in the aftermath of abolition, and the various forms of coerced labor that emerged in the twentieth century under totalitarian regimes and colonialism.
ABSTRACT. This article aims to describe and evaluate the role of the sugar complexes in the development of the Atlantic zone. The author insists on the practically dominant bilateral Africa- America liaison whereas European historiography underlines the importance of the triangular oceanic system. The success of the sugar complex is not the most impressive manifestation of the Atlantic system development. The author puts into perspective its impact on the European growth of plantation economies in general, and sugar complexes in particular, and stresses its enormous impact of forced labor. If the improvement of the life conditions of Europeans is associated with the development of maritime commerce, the association of conquests and forced labor yields a very different evaluation.
RÉSUMÉ. Cet article a pour objectif de montrer et d'évaluer le rôle du complexe sucrier dans le développement de l'espace atlantique. L'auteur insiste sur la liaison bilatérale directe Afrique– Amérique pratiquement majoritaire, alors que l'historiographie européenne souligne l'importance du système océanique triangulaire. La réussite du complexe sucrier n'est que la manifestation la plus spectaculaire du développement du système atlantique. L'auteur a tendance à relativiser voire minimiser l'impact sur la croissance européenne de l'économie de plantation en général, du complexe sucrier en particulier, pour retenir l'impact énorme du travail forcé. Si l'amélioration des conditions de vie des Européens est associée au développement du commerce maritime, avec les conquêtes et le travail forcé, son évaluation est très différente.
The capacity to develop specialized skills and then trade with others has generally underpinned much of the improvement in human welfare that has occurred since agriculturists began their multi-millennia replacement of hunters and gatherers. But little trade would have been possible without the water transportation that connected environments and regions which contained different combinations of factor endowments. During most of the neolithic and post-neolithic eras “water-borne” meant reliance on rivers and lakes (used for both irrigation and transportation). Ocean navigation for bulk as opposed to high value commodities began only in the early modern period. If the transition to settled agriculture and the emergence of hierarchical societies was associated with rivers (used for both irrigation and transportation), the growth in wellbeing since 1500 could not have happened without oceans and the ability to navigate them.
This article uses the extensive documentation of Africans liberated from slave vessels to explore issues of identity and freedom in the nineteenth-century Atlantic world. It tracks the size, origin, and movement of the Liberated African diaspora, offers a preliminary analysis of the ‘disposal’ of African recaptives in societies on both sides of the Atlantic, and assesses the opportunities Liberated Africans had in shaping their post-disembarkation experiences. While nearly all Liberated Africans were pulled at least partly into the Atlantic wage economy, the article concludes that recaptive communities in Freetown and its hinterland most closely met the aspirations of the Liberated Africans themselves while the fate of recaptives settled in the Americas paralleled those who were enslaved.
Robin Law, Professor of African History, University of Stirling,Suzanne Schwarz, Professor of History, University of Worcester,Silke Strickrodt, Research Fellow in Colonial History, German Institute of Historical Research, London
What is commercial agriculture? For present purposes two types come to mind: one that produces for local markets (where the output is sold within say 50 km of the point of production) and the other that is able to supply markets further afield. We can assume that before low-cost sea or inland waterway transportation developed, the populations of large cities everywhere survived on the basis of local commercial agriculture. In that sense, commercial agriculture in Africa, as in the rest of the world, must go back almost to the point where human beings began to draw most of their sustenance from agriculture as opposed to hunting and gathering. But the thrust of the present collection is, I believe, on commercial output for faraway markets. For this we have to start with the recognition that distance and lack of transportation infrastructure were the major barriers to trade in produce almost everywhere around the globe until quite recently.
As a consequence agriculture that produced food, drink and the raw material for clothing (including dyes) that could be traded over long distances was quite rare before the early modern era and where it existed it contributed little to the basic food, clothing and shelter requirements of either the sellers of the produce or its buyers. Kola nuts and spices, to take two random examples, were not central to the well-being of consumers nor did they provide a livelihood for many producers.
Between 1808 and 1862, officers primarily from the British navy liberated approximately 175,000 enslaved Africans from transatlantic slavers. Information on more than half of this group has survived in bound ledger books. Based on the assessment of extant data for more than 92,000 Liberated Africans whose information was copied in at times duplicate and triplicate form in both London- and Freetown-based registers, this essay explores the pitfalls and possibilities associated with using the Registers for Liberated Africans as sources for historical analysis of the slave trade. The article explains the relationship of multiple copies of the registers to each other, demonstrates the link between the African names they contain and ethnolinguistic identities, argues for crowd-sourcing – drawing on the knowledge of the diasporic public and not just scholars – and, finally, shows the importance of such an approach for pre-colonial African history.