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14 - What Did Thomson, Watson & Co. Purchase?

The Emancipation of the Enslaved

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 August 2022

Johan Fourie
Affiliation:
University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
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Summary

It rained on the first day of December in 1838. This was a day to remember. Across the Cape Colony the yoke of forced labour had been lifted from the almost 40,000 inhabitants who had formerly been classified as slaves. They were now free.

It had been a long road to freedom. When the Dutch first settled the Cape in the mid-seventeenth century the Atlantic slave trade was expanding. As we discussed in Chapter 11, hundreds of thousands of Africans were being shipped across the Atlantic by Portuguese, British, French and Dutch traders and sold to settlers in the New World. Because of the profitability of the trade, the rivalry between these slave-trading nations was intense. It would be this rivalry that would bring the first shipment of Angolan slaves to the Cape.

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Chapter
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Our Long Walk to Economic Freedom
Lessons from 100,000 Years of Human History
, pp. 78 - 82
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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