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The Cambridge World History of Slavery
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  • Cited by 2
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    Logan, Amanda L. and Stahl, Ann B. 2017. Genealogies of Practice in and of the Environment in Banda, Ghana. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, Vol. 24, Issue. 4, p. 1356.

    Huemer, Michael 2016. A liberal realist answer to debunking skeptics: the empirical case for realism. Philosophical Studies, Vol. 173, Issue. 7, p. 1983.

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Book description

Volume 3 of The Cambridge World History of Slavery is a collection of essays exploring the various manifestations of coerced labor in Africa, Asia and the Americas between the opening up of the Atlantic world and the formal creation of the new nation of Haiti. The authors, well-known authorities in their respective fields, place slavery in the foreground of the collection but also examine other types of coerced labor. Essays are organized both nationally and thematically and cover the major empires, coerced migration, slave resistance, gender, demography, law and the economic significance of coerced labor. Non-scholars will also find this volume accessible.

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‘An absolutely excellent volume.’

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Page 1 of 2


  • 1 - Dependence, Servility, and Coerced Labor in Time and Space
    pp 1-22
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521840682.003
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Slavery is generally regarded as the most extreme form of dependency and exploitation. Modern preoccupations with freedom and individual rights drive the fascination with slavery. Institutionalized dependency and servitude had been accepted without question in Western and non-Western cultures alike, from the dawn of recorded history until the modern historical era, and they have formed one of the basic institutions that have appeared in almost every culture. Slavery dedicated to augmenting the numbers and sustaining the identity of societies or religions is usually associated with Islam, sub-Saharan Africa, or the indigenous Americas, but it now seems to have application for many parts of the premodern world. There were a few discussions of compensation to freed people at the end of the U.S. Civil War. Claims for compensation to the descendants of the enslaved developed as an issue only in the twentieth century.
  • 2 - Enslavement in the Ottoman Empire in the Early Modern Period
    pp 25-46
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521840682.004
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Scattered data and reasonable extrapolations regarding the volume of the slave trade from Africa to the Ottoman Empire yield an estimated number of approximately 16,000 to 18,000 men and women who were being transported into the empire per annum during much of the nineteenth century. The single most important factor that sustained a fairly stable demand for unfree labor within the Ottoman Empire was the constant dwindling of the enslaved population and the absence of a capacity to replenish the supply of slaves internally. According to Islamic law as practiced in the Ottoman Empire during the early modern period, enslaved women could be absorbed into the slaveholding society through concubinage. As master-slave relationships went, Ottoman slaves had a relatively greater capacity to effect a reasonable balance of power with their owners. In principle, African-Ottoman creolization provided a model for other creolization processes, allowing for variants in contents and historical circumstances.
  • 3 - Slavery in Islamic Africa, 1400–1800
    pp 47-80
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521840682.005
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter examines the ways in which Islamic ideas about slavery were negotiated in the historical experience of Muslim Africans. It surveys Islamic legal, intellectual, and moral discourses on slavery in relation to the historical record. The chapter moves from thematic concerns to summary histories of slavery in four distinct regions: western Africa, the Nile Valley, the Horn, and coastal East Africa. The conquests that brought coastal North Africa under Muslim rule in the seventh and eighth centuries produced significant numbers of slaves. The documentary sources of Islam make no normative association between skin color and servitude, yet, by the nineteenth century, and indeed long before, many in the Muslim world considered dark-skinned Africans unusually suited for enslavement. In coastal East Africa, and indeed throughout Islamic Africa, slaving, slave trading, and slavery all expanded dramatically in the nineteenth century.
  • 4 - Slavery in Non-Islamic West Africa, 1420–1820
    pp 81-110
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521840682.006
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The relationship of slavery to the market highlights the correlation of the transatlantic trade and the spread of slavery. Separating slavery from the market is, therefore, just as superficial as separating it from the social institutions that underpin both the market and slavery. An effective description of a slave system must thus account for interaction between the market and other social institutions, as well as in the constitution and diversity of non-Islamic West Africa. Thornton has argued that the absence of private ownership of land in sub-Saharan Africa ensured that slavery was widespread and endemic in the region. The only region of non-Islamic West Africa where we might conclude that slavery was intensive and widespread before Atlantic contact is the Gold Coast. Slave-trading groups that used large numbers of slaves in productive activities became fairly extensive among slave-trading groups during the eighteenth century. An evidence confirms the exceptional character of Gold Coast slavery during the early Atlantic trade era.
  • 5 - Slaving and Resistance to Slaving in West Central Africa
    pp 111-131
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521840682.007
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter focuses on regions under formal Portuguese control in Angola to analyze slaving and resistance to slaving in Central Africa in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It presents an overview of slavery in the African societies in relation to the emergent Atlantic slavery in the region under Portuguese influence. The chapter then surveys changes in the coastal and internal slave trade so as to sketch an overview of changes in the demographic makeup of Luanda and the Luanda hinterland. Warfare served to both strengthen colonial authority in the Luanda hinterland and generate slaves for the Luanda trade. The chapter shows how the amalgamated cultural and social landscape of these regions influenced the way their African populations reacted to slaving. Much of the resistance mounted by slaves was aimed at the prospect of being embarked on slave ships and cannibalized by white men.
  • 6 - White Servitude
    pp 132-160
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521840682.008
  • View abstract
    Summary
    White servitude was far less common in the Americas, where the black equivalent came to be extremely widespread, and many Amerindians were also pressed into servitude. In contrast, penal servitude expanded steadily through early sixteenth century in most European countries. Ottoman conquests from the late fourteenth century flooded the heartlands of Islam with a variety of Christian slaves. White captives in the Maghrib were overwhelmingly taken in naval raids, as the Mediterranean and North Atlantic formed a maritime border zone between Islam and Christianity. Christianity and Islam both erected ideological barriers against enslaving those with shared religious beliefs, which further depressed sources of white slaves, although concepts of "heresy" allowed for significant breaches of such norms. Catholic and Islamic slavery combined hard labor and high attrition rates with the possibility of the reduction of social marginality over time.
  • 7 - Slavery in Southeast Asia, 1420–1804
    pp 163-185
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521840682.009
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter outlines some main elements of the Southeast Asian slavery and explains what defines slavery in the region. It provides merely a glimpse into the diversity of the linguistic terms for "slave" and "slavery". The chapter discusses some historical patterns of slavery: debt bondage, war captives, judicial enslavement, royal slaves, private slaves and temple slaves. Debt bondage was by far the most widespread and common form of enslavement in early modern Southeast Asia. Royal slaves were most likely to be part of the royal household or permanently engaged in laboring directly for the state as craftsmen or builders. By the end of the eighteenth century, patterns and practices of Southeast Asian slavery had changed considerably from those of the early fifteenth century. Indeed, the late twentieth century has seen an increase of slave trading and slavery, particularly sexual slavery, in the region and worldwide.
  • 8 - Slavery in Early Modern China
    pp 186-214
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521840682.010
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The cognates of many forms of European slavery persisted in China for millennia. This chapter rests heavily on the facts of coercion and personal legal obscurity. Slaves in the entertainment category included acrobats and wrestlers but are best represented in art and literature by the singing girls and all-woman orchestras. The last five decades of the Ming saw growing social disorder, official corruption, and mismanagement of strategic affairs. The conquest of China by the Qing Empire took place in stages, each of which bore a distinctive relationship to changing concepts of servitude and the social institutions of dependency and coercion in China. In institutional terms, the great pattern of the seventeenth century in China, with regard to slavery, was the transition from progressive subjectivity and negotiation of slave status under Ming practices to incremental clarification and objectivization of multiple slave statuses under the Qing.
  • 9 - Slavery in Indigenous North America
    pp 217-247
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521840682.011
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter focuses on slavery in two regions: eastern North America and the north Pacific coast of North America, but some consideration is given to other parts of the continent. Slavery was well established at the time of first direct European contact, but the antiquity and origins of slavery are less certain. Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, many Plains people were taken into the European slave systems of eastern North America, in addition to the Plains and Southwestern people who entered the Spanish system in the Southwest and Mexico. In one region of indigenous North America, the Northwest Coast, captives were rarely adopted but usually became slaves in the full sense of the word. Northwest Coast societies were typical small-scale nonstates in most ways and had a fishing, hunting, and gathering subsistence base, but they also had hereditary ranked strata much like classes, and full-blown slavery.
  • 10 - Indigenous Slavery in South America, 1492–1820
    pp 248-272
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521840682.012
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter examines the forms of servitude and slaving practiced by indigenous peoples in South America. It focuses on the contrast between indigenous conceptions of captivity and obligatory service on the one hand, and the intrusion of European forms of slavery and servitude on the other. The chapter discusses forms of captivity and obligatory service in both the imperial contexts of the Andes and the chiefdoms and ethnic formations of Amazonia and the Caribbean. Within two decades of the arrival of the Europeans in South America, the enslavement of natives had become an established, lucrative business in which all nations were involved. The consideration of indigenous slavery in South America raises some interesting issues for a comparative study of slavery and servitude, in particular, whether or not the term "slave" is useful to describe pre-1500 native institutions and practices.
  • 11 - Russian Slavery and Serfdom, 1450–1804
    pp 275-296
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521840682.013
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Slavery was an ancient institution in Russia and effectively was abolished in the 1720s. Serfdom, which began in 1450, evolved into near-slavery in the eighteenth century. Slavery preceded serfdom and indeed was an ancient institution among the Slavs before the settlement of Russia. Military captives were different from other slaves in one respect: when peace treaties were signed, one of their provisions usually was the return of captive or enslaved nationals. The 1497 code is central to the story of serfdom because it applied the St. George's Day restriction on peasant mobility to all peasants. In the last quarter of the eighteenth century, the land of serfs was increasingly confiscated from them in the black soil region and converted into landlord property. The zenith of Russian serfdom was in 1796. Its decline commenced in 1797, when Paul forbade Sunday barshchina and forbade serf owners to force their serfs to work on barshchina for more than three days a week.
  • 12 - Manorialism and Rural Subjection in East Central Europe, 1500–1800
    pp 297-322
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521840682.014
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Manorialism and rural subjection in the lands of east central Europe developed in vivid contrast to the West, where the manorial economy and its strict forms of rural subjection had largely disappeared by the late Middle Ages. This chapter traces the history of manorialism and rural subjection in the different lands of east central Europe, and discusses the problems and issues connected to the interpretation of that history. It explores the social, economic, and political characteristics of east central Europe before 1500, and explains how this region differed from the west. The chapter discusses the conditions of life for the manorial populations living under rural servitude in east central Europe. It also shows how manorialism and rural servitude east of the Elbe compared with the slave plantation system in the New World. Seigniorial constraints and burdens weighed heavily on the rural population in east central Europe.
  • 13 - Slavery in the Atlantic Islands and the Early Modern Spanish Atlantic World
    pp 325-349
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521840682.015
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Old World slavery's trajectory passed through the Atlantic islands before reaching the Caribbean islands and then the American mainland. Slaves came to be used in greater numbers on the farms and in the mills of the Atlantic islands. Within the expanding European Atlantic world of the sixteenth century, slavery in the Canary islands and on Madeira came to occupy a minor role compared to slavery in the Americas. The documents produced in the administration of the asientos and preserved for historians allow us a detailed picture of the transatlantic slave trade. Slavery's peculiar development in the Americas in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is due primarily to the emphasis on gang slavery during that period. Slavery of any variety is abhorrent, but the particularly grueling conditions that most eighteenth- and nineteenth-century New World slaves endured came primarily from the dominance of gang slavery within the plantation system.
  • 14 - Slavery and Politics in Colonial Portuguese America: The Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Centuries
    pp 350-377
    • By João Fragoso, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Ana Rios, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521840682.016
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Throughout the four centuries of the transatlantic slave trade, the Portuguese colonies of the Americas were the largest buyers of Africans in the Western Hemisphere. This chapter discusses negotiations and politics between masters and slaves in colonial Brazil, and the role slaves had in the larger political game between free elites. It shows how these elites, using their slave warriors, struggled for control of territory in the colony and for strategic positions within the Portuguese Empire. The slavery of the bands presents characteristics previously unseen in the seventeenth-century colony, which continued into the eighteenth century. The eighteenth century saw deep and wide-reaching changes take place in all areas of colonial life, bringing new segments of the population to the fore, and opening up new opportunities for negotiation between masters and slaves. The chapter explains how bands adapted to these changes and the openings they presented to slaves.
  • 15 - Slavery in The British Caribbean
    pp 378-406
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521840682.017
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter demonstrates the centrality of slavery in the British Caribbean in various ways. It traces the origins of slavery in the region, and explores the peopling of the region and its domination by slaves. The chapter probes the work that slaves performed and the commodities they produced. The dominant economic experience of most slaves in the British Caribbean was work on a sugar plantation, one of the largest and most productive private agricultural enterprises in the world. The chapter investigates the lives that slaves led, the family and social structures in which they were embedded, and the worlds that they made, particularly in relation to their masters. In the eighteenth century, most African and creole slaves had little interest in Protestantism, which seemed an austere and unwelcoming creed to them. As a system of labor, British Caribbean slavery was notable for its productive efficiency, but this achievement rested on an almost unimaginable oppression of its workers.
  • 16 - Slavery in the North American Mainland Colonies
    pp 407-430
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521840682.018
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Europeans attempting to find colonies on the North American mainland encountered an abundance of land and other natural resources and a chronic shortage of labor to exploit them. As the sugar revolution spread to other European holdings in the West Indies, the focus of Atlantic slave traders shifted further away from the North American mainland. Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, slavery in New England and the Middle colonies was largely of the domestic variety. By 1750 the primary focus of the trans-Atlantic slave trade shifted to the Carolinas and the recently settled colony of Georgia. Reproduction among Lowcountry slaves became sufficient in the third quarter of the century to replace the existing workforce. In the Chesapeake proposals for a general emancipation fell on increasingly deaf ears, as the estimated costs of compensation for slave owners and wholesale resettlement of freed men and women soared to infeasible heights.
  • 17 - Slavery in the French Caribbean, 1635–1804
    pp 431-449
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521840682.019
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter examines the development of the different colonies in the French Americas and overviews the changes in governance and economy that took place within them from the early seventeenth through the late eighteenth centuries. The colony of New France evolved primarily through relationships between French settlers and missionaries and Native Americans into a society based less on large-scale settlement than on the fur trade. Native American and African resistance contributed to the stalling of Louisiana's economic development. The chapter explores the evolution of legal administrative structures and the social order in the colonies, with a particular focus on slave life in the Caribbean colonies. The French Revolution provided an opening for the enslaved of the Caribbean by destabilizing the local administration and inciting conflicts among whites and between whites and free people of color in the colonies. The chapter concludes with a few broad comparisons between the French Americas and the other slave-holding empires in the region.
  • 18 - Slavery and the Slave Trade of the Minor Atlantic Powers
    pp 450-476
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521840682.020
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The Dutch were the first to follow the Iberians in exploiting the Atlantic for commercial purposes, and they also dominated many of the Atlantic ventures of the Danes, Swedes, Kurlanders, and Brandenburgers. This chapter discusses the early Dutch exploits in the Atlantic and their initial attempts at constructing a full-fledged Atlantic empire centring on Dutch Brazil. Then it focuses on the Danish slave trade, which became a genuinely Danish-owned and organized branch of commerce only after the initial phase dominated by Dutch capital and Dutch personnel. The chapter presents available quantitative data regarding slavery in the Dutch and Danish West Indies. Finally, the chapter deals with the slave trade efforts of the Swedes, Kurlanders, and Brandenburgers, which hardly went beyond the trade to, from, and along the coast of West Africa. Mercantilist measures in addition to the increased productivity of the British and French slave trades brought the international phase of Dutch trade to an end.
  • 19 - Demography and Family Structures
    pp 479-512
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521840682.021
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Ideas about the demographic significance of enslavement and other forms of dependency were most often expressed by free people, many of them leisured intellectuals and some of them directly enriched by slaveowning. A brave estimate suggests that the world's slave population reached its maximum around 1800, numbering perhaps 45 million, or 5 percent of the population of the world. Selling a child into slavery sometimes served to preserve the lives of the parents or to protect siblings from starvation. Throughout Asia and Africa, young children were favored for domestic service and for incorporation as kin. In North America, child woman ratios remained low until the early eighteenth century but then increased to about two live births per female in the 1730s and continued to rise into the nineteenth century. A number of scholars have pointed to the low modern population densities of the Middle Belt of the West African savannah as the imprint of the slave trade.

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