The Cuban Slave Market, 1790-1880

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Slavery was in many ways the fundamental institution in colonial Cuba. This volume presents a quantitative study of Cuban slavery from the late eighteenth century until 1880, the year slavery was formally abolished on the island. The core of this study is an examination of the yearly changes in slave prices and in the demographic characteristics of the slave market. Based on data from the notarial protocol records of the Archivo Nacional de Cuba, this book establishes precise price trends for slaves by age, sex, nationality, and occupation, and considers a number of other variables, including the prices of coartados slaves who had begun the process of buying their freedom and the profile of slaves able to obtain freedom. Incorporating over 30,000 slave transactions from three separate locations in Cuba - Havana, Santiago, and Cienfuegos - this work comprises the largest extant data base of its type on any slave market in Latin America and the Caribbean.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This excellent study is a must-read for students and academics interested in slavery, colonialism, and societies in the Caribbean and Latin America." Colonial Latin American Historical Review

"...a most welcomed work. There will be no serious study of nineteenth-century Cuban and Latin American slavery for a long time to come that will not refer to this book. Almost as exciting as the data and conclusions in the book was the research team that this Cuban-American venture was able to put together....almost all Latin Americanists will want this book in their library." H-Net Book Review

"Over one hundred figures and tables that supplement the text reveal the intricacies of Cuba's traffic in slaves; the richness of the database must surely encourage like projects elsewhere in the Americas....[its] subtle and suggestive interpretations will engage future scholarship." American Historical Review

"...students of slavery in the Americas will find the data provided here on Cuba and the authors' analytical treatment of it to be a valuable contribution to our understanding of price fluctuations in slave markets over the course of a century. The appendices, graphs, charts, and tables add to to the book's significance as reference tool." Errol D. Jones, The Historian

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521480598
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2002
  • Series: Cambridge Latin American Studies Series, #79
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Table of Contents

Tables and figures
Preface and acknowledgments
1 Introduction: Prices and the historiography of slavery 1
2 Sources and methods of data collection 15
3 The development of African slavery and Cuban economic history 23
4 The price structure of the Cuban slave market, 1790-1880 38
5 Regional variations in the Cuban slave market: Havana, Santiago, and Cienfuegos 79
6 Coartacion and letters of freedom 122
7 Conclusions and comparative perspectives 143
Appendix A: Nominal and real slave prices using international price indexes 155
Appendix B: Statistical data base on the Cuban slave market 161
Bibliography 233
Index 243
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