The End Of Slavery In Africa

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This is the first comprehensive assessment of the end of slavery in Africa. Editors Suzanne Miers and Richard Roberts, with the distinguished contributors to the volume, establish an agenda for the social history of the early colonial period—hen the end of slavery was one of the most significant historical and cultural processes. The End of Slavery in Africa is a sequel to Slavery in Africa, edited by Suzanne Miers and Igor Kopytoff and published by the University of Wisconsin Press in 1977. The contributors explore the historical experiences of slaves, masters, and colonials as they all confronted the end of slavery in fifteen sub-Saharan African societies. The essays demonstrate that it is impossible to generalize about whether the end of slavery was a relatively mild and nondisruptive process or whether it marked a significant change in the social and economic organization of a given society. There was no common pattern and no uniform consequence of the end of slavery. The results of this wide-ranging inquiry will be of lasting value to Africanists and a variety of social and economic historians.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The end of slavery is one of the most misunderstood major social changes to take place in colonial Africa. Many people believe that the Emancipation Act of 1834 ended all slavery in the British empire. It did not; forms of slavery continued under British and French rule into the 1930s. Miers and Roberts' collection of essays goes a long way to correct false impressions. The editors provide an excellent introduction to the volume, and Igor Kopytoff's concluding essay on African emancipation in its rural context is alone worth the price of admission."—Philip D. Curtin, The Johns Hopkins University

"This book makes an important contribution to the study of African history. Focusing on the end of slavery, it gives us another vantage point from which to view colonial rule, and provides insights not thus far given by studies into resistance and collaboration, labour history and colonial policy."—Ken Smith, University of South Africa

"The editors . . . seemed to have relished the search for the unique in their encyclopaedic catalogue of various possibilities in emancipation. . . . The more lasting contribution of the book is perhaps the fifteen case studies across Africa from Mauritania to Mozambique."—Abdul Sheriff, University of Dar es Salaam

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299115548
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 12/19/1988
  • Pages: 548
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Table of Contents

Maps xiii
Contributors xv
Preface xvii
Note on Orthography xix
I. Introduction
1. The End of Slavery in Africa 3
The main issues 3
Origins of the modern concept of abolition 8
Forms of abolition before the partition of Africa 10
The British "Caribean model," 10
The British "Indian model," 12
French and Portuguese forms of abolition 13
The antislavery movement and the partition of Africa 15
The role of the colonial states in ending slavery 17
Colonial conquest and changes in the political economy 18
Colonial antislavery policies: slave-raiding and -trading 19
Colonial antislavery policies: the suppression of slavery 21
International pressure to end slavery 24
The impact of changes in regional and international markets 25
The transition from slavery to freedom: a historiographic debate 27
The ambiguities of freedom: slaves and owners in the aftermath of slavery 33
Women slaves and freedom 38
Slave children and freedom 40
Slave-owners and freedom 41
The persistence of unfree labor: forced labor and pawning 42
Conclusion 47
The end of slavery in comparative perspective and as an international issue 54
II. A Historiographical Debate
2. Britain and the Suppression of Slavery in the Gold Coast Colony, Ashanti, and the Northern Territories 71
British policy towards slavery before 1874 73
Categories of slaves and pawns 75
Enactment of and immediate reactions to the antislavery legislation in the Gold Coast Colony, 1874 78
The attack on the overland slave trade 82
Slaveholding and slave emancipation 84
Akyem Abuakwa and the McSheffrey hypothesis 86
Role of the Basel Mission in Akyem 87
Estimates of numbers of freed slaves 88
Slave villages of refuge 89
Alternatives for former slaves: emancipation and wage labor 92
Impact of the ordinances on pawnholding 94
Ashanti 95
The dilemma of colonial rule 96
Pawns in Ashanti 99
The demise of slavery and pawning in Ashanti 100
Suppressing the slave trade and slavery in the Northern Territories 100
British administration in the north 102
Evidence for a revisionist interpretation 103
Conclusion 105
III. The Politics of Antislavery
3. The Ending of Slavery in Buganda 119
Precolonial Ganda slavery 121
Christianity and slavery 124
Lugard 127
The Protestant declaration abolishing slavery 129
British curtailment of further substantial slave-procurement 131
Contradictions amongst Christian chiefs 133
Mwanga's revolt 136
The new order 138
"New systems of slavery," 142
4. The Delicate Balance of Force and Flight: The End of Slavery in Eastern Ubangi-Shari 150
Eastern Ubangi-Shari, 1860s-1890s: slave-raiding, the slave trade, and depopulation 152
The limits of power: the French in eastern Ubangi-Shari, 1890s-1910 155
Dar al-Kuti, the French, and slavery, 1890s-1911 157
Dar al-Kuti, 1911-1920: the end of slavery, the persistence of raiding, and the return to subsistence agriculture 162
Ending raiding, trading, and slavery in eastern Ubangi-Shari, 1910-1920 165
Conclusion 166
5. The Politics of Slavery in Bechuanaland: Power Struggles and the Plight of the Basarwa in the Bamangwato Reserve, 1926-1940 172
The origins of Basarwa "slavery," 174
The British and bolata 177
The Ratshosa affair 181
The reaction of the British administration 182
The politics of inquiry 184
The Tagart Commission 187
"Missionary slaves": the London Missionary Society inquiry 189
The Masarwa census 190
Compromise and cooperation 193
Conclusion 194
IV. The Diversity of Slave Initiatives and Ex-Slave Experiences
6. Slave Resistance and Slave Emancipation in Coastal Guinea 203
Trade and politics 205
Slavery on the Guinea coast 208
Slave emancipation 209
The slaves stop work in the Rio Nunez 211
The Rio Pongo and Mellacoree 214
Conclusion 215
7. Slaves, Soldiers, and Police: Power and Dependency among the Chikunda of Mozambique, ca. 1825-1920 220
Chikunda on the prazos in the early nineteenth century 223
Freedom before abolition, ca. 1850-1877 229
Abolition: from ivory hunters to slavers and sepais, 1878-1920 235
Conclusion 245
8. A Coastal Ex-Slave Community in the Regional and Colonial Economy of Kenya: The WaMisheni of Rabai, 1880-1963 254
WaMisheni and the regional economy 262
WaMisheni and the colonial economy 267
WaMisheni, ex-slaves, and East African coastal history 273
Epilogue 275
9. The End of Slavery in the French Soudan, 1905-1914 282
French policy and the abolition of slavery 284
The process of emancipation and the diversity of freed slaves' experiences 287
Adjustments to the end of slavery 293
Conclusion 302
10. The Ending of Slavery in Italian Somalia: Liberty and the Control of Labor, 1890-1935 308
Colonial policies to 1923: a brief chronology 308
The end of slavery in the coastal towns 311
Rural slavery and clientship before emancipation 313
Initial responses to emancipation: slaves, slaveholders, and administrators 316
Responses to emancipation: the freed slaves 320
Epilogue to emancipation: the Fascist regime and forced labor 325
Conclusion 328
11. "Children of the House": Slavery and Its Suppression in Lasta, Northern Ethiopia, 1916-1935 332
Slavery and production in the north: the case of Lasta 335
Sources of slavery's demise in Lasta and northern Ethiopia 344
The fight against slavery in the north 347
A rural proletariat 353
Epilogue 356
12. A Topsy-Turvy World: Slaves and Freed Slaves in the Mauritanian Adrar, 1910-1950 362
The condition called slavery 364
Policy and practice: the early years 366
Political economy and slavery 369
Drought and depression, poverty and prostitution 374
The story of Hammody and the hartani "work ethic," 379
Conclusions: a topsy-turvy world 382
V. New Economies and New Forms of Labor Control
13. The Reform of Slavery in Early Colonial Northern Nigeria 391
Lugard's reforms 393
The economic impetus to the end of slavery 399
Taxation and the slave system 400
Land tenure and the slave system 407
14. Slavery and Forced Labor in the Changing Political Economy of Central Angola, 1850-1949 415
Slavery in central Angola: nineteenth century 417
Portuguese conquest and the transformation of slavery, 1890-1910 419
Portuguese antislavery policy, 1890-1918 422
The colonial economy and the struggle to control labor, 1918-1949 425
Conclusion 433
15. The Decline of Slavery among the Igbo People 437
Slavery among the Igbo people before 1850 437
The expansion of domestic slavery after 1850 441
The suppression of slavery in Igboland--first attempts 443
Continued suppression of slavery, the use of forced labor, and the establishment of a free-labor market in Igboland 445
Wage labor and the decline of slavery 450
The persistence of slavedealing and "voluntary" servitude 451
Increasing numbers of osu 454
The persistence of pawning 455
Conclusion: the emergence of new classes 455
16. The Ending of Slavery in the Eastern Belgian Congo 462
Precolonial slavery 464
The growth of slave labor under Zanzibari rule 465
Redeeming slaves and recruiting labor in King Leopold's Congo 467
Slavery and forced labor under Belgian rule 473
Conclusion 478
VI. Reflections
17. The Cultural Context of African Abolition 485
Predictions about and the reality of abolition 485
Western notions of slavery and the scenario of abolition 488
African cultural notions of "slavery," 490
The anthropology of emancipation 494
Index 507
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