Captives as Commodities The Transatlantic Slave Trade

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2007-10-17
  • Publisher: Pearson

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This book centers on one of the most tragic, horrifying, and important pieces of the history of the Western world: the transatlantic slave trade. Unlike any other system of commerce in world history, the primary commodities exchanged in the slave trade were people, and this fact has implications not only for how the trade was initiated, conducted, conceptualized, and concluded, but also for how we make sense of it in the present. For on one hand, the Atlantic slave trade was indeed trade, and as such it bears comparison with and was related to the expansion of a variety of global commercial networks. On the other hand, unlike other commodities driving cross-cultural exchange in world history, slaves were human, with all this implies about their vulnerability to pain and discomfort, their capacity to resist, their real or potential relationships with sellers and buyers, and-most fundamentally to those sellers and buyers-their labor power. Understanding the Atlantic slave trade thus requires studying economic and political history, dealing largely with those who bought and sold slaves, as well as the social and cultural history of slavers, the enslaved, and the societies they lived in and built. Book jacket.

Author Biography

Lisa A. Lindsay holds a Ph.D. in African history from University of Michigan and teaches at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Before developing her scholarship on the slave trade, she published Working with Gender: Wage Labor and Social Change in Southwestern Nigeria, Men and Masculinities in Modern Africa (co-edited with Stephen F. Miescher), and scholarly articles on colonial Nigeria.  She has held fellowships from the American Council of Learned Socities, the National Humanities Center, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. viii
Series Editor's Prefacep. x
About the Authorp. xv
Acknowledgmentsp. xvi
Introductionp. 1
The Slave Trade and the Western Worldp. 1
Ways of Studying the Slave Tradep. 2
Overview of the Atlantic Slave Tradep. 4
Connectionsp. 9
The Old World Background to New World Slaveryp. 10
The Maritime Revolution and European Trade with Africap. 14
Why Did Europeans Buy African Slaves?p. 22
Origins: Economics or Racism?p. 22
Early Labor Demand in the New Worldp. 24
Northern Europeans and the Expansion of the Slave Tradep. 30
The 18th-century Peak of the Slave Tradep. 34
Slavery and Racismp. 41
Conclusionp. 47
Sourcesp. 48
Why Did Africans Sell Slaves?p. 54
Common Mythsp. 54
General Interpretationsp. 55
The Slave Trade, Wealth, and Power in Africap. 57
The First Two Centuries of Transatlantic Slave Exports from Africap. 61
Expansion of the Tradep. 65
Effects of the Slave Trade on Africap. 74
Conclusionp. 77
Sourcesp. 78
How Did Enslaved People Cope?p. 84
The Henrietta Mariep. 84
Passages on Landp. 86
Passages at Seap. 89
African Cultures in the New Worldp. 96
Conclusionp. 104
Sourcesp. 106
How Did the Slave Trade End?p. 112
A Skeptical Queryp. 112
Profits and the Slave Tradep. 113
Ideology and Revolutionp. 114
Antislavery in the United Kingdomp. 118
Revolution in St. Dominguep. 123
Final Slave Trade Abolitionp. 128
What Explains British Antislavery?p. 132
Conclusionp. 134
Sourcesp. 136
Epilogue: Making Connections-Legacies of the Atlantic Slave Tradep. 142
The Slave Trade in Modern Memoryp. 142
Africap. 144
Great Britainp. 147
The Americasp. 149
Racism in the Americasp. 160
Slavery in the Contemporary Worldp. 162
The Big Lessonsp. 163
Bibliographyp. 165
Indexp. 171
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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