- The Oxford Handbook of Modern African History
- List of Contributors
- Introduction African Histories: Past, Present, and Future
- Ecology and Environment
- Demography and Disease
- African Slave Trades in Global Perspective
- States and Statelessness
- Ethnicity and Identity
- Warfare and the Military
- The African Diaspora
- African Colonial States
- Law, Crime, and Punishment in Colonial Africa
- Work and Migration
- Between the Present and History: African Nationalism and Decolonization
- Indigenous African Religions
- New Religious Movements
- Education and Literacy
- Women and Gender
- Urbanization and Urban Cultures
- Health and Healing
- Economic Growth
- Visual Cultures
- Music in Modern African History
- African Literary Histories and History in African Literatures
- Communications and Media in African History
Abstract and Keywords
Slave trading is a salient theme in African history and in the continent’s global connections between the eleventh and nineteenth centuries. This chapter focuses on the economic dimensions of African slave trades, summarizes the state of research on the size and demography of slaving, and explores the commodity trades of which slaving was a part. It argues that whereas the slave trades have typically been studied ocean-by-ocean with Africa as a point of departure, recentring the history of slaving onto the African continent allows for a global perspective in which all of Africa’s slave trades can be taken into account simultaneously and in dynamic interaction. Shifting focus onto Africa allows for a number of themes common to different slave trades to emerge, including the key role of textiles in all of them.
Pier M. Larson is Professor of African and Indian Ocean History at The Johns Hopkins University. He grew up in southern Madagascar. His most recent book, Ocean of Letters: Language and Creolization in an Indian Ocean Diaspora (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009) examines the dispersion of Malagasy in the islands of the western Indian Ocean between 1640 and 1850 through colonial linguistic projects in their language. He is currently working on a history of literacy in nineteenth-century Madagascar and on the biography of a mixed-race family in the islands of France’s Indian Ocean empire between 1750 and 1850.
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