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Article

Jeremy Rich

king of Dahomey, was born sometime in the middle of the eighteenth century. His father was Agonglo, king of Dahomey from 1789 to 1797. Adandozan was the eldest son of Agonglo. Oral narratives collected later in the nineteenth century presented him as incompetent and mentally deranged, but it should be kept in mind that rival royal family members eventually ousted Adandozan from power and would have had a vested interest in deriding his achievements. Adandozan ascended to the throne of Dahomey in 1797, in a time marked by difficulties for the kingdom. The royal slave-trading monopoly ran aground on international difficulties, particularly the decision of the French government to abandon the slave trade from 1794 to 1802 and the British and US governments’ decision to abandon the slave trade in 1807 and 1808 respectively The British government began to send warships to stop other countries from purchasing ...

Article

George Michael La Rue

preeminent trans-Saharan merchant and caravan leader (khabir) from the Sudanese kingdom of Darfur, was born in Kubayh, the son of Ibrahim ibn ʿAli, a Tirayfi merchant from Kordofan who immigrated to Darfur, and an unknown mother. He was commonly known as khabir ʿAli. In the nineteenth century Darfur was Egypt’s leading supplier of trans-Saharan goods including ivory, ostrich feathers, and slaves. In 1838, when Darfur’s sultan Muhammad Fadl died, young ʿAli ibn Ibrahim had already crossed the Sahara along the route from Kubayh (Darfur’s commercial capital) to Asyut in Upper Egypt, perhaps as part of a caravan led by his mentor, paternal uncle, and future father-in-law, Muhammad Kannun, or one of the lesser Tirayfi caravan leaders. ʿAli ibn Ibrahim allegedly heard the news of the sultan’s death from Muhammad ʿAli, the viceroy of Egypt.

ʿAli married six times and had numerous children His first marriage was probably ...

Article

Alloron  

Stephanie Beswick

Sudanese leader, was the first prominent Bari private merchant, slave trader, and opportunist insurgent warlord. He rose to power during the 1860s by exploiting poisonous dynastic rivalries between Nyigilo and Subek, the royal sons of Lagunu, the unchallenged Bari leader in 1840, and their respective noble offspring. The faction of Nyigilo had enjoyed the support of Catholic missionaries up to their departure in 1860, but thereafter allied with the northern slave traders who at that time were establishing fortified trading operations throughout southern Sudan. It was to become an era, for the first time in Bari history, during which commoner traders such as Alloron found it possible to acquire economic and political power. However, the upstart was often reminded of his humble origins by the epithet “man without rain,” implying that he lacked the arcane fructifying powers of royalty.

The arrival of Turks northern Sudanese and Europeans ...

Article

Awutiek  

Stephanie Beswick

chief of the Palyoupiny Malwal, created an early aristocratic Dinka state in the southern Sudan during the 1880s. Awutiek’s uncle and predecessor Duang Marial had gained power by collaborating with slave traders such as Zubayr and with officials of the Egyptian colonial government. These lessons were not lost on the young chief Awutiek, who quickly realized the importance of firearms and purchased large quantities from Fertit middlemen, northern Sudanese traders, and Azande. He also acquired arms from Mahdists fallen in battle. Awutiek built a standing army. He set his warriors to regular military drills and maintained a strong, well-trained force. By 1892 having annihilating the last Mahdist force to venture into his territory Awutiek extended his influence down the Chell and Loll Rivers as far as the Rek country in the eastern Bahr el Ghazal By the height of his power Awutiek controlled most of the diverse peoples living ...

Article

Richard A. Bradshaw

a Bandia paramount chief (or “sultan”) of the Nzakara kingdom, a precolonial polity spanning the Mbali River in the southeastern region of what is now the Central African Republic. Named Kpangba at birth, he adopted the name Bangassou (“blazing sun”). According to Nzakara oral history, his father was Mbali/Bali (Mbari/Bari) “the gazelle,” son of Gwendi (or Boendi) “the taciturn,” son of Beringa “the drunkard,” son of Dunga “the quarrelsome,” son of Gobenge, son of Pobdi, son of Bwanda “the healer,” son of Agungu, son of Pongiet, son of Bongumu. These ancestors of Bangassou were members of the Bandia clan who left their Ngbandi homeland on the Ubangi River and conquered the Nzakara people.

The Bandia rulers participated in the growing slave trade of the nineteenth century and incorporated women and children into their polity thus prospering while nearby peoples in stateless societies were raided by slave traders The Nzakara often ...

Article

The triangular shipping route of the slave trade largely formed the banking industry in England. British goods such as textiles, arms, and iron were exchanged for slaves in Africa, which were then transported to the West Indies and traded for sugar, tobacco, cotton, spices, and rum. The triangular trade was a system of immense earnings, as every ship sailed with a profitable cargo. The wealth generated by the triangular trade brought increased affluence to the planters who cultivated the West Indian produce, the merchant capitalists who sold the slaves, and the industrial capitalists who produced the British goods, which in turn demanded new banking facilities and functions.

Primary of these new requirements was insurance Shipowners and slave merchants themselves insured early voyages travelling the triangular trade route However the increasing amount of bills drawn against West Indian merchants and accumulated wealth soon required large scale insurance schemes most often drawn ...

Article

Jonathan Morley and Cassandra Adjei

City with historic links to the slave trade. The first guns to be exported to Africa in 1698 were manufactured in Birmingham, renowned for its metalworking; this triggered a growth in the city's industries, and by 1766, 100,000 guns a year were shipped, as well as other tools of the slave trade: manacles, chains, branding irons, thumbscrews, pincers, muzzles, and instruments for prising open the mouths of recalcitrant slaves to make them eat. Cheaply made flintlock muskets, the guns were often dangerous to their users, and contributed to the militarization of the continent: it has been estimated that 20 million went to Africa by 1907.

The city's Lunar Society (a group of freethinkers and radicals) included members who were vehement abolitionists. Thomas Day, from Lichfield, was co‐author with Joseph Bicknell of the poem The Dying Negro (1773 a famous tract that spoke of a ...

Article

Roland Barksdale-Hall and Diane L. Barnes

The television adaptation of Alex Haley's Roots (1976), which traced the history of a black family beginning with its African progenitor, Kunta Kinte, aired to wide public acclaim in the 1970s. The family saga generated considerable attention, as evidenced by a rise in popular interest about the black family and genealogical organizations across the United States. The following decade Dorothy Spruill Redford organized a reunion of more than two thousand descendants of enslaved Africans—including herself—and their masters, then wrote Somerset Homecoming (1988). From the end of the twentieth century, Edward Ball's Slaves in the Family (1998) tells the story of the intertwined lives of slaves and their masters in antebellum South Carolina.

Firsthand slave narratives, while limited in number, are excellent primary sources. Narratives that give accounts of enslaved Africans' introduction to the Americas, such as the two-volume Interesting Narrative of the ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Atlantic slave-trade survivor presented as a gift to Britain's Queen Victoria, was born in the early 1840s in or near the southern Beninese town of Okeadon. Her birth name is not known, but her marriage certificate would list her name as Ina Sarah Forbes Bonetta, perhaps indicating that her original name was Ina. Southern Beninese states had fought for years against the inland kingdom of Dahomey for autonomy, as the slave-trading empire sought to force its southern neighbors to pay tribute and accept Dahomean control over the slaves that were often sold to European and South American merchants. In 1846 Dahomean soldiers seized her and killed her parents during the Okeadon War between Dahomey and its enemies in the Yoruba city of Abeokuta after a traitor had allowed Dahomean troops entry to the town Bonetta was fortunate she did not join the 600 or so town residents ...

Article

Bristol  

Madge Dresser

City in the south‐west of England whose importance to black history is firmly established by its long‐term involvement in the transatlantic slave economy, by its subsequent links to the North American anti‐slavery movement, and by the developments affecting its relatively small black population since the 1960s.

1.Bristol and the ...

Article

John W. Pulis and David Simonelli

[This entry contains two subentries dealing with the Caribbean from 1492 through 1895 The first article discusses the Caribbean slave trade the transmission of cultural identities and the Caribbean s influence on North America while the second article discusses the 1834 emancipation of slaves in the Caribbean and annual ...

Article

Abomey, the capital of Dahomey, was founded around 1620 by Dogbari, who fled Allada after his brothers fought with one another for control of that kingdom. Dogbari’s grandson, Wegbaja, expanded Abomey through military conquest and consolidated it into a powerful state in the middle to late 1600s. Wegbaja’s grandson, Agaja, conquered both Allada and Whydah in the 1720s, founding the kingdom of Dahomey with its capital at Abomey. The government of Dahomey was an absolute monarchy with a well-established, centralized state and bureaucracy. Dahomey became heavily involved in the European slave trade, which had begun in earnest a century previous with the arrival of the Dutch.

The rule of Gezu (1818–1858) marked the pinnacle of Dahomey’s power and influence. Military victories enabled the kingdom of Dahomey to stop paying its annual tribute to the Oyo empire of what is now Nigeria Still the end of the slave ...

Article

Eric Young

The town of Douala first developed on the southeastern shore of the Wouri River estuary in the 1700s as a station for the transatlantic slave trade. Dutch merchants initially dominated the transatlantic trade, but the town was also frequented by ethnic Duala traders, many of whom acted as middlemen in the human traffic. British influence slowly usurped the Dutch until 1884, when Germany, after signing a treaty with two Duala chiefs, formally colonized Cameroon. With a good harbor, Douala quickly became the colony’s largest trading center, attracting African migrants as well as German and, later, French and British colonists. During World War II (1939–1945), it briefly served as the colonial capital.

Although Yaoundé is now the capital of Cameroon post independence infrastructure projects have solidified Douala s role as a national and regional economic hub Today Douala handles approximately 95 percent of the country s ...

Article

Delano Greenidge-Copprue

Before his apprenticeship as a ship's caulker in Baltimore, Maryland, Frederick Douglass (then Frederick Bailey) was imprisoned for a week in Easton, Maryland, when his 1835 plan to escape the slavery of the colonel Edward Lloyd's plantation at Saint Michaels was discovered. Along with four conspirators, Douglass was shackled and pulled by horses, stumbling and at times simply dragged over the fifteen miles from the plantation to the jail in Easton.

As the seat of Talbot County on Maryland's Eastern Shore, Easton was a haven for traders who made a living buying slaves from jails and selling them into the more concentrated plantation labor of the Deep South. Hounded by traders while imprisoned in Easton, Douglass never forgot them. On 5 July 1852 Douglass denounced Austin Woolfolk a Maryland slave trader at whose slave mart on Pratt Street in Baltimore the fates of countless African Americans were ...

Article

Richard H. Steckel

The agenda for research on many topics in studying slavery in the United States was established during the nineteenth century. The charges and countercharges of the pre–Civil War debate over slavery and abolition left a residue of ideas condemning the “peculiar institution.” Hinton Rowan Helper argued that inefficiencies inherent in slavery retarded Southern economic growth, while Frederick Law Olmsted maintained that slave labor was less productive than free labor and that investments in slaves were generally unprofitable. By the twentieth century, themes of growth retardation, inefficiency, nonviability, unprofitability, and the harshness of slave life often appeared in works on antebellum Southern history. Thus when Alfred Conrad and John Meyer in 1958 published their famous paper ushering in the new economic history, they confronted widely held views and ways of thinking about slavery and the Southern economy.

Work conducted in the decade or so following the paper by Conrad and Meyer ...

Article

Europe  

Robert H. Gudmestad

European visitors to the United States were keenly interested in slavery, African Americans, and race relations in America. Few blacks lived in Europe, as slavery had been abolished there, and almost no black Americans visited the Continent. European visitors held a spectrum of opinions about Americans and their customs: some praised qualities like ingenuity and democracy, while others criticized a lack of good manners. Europeans, though, were almost universal in their condemnation of slavery, even as they held a variety of opinions about African Americans.

Visitors traveling to northern states usually found their contact with African Americans to be agreeable. There were relatively few blacks in these areas; Europeans saw blacks working as both skilled and unskilled laborers. African Americans might carry luggage into an inn, serve meals in restaurants, or repair shoes. The Russian diplomat Pavel Svin'in visited the United States between 1811 and 1813 He went to ...

Article

Exeter  

Lucy MacKeith

City with a low black population, but a good example of the historical presence of Blacks in areas outside the major port cities, an indication of how omnipresent they were in Britain from the 17th century onwards.

Parish registers provide examples such as the burial on 4 February 1631 at St Mary Major of ‘Thomas, sonne of a Blackamore’; the baptisms on 16 February 1689 at St Stephen's of ‘Mary Negro, black’, on 9 April 1735 of ‘Charles English, negro’, and on 4 December 1778 of ‘Thomas Walker, a black boy’; and the burial on 8 May 1791 of ‘Robert Hill, black, a servant at the Devon and Exeter Hospital’.

A contemporary broadsheet in November 1668 gives details of ‘200 blacks brought from the plantations of the Netherlands in America’, part of the procession led by William of Orange on his way to claim the throne in London. On 22 ...

Article

Glasgow  

Jacqueline Jenkinson

One of Britain's leading trading ports between the 17th and 20th centuries. Links between Glasgow and the black world originated through trade. In the late 17th century the merchant guilds of Glasgow added to its flourishing trade with the colonial tobacco plantations in mainland North America by forging trading connections with the West Indies. The Glasgow West India Association was founded in 1807. The Association spent many of its early years defending the slave trade interest. Glasgow was involved in the slave trade, but to a much smaller degree in comparison to the major slaving ports of Bristol, London, and Liverpool. Trade connections and the slave trade led to the creation of a permanent black presence in Glasgow by the late 18th century as black people arrived, settled, and married. One early black Glaswegian was David Cunningham lawfully born to Anthony a black labourer and ...

Article

Haiti  

Philippe R. Girard

Haiti, which occupies the western third of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, is the Western Hemisphere's second independent republic and the world's first black republic. Frederick Douglass served as U.S. minister and consul general to Haiti from 1889 to 1891. Christopher Columbus landed in Haiti (which he named Hispaniola) during his first transatlantic voyage in 1492. The island was home to Arawak Taino Indians, almost all of whom died of disease and bad treatment within fifty years of Columbus's arrival. Because of a dwindling Indian population and limited gold reserves, Hispaniola quickly became a backwater of Spain's American empire. France acquired the western third of the island under the Treaty of Ryswick (1697 and renamed it Saint Domingue Under French rule cultivation of coffee sugarcane cotton and indigo turned Haiti into the richest European colony in the Western Hemisphere but this success came at a price ...

Article

British relations with Haiti commence with the ill‐fated 1793 invasion of Saint‐Domingue, when Britain tried—but failed miserably—to wrest the richest colony in the world from French control during the upheavals of its revolutionary war (1791–1803). When Haitian independence was finally proclaimed in 1804, the British government (along with all of the other major powers) refused to recognize the second republic in the Western hemisphere, largely because it was also the first to constitutionally abolish slavery. Haiti's revolutionary foundation initiated a long‐running debate throughout the Atlantic world over how to react to the existence of a black republic at the core of the transatlantic system of slavery that drove the world economy.

In the northern Kingdom of Haiti, Henri Christophe (President, 1806–11, King 1811–20 wished to establish friendly relations with Britain partly as protection against French reconquest He modelled his government on Britain s liberal monarchy ...