Slavery in Africa

Edited by Paul Lane and Kevin C. MacDonald

Published by British Academy

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780197264782
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754012 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Slavery in Africa

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The role and consequences of slavery in the history of Africa have been brought to the fore recently in historical, anthropological, and archaeological research. Public remembrances — such as Abolition 2007 in Great Britain, which marked the bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act and which this book also commemorates — have also stimulated considerable interest. There is a growing realisation that enslavement, whether as part of a sliding scale of ‘rights in persons’ or due to acts of violence, has a history on the African continent that extends back in time long before the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. The nature of such enslavement is obscured by the lack of resolution in historical sources before the middle of the second millennium ad. Ground-breaking archaeological research is now building models for approaching slave labour systems via collaboration with historians and the critical scrutiny of historical data. Generally, such new research focuses at the landscape scale; rather than attempting to find physical evidence of slavery per se, it assesses the settlement systems of slavery-based economies, and the depopulation and abandonment that followed from wars of enslavement. This book offers chapters on recent archaeological studies of slavery, slave resistance and its contemporary commemoration, alongside archaeological assessments of the economic, environmental, and political consequences of slave trading in a variety of historical and geographical settings.

Keywords: slavery; history of Africa; Abolition 2007; Slave Trade Act; rights in persons; acts of violence; African continent; settlement systems; slavery-based economies

Book.  352 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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