Slavery and Slaving in the Medieval and Post-Medieval Kingdoms of the Middle Nile

David N. Edwards

in Slavery in Africa

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 and Slaving in the Medieval and Post-Medieval Kingdoms of the Middle Nile

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While it is commonly assumed that slavery, and especially an external slave trade, were significant features of the history of the earlier kingdoms in the Middle Nile, the evidence for this is less certain than the confident assertions of earlier scholars might suggest. Drawing on a range of archaeological and historical evidence, this chapter reassesses our current understanding of the development of slavery in this region in the medieval and post-medieval periods. Forms of slavery were clearly ever-present within the Middle Nile region during both periods, with slave taking likely a common practice on the margins of its early kingdoms. A significant external trade in slaves, however, is hard to demonstrate before the sixteenth century. Our perceptions of such a trade as a timeless and eternal feature of the history of the Nile Valley deserve closer scrutiny.

Keywords: Middle Nile; slave trade; Nile Valley; external trade; medieval period; post-medieval period

Chapter.  11575 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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