Chapter

Slavery, Society, and the First Steps Towards an Atlantic Revolution in Western Africa (Fifteenth–Sixteenth Centuries)

ANTÓNIO DE ALMEIDA MENDES

in Brokers of Change

Published by British Academy

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780197265208
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754180 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197265208.003.0011

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Slavery, Society, and the First Steps Towards an Atlantic Revolution in Western Africa (Fifteenth–Sixteenth Centuries)

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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The chronological and geographical preferences of Atlantic researchers often produce historiographies cloistered in nationalisms and particularised cultural identities. The Portuguese expansion in the Atlantic world is often read as an epic of this time, bringing together the histories of Europe, Africa and the Americas and in fact legitimising and explicating the contemporary domination of the Global North over the Global South. This chapter localises the first contacts of Portuguese and Africans within the specific time and place of 15th-century Senegambia. Decoding the military and commercial initiatives of the Portuguese Crown and their North African and sub-Saharan African partners reveals an intertwined history linking the African and European continents. Initiatives coordinated by mercantile agents, together with the flux of free and forced labour, all contribute towards understanding the basis of the first Atlantic civilization based on production and labour.

Keywords: Atlantic World; Portugal; Senegambia; colonial societies; trade; commerce

Chapter.  8871 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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