Tag Archives | abolition

The Liberated Africans Project has been launched!

The Liberated Africans Project provides historical resources and data related to transatlantic slave trade. Between 1808 and 1868, officers, primarily from the British navy, captured hundreds of slave ships and brought them into this network of mixed commissions. During the six decades known as the ‘illegal slave trade era’, these international courts liberated upwards of 200,000 people. However, this united effort had a limited impact on the overall suppression of the trans-Atlantic slave trade because an estimated 2.6 million people still crossed the Atlantic in this period with the majority landing in Brazil (1.8 million), followed by Cuba (685,000). According to the treaties, the mixed commissions could condemn a slave ship for re-sale, but the courts could not exact penalties on the owners, captains, and crew, who in many cases returned to the lucrative business on the same ship. Although Great Britain emancipated slaves in their colonies in 1834, most other nations did not abolish slavery in the Americas until much later: this included France and Denmark in 1848, the Netherlands in 1863, the United States in 1865, Cuba in 1886, and Brazil in 1888. These courts produced extensive documentation about tens of thousands of people victimized by the trans-Atlantic […]

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Between Indenture and Slavery? African indentured laborers in the French West Indies (1852-1862)

Following the abolition of slavery in the French Caribbean, a certain type of forced labor called ‘indenture’ was implemented. It consisted in forcing laborers to work for a certain number of years in order for them to ‘buy’ their own freedom. Céline Flory explores the extent to which this specific form of labor consisted in a rupture or a continuity with slavery.   Céline Flory is a historian chargée de recherche at CNRS, France. Her research focuses on indenture and post-slavery Caribbean, more precisely on the social and cultural trajectory of African, Indian and Chinese engagés and their descendants. Her book, De l’esclavage à la Liberté Forcée. Histoire des travailleurs africains engagés dans la Caraïbe française du XIXe siècle, published in 2015 by Karthala has been granted the Fetkann – Maryse Condé 2015 Research Award.   During the nineteenth century, all Caribbean slave societies abolished slavery and gradually passed from a system based on slave labor to a system based on wage earning. During this transition, most societies resorted to a form of unfree labor: the indentured labor system. France was no exception. After 27 April 1848, when slavery in the French colonies was permanently abolished, colonial administrators and planters […]

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