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date: 26 September 2022

Slavery in Luanda and Benguelalocked

Slavery in Luanda and Benguelalocked

  • Mariana P. CandidoMariana P. CandidoDepartment of History, Emory University
  •  and Vanessa OliveiraVanessa OliveiraRoyal Military College of Canada

Summary

The institution of slavery existed in West Central Africa before the arrival of Europeans as a form of labor exploitation. While in local states political elites targeted outsiders and criminals as potential captives, slavery in the colonial settlements of Luanda and Benguela was similar to bondage in other Atlantic ports such as Rio de Janeiro, Havana, or Cartagena, and even in other colonial towns on the African coast including Cape Town and Lagos. Captives of war or people born into bondage performed most of the domestic and public labor. Their productive and reproductive capacities were appropriated for the benefit of their owners. Slaves could be bought and sold, were considered property, and did not enjoy rights, including to their own sexuality. Despite owners’ control, enslaved men and women resisted oppression and sought to ameliorate their condition and status through different strategies such as flight or paying for their own manumission. Slavery remained an important element of colonial societies in Luanda and Benguela until it was officially abolished in 1869, and new forms of compulsory labor were introduced.

Subjects

  • Slavery and Slave Trade

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