Afro-European Trade in the Atlantic World

February 2015
5 line illustrations
280 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Western Africa Series
Library eBook
James Currey
BISAC HIS001000, POL023000, HIS037050

Afro-European Trade in the Atlantic World

The Western Slave Coast, c. 1550- c. 1885

Silke Strickrodt

eBook for Handhelds
A uniquely detailed account of the dynamics of Afro-European trade in two states on the western Slave Coast over three centuries and the transition from slave trade to legitimate commerce.
From 1550 to colonial partition in the mid-1880s, trade was key to Afro-European relations on the western Slave Coast (the coastal areas of modern Togo and parts of what are now Ghana and Benin). This book looks at the commercial relations of two states which played a crucial role in the Atlantic slave trade as well as the trade in ivory and agricultural produce: Hula, known to European traders as Grand Popo (now in Benin) and Ge, known as Little Popo (now in Togo). Situated between the Gold Coast to the west and the eastern Slave Coast to the east, this region was an important supplier of provisions for Europeans and the enslaved Africans they purchased. Also, due to its position in the lagoon system, it facilitated communication along the coast between the trading companies' headquarters on the western Gold Coast and their factories on the eastern Slave Coast, particularly at Ouidah, the Slave Coast's major slave port. In the 19th century, when the trade at more established ports was disrupted by the men-of-war of the British anti-slave trade squadron, the western Slave Coast became a hot-spot of illegal slave trading.
Providing a detailed reconstruction of political and commercial developments in the western Slave coast, including the transition from the slave trade to legitimate commerce, this book also reveals the region's position in the wider trans-Atlantic trade network and how cross-cultural partnerships were negotiated; the trade's impact on African coastal "middlemen" communities; and the relative importance of local and global factors for the history of a region or community.

Silke Strickrodt is Research Fellow in Colonial History, German Historical Institute London. She is co-editor (with Robin Law and Suzanne Schwarz) of Commercial Agriculture, the Slave Trade and Slavery in Atlantic Africa (James Currey, 2013).

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Table of Contents

The regional setting
The Atlantic connection: Little Popo and the rise of Afro-European trade, c.1600 to 1702
The era of the warrior kings, 1702 to 1772
The era of the traders, 1772 to c.1807
Disintegration and reconstitution: political developments, 1820s to 1870s
From slaves to palm oil: Afro-European trade, c.1807 to 1870s
Epilogue: The colonial partition and its consequences, 1870s to c.1900


Required reading for anyone with an interest in the history of the region, as well as a valuable contribution to the history of West Africa and the Atlantic world in general. AFRICAN AFFAIRS

This book is a masterpiece of historical research, critical analysis, and writing. SLAVERY & ABOLITION

By providing the first extended analysis of Afro-European trade in the western Slave Coast, Strickrodt has helped to fill a much-needed void in our knowledge of the subject. H-ASIA

Impressively researched and very readable study of the Western Slave Coast. AFRICA

Strickrodt is a meticulous scholar. . . . She has written an account that is very valuable not only for the history of the peoples studied, but also for understanding the diverse ways the slave trade shaped those who participated in it. AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW

The work provides a thorough narrative of the events of the western Slave Coast that expertly connects internal and external causes of change. Recommended. CHOICE

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