“Richard Allen seeks to do for the Indian Ocean what Philip Curtin did in his census of the Atlantic slave trade forty-five years ago: to produce an estimation of the scale and geography of European slave trading activity beyond the Cape in the three centuries after 1500.”
David Richardson, coauthor of Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade
“It will become a standard work in the field…[Allen] would be the first to agree that this book is not the final word on its subject, but it is undoubtedly a highly significant milestone on the way.”
“Allen offers important insights that are likely to inform the debate on the Indian Ocean slave trade for years.… The volume’s annotated tables alone speak to several years of painstaking research on a variety of sources … a significant contribution that should find a place in the library of any scholar of the slave trade.”
African Studies Quarterly
“This book is essential reading for any serious scholar in the fields of Indian Ocean studies, world history, and comparative studies of slavery and abolition. One can only hope that Allen’s clarion call will be heeded and others will follow his lead to fill in the numerous remaining gaps in our knowledge of the Indian Ocean world.”
Journal of World History
Between 1500 and 1850, European traders shipped hundreds of thousands of African, Indian, Malagasy, and Southeast Asian slaves to ports throughout the Indian Ocean world. The activities of the British, Dutch, French, and Portuguese traders who operated in the Indian Ocean demonstrate that European slave trading was not confined largely to the Atlantic but must now be viewed as a truly global phenomenon. European slave trading and abolitionism in the Indian Ocean also led to the development of an increasingly integrated movement of slave, convict, and indentured labor during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the consequences of which resonated well into the twentieth century.
Richard B. Allen’s magisterial work dramatically expands our understanding of the movement of free and forced labor around the world. Drawing upon extensive archival research and a thorough command of published scholarship, Allen challenges the modern tendency to view the Indian and Atlantic oceans as self-contained units of historical analysis and the attendant failure to understand the ways in which the Indian Ocean and Atlantic worlds have interacted with one another. In so doing, he offers tantalizing new insights into the origins and dynamics of global labor migration in the modern world.
Richard B. Allen is the author of Slaves, Freedmen, and Indentured Laborers in Colonial Mauritius and numerous articles on the social and economic history of Mauritius as well as slavery and indentured labor in the Indian Ocean and colonial plantation worlds.
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