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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Middle passages of the Southwest Indian Ocean: a century of forced immigration from Africa to the Cape of Good Hope
Author:Harries, PatrickISNI
Periodical:The Journal of African History (ISSN 0021-8537)
Geographic terms:South Africa
The Cape
Indian Ocean
External link:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021853714000097
Abstract:Forced immigration from the Southwest Indian Ocean marked life at the Cape of Good Hope for over a century. Winds, currents, and shipping linked the two regions, as did a common international currency, and complementary seasons and crops. The Cape's role as a refreshment station for French, Portuguese, American, and Spanish slave ships proved particularly important in the development of a commerce linking East Africa, Madagascar, and the Mascarenes with the Americas. This slave trade resulted in the landing at the Cape of perhaps as many as 40,000 forced immigrants from tropical Africa and Madagascar. Brought to the Cape as slaves, or freed slaves subjected to strict periods of apprenticeship, these individuals were marked by the experience of a brutal transhipment that bears comparison with the trans-Atlantic Middle Passage. The history of the Middle Passage occupies a central place in the study of slavery in the Americas and plays a vital role in the way many people today situate themselves socially and politically. Yet, for various reasons, this emotive subject is absent from historical discussions of life at the Cape. This article brings it into the history of slavery in the region. By focusing on the long history of this forced immigration, the article also serves to underline the importance of the Cape to the political and economic life of the Southwest Indian Ocean. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]