Dahomean Rulers and the Luso-Brazilian Slave Trade

Saturday, January 7, 2012: 9:00 AM
Iowa Room (Chicago Marriott Downtown)
Ana Lucia Araujo, Howard University
This paper examines the correspondence between the Portuguese rulers and Dahomean kings during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The letters provide us new elements to understand West African–European reciprocal perceptions and relations. The letters reveal the growing importance of European luxury products in Dahomean economy. Describing the main political and military conflicts held during the era of the Atlantic slave trade, the letters also reveal to what extent West African rulers were aware of European conflicts such as the Napoleonic Wars. They also shed light on the impact European conflicts had on Dahomey’s economy and how those events contributed to the decline of the Atlantic slave trade in West African ports such as Ouidah.
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