PreCirculatedMultiSession Moving Communities and Networks in the Era of the Atlantic Slave Trade, Part 4: West African Historical Actors during the Era of the Atlantic Slave Trade

AHA Session 133
Saturday, January 7, 2012: 9:00 AM-11:00 AM
Iowa Room (Chicago Marriott Downtown)
Matt D. Childs, University of South Carolina
Dahomean Rulers and the Luso-Brazilian Slave Trade
Ana Lucia Araujo, Howard University
From Signares to Citizens in Early Colonial Senegal
Lorelle D. Semley, College of the Holy Cross
Sandra E. Greene, Cornell University

Session Abstract

This panel examines the involvement of West African communities of Senegambia, Gold Coast and the Bight of Benin in the Atlantic slave trade. The four papers look at the different ways West African men and women, including rulers and slave merchants, as well as laptots, boat pilots, interpreters, rapaces, cabin boys, pileuses, carpenters, gourmets, porters, and soldiers, participated in the Atlantic slave trade. By examining a myriad of sources including oral interviews and archival written sources the various papers explore the interactions between West Africans and Europeans, by showing how West African local agents built multiple and fluid identities, and in most cases became intermediaries between Africans and Europeans. The various papers show how the cultural, political, and economic roles played by these individuals were critical for the development of the Atlantic slave trade. Although focusing on different regions, the papers argue that the activities of West African historical actors contributed in different ways for the development of transatlantic networks and communities.