Reexamining the Illegal Slave Trade in the Nineteenth-Century Atlantic, Part 1: Abolition in Practice: The Implementation of the Abolition Treaties in the Nineteenth-Century Atlantic

AHA Session 240
Conference on Latin American History 47
Sunday, January 4, 2015: 2:30 PM-4:30 PM
Murray Hill Suite A (New York Hilton, Second Floor)
Anita Rupprecht, University of Brighton
Jane Landers, Vanderbilt University

Session Abstract

The study of the slave trade abolition process set in motion by the British at the beginning of the nineteenth century goes hand in hand with the study of the foreign relations among the different nations involved in the trade and in the suppression activities. This panel focuses precisely on the diplomatic side of the story by examining the ways in which the British – and eventually other governments – negotiated, imposed, and effectively enforced abolitionist policies in the Atlantic basin. All four papers address aspects of these foreign relations, including the role of the British Navy and the Mixed Commission Courts established in various Atlantic ports to implement these abolitionist policies. Instead of the traditional diplomatic history, focused on the political and higher-level debates, recent work has approached abolition through the eyes of a variety of Atlantic actors, including the British Government and their enforcing agents but also the Africans emancipated as a result of these policies and the slave traders themselves.