“The Blood of Thousands”: Fighting Disease on Factories and Barracoons in the Illegal Slave Trade, 1820–67

Friday, January 5, 2018: 3:50 PM
Delaware Suite A (Marriott Wardman Park)
Manuel Barcia, University of Leeds
Building on my previous work on West African warfare in Bahia and Cuba, this paper addresses the essential issue of weaponry and war paraphernalia used by West African men and women in Bahia and Cuba throughout the first half of the nineteenth century. It argues that it was precisely thanks to the similarities existing between their African and American environments, that they were able to reproduce, almost to the detail, the ways in which they had acquired the weapons necessary to undertake their military actions across the Atlantic. Moving away from the concept of slave revolt, and considering these movements as actions of war, also allow for a more in-depth examination of the weaponry question. Were the weapons they used African or Western? How did West African practices associated with the arming of military forces were reproduced in the new setting provided by plantation societies in Bahia and Cuba? These, among other questions, will be raised and discussed in this presentation.