16th-Century Slave Routes: Zapes and Magarabomba in the Early Iberian Atlantic

Thursday, January 4, 2018: 9:20 PM
Palladian Ballroom (Omni Shoreham)
David Wheat, Michigan State University
Drawing on archival research conducted in collaboration with Marc Eagle (Western Kentucky University), this presentation traces the contours of a little-known but significant slave trade from Sierra Leone to the Canary Islands, the Cape Verde Islands, and to various sites in the Spanish Caribbean during the late 1550s and 1560s. The forced migration and dispersal of individuals described in Iberian sources as "Zapes" or "blacks from Magarabomba" provides an illustrative example of how slave trafficking reinforced Iberian expansion on both sides of the Atlantic, while simultaneously linking overseas colonies to one another in ways that were not anticipated by metropolitan authorities.
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