Negotiating Abolition: Cape Town and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Harries, Patrick. (2013) Negotiating Abolition: Cape Town and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Slavery & Abolition, 34 (4). pp. 579-597.

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The city of Cape Town owes its origins to its role as a refreshment station for Dutch East India Company (VOC) vessels. Yet the fairest Cape' was also a half-way station for slave ships making their way from the south-western Indian Ocean to the Americas. This article examines the role of the Cape in the slave trade from Mozambique to the Americas during the 17 years following the Act of Abolition. While the Act effectively ended the importation of slaves to the Cape, it initially had little or no impact on the movement of slave ships through Table Bay. Despite Britain's opposition to the slave trade, the frequency with which slave vessels stopped at the Cape in the first few years after the implementation of the Act almost equalled the frequency with which they had called at the port in the last years of VOC rule. It was only when Britain tightened restrictions on the trade that the number of slavers visiting Table Bay declined and then finally halted in 1824. The conflicting interests of different branches of the British state limited the suppression of the trade, particularly in wartime. But the implementation of abolition was also retarded by negotiations over the parameters of international law and by the equivocations of a slave colony and its administration. This article aims both to bring the Cape into the history of the Trans-Atlantic' slave trade and to contribute to the broader history of the legal provisions behind abolition.
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Geschichte > Ehemalige Einheiten Geschichte > Geschichte Afrikas (Harries)
UniBasel Contributors:Harries, Patrick
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:23 Jun 2020 13:50
Deposited On:18 Jun 2020 15:31

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