Catalogue


The slave coast of West Africa, 1550-1750 [electronic resource] : the impact of the Atlantic slave trade on an African society /
Robin Law.
imprint
Oxford : Clarendon Press ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1991.
description
viii, 376 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
ISBN
0198202288
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
author
imprint
Oxford : Clarendon Press ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1991.
isbn
0198202288
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
8065071
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 351-367) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1992-09:
Although this book is written as a general history of the rise and fall of several West African coastal political entities under the effect of an increasing demand for slave exports, Law's ultimate theme is the rise of the state of Dahomey and the nature of its society. His purpose is to determine which of two interpretations about the impact of slavery on Africa is correct. Karl Polanyi and Abraham Rotstein's Dahomey and the Slave Trade (CH, Sep'67) supported the anti-abolitionist view that Dahomey, by its own nature, was aggressive, militaristic, and brutal. Its notorious role in the export of slaves was a natural part of African conditions. I. A. Akinjogbin's Dahomey and its Neighbours 1700-1818 (1967) took the abolitionist view that the European demand for slaves corrupted African society. In a detailed social, political, and economic account of the precursors of Dahomey, based on both European archives and oral tradition, Law shows that the features for which Dahomey was famous were largely adopted from earlier coastal societies and that many of them had little to do with the existence of slavery. He does believe that the slave trade had an impact on the African economy but little effect on the nature of African politics or social relations. The book includes two excellent chapters on the commercial details of slave sales. A detailed, well-written examination of a small facet of the export of slaves from Africa. Maps. Upper-division undergraduates and above. R. T. Brown; Westfield State College
Reviews
Review Quotes
'This is a rich and detailed analysis of archival and published sources, a number of them brought to light by the author's own diligent digging. In an original and significant contribution to economic studies, Law has meticulously collected prices of slaves as quoted in cowrie currency for theperiod 1660-1750. The chronological chapters present a lively and well-ordered account of steadily renewed war and political change.'Patrick Manning, Northeastern University, Boston, Journal of African History, Volume 34, 1993
'major new study ... The book is ... a masterly reconstruction of a period and place that might easily have remained obscure. This is ... fundamental scholarship at its best, and the book will have a long life.'David Eltis, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, The Historian, Vol. 55, No. 4, Summer '93
'an impressively researched book that successsfully integrates political, economic and social history ... his book will surely stimulate further regional studies of the west African slave coast'Kenneth Morgan, West London Institute of Higher Education, History, No. 256, June 1994
'excellent book ... part of the richness of this fine book is the author's rejection of mon-causal explanations of why Dahomey happened ... Law has written one of the very best studies of a pre-colonial African kingdom. This is an accessible book that eschews posting technicality. It is ascrupulously honest book in which every conclusion is supported by visible evidence and in which gaps are openly acknowledged. In short it is exceptionally good history. It is also a model which one hopes others will seek to emulate.'Richard Rathbone, Bulletin SOAS, LIV, 1, '93
'It displays the careful, critical scholarship one expects from the author of The Oyo Empire ... it will be hard to controvert the sound scholarship that underlies this important contribution to the study of the Atlantic slave trade and to the history of West Africa.'Christopher Fyfe, African Affairs
'A detailed, well-written examination of a small facet of the export of slaves from Africa.'Choice
'...a major contribution to this debate, for it presents a calm and convincing analysis of one of the areas most deeply involved in the trade...it is loaded with carefully considered detail. Dr Law is to be most warmly congratulated for such a well-documented and ably argued analysis.'Shorter Notices
"A masterly reconstruction of a period and place that might easily have remained obscured....Fundamental scholarship at its best...the book will have a long life."--The Historian
"A masterly reconstruction of a period and place that might easily have remained obscured....Fundamental scholarship at its best...the book will have a long life."-- The Historian
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, September 1992
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
This book studies the impact of the Atlantic slave trade on the 'Slave Coast' of West Africa, an area covering modern south-eastern Ghana, Togo, Benin, and south-western Nigeria. This region was one of the most important sources of slaves for the Atlantic slave trade, and its history providesan exceptionally well-documented illustration of the effect of the trade on the indigenous African societies involved in it. The expansion of slave exports during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries coincided with a period of political disorder, which ended with the rise of the newkingdom of Dahomey. Dahomey was a more militarized and more politically centralized state than those which preceded it in the region, and its distinctive character reflected the impact of the slave trade. This is the first detailed study of the early history of the Slave Coast for over twenty years. Robin Law examines the events which preceded the rise of Dahomey, the organization of the slave trade and its impact on the domestic economy, and the social and political structures of Dahomey and itspredecessors. This is a meticulously researched, lucid, and scholarly analysis which makes an important contribution to the history of both early modern European expansion and pre-colonial West Africa.
Main Description
This book studies the impact of the Atlantic slave trade on the "Slave Coast" of West Africa, an area covering modern south-eastern Ghana, Togo, Benin, and south-western Nigeria. This region was one of the most important sources of slaves for the Atlantic slave trade, and its history provides an exceptionally well-documented illustration of the effect of the trade on the indigenous African societies of the Slave Coast. The expansion of the slave exports during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries coincided with a period of political disorder, which ended with the rise of the new kingdom of Dahomey. Dahomey was a more militarized and more politically centralized state than those which preceded it in the region, and its distinctive character reflected the impact of the slave trade. Law examines the events which preceded the rise of Dahomey, the organization of the slave trade and its impact on the domestic economy, and the social and political structures of Dahomey and its predecessors.
Long Description
This book studies the impact of the Atlantic slave trade on the 'Slave Coast' of West Africa, an area covering modern south-eastern Ghana, Togo, Benin, and south-western Nigeria. This region was one of the most important sources of slaves for the Atlantic slave trade, and its history provides an exceptionally well-documented illustration of the effect of the trade on the indigenous African societies involved in it. The expansion of slave exports during the seventeenth and earlyeighteenth centuries coincided with a period of political disorder, which ended with the rise of the new kingdom of Dahomey. Dahomey was a more militarized and more politically centralized state than those which preceded it in the region, and its distinctive character reflected the impact of the slavetrade.This is the first detailed study of the early history of the Slave Coast for over twenty years. Robin Law examines the events which preceded the rise of Dahomey, the organization of the slave trade and its impact on the domestic economy, and the social and political structures of Dahomey and its predecessors. This is a meticulously researched, lucid, and scholarly analysis which makes an important contribution to the history of both early modern European expansion and pre-colonial WestAfrica.
Table of Contents
Country and people
Economy and society
Polity and ideology
The Atlantic slave trade, I: the development of European enterprise
The Atlantic slave trade, II: the operation and impact of the trade
The decline of Allada, 1671-1720
The rise of Dahomey 1720-1734
The consoldiation of Dahomey 1734-1750
Conclusion: 'God made war for all the world'
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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