European Slave Trading, Abolitionism, and “New Systems Of Slavery” in the Indian Ocean

Richard B Allen


Recent scholarship on British, Dutch, French, and Portuguese slave trading in the Indian Ocean highlights the need to explore structural connections between pre- and post-emancipation migrant labour systems in the colonial world. Europeans purchased and transported a minimum of 431,000-547,000 slaves of African, Indian, Malagasy, and Southeast Asian origin to destinations in the Indian Ocean world between 1500 and 1850. These data, coupled with recent research on European abolitionist activity in the region and the movement of convict and indentured labourers throughout and beyond this oceanic basin, point to the development of an increasingly integrated global movement of migrant labour during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.


Indian Ocean, slave trading, abolitionism, indentured labour, convict labour

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