This book is a comprehensive history of slavery in Africa from the earliest times to the end of the twentieth century, when slavery in most parts of the continent ceased to exist. It connects the emergence and consolidation of slavery to specific historical forces both internal and external to the African continent. Sean Stilwell pays special attention to the development of settled agriculture, the invention of kinship, 'big men' and centralized states, the role of African economic production and exchange, the interaction of local structures of dependence with the external slave trades (transatlantic, trans-Saharan, Indian Ocean), and the impact of colonialism on slavery in the twentieth century. He also provides an introduction to the central debates that have shaped current understanding of slavery in Africa. The book examines different forms of slavery that developed over time in Africa and introduces readers to the lives, work, and struggles of slaves themselves.
Sean Stilwell is Associate Professor of African History at the University of Vermont.
Preface; 1. Defining slavery, defining freedom; 2. Slavery in African history; 3. Slavery without states: land, lineages, and power in Africa; 4. Slavery and African states; 5. Slavery and African economics; 6. The end of slavery in Africa; Conclusion.