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Indian Ocean Slavery in the Age of Abolition$
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Robert Harms, Bernard K Freamon, and David W. Blight

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300163872

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300163872.001.0001

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African Bondsmen, Freedmen, and the Maritime Proletariats of the Northwestern Indian Ocean World, c. 1500–1900

African Bondsmen, Freedmen, and the Maritime Proletariats of the Northwestern Indian Ocean World, c. 1500–1900

Chapter:
(p.200) 11 African Bondsmen, Freedmen, and the Maritime Proletariats of the Northwestern Indian Ocean World, c. 1500–1900
Source:
Indian Ocean Slavery in the Age of Abolition
Author(s):

Janet J. Ewald

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300163872.003.0011

This chapter explores the use of the word “sidi” or “seedie” and its multiple meanings in the maritime life in the northwest Indian Ocean. It argues that the multiple meanings of the word “sidi” offer a palimpsest that reveals continuities and changes in African bondage over almost four centuries in the region. The history of enslaved mariners and seafarers is explored, showing the existence of a maritime proletariat. The reign of Malik Ambar is discussed as well as the role of Europeans in bringing war captives and other enslaved persons into maritime commerce. With the rise of demand for indentured labor, the abolition of slavery in British territories, commercialization and improvements in technologies, millions were pulled into ocean voyages in the nineteenth century. These events led to the rise of another community of “seedies,” segregated African workers on boats, who also shared a heritage of African enslavement.

Keywords:   Sidis/Seedies, maritime proletariat, Malik Ambar, ocean vogages, maritime commerce

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