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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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Slaves of One Master: Globalization and the African Diaspora in Arabia in the Age of Empire

Slaves of One Master: Globalization and the African Diaspora in Arabia in the Age of Empire

Chapter:
(p.223) 12 Slaves of One Master: Globalization and the African Diaspora in Arabia in the Age of Empire
Source:
Indian Ocean Slavery in the Age of Abolition
Author(s):

Matthew S. Hopper

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300163872.003.0012

This chapter chronicles the early twentieth-century demand for slave labor in the Persian Gulf, created by the rapidly expanding date and pearl industries in the region. It argues that the slave trade between East Africa and Arabia must not be seen as part of an “Islamic slave trade,” but rather as part of a labor system driven by global economic forces. The chapter recounts the number of East Africans captured in the Indian Ocean slave trade and details factors that fueled that trade. It is critical of the historiography that argues that Middle Eastern slavery fundamentally differed from Atlantic slavery. It then provides a detailed account of the early twentieth century date-farming and pearl-diving operations in the Gulf and the relation of African labor to those operations as well as an account of the collapse of the industries, showing that economics, and not religion, determined the fate of the enslaved.

Keywords:   date-farming, pearl-diving, Islamic slave trade, East Africa, Arabia

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