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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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On Becoming a British Lake

On Becoming a British Lake

Piracy, Slaving, and British Imperialism in the Indian Ocean during the First Half of the Nineteenth Century

Chapter:
(p.45) 3 On Becoming a British Lake
Source:
Indian Ocean Slavery in the Age of Abolition
Author(s):

Edward A. Alpers

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300163872.003.0003

Chapter 3 shows how the Indian Ocean became a “British Lake” and how that imperial transformation affected trade and geo-politics, particularly piracy and slave trading. It describes competing imperial entities in the region, making it a contested maritime space and involving Europeans as well as indigenous actors. The British initially showed no interest in the East African coast and the Persian Gulf. Two factors changed this: (1) development of an Anglo-Omani alliance and (2) British determination to abolish piracy and slave trading. The chapter details the importance of Gujurati merchant activity and capital in developing the Anglo-Omani alliance. It also focuses on the role of localized trading networks, characterized by familial, ethnic and religious ties and the rise of Islam throughout the region. The chapter asserts that anti-slavery, anti-slave trading, and anti-piracy policies were at the core of British imperial efforts in the first half of the nineteenth century.

Keywords:   British Lake, piracy, Anglo-Omani alliance, Gujurati merchants, slave trading

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