Fall 2012 African Studies Distinguished Lecture
The port of Benguela was a major outlet for the departure of slaves in the era of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Yet, the historiography downplays the impact of the slave trade in West Central Africa and slavery has been understood as a “marginal institution.” This talk reexamined these points. It emphasized that the trans-Atlantic slave trade was a story of the South Atlantic and that Benguela and its population played a major role in that trade. From the seventeenth century to the mid–nineteenth century, coastal and inland populations joined the Atlantic commerce, which had a profound effect on the subsequent history of the region and of West Central Africa as a whole. In discussing the impact of the trans-Atlantic slave trade on African societies, Mariana P. Candido explored the formation of new elites, the collapse of old states and the emergence of new ones, and mechanisms of enslavement.