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Slavery in AfricaArchaeology and Memory$
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Paul Lane and Kevin C. MacDonald

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264782

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264782.001.0001

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Slavery and Slaving in the Medieval and Post-Medieval Kingdoms of the Middle Nile

Slavery and Slaving in the Medieval and Post-Medieval Kingdoms of the Middle Nile

Chapter:
(p.79) 5 Slavery and Slaving in the Medieval and Post-Medieval Kingdoms of the Middle Nile
Source:
Slavery in Africa
Author(s):

David N. Edwards

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197264782.003.0005

While it is commonly assumed that slavery, and especially an external slave trade, were significant features of the history of the earlier kingdoms in the Middle Nile, the evidence for this is less certain than the confident assertions of earlier scholars might suggest. Drawing on a range of archaeological and historical evidence, this chapter reassesses our current understanding of the development of slavery in this region in the medieval and post-medieval periods. Forms of slavery were clearly ever-present within the Middle Nile region during both periods, with slave taking likely a common practice on the margins of its early kingdoms. A significant external trade in slaves, however, is hard to demonstrate before the sixteenth century. Our perceptions of such a trade as a timeless and eternal feature of the history of the Nile Valley deserve closer scrutiny.

Keywords:   Middle Nile, slave trade, Nile Valley, external trade, medieval period, post-medieval period

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