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Brokers of ChangeAtlantic Commerce and Cultures in Pre-Colonial Western Africa$
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Toby Green

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265208

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265208.001.0001

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Bartering for Slaves on the Upper Guinea Coast in the Early Seventeenth Century

Bartering for Slaves on the Upper Guinea Coast in the Early Seventeenth Century

Chapter:
(p.258) (p.259) 11 Bartering for Slaves on the Upper Guinea Coast in the Early Seventeenth Century
Source:
Brokers of Change
Author(s):

LINDA A. NEWSON

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197265208.003.0012

In the context of debates about the definition and origins of globalisation and the role of African agency in the Atlantic slave trade, this chapter examines the commodities traded by Portuguese New Christian slave traders on the Upper Guinea coast in the early 17th century. Based on detailed account books of three slave traders discovered in the Inquisition section of the Archivo General de la Nación in Lima, Peru, it shows how Africans often determined the types and prices of goods exchanged and forced Europeans to adapt to local trade networks. Hence while commodities such as Indian textiles and beads reflected the position of the Portuguese slave traders in a global trading network, at the same time they were actively involved in trading locally produced cloth and beeswax as well as slaves.

Keywords:   slave trade, Upper Guinea Coast, New Christians, Portuguese, globalisation, textiles, beeswax

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