Another Form of Slave Ship: Local Nautical Technologies and Practices in the Persistence of the Senegambian Slave Trade (1818–1888)
Author(s): Pape Laity Diop
This is an abstract from the "To Move Forward We Must Look Back: The Slave Wrecks Project at 10 Years" session, at the 86th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.
Despite its abolition by France in 1818, the slave trade continued along the coasts of Senegambia until 1888. When, in 1822, France created a special African naval squadron stationed at Gorée Island to patrol the West African coasts, slave traders in the Senegambia responded by developing new strategies to escape French vigilance. This paper explores these strategies, focusing in particular how slave traders began to use used less suspicious local dugout canoes to transfer slaves to the Cape Verde islands where the slaves were then loaded onto larger slave ships for transatlantic exportation. Examining the structural characteristics and technical efficiencies of these local watercraft that represent another form of “slave ship,” this paper also demonstrates how slave traders exploited the weakness of trafficking contraventions laws and the bad faith of authorities. These strategies effectively neutralized naval security, enabled the traffic to persist for almost 70 years after it became illegal, and even transformed the transatlantic segment of slaving voyages by significantly shortening the distance traveled on larger ships from Cape Verde, destined primarily for Cuba and Brazil.
Cite this Record
Another Form of Slave Ship: Local Nautical Technologies and Practices in the Persistence of the Senegambian Slave Trade (1818–1888). Pape Laity Diop. Presented at The 86th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. 2021 ( tDAR id: 467107)
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min long: -18.809; min lat: -38.823 ; max long: 53.262; max lat: 38.823 ;
Abstract Id(s): 33412