Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
Book Review: An African Slaving Port on the Atlantic, by Mariana Candido
The impact of the trans-Atlantic slave trade on the people living in Angola during the seventeenth century onwards was monumental. The Portuguese presence in the Benguelan harbour caused disorder, social strain, and sociocultural transformation for the people specifically residing in Benguela. In the study An African Slaving Port on the Atlantic, Mariana Candido outlines the progression of Benguela starting from the primary Portuguese voyage in the seventeenth century until the mid-nineteenth century. She illustrates Benguela’s inauspicious beginnings and their growth into one of the…show more content… She attempts to set herself away from the classic studies done on African slavery and colonization, and “rather than relying on ethnographic data from the early twentieth century, [she] uses contemporary evidence, such as parish records, slave registers, and colonial reports to explore how people in Benguela identified themselves.8 Her insight, mixed with her vigorous research, makes her study emerge compelling and stronger than others, even if the reader has never read into Benguelan slave history previously.
The volume is written in chronological order, and covers over two-hundred years. It begins before the arrival of the Portuguese, when Benguela was only known for their copper inland and had good relations with the neighboring populations. After giving an insightful background on Benguela before colonialism, Candido moves into the imposing Portuguese period, where the Portuguese begin to take advantage of the Benguelan resources, and turned their harbor into one of the largest trans-Atlantic slave ports. As the book continues, Candido opens up about the political issues between the Umbantu people and the colonies settling within the hinterland. She describes trade networks, British and Portuguese laws, and allows for the largest portion of the book to describe the mechanics of the slave trade. The political reconfiguration after Benguela gained their