Slave Trade Into Arabia 1820–1973, The

ISBN:  (13) 978-1-84097-130-9          Extent:   9 volumes, 7,000 pages

Editor:  A. Burdett   Published: 2006
Paper: Printed on acid free paper
Binding: Library bindings with gilt finish
See sample pages: not available
E-BOOK DIRECT LINK 

RESUMÉ
Historical analysis of slavery and the slave trade is extensive for the traffic from the west coast of Africa to North, Central and South America, and recently some publications have addressed ‘Islamic slavery,’ especially its social history, as well as aspects of the trade as it affected the Ottoman Empire. However, these monographs do not analyse in any detail the sea trade towards the Arabian littoral […]. One reason for lack of analysis of the Arabian trade may be because there is no single large community of slave descendants in the former Ottoman Middle East, as there is in the United States and the Caribbean. In tracing the massive effort made to stop the sea trade, it is hoped that this collection of documents will also convey the scale of the diaspora out of east Africa.

HISTORICAL OVERVIEW


This document collection is drawn from British official records available in the National Archives in London, including records from the Admiralty, the Foreign Office, the Colonial Office, and the Treasury; and in the Oriental and India Office Collections of the British Library. Unusually a separate subject class – the Slave Trade records – was created within the Foreign Office, a combination of naval reports and political correspondence where documents were diverted from the usual geographic classes.
The naval reports and diplomatic records are interdependent: the actions of the navy cannot be understood without the background political guidance, and the naval reports inform and impel the diplomats in their actions. Foreign Office despatches tend to address the international political and legal ramifications, while those of the India Office, the Government of Bombay, the Political Resident of the Persian Gulf and the various Political Agents report the attitudes of the Arab chieftains, local customs and attitudes to slavery, the delicate position of enforcing agreed international practices with Ottoman and local Arab officials at ports, and the procedure for manumitting (legally freeing) slaves. The efforts of all of these departments reflect the complexities in monitoring and attempting to deter the trade.

DOCUMENTARY IMPORTANCE


This document collection is drawn from British official records available in the National Archives in London, including records from the Admiralty, the Foreign Office, the Colonial Office, and the Treasury; and in the Oriental and India Office Collections of the British Library.
These nine volumes contain the original political despatches, correspondence and systematic naval reports which relate meetings with Sultans and chieftains, interviews with captured slave dealers, informants and freed slaves; correspondence between British officials, and with their Ottoman, Egyptian, French, Italian and Arab counterparts; firmans from the Sublime Porte; bilateral and multinational conventions and treaties, which little by little began to lay down an agreed international framework aimed initially at modifying, then gradually containing, and eventually, only after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, aiming at total suppression of the slave trade.

ARRANGEMENT OF VOLUMES


Volume 1: 1820- 1849
Volume 2: 1850- 1875
Volume 3: 1876- 1884
Volume 4: 1885- 1900
Volume 5: 1900- 1926
Volume 6: 1927- 1935
Volume 7: 1935- 1948
Volume 8: 1948- 1956
Volume 9: 1957- 1973

KEY DOCUMENTS


From Shaikh Yusuf Yasin, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mecca, December 14th 1947:
“[…] I received at Cairo your ’personal’ letter … regarding information received by you about the smuggling of slaves from the neighbourhood of Massawa. I desire that Your Excellency may assure the British Government that His Majesty’s Government (Saudi Arabia) is taking the keenest watch and exerting the utmost efforts to prevent their entry into this country. The Government has already got hold of many of them, returned them to their homes, and punished the perpetrators.”
 
Arabian Chiefs in the Persian Gulf: Agreement with Sultan Bin Sugger, and with Rashid Ben Humeed, Mukhtoom Ben Buttye, and Khaleefa Ben Shakbool, Chiefs of Ras el Khyma, Ejinan, Debaye, and Aboothabee. Shargah, April 17, 1838:
“In the event of vessels connected with my port, or belonging to my subjects, coming under suspicion of being employed in the carrying off and embarkation of slaves, men, women, or children, I do hereby agree to their being detained and searched, whenever or wherever they may be fallen in with on the seas, by the cruizers of the British government; and further, that on its being ascertained that the crews have carried off and embarked slaves, then their vessels shall be liable to seizure and confiscation by the aforesaid cruizers.”