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As we approach the bicentenary of the abolition of the Atlantic trade Walvin has selected the historical texts that recreate the mindset that made such a savage institution possib. Man is the only intelligent animal This faculty had helped him rule over all the other species of flora and fauna Somewhere along the line he obtained mastery over some of his own species This took place so long ago that slavery was an integral feature of social organization from prehistoric times itself Bereft of all higher intellectual opportunities this group of people toiled hard without any avenue for upliftment open to them The strange fact was that organized religions which proclaimed genesis of all men from god and hence fraternity turned a blind eye to this evil custom as an established fact of how a society was economically structured James Walvin who is a Professor of History and who had published many works on slavery tells the story of it over the ages and how it was abolished in 1838 in Britain and its colonies through an act of Parliament in London Written in a very lucid style the book however omits the thread of slavery in the US where a civil war was fought and won by Lincoln in the cause of eliminating slavery This omission is a serious drawback but the text is otherwise uite enjoyable to readEven though nothing is repugnant to modern ethos than the institution of slavery it was in fact tolerated and even encouraged as an essential factor in the functioning of classical and medieval societies It was so much part and parcel of the community that renowned Greek thinkers like Aristotle and Roman statesmen like Cicero laid out instructions on how to treat them and extract useful work from them at the same time acuiescing in to a sub human status for them Even though the author does not mention India and China all ancient civilizations thrived on the output of a group of men and women who were treated as property that could be bought and sold Christianity and Islam actively encouraged the practice and the followers of those religions instituted trading of slaves provided the ‘commodity’ being traded belonged to other religions Again it must be mentioned that India is not covered in this book not because slavery was non existent but Walvin had not turned his attention there Whites were used as slaves in the beginning but later the net was cast in interior Africa By the middle ages slavery had gone extinct in Europe When the New World was discovered slavery entered a brisk phase in its existence With the widespread cultivation of sugarcane cotton and tobacco massive transportation of slaves took place across the Atlantic The world developed its sweet tooth for sugar because of the cheap slave labour that went into producing itWalvin gives a heartrending account of how slaves were transported and sold in markets like cattle Hundreds of people were bought from slave traders on Africa’s west coast and transported in slave ships where they were effectively packed in very little space below the deck Diseases claimed almost a fifth in the journey The transporters were bent upon getting the maximum number of people across The British monopoly of Royal African Company transported 120000 slaves from its inception in 1672 until its closure in 1713 It is estimated that a total of 12 million slaves were taken to Americas till the abolition of slavery in 1838 Of these nearly one and half million perished in transit A gruesome tale of throwing the slaves overboard alive is provided in the book A particular slave ship’s captain found that many of his slave cargo were very sick and beyond redemption He faced a grim prospect of incurring great loss on his investment His scheming mind came up with a way out Insurance companies compensated for cargo that might had to be thrown overboard to save the ship He fabricated a water scarcity on the vessel and threw nearly a hundred sick slaves alive into the sea When this case reached the criminal court the charge was not for mass murder but as an insurance disputeModernity would stand aghast at the indifferent manner in which even reformed societies uietly went along with the grave injustice meted out to a section of the population with a darker skin tone Slavery was accepted as a normal thing existing since time immemorial in all countries As the age of Enlightenment dawned in the 18th century dissenting voices began to be heard At first uakers and nonconformists spearheaded the protest but it was not due to any trace of demur from the religious side Slavery coexisted with the Bible as there are many references in the Holy Book on how to treat the slaves well The only thing that changed was the intellectual background that arose as a direct result of development of liberal thinking and displacement of superstitious religious ideas in the cold light of reasonResistance from slaves was also a cause for the abolitionist cause Slave uprisings were mostly violent outbreaks which were repressed brutally The only successful slave revolt took place in Haiti 1791 – 1804 where they usurped power Abolitionist movement began its efforts in 1783 under Thomas Clarkson a popular orator and activist Its cause was led in Parliament by William Wilberforce The movement saw its ups and downs Immediately after the French revolution it lost popular support on the basis that any endeavour to upset the existing social order was akin to revolution But Clarkson and Wilberforce continued their steadfast crusade until the British Parliament abolished the slave trade in 1807 But this was only a part of victory It prohibited buying selling and transportation of slaves but didn’t offer any relief to those slaves who were already under white masters in British colonies The movement continued its ways of educating the public about the ills of slavery Finally in 1838 slavery itself was abolished with emancipation provided to all slaves Other countries resisted the effort with Brazil as the last to fall in line in 1888The title of the book does not do justice to its content With such a grand title the book disappoints in that it is only a history of slavery in the British Empire America after 1776 is not at all covered in this book along with the heroic civil war fought by Abraham Lincoln against the Southern States who insisted on continuing slavery Several types of bondages in Islamic countries are also skipped with only a fleeting mention even though the number and brutality far exceeded those in the Atlantic islands However the forced labour in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia are included by pinpointing the sharp lines of similarities between them and slavery Forced work and involuntary separation of families took place in Mao’s China too under the guise of Cultural Revolution but Walvin overlooks it On the other hand the working conditions of at least some of the slaves uoted were far better than similar provisions for free labour in many developing countries even now Nurses were stationed to tend to sucking children and their mothers were provided timeout for feeding them Private property and agriculture were granted to the slaves Walvin also mentions the economic aspects that caused the end of slavery By early 19th century sugar was abundantly produced in Britain’s Asian colonies mainly in India whose produce was much cheaper than Caribbean sugar The book includes a comprehensive index and a good collection of Notes and suggested books for further readingThe book is highly recommended

Summary A Short History of Slavery

A Short History of SlaveryLe morally acceptable even Setting these historical documents against Walvin's own incisive historical narrative the two layers of this extraordinary definitive account of the Atl. We certainly do not know enough about slavery I realised that reading this book and then seeing the CNN news at the same time showing the current case of trading in slaves in Libya We do not know much beyond maybe a few movies let's face it though Django Unchained is not historically accurate and a few cultural stereotypes I believe Walvin's short history remedies some of thatThe book is wide and has a good historic pre atlantic slave trade history but is UK focused and talks mostly about the United Kingdom involvement in the Atlantic slave trade and then in the abolition and emancipationThe book is a mix of historic narrative in each chapter followed by excerpts from multiple related historic documents that range from legislation to letters to literature If we feel we owe something in correcting the historic wrongs of our species remedying that starts with understanding the width and depth of those wrongs by conscientious learning This book starts that journey on this topic

James Walvin ´ 2 Read

Download ó A Short History of Slavery 102 ò As we approach the bicentenary of the abolition of the Atlantic trade Walvin has selected the historical texts that recreate the mindset that made such a savage institution possible morally acceptable even Setting these historical documents against Walvin's own incisive historical narrative the tAntic slave trade enable us to understand the rise and fall of one of the most shameful chapters in British history the repercussions of which the modern world is still living wit. A brilliant read tracing the start of slavery in ancient times and naturally concentrating on the slave trade in the 17th and 18th centuries Each chapter is in two sections; in formation and commentary followed by transcripts of original reports articles first hand recollections etc which provide a vivid account of the horrors inflicted What was surprising were the arguments against the abolition of slavery; it would damage the economy of Britain and in particular the cities Commerce came before humanity As this was first published in 2007 any updates could include on modern day slavery