How the abolition of slavery led to imperialism

I’ve been saying this for years, so it’s nice to see this out in the open. Behold:

Far from meaning the end of slavery as Western demand for enslaved persons fell, the 19th century saw slavery’s increase in West Africa as a different type of external demand arose. The abolition of the Atlantic slave trade north of the Equator in the first two decades of the 19th century transformed West African economies. It was one of the major factors in the series of economic crises and political revolutions that shaped West African politics until the advent of formal colonialism in the 1880s

This is from Toby Green, an excellent scholar of Africa in the UK.

Nightcap

  1. When things fall apart Jessica Moody, Africa is a Country
  2. Giving globalization a bad name Arnold Kling, askblog
  3. American slavery’s best essay in years Wilfred Reilly, Quillette
  4. Zara Steiner, historian, 1928-2020 Paul Kennedy, Financial Times

A brief (but very good) history of West Africa

Just in time for the weekend:

What took the place of the colonial trading economy was an over-centralized political system, with the state adding the roles of banker, industrialist and landlord to that of merchant monopolist and bureaucratic provider. A dispersed population of small farmers constituted its material base and, with the state apparatus weighing down so heavily on a captive peasantry, something had to give.

There is much, much more here. From the economic anthropologist Keith Hart. Happy Friday to all.