Curtin, Philip D.; Lovejoy, Paul E. / Africans in bondage: studies in slavery and the slave trade : essays in honor of Philip D. Curtin on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of African Studies at the University of Wisconsin
Miller, Joseph C.
Chapter 3: Slave prices in the Portuguese southern Atlantic, 1600-1830, pp. -77 ff.
CHAPTER 3 SLAVE PRICES IN THE PORTUGUESE SOUTHERN ATLANTIC, 1600-1830 Joseph C. Miller Prices for slaves rose in three major surges from the seventeenth century through the early nineteenth century in Portugal's southern Atlantic colonies. Each increase was associated with the growth cycles in Brazilian exports of sugar, gold, and cotton and coffee. At Luanda, Portugal's main African slaving port, the cost of slaves remained stable through the first of the three cycles in the seventeenth century, which suggests that Brazilian market forces were not then sufficiently strong to affect the price structure in Africa. The two later cycles in which Brazilian slave prices rose were matched by price inflations in Africa. By the eighteenth century, therefore, slave prices in Africa appear to have responded to price rises in Brazil. This growing respon- siveness of slave prices in Africa to the currency value of captive labor in Brazil reflected Angola's growing integration into the exchange economy of the Atlantic. The rise in the Luanda price of slaves also matched increased commercialization of the processes of enslavement in the western-central African interior, supporting economically specialized slaving regimes and helping to cover rising costs of delivering the steady stream of enslaved men and women to embarkation points on the coast. Slavers active in the south Atlantic carried perhaps a third of the 11.5-12 million Africans exported to the Americas between c. 1520 and 1860 (Curtin 1969; Lovejoy 1982). They acquired three-fourths of these human cargoes in the region known loosely as "Angola," the entire coastline south from the equator to the area of the Kunene River, now the boundary between Angola and Namibia.1 At Luanda, metropolitan merchants from Lisbon and colonial traders from Brazil competed for slaves coming through supply networks that reached northeast toward Kongo and the relatively populous fringes of the equa- torial forest, east beyond the Kwango valley toward Luanda, and southeast across the middle reaches of the Kwanza River.
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