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A talk by Prof Timothy Walker Organised By: Centre of European & Latin American Studies

Centre of European and Latin American Studies
 Department of History & Culture
Jamia Millia Islamia
in collaboration with
Instituto Camões – Portuguese Cultural Centre
a talk by Dr. Timothy D. Walker
Department of History; University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
Chair: Prof. G.P. Sharma
“Abolishing the Slave Trade in Portuguese India:
Documentary Evidence of Popular & Official Resistance to Crown Policy, 1842-1860”
Wednesday, January 23, 2007 at 1100 a m
at the Seminar Hall, Department of History & Culture
Faculty of Humanities and Languages
This presentation will explore the historiographical problem of evaluating the slave population of Goa, Daman and Diu during the first half of the nineteenth century, and focuses particular attention on the period following the compulsory curtailment of slave trafficking into Portuguese India following the Anglo-Portuguese Treaties of 1818, 1836 and 1842. Abolishment of the Indian Ocean slave trade was highly unpopular among social elites in the Portuguese Indian colonies (the Estado da Índia), who historically had relied on enslaved servants within their households, as well as for agricultural and commercial labor. Moreover, Indo-Portuguese merchants did not wish to lose the substantial profits they gleaned from shipping human cargoes out of Mozambique. The presentation will describe the provisions of the controversial Anglo-Portuguese Anti-Slavery Treaty of 1842, provide social, political and economic context to the compulsory but ineffective slave registry carried out in Portuguese India in 1855, critically evaluate the accuracy of that registry (which was meant to be, in effect, a slave census), and highlight several means by which Portuguese colonial slave owners could (and did), with the collusion of local government officials, conceal their slave holdings and dealings. Concluding remarks will describe the legacy of African slavery in Portuguese-influenced regions of India.