1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2013
On first publication TEOSIA was ground-breaking in raising understanding of the interplay between colonial policies, African institutions & master/slave relations. The contents fully document conflicts between European abolitionist rhetoric and concern to maintain social stability and economic production. Typically they prohibited raiding and trading, but not ongoing ownership of captives. In one sense slaves ended bondage by dying out: no more slaves, no more slavery .... But in another sense they actively struck against the institution through individual and collective resistance, especially mass flight. The 1905-6 exodus from Banamba in Mali brought self-liberation for tens of thousands. This mass escape paralleled similar monumental events that helped end slavery in 1880s Brazil and Civil War America. Many chapters represent first fruits culminating in essential books on the regions covered, e.g. titles by M. Klein, Lovejoy & Hogendorn, etc. Another review here is somewhat misleading: many chapters give due attention to societies and states in the interior. Overall, a major scholarly contribution with important implications for appreciating slavery's retreat a century ago. Sadly, the New Slavery now affects more people than ever. Welcome to the globalized economy.
PS <> Four stars is more appropriate, but it gets 5 here. This compensates for the silly 1-star review, which unfairly lowers the average rating.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2004
First, there is no one set date when slavery ended in Africa. It varied from country to country. In some parts, slavery came to an abrupt end causing widespread panic among the people. But as Miers and Roberts argue, the end of slavery, whether it came to an immediate halt or was gradually abolished "always brought the nature of the economic, political, and social structure sharply into focus."(3)
In The End of Slavery in Africa, Miers and Roberts show in the introduction that the transition from slave to free labor was complex. The notion that once given their "freedom" slaves had the choice to leave or stay with their masters does not pertain to the entire slave population in Africa. In African societies, most slaves belonged to a kin group and so their rights were at the judgment of the family. At the time of emancipation, the slave was usually given the option to run away or in some cases become a member of the family. Also, desertion rates among African tribes were overwhelming, some estimate that 25 to 40% (roughly 5-6 million people) of slaves deserted from their owners. The authors conclude that these numbers represent the overall harsh treatment of slaves.
This collection of essays focuses typically on the ending of slavery along the coastal societies where colonial rule was much more common. In these coastal towns, the right to emancipate the slaves was usually left up to the African society but not without approval from the colonial power which controlled the profitable slave trade. In general, most of the contributing authors agree that it was the European influence that eliminated slavery in Africa.
0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2006
The editors' argument is lost with poor sentence structure, lack of definition of key terms, superfluous use of words (no pun intended). It was honestly painful trying to finish this text. When I did, I threw it across the room and cursed at it. You could not get me to read this book again, I would rather scrub used bedpans at a Senior's Care Facility for a week than read this terrible, terrible book. I would have signed my name as "Anonymous" if I was the editor of this collection of essays.