EUROPEANS AND TRANS-OCEANIC LABOR MIGRATION IN THE INDIAN OCEAN, 1500-1900

Recent scholarship on British, Dutch, French and Portuguese slave trading in the Indian Ocean highlights the need to explore the structural connections between pre- and post-emancipation migrant labor systems in the European colonial world. Ongoing research indicates that Europeans purchased and transported a minimum of 431,000-547,000 slaves of African, In-dian, Malagasy and Southeast Asian origin to destinations within the Indian Ocean basin be-tween 1500 and 1850. These data, coupled with recent research on European abolitionist activity in the region and what we know about the nature and dynamics of the movement of convict and indentured laborers throughout (and beyond) this oceanic basin between the 1780s and circa 1900, point to the development of an increasingly integrated global movement of migrant labor during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

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