Title

Antislavery and Imperialism: the British Suppression of the Slave Trade and the Opening of Fernando Po, 1827-1829

Campus

Gainesville

Publication date

3-24-2020

Publisher

Itinerario

Book or Journal Information

A journal specializing in the history of imperial and global interactions. Part of the Cambridge Core, Cambridge University Press.

Abstract

This article chronicles the construction of the first permanent foreign settlement on the West African island of Fernando Po (today called Bioko) as part of the British effort to suppress the slave trade in the 1820s. The settlement ended centuries of relative isolation by the indigenous Bubi who hitherto had successfully navigated between occasional trade with outsiders and repelling slave traders. Although British plans ultimately failed, the settlement remained, as did a large portion of the settlers. This article argues that the disruptive power of suppression created the conditions for a colonial shift toward integration of the island into the larger Euro–West African world. While the settlement's influence grew in the short term through its successful leveraging of economic and military resources, it was the landing of liberated slaves that would have the greatest long-term significance, and highlights the (often unintentional) connection between antislavery and imperialism.

Author Biography

Jeff Pardue is a professor of history and department head at the University of North Georgia. His research focuses on British imperial history in the early nineteenth century, with particular emphasis on British slavery and antislavery.

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Antislavery and Imperialism: the British Suppression of the Slave Trade and the Opening of Fernando Po, 1827-1829

This article chronicles the construction of the first permanent foreign settlement on the West African island of Fernando Po (today called Bioko) as part of the British effort to suppress the slave trade in the 1820s. The settlement ended centuries of relative isolation by the indigenous Bubi who hitherto had successfully navigated between occasional trade with outsiders and repelling slave traders. Although British plans ultimately failed, the settlement remained, as did a large portion of the settlers. This article argues that the disruptive power of suppression created the conditions for a colonial shift toward integration of the island into the larger Euro–West African world. While the settlement's influence grew in the short term through its successful leveraging of economic and military resources, it was the landing of liberated slaves that would have the greatest long-term significance, and highlights the (often unintentional) connection between antislavery and imperialism.