'The Kingdom of Angola is not Very Far from Here': The Río de la Plata, Brazil, and Angola, 1580-1680
Schultz, Kara Danielle
This dissertation explores the African slave trade in the early South Atlantic. It considers Spain’s colonization of the Río de la Plata and Upper Peruvian hinterland and Portugal’s colonization of Angola and Brazil as mutually reinforcing initiatives. Beginning in the sixteenth century, Iberian soldiers, colonial officials, sailors, merchants, and commoners circulated between Angola, Brazil, and the Río de la Plata, forming commercial networks that directed thousands of enslaved Africans to American shores. From Buenos Aires, thousands of captives were trafficked not only to the Andean silver mining city of Potosí, but also to Santiago de Chile, Córdoba, Mendoza, and a host of spaces in the South American interior. I demonstrate how slave ownership—and slavery—were more widespread than previously believed. Free and enslaved Africans were essential to the production of foodstuffs; defense; animal husbandry; and local and long-distance trades. Beyond upwardly revising estimates of the early slave trade to Brazil and the Río de la Plata, this study broadens our understanding of African experiences in the Atlantic world beyond sugar plantations and silver mines.