Competition and the Mercantile Culture of the Gold Coast Slave Trade in the Atlantic World Economy, 1620-1720
Sutton, Angela Christine
This dissertation explores the roles Gold Coast Africans played in the various challenges to Dutch and English monopoly in the Atlantic slave trade from 1621 to 1720. Using a close reading and corroboration of archaic English, Dutch, Prussian, and Swedish documents of the trade, as well as interdisciplinary inclusion of archaeological evidence, I contextualize how West African peoples such as the Ahanta, Eguafu, and Fetu, pitted various European slave traders against one another in order to weaken the growing power of the English and Dutch in Africa. This made the area attractive to smaller trading partners, such as the Swedish and Prussian slave trading companies, as well as various European and American interlopers onto the trade. This African-initiated fragmentation of the trade created a new mercantile culture on the Gold Coast dependent upon personal relationships which contributed to the destruction of the mercantilist system and the rise of free trade capitalism in the early modern world.
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