Way of Death
Merchant Capitalism and the Angolan Slave Trade
Winner of the Herskovits Prize of the African Studies Association.
Awarded a special citation by the Conference on Latin American History.
This acclaimed history of Portuguese and Brazilian slaving
in the southern Atlantic is now available in paperback.
With extraordinary skill, Joseph C. Miller explores the complex relationships among the separate economies of Africa, Europe, and the South Atlantic that collectively supported the slave trade. He places the grim history of the trade itself within the context of the rise of merchant capitalism in the eighteenth century. Throughout, Miller illuminates the experiences of the slaves themselves, reconstructing what can be known of their sufferings at the hands of their buyers and sellers.
“A landmark study in the history of the Atlantic slave trade. It will be an essential reference for anyone who writes on the trade, from whatever perspective, for years to come. . . . This book is full of rich data, especially concerning the passage from the interior to the coast, the role of Luso-Africans and Europeans in Angolan port cities, and conditions on ‘floating tombs’ that carried their deathly cargoes across the Atlantic.”
—Phyllis M. Martin, African Economic History
“Way of Death . . . [opens] up in profuse detail and at considerable length the history of the Portugese South Atlantic empire. . . . We meet African traders dependent on credit extended by Portugese merchants supplying slaves to Brazilian shippers who were trying to become merchants on their own. And in the background is the shadowy . . . presence of English capital.”
—Stuart B. Schwartz, New York Times Book Review
“Other scholars have attempted studies of this type, but no one approaches Miller in depth.”
—John K. Thornton, International Journal of African Historical Studies
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LC: 87-040368 HT
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