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Grant number like: FB-50105-04

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Markus P. Vink
SUNY Research Foundation, College at Fredonia (Fredonia, NY 14063-1127)

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars
Research Programs

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
2/1/2004 – 12/31/2004

Dutch Slavery and Slave Trade in the Indian Ocean in the 17th Century

For most of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the Dutch were active participants in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean slave trade. For brief spells in the seventeenth century they even dominated the Atlantic slave trade, while for nearly two centuries they were the nexus of an enormous slave trade, the most expansive of its kind in the history of the Indian Ocean Basin. Whereas the Atlantic slave trade has been mapped out in relatively great detail in numerous studies, its Indian Ocean counterpart has remained largely uncharted territory and overlooked in Asian colonial historiography. Indeed, the sufferings of the slaves in Asia occurred mainly in silence, largely ignored by both contemporaries and modern historians. This project is a first step to "unsilence" their history and to correct or "re-Orient" the historiographical imbalance by looking at the organization and numerical aspects of Dutch slavery and slave trade in the Indian Ocean in the seventeenth century: the debate over the trade in human chattel between majority apologists and minority abolitionists in Europe and Asia; the markets of supply and demand or geographic origins and destinations of slaves; the routes to slavery or the diverse means of recruitment of forced labor; the miscalleneous occupations performed by slaves; the size of slavery and the accompanying annual slave trade; and the various forms of slave resistance and slave revolt. Where possible, findings will be placed in a comparative global perspective. Research for this project will be conducted in the deposits of the Dutch East India Company in the National Archives in The Hague, the Netherlands. The vast repository of the company, included in the UNESCO's "Memory of the World Register," contains unique quantitative and qualitative materials on this understudied, yet vital topic in the humanities.