Children of Bondage: A Social History of the Slave Society at the Cape of Good Hope, 1652–1838

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9780819552730: Children of Bondage: A Social History of the Slave Society at the Cape of Good Hope, 1652–1838
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The Dutch East India Company's introduction of the first slave into the region known as the Cape of Good Hope in 1653 established an institution whose legal status ended in 1838 but whose social and political reverberations are still felt today. Children of Bondage is the story of the social, cultural, and biological progeny of that slave society. Robert Shell examines the complex and highly stratified hierarchies that evolved in South Africa, and outlines how its multiracial system of slavery was distinct from the biracial system that arose in the New World.
Shell argues that while frontier and class interests were significant factors in South Africa's history, these influences were secondary manifestations of a more universal force, namely, the family as the fundamental unit of subordination. He explores the history of oceanic and domestic slave trades, sexual and gender relations within the slave hierarchy, religious and ethnic identities among slaves, and the promises and realities of manumission. By viewing the institution of South African slavery from many levels he concludes, "Not only slaves were in bondage; in a profound sense, the owners were as well."

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About the Author:

Robert C.-H. Shell is Assistant Professor of Precolonial African History at Princeton Unversity.

From Library Journal:

An outgrowth of the author's doctoral thesis, this work has no peer in terms of quality or depth of research. It does not focus on slavery as an end in itself but shows how the sex and age composition and cultural origins of the imported slave population at the Cape shaped the slave-holding households in domestic, cultural, demographic, gender, and even emotional terms. The work also does an excellent job in comparing slavery at the Cape with slave systems elsewhere, so that this work is equally a contribution to the study of slavery in general. It will make required reading for any understanding of early Cape history and probably of general South African history as well.
Paul H. Thomas, Hoover Inst. Lib., Stanford, Cal.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781868142750: Children of Bondage: A Social History of the Slave Society at the Cape of Good Hope, 1652-1838

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ISBN 10:  1868142752 ISBN 13:  9781868142750
Publisher: Wits University Press, 1997
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Shell, Robert C.-H.
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Robert C.-H. Shell
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