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Slavery and the Slave Trade in Ethiopia and Beyond

 

SLAFNET Summer School
15-18 April 2019
Institute of Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa University

 

Slavery and the slave trade have been an important historical feature of the Horn of Africa region. Consecutive regional polities executed slave raids into their respective hinterland well into the 20th century. The internal Ethiopian slave trade connected the political centers of Ethiopia with its peripheries, and the trade in slaves connected Ethiopia with the Red Sea  and the Indian Ocean world as well as with the Ottoman world. Various polities in the Horn of Africa were depended on, and were commercial centers for, slave labor. The regional contours of slavery are relatively well established. Despite the diversity of various forms of human bondage, slavery and serfdom, as well as the trade in slaves, and its relatively rich documentation, slavery has received little attention in the field of Eastern Africa’s social, cultural and economic history. Moreover, one feature of Ethiopia is the public silence and the absence of commemorative discourses among the descendants of owner groups, slave descendants as well as within the public sphere.

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