Rituals and coutumes in the European slave trade on Madagascar in the 17th and 18th centuries

Afrika Focus. 2016;29(2) DOI 10.21825/af.v29i2.4847


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Afrika Focus

ISSN: 0772-084X (Print); 2031-356X (Online)

Publisher: Gents Afrika Platform, Afrika Brug

LCC Subject Category: Agriculture | Social Sciences

Country of publisher: Belgium

Language of fulltext: French, English

Full-text formats available: PDF



Rafaël Thiébaut (Institut des mondes africains (IMAF), Université de Paris I, France Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands)


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 20 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

In this text, we will retrace the commercial interactions linked to the slave trade between Europeans and Malagasy in the 17th and 18th centuries. As is often the case, this commerce was much more than a simple exchange of products, it can be termed a ritual, created by Malagasy sovereigns to which the Dutch and French merchants had to adhere. This ranged from presenting courtesy gifts up to the delivery of oral and written venerations, and represented an important cofirmation of power. The monarch often kept the upper hand over the Europeans who found themselves on hostile terrain, though the latter were not completely stripped of power as they effectively controlled the volume of this external commerce. Key words: slave trade, Indian Ocean World, local sovereignty, history of Madagascar, European companies