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Black Ivory

R. M. Ballantyne

Book Overview: 

Although the book's title Black Ivory denotes dealing in the slave trade it is not our heroes who are doing it. At the very first chapter there is a shipwreck, which leaves the son of the charterer of the sinking ship, and a seaman friend of his, alone on the east coast of Africa, where Arab and Portuguese slave traders were still carrying out their evil trade, despite the great efforts of patrolling British warships to limit it and free the unfortunates whom they found being carried away in the Arab dhows.This book will open your eyes to what really went on. At the time of writing slave-dealing on the west coast of Africa was, due to the efforts of the British, almost extinct, but this was not the case on the east coast.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Dr Livingstone and others tell us that thousands upon thousands of negroes have, of late years, gone out from Quillimane into slavery under the convenient title of “free emigrants,” their freedom being not quite equal to that of a carter’s horse, for while that animal, although enslaved, is usually well fed, the human animal is kept on rather low diet lest his spirit should rouse him to deeds of desperate violence against his masters. All agricultural enterprise is also effectually discouraged here. When a man wants to visit his country farm he has to purchase a permit from the Governor. If he wishes to go up the river to the Portuguese towns of Senna or Tette, a pass must be purchased from the Governor. In fact it would weary the reader were we to enumerate the various modes in which every effort of man to act naturally, legitimately, or progressively, is hampered, unless his business be the buying and selling of human beings.

At first Harold experienced grea. . . Read More

Community Reviews

It is an entertaining tale with a sincere overtone of opposition to slavery. In spite of the exterior layer of sincerity that envelops the story, the story depicts a clouded reality of victims (Africans who are kidnapped and turned to slaves), villains (Arab slave traders and Portuguese slave buy...more

Much has been written about slavery in the southern states, Caribbean islands and many South American countries but little has been written about the genesis of this abhorrent trade. The slavery trade (new shipments from Africa) was internationally abolished in 1808 and completely abolished in th...more