Guest presenter Lynne Duke (photo by J. Kornfeld).

A huge crowd attended the October Angola Field Group presentation with guest presenter American author, Lynne Duke, who was in Angola researching the subject for her upcoming book on the notorious female slave trader Anna Joaquina dos Santos e Silva, who lived from Nov. 1788 to  June 16, 1859.  When slavery was banned, Anna Joaquina was one of many who continued to trade slaves even though it was against the law.

As we learned from Ms. Duke’s presentation, in the west-central African region centered on Angola, the legal slave trade lasted from the 15th century till 1836. Then in 1836, pursuant to a treaty with Britain, the Portuguese outlawed slave exports from Luanda, sparking an illegal trade that exploded and raged on for nearly three more decades. The website she quoted in her talk is: slavevoyages.org

In the total trade, that is both legal and illegal, of 12.5 million Africans shipped across the Atlantic, 5 million were from west-central Africa. The average death rate per voyage was 13 percent, in the total trade. This does not include the number of slaves who died on the caravan trails as they were being led to the coast from the interior, nor the number who died in the barracoons, slave shacks where the captured natives were held before being shipped off, a not unfamiliar sight in Luanda.

In Angola the Portuguese continued a system of forced labor akin to slavery well into the 1900’s under the euphemism of contract labor.

The slave museum outside of Luanda was built 1787, in the time of legal slavery (photo by Robin Koning).