The Diligent by Robert Harms
A Voyage Through the Worlds of the Slave Trade

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Synopsis

The Diligent began her journey in Brittany in 1731, and Harms follows her along the African coast where her goods were traded for slaves, to Martinique where her captives were sold to work on sugar plantations. Harms brings to life a world in which slavery was a commerce carried out without qualms. He shows the gruesome details of daily life aboard a slave ship, as well as French merchants wrangling with their government for the right to traffic in slaves, African kings waging epic wars for control of European slave trading posts, and representatives of European governments negotiating the complicated politics of the Guinea coast to ensure a stead supply of labor for their countries' colonies. The Diligent is filled with rich stories that explain how the slave trade worked on all levels, from geopolitics to the rigging of ships.
 

About Robert Harms

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Harms is Professor of History at Yale University. He is former director of the Yale African Studies Program and a member of the Board of the U.S. African Studies Association.
 
Published August 5, 2008 by Basic Books. 500 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, History, Education & Reference, Travel, Professional & Technical, Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Diligent

Publishers Weekly

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Paradoxically, given the nature of his business, Durand complained when having to leave a hostage in Elmina after a Bordeaux slaver abducted several African merchants, that such deceit made it difficult for "honest men" like himself to conduct trade.

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London Review of Books

In 1700 there were about thirty thousand African slaves in the French colonies, compared with around a hundred thousand in the English ones, and sugar exports were correspondingly smaller, but the first decades of the 18th century would see a rapid growth in French involvement in the slave trade ...

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