Child slaves and freemen at the Spiritan mission in Soyo, 1880-1885

Vos, J. (2010) Child slaves and freemen at the Spiritan mission in Soyo, 1880-1885. Journal of Family History, 35(1), pp. 71-90. (doi: 10.1177/0363199009348285)

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Abstract

Catholic missionaries in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Africa more commonly than Protestants purchased slaves to build their mission stations. This article provides a micro-historical analysis of the redemption of child slaves by the Holy Ghost Fathers in Soyo, West Central Africa, in the years immediately preceding the colonial partition of Africa. It argues that the Spiritan missionaries liberated slaves for instrumental rather than humanitarian reasons. As local freemen were difficult to control, the mission depended for its growth on the import of slave children. Furthermore, since the missionaries operated on the same markets and paid the same prices for slaves as regular buyers, their purchasing practices showed a strong resemblance with ordinary slave trading.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Vos, Dr Jelmer
Authors: Vos, J.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > History
Journal Name:Journal of Family History
Publisher:SAGE
ISSN:0363-1990
ISSN (Online):1552-5473
Published Online:16 October 2009

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