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When Cape slavery ended: Introducing a new slave emancipation dataset

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Listed:
  • Ekama, Kate
  • Fourie, Johan
  • Heese, Hans
  • Martin, Lisa-Cheree

Abstract

When the enslaved were emancipated across the British Empire in 1834, slave-owners received cash compensation, and four years of unpaid labour as the former slaves became apprentices. In the Cape Colony, appraisers assigned a value to the former slaves. To investigate this, we transcribed 37,411 valuation records to compile a novel emancipation dataset. This gives us a new picture of the enslaved population in the Cape at the time of the emancipation. Some of our findings, for example that slaves from south-east Asia were assigned lower valuations than Cape-born slaves, are in contrast to those of an earlier literature. To distinguish between what the former slave-owners should have received and what they actually received, we matched the valuation records to the compensation claims. We argue that the uneven allocation of compensation had important implications for the distribution of capital after emancipation.

Suggested Citation

  • Ekama, Kate & Fourie, Johan & Heese, Hans & Martin, Lisa-Cheree, 2021. "When Cape slavery ended: Introducing a new slave emancipation dataset," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 81(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:81:y:2021:i:c:s0014498321000012
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2021.101390
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Slavery; Slave valuation; Emancipation; Compensation; British empire; Cape colony;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N37 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Africa; Oceania
    • N27 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Africa; Oceania

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