Muslim Eastern Markets: Demand for Boys--Indian Ocean Shipments (19th Century)

Arab slave trade for boys
Figure 1.-- Here we see more African boys rescued from Arab slavers transporting the boys in a dhow by a British Royal Navy ship in the Indian Ocean. They were rescued by 'HMS Daphne' during 1868. We find this image being used on many websites to codemn Europeans and Americans for the evils of slavery and the Altantic slave trade. They do not mention that this scene did not take place in the Atlantic, but the Indian Ocean, the slavers were Arabs, and it was British Royal Nasvy who rescued the boys. Source: British National Archives.

We know that capturing and enslaving African boys was not just a medieval practice. We continue to see boys being captured and delivered to slave markets into the late-19th century. We know this because the British Royal Navy was active in the Ocean and seized a number of Arab ships packed with captive African boys. Note the Royal Navy seizures included not just ships packed with captive Aficans, some of whom were boys, but Arab ships packed with just boys or mosly boys. We have found several photographs, but not a lot of information about them. We are not sure what was happening before the mid-19th century when the Royal Navy began interdicting Arab ships. We see boys aboard an Arab ship in the Indian Ocean (1868). Here we see boys rescued by the British Royal Navy HMS Daphne, an 18-gun coirvette (figure 1). We see these boys being driven in long trecks along inland routes by Arab slave traders, often Arabized Africans. This suggests that boys were of some value or they would not have been selectively enslaved. A French source reports "Slave traders through the inland trails"about 1880 (figure 1). The French report that each young slave was worth 100 to 150 francs--a substantial sum in the late-19th century. Unfortunately we do not know where the photograph was taken and where the boys were being taken. We beliece that they are headed for Arab slave markets, probably in East Africa, but can not yet confirm that. We note Arab ships filled with boys headed for Arab slave markets. The British Royal Navy reported seizing Arab dhows with cargoes of pre-pubesent boys. How common this was we are not sure. One example was the Royal Navy seizure of two Arab dhows (1896). They were brought into Muscat and the boys freed (1896).


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Created: 1:41 AM 10/31/2014
Last updated: 1:41 AM 10/31/2014