Ardras, Jejes and Minas, or slaves of "first reputation": African Politics, Slave Trade and identity in Eighteenth-Century Salvador, Brazil

Carlos da Silva Jr.About the author

Abstract:

In 1715, a French observer commented that Salvador appeared to be a "New Guinea", due to the diversity of slave origins. However, in spite of this diversity, Salvador had a high concentration of enslaved Africans who shared similar origins. These slaves came primarily from the Bight of Benin, the second largest slaving region in Africa. The article aims to discuss the presence of gbe-speakers (ardras, minas and jejes, primarily) in Bahia in the eighteenth century. The work by Luís Nicolau Parés, A formação do candomblé, highlights the presence of Africans from the gbè-speaking area in eighteenth-century Bahia. Yet, it is necessary to investigate the Atlantic dynamics resulting in the deportation of gbe-speakers to the Americas on the light of new sources. In exploring the connections between the political events in the Bight of Benin and the Bahian slave trade, the article also seeks to discuss the numbers and origins of those exported to Bahia. I intend to combine quantitative analysis on the numbers of the transatlantic slave trade and the records in the probate and baptismal records in order to shed light on the lives of these West African groups in eighteenth-century Bahia.

Keywords:
Slave Trade; African Nations; Gbè Speakers; Bahia; Bight of Benin; Eighteenth Century

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