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Measuring Short- and Long-Term Impacts of Abolitionism in the South Atlantic, 1807–1860s

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Chapter Summary

The earliest impact of abolitionism in the South Atlantic occurred in Brazil, largely due to the role that the British played in the crisis that affected Portugal after the invasion of French troops in 1807. According to Drescher, British intrusions on foreign sovereignty in favour of abolition were more diplomatic and fiscal than military. Building upon the strategy of military direct intervention that the British had been using since the early 1840s, this treaty called for the use of military force and territorial occupation as means to end shipments of slaves. The initial phase of abolitionism in the south Atlantic had little if any impact on the slave trade to Brazil, since the earliest legislation mostly dealt with the trade north of the Equator and excluded the regions of the south Atlantic that supplied most of the slaves taken across the Atlantic to Brazil.

Keywords: diplomatic abolitionism; foreign sovereignty; military abolitionism; slave trade; South Atlantic



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