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Recruiting Africans to the British Regiments in Ceylon: Spillover Effects of Abolition in the Atlantic

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This paper focuses on the displacement of Africans, spurred by the tradition of recruiting soldiers to serve in both Asian and European armies. It considers the pressure to recruit Africans to the British regiments in Ceylon (called Sri Lanka since 1971) as documented in historical records in the National Archives and how this process was affected by Abolition in the Atlantic. It highlights the spillover effects, of abolishing the transatlantic slave trade, into other oceans.

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Affiliations: 1: Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU UK, Email:


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