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Kongo Slaves: Portuguese Brazil

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KONGO SLAVES

Portuguese Brazil

Most slaves loaded on the Angola Coast for Portuguese Brazil in the seventeenth century were landed at the three dominant ports of Recife in Pernambuco, Salvador in Bahia, and Rio de Janeiro in the south. Only 11 voyages were made to other small (Paraiba, Maranhao, Ilha Grande) or unspecified ("Brazil") ports in this period. Of these, a total of 3,311 slaves were embarked with 2,246 surviving the trauma of the journey. High mortality was in large part because three ships in this group were shipwrecked on the way. (1)

During the century, 85 ships departed for the captaincy of Pernambuco in north eastern Brazil. They carried 25,389 slaves when they left West Central Africa. Most voyages took place in just two decades. 44 ships landed 12,003 slaves at Recife between 1641 and 1650. Another 25 ships unloaded 5,626 slaves in the last decade of 1691 to 1700. Overall, Pernambuco planters received 21,511 slaves out of 25,389 shipped, losing 3,878 dead. Mor…

Kongo Slaves: Dutch Atlantic

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KONGO SLAVES

5. Dutch Atlantic

In 1642 the Netherlands strode the Atlantic. The Groote Desseyn (grand design) of the Dutch West Indische Compagnie (founded 1621) was to seize Portuguese territories in South America and West Africa, secure control of both sugar and slave trades, and reap huge profits for home investors. 

At the height of their naval power, the United Provinces seemed near their goal. Dutch 'possessions' included the sugar plantations of Portuguese Brazil and the slaving networks of Portuguese Angola. Yet within a few decades their ascendancy was gone. By 1674 the West India Company was bankrupt, and Brazil and Angola were back under Portugal's rule.

What was left was less impressive -- a handful of remote and generally unprofitable outposts in the tropics and some slave trade 'castles' along the African coast which were expensive to maintain. However, there were a couple of surviving arrangements from their 'golden days' that might prove rewardi…