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Merchants in Minas Gerais: social profile, activity and entrenchment of slave merchants from the district of Vila Rica, 1725-1773

Grant number: 14/23508-2
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): February 20, 2015
Effective date (End): January 10, 2016
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - History of Brazil
Principal researcher:Leila Mezan Algranti
Grantee:Aldair Carlos Rodrigues
Supervisor abroad: Stuart B. Schwartz
Home Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Research place: Yale University, United States  
Associated to the scholarship:12/51100-2 - Merchants in Minas Gerais: social profile, activity and entrenchment of slave merchants (district of Vila Rica, 1725-1773), BP.PD

Abstract

This project studies the transatlantic dimensions of the international slave trade that reached Minas Gerais by focusing on commercial agents. It emphasizes the complicated conjunctures that made these connections between the interior of Brazil with different parts of the African continent possible.This research revolves around two principal axes. The first focuses on the mercantile networks and trade routes utilized by merchants in the mining regions who had the capacity to reach beyond the ports of Rio de Janeiro and Salvador Bahia to the coast of western Africa (i.e. they created direct links with Africa). Second, this study considers the origins of the Africans (by ethnic and metaethnic groups) that composed the slave population of the mining regions. It also seeks to understand the different internal configurations and conjunctures of the African continent to illuminate new connections between Brazil and Africa.In the eighteenth century, Minas Gerais became a huge slave market that exercised decisive influence over certain aspects of the slave trade (such as inflation in the price of slaves and other products). This demand for labor in the mining regions contributed to dynamic tensions and strains inside Africa. We need to investigate how this occurred by focusing on the primary sources from the colonial period and through a dialogue with the innovative approaches of the international historiography on Atlantic history, the African diaspora and the history of Africa. (AU)

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