Thursday, May 06, 2021


The ship l'Utile with French sailors and Malagasy slaves wrecked on a deserted island. The story starts with a "trigger warning," which just means that people back in 1761 acted like people back in 1761, for good and for bad.
When Dutch merchants chose to establish settlements in the Mascarene Islands in the 17th century, particularly Mauritius, they faced the uncommon colonial dilemma of finding no local population to enslave. There were plenty of dodos, but no humans. The dodo being unsuited to hard labour, the Dutch set about driving the birds to extinction and importing the forced labour without which no self-respecting colony could survive.

The Indian Ocean slave trade is less well-known than its Atlantic counterpart, but it flourished for at least as long and formed its own complex ecosystem.

Archaeologists have been uncovering the stone buildings left behind. It's a long story, but worth the time.

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