Land, Material Goods, and Slaves: African Women’s Accumulation of Wealth in West Central Africa in the Nineteenth Century


ACLS Fellowship Program




The nineteenth century was a moment of change on the African continent with the end of the Atlantic slave trade and the transition of local economies toward commerce viewed as legitimate. Captives were channeled to new plantations to meet the Western demand for raw products such as sugarcane and cotton. Scholars have paid little attention to how African men and women experienced these changes, and how these new labor and economic regimes overturned West Central Africa’s political and economic systems, in part because they have neglected the economic role of African women in nineteenth-century West Central Africa. This project examines the lives of African women as traders, slaves, farmers, and land and business owners to shed light on the history of property in nineteenth-century Angola.