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Wed 18 March
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Wednesday 18 March 2020 11.00 - 13.00
A-2 ECO01 Bonds, Abodes and Banks: the Consequences of Compensated Emancipation in the British Empire
P.N. van Eyckhof 1, 003C
Network: Economic History Chair: Johan Fourie
Organizer: Kate Ekama Discussant: Damian Pargas
Kate Ekama : Bondsmen: Slave Collateral in the Period of Emancipation
The period of emancipation(s) in the Cape Colony marked a time of economic transition and formalisation of institutions in the financial landscape. Compensation paid out by the British Government to slave owners in the colony after 1834 played a very significant role in these changes. But it was not only ... (Show more)
The period of emancipation(s) in the Cape Colony marked a time of economic transition and formalisation of institutions in the financial landscape. Compensation paid out by the British Government to slave owners in the colony after 1834 played a very significant role in these changes. But it was not only slave owners who received compensation – importantly, mortgagees did too. These men were involved in the financial underpinning of slavery in the colony through the use of loans collateralised on enslaved people.
This paper examines the records from the Slave Office in the Cape Colony on ‘slave mortgages’ which detail loans taken out by slave owners using enslaved people, and after 1834 apprentices, as collateral. These records will be matched to the Cape colony records of slave ownership and compensation payments, recently transcribed by the Biography of an Uncharted People project. This will bring to the fore the handful of well-connected individuals who were themselves slave-owners and mortgagees in the 1830s, and later Cape Town landlords and bankers.
This paper highlights another way, as yet understudied, in which the enslaved at the Cape contributed to the economy. In addition to the labour they were forced to provide, they were the basis for raising credit in the Colony in a period before the formalisation of banks. As such, this paper sheds further light on the complicated legacy of slavery and slave ownership in the British Empire. (Show less)

Aaron Graham : Ambiguous Legacies: Slavery, Banks and Compensation in South Africa, Mauritius and the Caribbean
The payment of £20 million in 1834 injected a wave of liquidity into former slave colonies in the Caribbean, South Africa and Mauritius, some of which was channelled into the creation of banks which worked to perpetuate that liquidity by providing cheap credit and currency. This played a key ... (Show more)
The payment of £20 million in 1834 injected a wave of liquidity into former slave colonies in the Caribbean, South Africa and Mauritius, some of which was channelled into the creation of banks which worked to perpetuate that liquidity by providing cheap credit and currency. This played a key role in the development of their post-slavery economies and societies, with colonies such as Mauritius and British Guiana using these resources to establish a new system of indentured ‘coolie’ labour to perpetuate the plantation system. My paper will use a study of these banks, based on their shareholder lists and the records of compensation payments digitised by the Legacies of British Slave-Owning Project at UCL, to compare and contrast their experiences and the impact on their post-1834 economies and societies. In Mauritius and British Guiana, a loose monetary policy sustained by local banks helped to support mass immigration from China and India which held down wages and enabled these colonies to compete with slave-grown sugar from Brazil and Cuba in British and European markets. The result was a legacy of migration and indentured labour. In South Africa, the money was channelled into banks that supported the expansion of pastoral agriculture and indentured local labour on the eastern frontier, contributing to a reorientation of the local economy and society into a settler society. In Jamaica, the banks were unable to sustain the necessary level of immigration, leading to an economic decline which created opportunities for people of colour but created a legacy of underdevelopment. (Show less)

Igor Martins : More with Less? The Effects of Slave Emancipation on Productivity in the British Cape
The economic efficiency of slavery has been the subject of debate among economists and economic historians. While many scholars view slavery as an inefficient system that fails to provide the right incentives for optimal productivity (Anderson and Gallman 1977; Acemoglu and Robinson 2012; Ogilvie 2013), others directly challenge the long-held ... (Show more)
The economic efficiency of slavery has been the subject of debate among economists and economic historians. While many scholars view slavery as an inefficient system that fails to provide the right incentives for optimal productivity (Anderson and Gallman 1977; Acemoglu and Robinson 2012; Ogilvie 2013), others directly challenge the long-held idea that slavery was unprofitable, inefficient and overly harsh for the typical slave (Fogel and Engerman 1995). At the British Cape Colony, the period after 1834 is of particular significance since historians are still unable to determine the effects of the labor withdrawal on productivity and output. Dooling (2007; p. 116) notes that when the ‘apprenticeship’ period was over, ‘the freed slaves left their masters en masse’. He says that in the days immediately after the emancipation there was a ‘large-scale withdrawal of labor from the wheat and wine estates of the Western Cape’. Gilliomee (2003), on the other hand, notes that the colonial government did not make any land available for small-scale farming and most of the slaves had very few options other than to remain farm laborers. He quotes H. Calderwood, an eye-witness to the emancipation day, who commented that it was ‘ridiculous to talk of [the emancipated slaves] refusing to work when they know very well they must either work or starve’.

To contribute to this debate this paper uses newly digitized historical datasets covering more than 40 years in the district of Stellenbosch in the British Cape Colony on an individual-level basis while measuring changes in productivity and output before and after the emancipation of slaves in 1834. This untapped data source is expected not only to contribute debates pertaining the British Cape Colony but will also shed light in the transition between two distinct modes of production. Preliminary results suggest that farmers were capable of recouping output losses shortly after the emancipation. Productivity, however, did not change dramatically evidencing that the slave economy of the Cape was virtually as efficient as a system based on wages. This study suggests that farmers' losses were linked more to the slaves as capital investments rather than slaves as inputs in agriculture. (Show less)

Robert Ross : Accommodation and Resistance in Cape Town: the Housing of the Manumitted and the Development of Slum Landlordism after 1838
In this presentation I will map the housing of Cape Town's enslaved population from the period of apprenticeship through to 1849. In the immediate aftermath of the de facto manumission (1.12.1838), the freed men and women left the houses where they had been held as slaves, as if by agreement, ... (Show more)
In this presentation I will map the housing of Cape Town's enslaved population from the period of apprenticeship through to 1849. In the immediate aftermath of the de facto manumission (1.12.1838), the freed men and women left the houses where they had been held as slaves, as if by agreement, and took up residence in heavily overcrowded parts of the city. I use the rate rolls for 1842 and 1849 and Suasso de Lima's 1848 almanac of Cape Town to show where the ex-enslaved came to live, the records of the smallpox enquiry of 1840 and other anecdotal material to illustrate the conditions under which they lived. I will also show how Emancipation led to the concentration of property in the hands of a relatively small number of slum landlords. (Show less)

Christie Swanepoel : Bank Shareholders and Family Connections: did Networks among Shareholders Influence Success?
Networks have always been an integral part of human society. More recently, research has focussed on how to measure these networks and their influence on economic outcomes. In this paper we collect shareholder information from nineteenth century local banks in the Cape Colony. This information is linked to genealogical records ... (Show more)
Networks have always been an integral part of human society. More recently, research has focussed on how to measure these networks and their influence on economic outcomes. In this paper we collect shareholder information from nineteenth century local banks in the Cape Colony. This information is linked to genealogical records from which we can obtain specific family characteristics of the shareholders. The South African banking experience at the time reflected the nature of the European settlers – larger banks in the western region with smaller banks on the eastern frontier. This is also reflected in the family connections (specifically, parent/child and first cousins’ relationships) of the shareholders. Larger banks also had a higher concentration of these families in their shareholding. We show that many banks’ shareholding came from within families and test how this affected the relative success of the bank through its survival rate. In the network, we identify and study the individuals who received slave compensation and how these funds contributed to the establishing of banks. (Show less)



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