The Colonial Response to African Slaves in British India ‐ Two Contrasting Cases

in African and Asian Studies
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Abstract

The African presence in India, especially in the Deccan and Gujarat, has been well documented. Scattered references to discrete groups of Africans in other parts of India are less well known. The author recently identified a group of African slave descendants living in Lucknow, the capital of a former kingdom in northern India, following the discovery of pertinent East India Company records in the National Archives, New Delhi. Why the Africans were brought to this particular kingdom will be examined, together with their treatment by the British Government in India after the Mutiny of 1857/58. At the same time, the Government was setting up an ‘African Asylum’ in Bombay, to house and educate African children liberated from an Arab slave ship at Karachi. The question of inconsistent government policy towards African slaves in British India will be examined and it will be argued that it was tempered by differing regional and political considerations.

The Colonial Response to African Slaves in British India ‐ Two Contrasting Cases

in African and Asian Studies

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