Kristina Richardson - A Hidden Empire: Ibadi Control of the Trans-Saharan and Indian Ocean Slave Trades, c. 760-1055 CE

Under Ibadi Muhallabid rule of Ifriqiya in the late 8th century CE, Ibadi merchants settled in the Sahara and Sahel, introduced local communities to Islam, and dominated the trans-Saharan slave trading networks. In this talk, I will make the novel argument that when Muhallabi governors simultaneously ruled the province of Sind in the late 8th century, they deployed the same strategies of settlement, conversion, and economic expansion along the Swahili Coast, where they developed a lucrative trade in East African slaves. In short, the early Islamicate history of Black African enslavement is largely an Ibadi story and an exceptional one at that, for the scale of what became the 1200-year trans-Saharan and Indian Ocean slave trades probably exceeded that of later European merchants in the early modern Atlantic.

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