Book Reviews

Book Review: The Last Slave Market.


This extremely informative and revealing book tells the story of English politics in East Africa, and how the east India Company dominated not only trade in this part of the world, but was also important influencing the British foreign of the time.

While The Last Slave Market deals with slave politics, it also reveals how Zanzibar, an island off the coast of East Africa, at the time ruled by a representative of the Sultan of Oman’s family, looked at the slave trade, considering the economic importance of the slave trade to the local economy and the coffers of the ruling Arab elite.

It explains in detail how slaves were captured in East Africa’s jungles by Arab traders and their accomplices then force marched to the coast to be transported to Zanzibar and exported from there in dhows (locally designed and manufactured sailboats) to Middle Eastern countries and beyond.

At the time, slaves were thought of as “merchandise” without any consideration for their well-being. Only the strongest and healthiest individuals (males and females) were selected and captured.

The intrigues and reluctance of the local Arab ruler and constant valiant efforts of Dr. Kirk at the English consulate in Zanzibar are explained in a detailed and captivating narrative.

The reader will be fascinated by the information provided by researching old archives and the dairy of Dr. Kirk.

While all these efforts were being exerted by the English government to abolish the east African slave trade, Dr. Livingstone was trying to explore Africa and using his fame to obtain government help in support.

When he was tought to have been lost in the jungles, H. m. Stanley, an American journalist, was dispatched to find Livingstone.

Alastair Hazell spent much of his early life in East and central Africa. He knows the land well and captured the mentality of the region.

One imagines the looks of the scenery and undestands the behaviour of locals, and ruling Arabs. The author successfully and compellingly portrays the horrors of the overland passage from the interior, and the Zanzibar slave market itself.

Dr. Kirk’s final, bitter conflict with Livingstone, who blamed the consul for his own failings, is revelations to note.

While all these efforts were being made by Dr. Kirk, East India Company headquartered in Bombay meddled in consular affairs.

In addition to all of the interference, the Whitehall, in London, formulated policies and sent battle ships to help Dr. Kirk enforce policies of the government with regard to the slave trade.

This is A fascinating book that ought to be read by all history buffs and people interested in this chapter of world history.

Higly recommended.

Hrayr Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
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