Egypt’s Slaving Frontier: Environment, Enslavement, Social Transformations, and the Local Use of Slaves in the Sudan, 1780–1880
La Rue uses new information on the lives of Sudanese slaves to analyse local social transformations and the impact of environmental factors on enslavement processes, forces deployed to gather slaves, the loci of their servitude, and the ramifications for the broader Indian Ocean world (IOW). Darfur and Kordofan (Kurdufan) frequently experienced drought and famine and supplied slaves to Egypt and the Ottoman Empire. Many enslaved Sudanese died of exposure and disease, including cholera and plague, while making the trans-Saharan journey or later while in Egypt. Slaves transported ivory and irrigated Egyptian cotton fields. Demand for slaves transformed regional societies as local populations moved to avoid raids or developed gradations of servility to serve slave raiders. Such transformations and environmental impacts had parallels elsewhere in the IOW.