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"Tavern of the Seas"? The Cape of
Good Hope as an oceanic crossroads during
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries

Kerry Ward
Rice University


            The Cape of Good Hope, on the tip of Southern Africa, was at the crossroads for European ships traversing the Atlantic and Indian Oceans en route to Asia and returning to Europe. Centuries before the establishment of the first formal European settlement at the Cape, Portuguese mariners were familiar with the southern African coastline as they made their way towards the East African coast and intervened in the major indigenous trading networks in the Indian Ocean and its intersection with the South China Sea. Various European merchant ships flying the flags of England, France, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands stopped at the Cape of Good Hope in fluctuating numbers from the sixteenth century to re-provision their ships with fresh water and meat bartered from the local Khoikhoi inhabitants. It was in 1652 that the Dutch East India Company, who were in the process of wresting the mantle of European ascendancy in Indian Ocean trading networks from the Portuguese, decided to occupy the Cape of Good Hope to forestall such a move by a rival European merchant company. Despite Dutch fears of invasion, sometimes well founded and other times bordering on the paranoid, the Company was able to maintain exclusive control of this oceanic crossroads for almost the next 150 years. The settlement that sprung up at the Cape, particularly the port town itself, bore the indelible imprint of the Dutch East India Company empire. It was the particular trajectories of the various networks that comprised the Company empire that determined both the character and the role of the Cape as a crossroads of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

            This paper also examines the Cape metaphorically as a crossroads for scholarly debates on colonialism, empire, urban history and diaspora. It engages with the literature on the nature of port cities as oceanic entities and argues that Cape Town shared more characteristics with the colonial Atlantic port cities than with Indian ocean port polities that were later colonized by Europeans. Cape Town intersects with the emerging literature on 'oceanic worlds' by being part of both the Atlantic and Indian ocean worlds at this time, while not conforming to the major patterns of either, although it is rarely included in the academic literature on either ocean. Last but not least, the Cape of Good Hope was a crucible for multiple layers of migrations that were part of the movement of people in the Dutch East India Company empire. This paper attempts to bring the elements of these movements into focus in a single analytical framework that addresses the phenomenon of the migrations in the historical past and the growth of diasporic consciousness in the cultural present of contemporary post-apartheid South Africa.

Cape Town's Urban History: 

            The title of this paper describing Cape Town as the "tavern of the seas" is an ambiguous reference to the way that the urban history of the city has been written and the way it was characterized historically during the Dutch East India Company period. Charles Boxer speculated on who first gave the town the appellation of de Indische Zeeherberg (Tavern of the Indian Ocean); it was already in common usage by the eighteenth century when the Swedish surgeon-botanist Carl Peter Thunberg traveling to the Cape in 1772 described it as:

(a)n inn for travelers to and from the East Indies, who, after several months' sail may here get refreshments of all kinds, and are then about half way to the place of their destination, whether homeward or outward bound.1

Amateur historians have often employed the term to write anecdotal and antiquarian romantic histories of Cape Town stressing the cosmopolitan character of the Cape and the raucous adventures of the sailors ashore, telling tales from a European, mostly male, perspective.2

            The academic scholarship on the urban history of Cape Town has consciously chipped away at that fađade, particularly in the workshops that resulted in the series Studies in the History of Cape Town which were published in six volumes between 1979 and 1988. During this period Robert Ross wrote one of the few essays situating the growth of Cape Town in a comparative colonial context within an analysis of its integration into a world capitalist markets.3 Overall, Cape Town's urban history has developed within the aims of revisionist history in apartheid South Africa to write the social history of all the people in the community, consciously turning away from a "European" perspective. But the main focus of urban history was from the nineteenth century period of British colonialism onwards. Increasing use of oral history has accelerated the trend towards focusing on the history of the twentieth century, particularly since the imposition of apartheid. The Dutch East India Company period, the first 150 years of urban history, remained relatively understudied.4 The culmination of this research was the publication of Cape Town: The Making of a City. An Illustrated Social History by Nigel Worden, Elizabeth van Heyningen and Vivian Bickford-Smith. By situating the history of Cape Town in the context of the Cape as having pre-existing indigenous communities that were forcibly displaced by the Dutch invasion of the Cape, this popular history book has once and for all displaced the Eurocentric vision of Cape Town's history. It balanced indigenous history with the onset of Dutch colonialism predicated on the use of imported slave labor that characterized colonial society at the Cape for the next two centuries until emancipation under British rule in 1834.5  A renewed interest on the Dutch period at the Cape coincided with the dismantling of apartheid in the 1990s. With the re-interpretation of major national monuments in Cape Town, including the Company Castle, the Slave Lodge and Robben Island, a revitalized interest in the history of the Cape in the imperial context of the Dutch East India Company has recently developed. Historians are once more turning to examine the structure of the Company and its personnel, including slaves, and the growth of Cape Town within its cosmopolitan trans-oceanic empire. This approach brings Cape Town's urban history full circle back to the "tavern of the seas".6

Cape Town as an Indian Ocean Port City:

            My examination of Cape Town's place among the port cities of the Indian Ocean takes its launching site from discussions among historians of Asia in the late 1980s.7 Southeast Asianists sought to extend their historiographical debates about the nature of Southeast Asia as an historical entity by examining one of the region's most obvious unifying cultural features  └ its urban past.8 This was analyzed in terms of the growth of walled cities with orientation to the sea along riverine systems that linked hinterland to coast on the mainland, and various permutations of this pattern in the archipelago.9

The singularly international orientation of Southeast Asia throughout its history has been determined by the maritime configuration of the region and the important role it has played in mediating trade, first, between west and east Asia, and later, between the west and China. By providing international emporia at strategic locations where high value local and imported products were stocked, Southeast Asia became the area of convergence for goods moving between the oriental and occidental regions from as early as the third century A.D.10

            Change and continuity within the Southeast Asian port-city system very much depended on fluctuations in trading relationships with China before the seventeenth century. Individual port cities waxed and waned, but the system was fairly coherent in its patterns of trade. The 'concentricity of entrepot and polity was almost a universal phenomenon in Southeast Asia'.11 The increased presence of European traders who forced their commercial interests by the use of political interference backed by military force accelerated the decline of specific indigenous port cities from the mid seventeenth centuries, shifting focus to those occupied, conquered or established by Europeans and their marshalling of indigenous labor. The conquest of Melaka in 1511 by the Portuguese, and subsequent conquest by the Dutch in 1641, precipitated the city's decline from the most cosmopolitan emporium in the world, but in turn stimulated the growth of alternative Southeast Asian entrepots like Aceh, Banten and the coastal sultanates of the Malay peninsula. In turn, port cities like Banten that were not conquered militarily stimulated the establishment of European-controlled rival ports designed specifically to divert already existing trade patterns and link them to direct sea routes with Europe. A case in point is the establishment in 1619 of Batavia, the Asian capital of the Dutch East India Company empire, in the vicinity of Banten on the west coast of Java is a case in point.

            Part of the conceptual problem with characterizations of Southeast Asian and Asian port-polities by scholars in the late 1980s was the insistence that they were "Asian".12 The original collection of essays edited by Frank Broeze, Brides of the Sea, was revised in its second incantation by dropping the feminization of urban entities but retained its Asia-centricity in the title Gateways of Asia. Although Broeze claimed that his notion of "Asia" came from Said's more expansive geographical definition of the concept in his famous book Orientalism, the inclusion of East African port cities in both books is surely a stretch of the imagination.13  It's interesting to note the reluctance to embrace the idea of the Indian Ocean as a category of analysis within this literature, partly because of the inclusion of port cities on the South China and East Seas. The unifying factor of urban forms in Gateways of Asia is that:

The foundations of most if not all Asian port cities ultimately rests on indigenous fishing villages─ It would not be too much to see the origins of Asian sea faring in the myriad of fishing communities which, to a very large extent, still stretch along much of the littoral of the continent and its islands.14

            The main problem with including Cape Town as an Indian Ocean or "Asian" port city is that it grew entirely without direct contact with indigenous Indian Ocean shipping networks. Cape Town as a port was exclusively tied into European shipping patterns across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. There is no evidence that Asian, African or Arabic ships ever entered Table Bay before the nineteenth century. Nor could indigenous hunter-gatherer or pastoral societies in the Western or Eastern Cape prior to European settlement be characterized as "fishing villages". The orientation of indigenous societies in the region was not towards the sea. Trading relations between African societies in the geographical area of modern South Africa took place through overland routes. Although these contacts were ancient, they did not rely on riverine communications and did not resemble the "upstream-downstream" hierarchical relationships between Southeast Asian communities linked to the coast.

            Cape Town's primary function remained a refreshment post and hospital for ships' crews and a repair dock for European ships plying the waters to and from Asia and Europe.15 Their numbers fluctuated depending a number of factors. Firstly, the state of alliances between the Netherlands and other European states determined which ships had permission to enter Table Bay. The Company officials could deny anchorage or provisions to foreign ships, although supplying these services was profitable for the Company. Between 1700-1714 over one thousand ships anchored in Table Bay with only 64% of these belonging to the Company. While during the mid-eighteenth century numbers fluctuated, they increased precipitously in the later decades of the century. Combined with this annual fluctuation in the number of ships was the seasonal nature of shipping in general. Ships were most commonly in harbor for approximately a month during the autumn and spring, which had a massive seasonal influence on the population of the Cape in any one year.16 The population of the Cape was therefore tied to its role as a port city with a similar seasonal pattern to the Indian Ocean port polities dependent on monsoon winds for their main trading networks.

Cape Town in the Atlantic World:

            An alternative perspective in examining the structure of Cape Town as a port city is to turn westwards towards the Atlantic Ocean. The concept of an "Atlantic World" is more coherent and longer lived than the emerging debates on an "Indian Ocean World".17  Bernard Baylin's article on 'The Idea of Atlantic History' posits that the unifying concept of an Atlantic World emerged from historians analyzing the unification of the Old and New Worlds in terms of the common development of societies based on western European Christian civilization.18 However, as John Thornton has powerfully argued, any consideration of the Atlantic world must have as one of its central premises the examination of the role of Africans in the making of this oceanic world.19 

            Examining the port cities of the Atlantic Ocean shifts an emphasis away from the purely commercial and political role of the Indian Ocean port cities towards complementary functions of administration and defense.20 Stressing these multiple elements of the Atlantic port city, and their origins in European colonialism, bears direct comparison with the main functions of Cape Town as a port city. Atlantic port cities were similarly not tied into pre-existing indigenous shipping and long distance trading routes.21 European colonial shipping provided the impetus for trans-Atlantic shipping and retained a monopoly on the ownership of oceanic transportation. It was European ships harboring in colonial Atlantic port cities that transported goods and people from the interiors of the lands bordering the ocean. The trade in people as commodities to the port cities of the colonial Americas and Caribbean during the trans-Atlantic slave trade also bears comparison with Cape Town. The Cape colony relied on the transportation of slaves from around the Indian Ocean to provide the basis of its colonial workforce. While indigenous Khoikhoi were variously incorporated into the rural labor force, the port city itself at the Cape was almost exclusively dependent on slave labor.

Cape Town as a cross-oceanic port city:

            Historians of the Indian Ocean have already acknowledged that the multiplicity of long term and complex networks of association across and around the ocean make it difficult to define a unified concept of the region.22 Perhaps one alternative is to borrow the national motto of modern Indonesia "unity in diversity".  Eric Tagliocozzo has made the latest attempt at a long term overview of common experiences in the transformation of the Indian Ocean in terms of large-scale economic and social processes.23 He employs Michael Pearson's concept of "littoral societies" as communities extending from the coast that are influenced by their relationship with the port, an influence that weakens with geographic distance.24 This concept of a littoral society has the advantage of integrating the harbor town with its hinterland, in a similar way to earlier analyses of Southeast Asian indigenous port polities. Tagliocozzo identifies three major 'littoral regions' on the boundaries of the Indian Ocean: the eastern littoral including Southeast Asia; the northern littoral incorporating South Asia; and the western littoral of East Africa. This conceptualization has the advantage of incorporating East Africa within an analytical category of the Indian Ocean schema and takes into account the major dynamics of indigenous trading networks rather than cross-oceanic patterns.

            But one of the problems with examining port cities or littoral societies is that it downplays the importance of shipping as the process of voyaging rather than in terms of transportation of commodities or people from point-A to point-B. Cape Town was a site within a shipping network that accommodated large numbers of people either on a permanent basis or seasonally transient one. When one considers this major feature of Cape Town as an oceanic crossroads rather than concentrating on the urban history of its fixed population, the incorporation of processes of the movement of people as settlers, slaves, sojourners, sailors and soldiers, convicts and exiles comes to the fore.

            Cape Town emerged within the Company period as a littoral society fundamentally engaged with the intersections of multiple imperial networks of trade, information and migration across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The Dutch imperial networks are of primary importance because the Company, by virtue of its territorial possession of the Cape and its harbors, was able to control access to these shipping networks as they intersected with the city. David Hancock's characterization of Atlantic world has direct resonance for the Cape.

[T]o accentuate inter-imperial behaviour over intra-imperial behaviour would be to miscast reality. One really needs to present both. In its identification of a community more-or-less oceanic, the Atlantic history perspective, if it is to be anything more than boiled-over imperial history, must accentuate cross-boundary exchanges─ At the same time, it extends our understanding of how real people constructed their commercial, social and cultural lives out of plural demands and influences, especially how marginal members of society wove together threads from local and international sources to create syncretically new social phenomena and cultural forms─25

            Instead of examining the process of movement itself, Cape Town can be examined as a node in these networks of movement across the Atlantic and Indian oceans that bring into focus both rulers and ruled as engaged in different forms of migration. This perspective contrasts with that of Ross and Telkamp who claimed that 'cities were superfluous to the purposes of colonists─ [f]rom the point of view of the colonists, the cities were─ necessary evils, as they were parasites on the rural producers, competing with the colonists in the process of surplus extraction.'26 One cannot separate production from consumption in the case of Cape Town as a "tavern of the seas".

Sojourns, Sentences, Migrations and Diasporas at the Cape:

            This paper argues that there are two oceanic networks interacting in the peopling of the Cape during the Dutch East India Company period. Of course, this process took place within the context of the peopling of southern Africa over millennia. The colonial myth of large parts of southern Africa as having been "empty land" has long been debunked and it could never be sustained in the western Cape where indigenous occupation of the land was ancient and inscribed in the landscape. From the time the Company set up shop at the Cape, a small number of Khoikhoi joined the settlement and subsequently there was a small indigenous population in the town.

            The Dutch East India Company instituted various networks of migration that intersected at the Cape. Almost from the beginning of the Dutch residence at the Cape, strands of these networks were brought together. At first, European settlement was both semi-permanent and seasonal. The Company outpost was not at first considered a permanent fixture, it took decades for the definitive decision to establish sovereignty over the land. Therefore, the first European migration to the Cape was part of the sojourn patterns of the Company that scattered its personnel └ administrators, soldiers and artisans └ around its various settlements on a temporary basis. European Company personnel crossed the Atlantic Ocean and were assigned to particular settlements around the Indian Ocean, but could apply for transfer from one to another post. This pattern could be characterized as a trading diaspora, but in the sense that Philip Curtin has used the term, I think it needs modification to be more accurately described as an 'imperial diaspora'.27 It was not until a commitment to permanent settlement of the Cape was made in the 1670s that one can claim a stable European migration took place. Around the same time, the first voluntary migration of civilians took place, with the Company offering refuge to several hundred French Huguenots who allowed to settle and were given land at the Cape to farm.28 These early voluntary migrations slightly shifted the gender ratio of European residents at the Cape from an overwhelmingly male population. Nevertheless, European residence at the Cape continued in patterns of small-scale migrations from Europe combined with the decision of small numbers of Company personnel to settle permanently at the Cape alongside much larger patterns of temporary residence or seasonal sojourning. The "Dutch" nature of the Company has long been disputed. Various historians have traced the trajectories of other European nationalities in the Company and at the Cape. For example, Linder's detailed register of the Swiss at the Cape is one of the works that has historians to tease out the regional variations in European migrations to the Cape of Good Hope.29 Not all European migrations, whether temporary or permanent, were voluntarily made. The Cape doubled as a penal colony for the Dutch East India Company's Indian Ocean empire. Unlike most other early modern European colonies, the Cape did not receive convicts direct from Europe across the Atlantic Ocean. Europeans were transported as convicts to the Cape throughout the Company period but came only from the Company's Indian Ocean empire.30

            Almost from the outset, the port city at the Cape was also a slave colony and was therefore engaged in patterns of permanent forced migration. The Cape was not in general part of the Atlantic slave trade. Only two ships, one from Dahomey in West Africa the another from Angola in south-west Africa, traversed the Atlantic ocean to bring slaves to the Cape. The vast majority of slaves came from the various Indian Ocean networks of slave trades. The Company utilized these indigenous networks and overlaid their own slave trade network on these existing patterns of forced migration. The Cape received slaves crossing the Indian Ocean from various regions. Slaves from the south-west Indian Ocean └ mainly Madagascar, Mauritius, and Mozambique └ were traded within the network of slave trades connecting the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea. Slaves from India or Ceylon (Sri Lanka) were either transported directly across the Indian Ocean from the region or were trans-shipped from their homelands to Batavia and then transported back across the Indian Ocean to the Cape. Slaves from the Indies came from the  multitude of island polities across the archipelago and more rarely from the Malay peninsula.31

            The ethnic origins and identities of these slaves from the eastern Indian Ocean were complex and it is difficult to ascertain where many of them were born despite slave naming practices that indicated supposed place of origin. Although one can confidently identify a forced Malagasy diaspora to the Cape, in general one cannot do the same for, say, a Bugis diaspora. Robin Cohen's characterization of a 'victim diaspora' would, interestingly enough, include the Huguenots alongside the slaves that arrived at the Cape.32 It's not clear how one would categorize penal transportation within notions of a diaspora because, at least for Europeans, those who survived their sentences did not remain permanently at the Cape. This is not necessarily the case for Asians who were forcibly migrated as criminals and political prisoners. James Armstrong has traced the transportation to the Cape of Chinese men, overwhelmingly residents of Batavia who were convicted of crimes or exiled as illegal residents. In a sense, one could extend notions of the Chinese trading diaspora to a trans-Indian Ocean dimension that includes the Cape.33 One element of  Indian Ocean diasporas and migrations that has not previously been considered is that the transportation of Muslim slaves and prisoners links the Cape to hajj pilgrimages to Mecca and the societies bordering the Red Sea.34 Some of the most prominent exiles sent to the Cape from the Indies were Muslim scholars who were part of the Indian Ocean Islamic networks and who therefore linked the Cape to this wider realm. The transmission of Islam came directly through these slaves and political prisoners who formed the basis of the Muslim community at the Cape .

Cape Town as a Diasporic Site:

            One of the disadvantages of teasing out the networks of migration to the Cape across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans is the tendency to treat the strands of migration as separate phenomenon. It goes without saying that the colonial society at the Cape, despite the Company's racial categorization of the population of its settlements, was forged through the intertwining of these people from different parts of the world as well as those who were there in the first place.

            In the evolution of South African society, the Dutch colonial period has been seen by South Africans both within distinct migrations of Europeans and as the mixing of people living at the Cape who formed the basis of those communities who were later classified as "white" and "coloured" under apartheid. I would argue that the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa has brought renewed interest among South Africans in their search for cultural origins and that this process contributes to the theorization of what "diaspora" means in a colonial context.

            The strands of cross-oceanic migrations that I have outlined above can be more accurately described in combination as migrations and sojourns rather than diasporas. A crucial part of theorizing "diaspora" is that a diaspora includes the continued claim of a specific homeland by those living elsewhere. What has emerged in South Africa in about the last decade is the development of diasporic consciousness among individuals and communities, particularly at the Cape. Coloured communities at the Cape have begun to embrace their slave origins and in some instances search for specific sites from which their forebears originated. There has been a renewed interest in claiming "Malay" ethnic heritage in the Cape which projects a notion of a "Malay diaspora" backwards into the past, particularly (but not exclusively) among Cape Town Muslims. Travel agents in Cape Town do quite a brisk trade in "homeland tours" to Southeast Asia where South Africans visit Malaysia and Indonesia to explore what they believe is, and embrace, as their own cultural heritage. Individuals have traced their family genealogies to specific islands in the Indonesian archipelago and sought their "roots" in these communities. Others have embraced India as the site of their diasporic past, although not in religious terms. Interestingly, Madagascar isn't a significant site in this evolution of diasporas in the Cape despite its significance for the origins of slaves. 

            I think this process in South Africa mirrors patterns of the proliferation of people claiming to be part of "diasporas" in the era of globalization.35 While some academics have claimed that this is a process that indicates the weakening of loyalties to and identifications with the nation-state due to processes of globalization, in South Africa it is precisely the opposite. Renewed interest in "ethnic origins" conceptualized through notions of diaspora are part of the claiming of what being part of the "new South Africa" is all about. Disengaged from apartheid and racial discrimination, claims of ethnicity in South Africa have no legal basis in people's relation to the state and therefore can be embraced historically as part of the cultural history of the country. This is most clearly visible in the Cape where the majority of communities and individuals claiming origins in slavery and forced migration live, where the representation of these diasporas also form part of the marketing of the Cape in local and international tourism. The revitalization of Cape Town's history as the "tavern of the seas" has shifted meaning from a Eurocentric clich■ towards an acknowledgement of the Cape as a place where people who traversed the Atlantic and Indian Oceans met at this oceanic crossroads.


1 Carl Peter Thunberg quoted in Charles Boxer, The Dutch Seaborne Empire1600-1800. Middlesex, 1973. p. 273. Boxer's chapter on the Cape is entitled "the tavern of two seas" pp. 273-301.

2 J F Craig, The Tavern of the Seas. Cape Town, 1949 and also published in Afrikaans as Herberg van die see. Lawrence Green, Tavern of the Seas, Cape Town, 1947. Christopher Saunders, 'Methodological Issues in South African Urban History', unpublished paper, no date, p. 17.

3 Robert Ross, 'Cape Town (1750-1850): Synthesis in the Dialectic of Continents' in Robert Ross and Gerard Telkamp eds., Colonial Cities: Essays on Urbanism in a Colonial Context. Dordrecht, 1985. pp. 105-122.

4 Christopher Saunders, 'Cameos and Class: Cape Town's Past Uncovered', Studies in the History of Cape Town vol 6. Cape Town, 1988. p. 1-3.

5 Nigel Worden, Elizabeth van Heyningen and Vivian Bickford-Smith, Cape Town: The Making of a City: An Illustrated Social History. Cape Town, 1998.

6 Susan Newton-King, 'Company castle and control: the social, moral and emotional world of servants and slaves of the Dutch East India Company in seventeenth and eighteenth century Cape Town', grant application, National Research Foundation, South Africa, 2002.

7 Frank Broeze ed., Brides of the Sea: Port Cities of Asia from the 16th to the 20th Centuries. Honolulu, 1989. J. Kathirithamby-Wells and John Villiers eds., Southeast Asian Port and Polity └ Rise and Demise. Singapore, 1990.

8 Anthony Reid, Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce 1450-1680. Volume 2: Expansion and Crisis. New Haven and London, 1993. See especially chapter two 'The City and Its Commerce'. pp. 62-131.

9 Reid, Expansion and Crisis. p. 85.

10 J. Kathirithamby-Wells, 'Introduction: An Overview', in Kathirithamby-Wells and Villiers eds., Southeast Asian Port and Polity. p. 1.

11 J. Kathirithamby-Wells, 'Introduction' p. 2.

12 Frank Broeze ed., Brides of the Sea and Frank Broeze ed., Gateways of Asia: Port Cities of Asia in the 13th to the 20th Centuries. London and New York, 1997.

13 Frank Broeze, 'Brides of the Sea Revisited' in Broeze ed., Gateways of Asia. p. 8.

14 Frank Broeze, 'Brides of the Sea Revisited', pp. 10-11.

15 By no means all European ships stopped at the Cape of Good Hope. As Boucher points out 'Cadiz, the Brazilian coast and the islands of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans sheltered many ships; St Helena in particular was used by British East Indiamen─ Portugal, with an anchorage at Mozambique─ made little use of Dutch facilities in Southern Africa'. M. Boucher, 'The Cape and foreign shipping, 1714-1723', South African Historical Journal, 6, November 1974. pp. 5-6.

16 Nigel Worden et al., Cape Town. pp. 52-53. The main source for Company shipping is J. R. Bruijn, F. S. Gaastra and I. Schoffer, Dutch-Asiatic Shipping in the 17th and 18th Centuries. 3 volumes. Den Haag, 1979 & 1987.

17 Paricipants at the conference "Cultural Exchange and Transformation in the Indian Ocean World" organized at UCLA by Edward Alpers and Allen Roberts in April 2002 concluded that we might be better off talking about Indian Ocean Worlds in the plural rather than the singular. Arasaratnam's overview of Indian Ocean historiography doesn't mention urban history as one of the major themes in the field. S. Arasaratnam, 'Recent Trends in the Historiography of the Indian Ocean, 1500-1800', Journal of World History, 1, 2, 1990. pp. 225-248.

18 Bernard Bailyn, 'The Idea of Atlantic History', Itinerario, 1, 1996. pp. 19-44. Of course, the sea as a singular unit of analysis comes from Fernand Braudel's The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II. 2 volumes. Translated by Sian Reynolds. Berkeley, Los Angeles and London, 1995 (first French publication: Paris, 1949).

19 John Thornton, Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400-1800. Second Edition. Cambridge, 1998.

20 Franklin Knight and Peggy Liss eds., Atlantic Port Cities: Economy, Culture and Society in the Atlantic World, 1650-1850. Knoxville, 1991.

21 Indigenous Africans, Americans and Caribbean islanders obviously engaged in extensive riverine and localized sea travel and commerce, but they did not navigate trans-oceanic voyages.

22 Both Janet Abu-Lughod and Chaudhuri leave the southwest Indian Ocean out of their units of analysis. See Janet Abu-Lughod, Before European Hegemony. The World System A.D. 1250-1350. New York and Oxford, 1989. K. N. Chaudhuri, Asia before Europe: economy and civilization of the Indian Ocean from the rise of Islam to 1750. Cambridge, 1990. Richard Hall's popular history does make an attempt to traverse the length and breadth of the ocean. Empires of the Monsoon: A History of the Indian Ocean and its Invaders. London, 1996

23 Eric Tagliocozzo, 'Trade, Production and Incorporation: The Indian Ocean in Flux, 1600-1900', Itinerario, 1, 2002.

24 Michael Pearson, 'Littoral Society: The Case for the Coast', The Great Circle, 7, 1985. pp. 1-8

25 David Hancock, 'The British Atlantic World: Co-ordination, Complexity, and the Emergence of an Atlantic Market Economy, 1651-1815', Itinerario, 2, 1999. p. 10. Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker's conceptualization of the emergence of a multi-ethnic trans-Atlantic working class is also evocative of the Cape. 'The circular transmission of human experience from Europe to Africa to the Americas and back again corresponded to the same cosmic forces that set the Atlantic currents in motion, and in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the merchants, manufacturers, planters, and royal officials of northwestern Europe followed these currents, building trade routes, colonies, and a new transatlantic economy. They organized workers from Europe, Africa, and the Americas to produce and transport bullion, furs, fish, tobacco, sugar, and manufactures.' Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker, The Many-Headed Hydra. Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic. Boston, 2000. p. 2.

26 Robert Ross and Gerard Telkamp, 'Introduction', in Ross and Telkamp eds., Colonial Cities, p. 1.

27 Philip Curtin, Cross-cultural Trade in World History. Cambridge, 1984. pp. 1-15. Robin Cohen, Global Diasporas: An Introduction. Seattle, 1997. p. 178.

28 Robert Ross, A Concise History of South Africa. Cambridge, 1999. p. 23.

29 Adolphe Linder, The Swiss at the Cape of Good Hope 1652-1971. Basel, 1997.

30 Kerry Ward, '"The Bounds of Bondage": Forced migration from Batavia to the Cape of Good Hope in the Dutch East India Company (VOC) era, c.1652-1795', unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Michigan, 2002.

31 James Armstrong and Nigel Worden, 'The Slaves, 1652-1834' in Richard Elphick and Hermann Giliomee eds., The Shaping of South African Society, 1652-1840. Cape Town: 1989. pp. 109-143.

32 Robin Cohen, Global Diasporas. p. 178.

33 James Armstrong, 'The Chinese at the Cape in the Dutch East India Company period', unpublished paper presented to the UNESCO Slave Route Project Conference, Robben Island, South Africa, October 24-26 1997.

34 For one analysis of early modern hajj pilgrimages in the Indian Ocean see Michael Pearson, Pilgrimage to Mecca: The Indian Experience 1500-1800. Princeton, 1996.

35 Nicholas Van Hear, New Diasporas: The mass exodus, dispersal and regrouping of migrant communities. Seattle, 1998.


Copyright Statement

Copyright: ę 2003 by the American Historical Association. Compiled by Debbie Ann Doyle and Brandon Schneider. Format by Chris Hale.

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