Mariana CandidoApr 17, 2015
An African Slaving Port and the Atlantic World
Benguela and its Hinterland
Cambridge University Press 2013
Mariana Candido's book An African Slaving Port and the Atlantic World. Benguela and its Hinterland (Cambridge University Press, 2013) is a powerful and moving exploration of the history and development of the port of Benguela. Founded by the Portuguese in the early seventeenth century, Benguela, located on the central coast of present-day Angola, was the third largest port of slave embarkation on the coast of Africa. In discussing the impact of the trans-Atlantic slave trade on African societies, Candido looks at the formation of new elites, the collapse of old states, and the emergence of new ones. Her book offers a new perspective on the importance of the South Atlantic as a space for the circulation of people, ideas, and crops. But what makes this book truly distinctive is how Candido digs beneath the surface of her evidence to give readers a sense of the lived experiences and feelings of all involved in the trade: the unfortunate victims and those who benefited from the violent capture and selling of human beings. As historian John Thornton observes, Candido's book "will be a starting point for studies of the region for years to come."