“Surrender, dogs, to those of Salé”

August 16, 2009

Leila Maziane has recently published her PhD thesis about the Corsairs of Salé. This excellent book fills the gap that existed in the “Atlantic World” between Spain and West Africa, it includes Morocco in global history and at the same time coverns fascinatings aspects of a local story. leila Maziane obtained her PhD from Caen University (France) and is now teaching at Hassan II University in Mohammedia (Morocco). She accepted in March 2009 to meet up in the beautiful al-Saud library in Casablanca:

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De Vries J. (2005) The Dutch Atlantic economies

July 9, 2009

De Vries, Jan (2005) “The Dutch Atlantic Economies”, in  Peter A. Coclanis, ed., The Atlantic Economy During The Seventeenth And Eighteenth Centuries: Organization, Operation, Practice, And Personnel, Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, p.1-10.

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Buy the book on line.

Initial forays

The Dutch started venturing outside the European waters in the late 16th century. This first Dutch Atlantic economy was built upon small private commercial partnerships (partenrederijen) drawn up usually for the duration of the voyage and led by an active partner who participated to the trip (p.2). Read the rest of this entry »

Lovejoy P. and Richardson D. (2001) Pawnship in West Africa during the slave trade

July 7, 2009

Lovejoy, Paul E. and Richardson, David (2001) “The Business of Slaving: Pawnship in Western Africa, c.1600-1810”, The Journal of African History, 42/1, 67-89.

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“The institution of pawnship, specially the use of people as collateral for credit, helped underpin the Atlantic slave trade” (p.68). Leaving people as collateral solve the trust issue attached to credit (p.69).

Several types of pawnships existed (p.70). Europeans often reported the habit for one to pawn himself if too poor to survive. People also often offered themselves as collateral for a credits and  if they failed to repay, they became slaves for debt (p.71). In domestic trade the use of pawns to guarantee a debt seem to have been fairly common in 18th-century West Africa. The institution seems to have been indigenous (p.72). Read the rest of this entry »

Austin G. (2009) Coercion and labour market in pre-colonial West Africa

May 19, 2009

Austin, Gareth (2009) “Coercion and markets: the political economy of slavery in West Africa, c.1450-1900”, paper presented for the Séminaire: Travail et conditions de vie en Afrique dans la longue durée, at the Paris School of Economics, 18/05/09.



The use of slave labour in pre-colonial Western Africa has often been attributed to the small human densities in the region. But this argument is in contradiction with the fact that slavery was relatively uncommon in the area before the development of the Atlantic slave trade. Indeed, it is the European demand for African bond labour that created the mechanisms that were subsequently used by the “domestic” slave trade. Those two markets were complementary, in particularly, the Atlantic slave trade concentrated on men while the domestic demand was centred on women. Read the rest of this entry »

This Week in Economic History (May 18th-23rd, 2009)

May 17, 2009

On Monday the 18th, the  London School of Economics Business History Unit Seminar will host James Walker and Peter Scott (Henley Business School at the University of Reading). They will present a paper on “Sales and Advertising Rivalry in Interwar US Department Stores”.  That same day, there will be an interesting conference on “Work and living standards in Africa in the long run“. Gareth Austin (LSE), Issiaka Mandé (Université Paris-Diderot), Alexander Moradi (University of Sussex) and Denis Cogneau (PSE et IRD) will discuss their papers in ENS, Paris.

On Tuesday the 19th, there will be a conference on “Cuisine régionale, cuisine de ville. Histoire et identités régionales”, by Massimo Montanari, at Université Paris Diderot – Paris 7.  A two-day international conference on Sailing History begins on Tuesday in Granada. There is also an interesting seminar on “The Long Term Effects of the Ottoman Empire: Financial Development in the Regions of Europe”, by Pauline Grosjean, at Berkeley University.

On Thursday, May 21st, a two-day conference will begin in London, this on “Writing the History of the Global“. Economic historians such as Jan Luiten van Zanden, Sevket Pamuk and Patrick O’Brien, among others will participate on a topic that has caught the attention of many colleagues around the world. The organizers will post multimedia records in ITunesU: we’ll inform whenever they are available. In Barcelona, a workshop on “Innovation Economy and History of Science and Technology. The Making of the Contemporary Pharmaceutical Research System” begins that same day.

There will be a two-day open conference in Mexico City to discuss the chapters of the coming book “Historia económica general de México. De la colonia a nuestros días“. Internationally-known scholars, such as Stephen Haber (Stanford), Alan Knight (Oxford), John Coatsworth (Columbia) and Gabriel Tortella (Universidad de Alcalá de Henares) will discuss a collective book that will definitely be a cornerstone in Mexican economic history.

Do you know of any other relevant economic history event in  your country? Please let us know!

Molho A. and Ramada Curto D. (2003) Merchant networks in the early modern world

January 29, 2009

Molho, Anthony and Ramada Curto, Diego (2003) “Les réseaux marchands à l’époque moderne”, Annales HSS, 58/3, 569-579.


The analysis of the trading networks fits in the comparative history of the world advocated by Fernand Braudel. The unity of the worlds considered (such as the Mediterranean for instance) does not depend on the geomorphic factors, but on the peoples who tie separate regions together. The motivation of these people comes from trade. But what is the nature of these commercial networks? How do they work and interact with the other components of the economy? Read the rest of this entry »

Bosker M., Buringh E. and van Zanden J.L. (2008) Why did Europe overtake the Arab World?

January 27, 2009

Bosker Maarten, Buringh Eltjo and van Zanden Jan Luiten (2008) “From Baghdad to London. The dynamics of urban growth in Europe and the Arab world, 800-1800”, CEPR.


In this article, the authors wonder how did Europe rose from insignificance to global domination from 800 to 1800, while the relative importance of the neighbouring Muslim regions decreased. They try to define the “preconditions for the genesis of the modern economic growth” (p.3) and to understand the roots of the European modernity. When did Europe and the Arab world diverge (p.4).? Read the rest of this entry »