- “All the baubles that they needed”: “Industriousness” and Slavery in Saint-Louis and Gorée
- Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal
- University of Pennsylvania Press
- Volume 15, Number 4, Fall 2017
- p. pp. 714-739
- View Citation
Atlantic port cities were sites of commercial, consumer, and industrious revolutions in the eighteenth century. This essay argues that accounts of the Atlantic consumer and industrious revolutions need to include African port cities because they were an important market for consumer goods and services. The Senegambian cities of Saint-Louis and Gorée were port cities involved in the consumption of Atlantic and global goods, as well as in the provision of services for ships involved in trade, and especially the slave trade. They had a class of women involved in the economic transformation of the cities, who help illustrate the role of consumerism, as well as the possibilities for accumulation created by the institution of domestic urban slavery. It is useful to look at African port cities because their experiences of urban slavery can help us think critically about what is meant by the industrious household and about how women in different Atlantic contexts were able to accumulate and use invested capital in varying ways.