This article reconstructs the life of Gabriel, a Beta Israel child enslaved in mid-sixteenth-century Ethiopia. After two scarcely documented decades in the Arab world, Gabriel reached Western India, where he repeatedly tried to improve his lot through conversion and relocation, until he came to the attention of the Goa Inquisition as a relapsed Muslim, in 1595. This Afro-Indian story of mobility, persecution, and resistance offers rare vistas into the workings of the early modern western Indian Ocean World (IOW): enslavement in the Horn of Africa, slave trading in the Arab world, Habshi life on both sides of the Indo-Portuguese frontier, and religious persecution in Portuguese India. Introducing and analyzing what appears to be the earliest autobiographical text by an enslaved Ethiopian, the article discusses the relevance of Gabriel's multiple identities at different junctures of his mobile existence and explores the tension between agency and structure within his life history.


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pp. 327-360
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