Linell Chewins and Peter Delius: The Northeastern Factor

In a 2020 article, Linell Chewins and Peter Delius touched on Julian Cobbing’s arguments about the Delagoa Bay slave trade. According to Cobbing, the slave trade at the Bay was an important factor in the upheavals known as the Mfecane which took place within south-east Africa from roughly 1810-1840.  Chewins and Delius claimed that previously overlooked archival evidence uncovered in Lisbon suggests that the slave trade operating out of Delagoa Bay (Maputo), which supplied slaves to the Mascarene Islands and Brazil in particular, was much greater in scale than previously thought. According to their calculations, rather than the 2,000 – 3,000 figure estimated by Cobbing, a figure closer to 5,000 slaves a year were being exported from Delagoa Bay between the years 1826 and 1835.  Drawing on circumstantial evidence, they also speculated that the Zulu kingdom was involved in the slave trade.

Relevant Works

Chewins, Linell and Peter Delius. “The Northeastern Factor in South African History: Reevaluating the Volume of the Slave Trade out of Delagoa Bay and its Impact on its Hinterland in the Early Nineteenth-Century.” Journal of African History 61, no. 1 (2020), 89-110.

Chewins, Linell. “The Relationship between Trade in Southern Mozambique and State Formation: Reassessing Hedges on Cattle, Ivory and Brass”.  Journal of Southern African Studies 42, no. 4 (2015), 725–741. 

Chewins, Linell. “Trade at Delagoa Bay: the influence of trade on political structures, 1721-1799”. Master’s dissertation, University of the Witwatersrand, 2015.

Cobbing, Julian. “Ousting the Mfecane: Reply to Elizabeth Eldredge”.  Paper prepared for “The ‘Mfecane’ Aftermath: towards a new paradigm” workshop. University of the Witwatersrand, 6 – 9 September, 1991.

Cobbing, Julian. “The Mfecane as Alibi: Thoughts on Dithakong and Mbolompo”. The Journal of African History 29, no. 3 (1988), 487-519.

Cobbing, Julian. “Jettisoning the Mfecane (with Perestroika)”.  African Studies Seminar Paper, Rhodes University, 1988.

Harries, Patrick. “Slavery, Social Incorporation and Surplus Extraction; The Nature of Free and Unfree Labour in South-East Africa”. The Journal of African History 22, no. 3 (1981), 309-330.

Liesegang, Gerhard. “Dingane’s Attack on Lourenco Marques in 1833”. The Journal of African History 10, no. 4 (1969), 565-579.

Online from: 16 Jul 2021