ISBN 9789988550622
Pages 476
Dimensions 234 x 156mm
Illustrations B/W Illustrations and Maps
Published 2005
Publisher Sub-Saharan Publishers, Ghana
Format Paperback

Islands of Slaves

by Thorkild Hansen, Kari Dako

This is third title in Thorkild Hansen's classic trilogy on the Atlantic slave trade, originally published in Danish in 1967; and the first major translation and publication of the work in English. In Europe and North America, few are aware that the beautiful and now wealthy Virgin Islands of St Thomas, St Croix and St Jan were once Danish settlements and outposts of the slave trade. Moreover that the question of the independence of the islands was never seriously considered by the Danes, who instead sold them to the US in 1917 for 25 million dollars, several decades after the official end of slavery. This was against the will of the majority of the islanders, who were opposed to rule by the Americans, wary of their iniquitous treatment of blacks. In Denmark meanwhile, the popular view of national history presides that Denmark was the first of the imperial powers to abolish the slave trade. Thorkild Hansen's work breaks with these miss- representations of Denmark's role in the Atlantic slave trade. The third and biggest volume in the trilogy covers the period from the introduction of African slaves to the Danish islands, their official emancipation in 1848, subsequent sale to the Americans in the twentieth century, and reactions and resistance to these processes. Scrutinizing Denmark's moral obligation towards the islanders, the author draws extensively on primary sources, dramatizing and depicting real life characters into a moving and descriptive narrative. The introduction is provided by the historian A.V. Adams who states that ' Hansen's trilogy and Dako's scholarly initiative and competence in translating it contributes not only to Danes' re-reading of their own history, but also to West Indians' understanding of theirs... Hansen and Darko's contribution reaches beyond the Caribbean into the larger history of African-diaspora slave resistance... And inasmuch as the islands under consideration of the United States of America, this book through its translation becomes a text of US historiography...'

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About the Authors

Thorkild Hansen

Thorkild Hansen was a Danish foreign correspondent, novelist, travel writer and book reviewer, who wrote extensively on archaeological expeditions, travelogues, and on the Norwegian writer Knut Hamsun. He is known for his Slave Trilogy, for which he received the Nordic Council Prize.

Kari Dako

Kari Dako is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Ghana. She has written extensively on socio-linguistics and Ghanaian English. She has also translated Thorkild Hansen’s classic trilogy on the Atlantic slave trade from Danish.