Introduction: Bondage and the Environment in the Indian Ocean World

  • Gwyn Campbell
Part of the Palgrave Series in Indian Ocean World Studies book series (IOWS)


This chapter sets the context for an examination of the historical relationship between bondage and the environment in the Indian Ocean world (IOW), a vast region, running from Africa to China, upon which the monsoon system and related environmental factors have had great historical influence. Systems of unfree labour existed throughout the IOW but few resembled systems of chattel slavery that characterized the ancient Mediterranean and early modern Atlantic worlds. Chattel slavery, it is argued, applied to a minority of chiefly European-run enclaves in the IOW where a variety of systems of bonded labour emerged and which were strongly affected by environmental factors.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gwyn Campbell
    • 1
  1. 1.McGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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