Famine and Slavery in Africa’s Red Sea World, 1887–1914
At end of the nineteenth century, the slave trade in the Southern Red Sea Region experienced a sudden reinvigoration. This was the direct result of a deadly famine that ravaged the African littoral following the introduction of rinderpest in 1887. Up to two-thirds of the population in some affected areas died during the famine. After the acute crisis abated, those who had survived depended on the regional slave trade to power reconstruction. The British, French, and Italian colonial officials who had come to rule much of the region around the time of the famine not only ignored their obligations to combat the slave trade but also, in many cases, actively encouraged its revival.