1860: The Rigby Emancipation and the Rise of the Indian Resident Nationality Problem
This chapter focuses on the legal status of the Indian merchants who played a major role in commerce around the nineteenth-century East African coast. A background to their commercial success was the fact they enjoyed protection from both Britain and the Sultan of Zanzibar. This chapter examines the extent to which Indian populations were able benefit from their somewhat ambiguous position as well as the difficulties that flowed from it. Their ambiguous status was based on differences of legal understanding, commercial and political intention among the parties around the Indian merchant. However, such a delicate balance was finally destroyed, in relation to slave possession, by the British imperial network.