Beyond the Horizon: The Agency of Dhow Traders, L’Acte de Francisation and International Politics in the Western Indian Ocean, c. 1860–1900
This chapter deals with the question of françisation. The transporters found there was an advantage to hoisting the French flag and carrying French registration documents—as these enabled them to be bypassed by British patrols. This chapter traces the progress of French flag usage by transporters and examines, on the one hand, the agency of the maritime transporters, which was realized only when they made full use of both their vast network and the suppression measures, and, on the other, looks at British efforts to tackle a situation that had its origins in a tangled international relationship. The issue of French flag usage was eventually taken to the Permanent Court of Arbitration, where a ruling was made, despite the fact both transporters and representatives of the local polities were absent.