Africa and the wider world: creole communities in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans
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AbstractAbstract: Portuguese creoles were instrumental in bringing sub-Saharan Africa into the intercontinental systems of the Atlantic and Indian Ocean. In the Atlantic Islands a distinctive creole culture emerged, made up of Christian emigrants from Portugal, Jewish exiles and African slaves. These creole polities offered a base for coastal traders and became politically influential in Africa - in Angola creating their own mainland state. Connecting the African interior with the world economy was largely on African terms and the lack of technology transfer meant that the economic gap between Africa and the rest of the world inexorably widened. African slaves in Latin America adapted to a society already creolised, often through adroit forms of cultural appropriation and synthesis. In eastern Africa Portuguese worked within existing creolised Islamic networks but the passage of their Indiamen through the Atlantic created close links between the Indian Ocean and Atlantic commercial systems.