Tunisia is known for being the first Muslim country to abolish slavery during the modern period. Although Ahmed Bey, the country's ruler in the mid-nineteenth century, was morally opposed to slavery, he did not have the broad support of the citizenry to enact reforms. Even religious leaders were against change, pointing to the Islamic Law precedent for slave ownership. Yet the bey realised that increased European intervention throughout North Africa threatened Tunisian independence, and thus embraced abolition as a progressive reform measure to safeguard its integrity and sovereignty. In this groundbreaking work, Ismael Montana fully explicates the complexity of Tunisian society and culture and reveals how abolition was able to occur in an environment hostile to such change. Moving beyond typical slave trade studies, he departs from the traditional regional paradigms that isolate slavery in North Africa from its global dynamics to examine the trans-Saharan slave trade in a broader historical context. The result is a study that reveals how European capitalism, political pressure, and evolving social dynamics throughout the western Mediterranean region helped shape this seismic cultural event.Reseña del editor:
The first full examination of the factors for and against abolition in Tunisia and how it was able to occur in an environment hostile to such change.
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