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“BLACK HISTORY” BY 301
4 mai 2021

C’est au tour des élèves de 301 Latin d’être sous les projecteurs. Afin de célébrer l’abolition de l’esclavage, il nous présentent un travail qu’ils ont réalisé lors d’une séquence intitulée “Black history”.

Préparez vos dictionnaires français/anglais et profitez de cette exposition sur l’abolition de l’esclavage dans l’archipel des Comores !

The abolition of slavery in Mayotte Slavery had an impact on the Comorian archipelago from an early age, both in terms of sale and purchase. Indeed, the Comoros, Madagascar, and the Lamu archipelago, not occupied by the Portuguese, provided slaves to eastern slave traders. The Comoros became an essential commercial haven for both eastern and European slave traders from the 18th century onwards.

When the French arrived in Mayotte, the slaves represented the second part of the population.

The abolition of slavery was declared in Mayotte on the 1st and 9th of July 1847. Mayotte was dominated by a self-sufficient economy. The slavery in Mayotte had nothing in common with that of the large colonies. Not only was the slave part of the family there, but he enjoyed an extensive deal of freedom, he married as he pleased, in accordance with the customs of the country.

The Makuas and other ethnic groups were brought to the Comoros. A couple of slaves could be freed when their owner died. A slave servant had better conditions compared to other types of slaves. Many slaves in the Comoros worked on the plantations. They revolted, and sometimes, as a result, their conditions were improved. When the slaves wanted to escape, the owners tried to scare them,

saying that the spirit would enchant them. By Sonia MAGOMA, Anchraphat ANDHUIME, Aichat AKMALDINE, Moina ALI and Naimah NOURDINE (301 LAT)

Slavery in Mayotte

The beginnings…

Slavery in the Comoros began long before the sixteenth century, but it was at this time that it intensified, notably during the Portuguese occupation of the Swahili countries. At the end of the seventeenth century, the Omani succeeded in driving the Portuguese out of the Swahili region and the Red Sea, reducing their presence in Mozambique. At the same time, the Comoros became a major trading center from the eighteen century onwards.

Forms of slavery in the Comoros.

Slavery in the Comoros, as in the rest of the Indian Ocean, had different forms :

• sexual slavery, with its eunuchs and concubines.

• domestic slavery ; slaves were used as ‘warumwas’ of the local aristocrats and 1 merchant families of eastern origins. They could hold high positions in society, such as ‘vizir’ or the counsellor of ‘wafaumes’ .

• plantation slavery, which spread in the archipelago in the mid-nineteenth century and caused many significant damages.

The Makuas and other ethnic groups of the east of Africa were brought to Comoros in large numbers, as there was a significant need for labour.

A dutch text claims that the citizens of Anjouan did not have to work back then and that all the work was done by their slaves, both in the house and in the fields.

The fight against slavery in the Comoros.

The fight against slavery in the Comoros, as in the rest of the Indian Ocean, started late, and very few voices were actually speaking against slavery itself. The British Navy campaigned to end the slave trade in the Indian Ocean in the early 19th century. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the British continued the struggle to convince the sovereigns of the region of the rightness of their policy. The French did not join this fight until the mid-nineteenth century. The fight against slavery in Comoros was first and foremost led by the indigenous people and slaves and it took different forms, such as :

• running away into inaccessible areas ; • rebellions, to improve their living and working conditions ;

• passive resistance or sabotage of work on plantations.

As in the rest of the Indian Ocean, the fight of the Europeans against slavery in the Comoros took the form of colonisation. When it comes to the French, their fight against slavery in Mayotte was partly motivated by the fact that they did not want to disturb the British in their struggle to end slavery in the Indian Ocean.

The abolition of slavery in the Comoros Archipelago.

Slavery was abolished in Mayotte on the 26th of Avril 1891, two years earlier than the rest of France. Mayotte was the first one in the Comoros to declare the abolition of slavery by the royal order of the 9th of December 1846. In Anjouan, slavery was abolished in September 1891 as a result of Makuas rebellions. It was confirmed, on 4 the 22nd of April 1891, by the sultan Said Omar. In Moheli, the population opposed the distribution of farmland and working conditions, which led to a revolt of Makuas in 1902. Slavery was subsequently abolished. In Grande Comore, slavery was officially abolished in 1904.

Following the example of Mayotte…

Slavery in Mayotte had nothing in common with that of the large colonies. ‘Thus, not only is the slave part of the family here, and when he is with his master, he eats with him the same meal, but he also enjoys very extensive freedom, he can cultivate a field and have an income of his own (…) so in reality, slavery is only practiced here by its name.”

There were three social groups :

• the Kabailas – nobles of Swahili origin or the Métis of Arabs, Shiharazians, and Mahorais belonging to the royal dynasty ;

• the Wangwanas : free men, Mahorais, who did not belong to the royal clans ;

• the Warumwas : slaves who arrived with the first Arab migrants, Shiharazians, Zanzibaris, or anyone else brought in by Arab, European or Malagasy traffickers.

Mayotte before 1841 Arab and Swahili merchants from the African coast had relations with the Comoros Islands long before the arrival of the Europeans. For centuries, the food and slave trade was the subject of maritime relations with the African coast and the Arabian Peninsula. From the 16th century on, European navigators started to identify the Comoros on maps.

By Rayane SAINDOU, Zoubeda HOUMADI, Asmaika ALI, Mounia ALI (301 LAT)

Slavery in Mayotte

Slavery in Mayotte began around 1600. It had nothing in common with the slavery of large colonies because slaves were given much more freedom. They could, for example, cultivate a field and have an income of their own. They worked very hard, from sunrise to sunset, in sugarcane and coffee plantations.

There were three main social groups :

– The Kabailas : nobles of Swahili origin or the Métis of Arabs, Shiharazians, and Mayotte people. They constituted the royal class that held all power, land, and slaves.

– The Warumwas : slaves who arrived with the first Arab migrants, Shiharazians, Zanzibaris, or anyone else brought in by Arab traffickers.

We can note a shift in slaves’ identity in Mayotte. At first, they were Africans, Mugwana Mrima or Makuwa M’tungui and Mizi, subsequently, they became Malagasy, and then Mahorais.

– The Wangwanas : free men, often farmers, living on their own, and who were neither nobles nor slaves.

As for the French, their fight against slavery in Mayotte was partly motivated by the fact that they did not want to disturb the British fight against slave trade in Indian Ocean.

The slavery in Mayotte was abolished on the 9th of December 1846. The local declaration took place on the 1st and on the 9th of July 1847.

By Dhoulfia WIDJIDANE, Anosca MERANTHE, Asma AKMALDINE and Raffka SOUFOU Sahilou (301 LAT)

Slavery in the Comoros

Slavery in Mayotte was abolished on the 9th of December 1846. Mayotte was the first island in the Comoros to declare the abolition of slavery.

As it comes to the French, their fight against slavery in Mayotte was partially motivated by the fact that they did not want to disturb the British. The discovery of slave traffic near Mayotte would have put the French government in an embarrassing situation, taking into account the British campaign in Comoros.

From the mid-nineteenth century, as in the rest of the Indian Ocean, the rulers of Moheli, Anjouan, and Grande Comore took steps to prohibit the slave trade in their territories. They authorized the British ships to search and seize ‘dhows’ suspected 6 of the slave traffic. In Anjouan, slavery was abolished in September 1891. In 1881, the Anglo-Anjouanese Treaty provided for the release of slaves within seven years. In 1891, during the war of succession, Prince Salim, armed 300 slaves from his plantation to fight his uncles. They revolted and seized the two largest cities of Anjouan. Sultan Said Othman immediately freed the slaves that same year.

By Aida AHAMADA, Clazati MAHAMOUD, Nasrine MAHAMOUD, Faina BAHAROINE, Raina OUSSENI OILI (301 LAT)

Slavery in the Comoros

Slavery in Mayotte was abolished on the 9th of December 1846. Mayotte was the first island in the Comoros to declare the abolition of slavery.

As it comes to the French, their fight against slavery in Mayotte was partially motivated by the fact that they did not want to disturb the British. The discovery of slave traffic near Mayotte would have put the French government in an embarrassing situation, taking into account the British campaign in Comoros.

From the mid-nineteenth century, as in the rest of the Indian Ocean, the rulers of Moheli, Anjouan, and Grande Comore took steps to prohibit the slave trade in their territories. They authorized the British ships to search and seize ‘dhows’ suspected 6 of the slave traffic. In Anjouan, slavery was abolished in September 1891. In 1881, the Anglo-Anjouanese Treaty provided for the release of slaves within seven years. In 1891, during the war of succession, Prince Salim, armed 300 slaves from his plantation to fight his uncles. They revolted and seized the two largest cities of Anjouan. Sultan Said Othman immediately freed the slaves that same year.

By Aida AHAMADA, Clazati MAHAMOUD, Nasrine MAHAMOUD, Faina BAHAROINE, Raina OUSSENI OILI (301 LAT)

The slavery in Grande Comore

The slavery in Grande Comore started in the nineteenth century and was abolished in 1904.

The slave trade had a big impact on the Comoros archipelago. The islands became an important commercial center from the 18th century onwards.

Plantation work was widely practiced in the archipelago since the 11th century. This system required an enormous and constant amount of work and manpower. The local aristocracy made a living from slave labour and the slave trade.

Wamakuas, an ethnic group originally from East Africa, were massively brought to the island to meet these growing demands. Consequently, they quickly outnumbered the Waramurs . Indeed, they were known for and sought for their vigor, quick 7 adaptability and resistance to tropical diseases.

Between 1893 and 1896, Léon Humblot, a former French resident of the island and owner of its best lands, became an absolute master of NGASIDIA . Slaves were 8 hired for ten years and paid four rupees. In fact, they were only paid one rupee because the three rupees went directly to their master’s pocket.

Several slaves rebellions (for example in 1847 in Mayotte and in 1890 in Anjouan) led to their liberation, as it was the case in Anjouan in 1891, and in Moheli in 1902.

Grande Comore took steps to ban the slave trade in its territories from the mid-19th century. They even went so far as to authorize English ships to search and seize dhows suspected of engaging in the slave trade.

By Souraya BACHIRI, Ithinainy BACO, Chafiou HOUMADI, Kaym AHAMADI and El-Yassad ALI (301 LAT)

Reasons for the liberation of slaves in Mayotte

‘At the time of wars, many combatants were taken prisoners, made slaves, and sold to those who wanted to buy them. Many of these unfortunate people were handed over to Arabs who took them to Zanzibar.

When France settled in Mayotte, slaves represented half of the population. The farmers who settled there needed labour, however, the pressure from the abolitionists and the English lead them to reject the slavery system. The royal decree of the 9th of December 1846 abolished slavery. The abolition of slavery was then declared in Mayotte on the 1st and on the 9th of July 1847.

‘On the one hand, the owners needed labour, but on the other hand, this solution (the slavery) was completely opposed to the spirit which animated the circles close to the minister. The discovery of slave traffic in the channel of Mozambique would have put the French government in an embarrassing situation. The other reason was perhaps a desire to deprive the indigenous slave owners of their workforce’ .

By Nourou MOHAMED, (301 LAT)

Quiz : slavery in the Comoros.

1. Which was the first island in the Comoros to abolish slavery ?

A. Anjouan.

B. Mayotte.

C. Grande Comore

2. When was slavery abolished in Mayotte ?

A. December 9, 1846.

B. December 27, 1846.

C. October 4, 1850.

3. How slaves in Mayotte were treated compared to other colonies ?

A. Like the others.

B. Worse than the others.

C. Better than the others.

4. The fight against slavery in Comoros began :

A. Early.

B. Late.

C. At the same time as in other colonies.

5. Who was the first to want to end slavery in the Indian Ocean ?

A. The British.

B. Muslims.

C. The Mahorais.

Answers :

1 and 2. Mayotte was the first island in the Comoros to declare the abolition of slavery by royal order on December 9, 1846.

3. Slavery in Mayotte had nothing in common with that of the large colonies, for example they ate with their owner or they could marry whoever they wanted.

4. The fight against slavery in the Comoros began late.

5. The British Navy led campaigns in the Indian Ocean to end the slave trade in the early 19th century.

By Habiba ABDALLAH CHIBACO, Hariri ALI SOUF, Asmina MOHAMED, Asmaida MOUSSA, Laini MOUSSA (301 LAT)

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Auteur : Webmestre collège FDC
Mise à jour le samedi 11 décembre 2021

Frédéric D’Achery

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Né le 11 mai 1933 à Mayotte où ses aïeux sont arrivés via l’île bourbon au XIXè siècle, Frédéric d’Achery a mené une carrière professionnelle et politique bien remplie.

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