Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Rubber boom slavery

During the period from late 19th and early 20th centuries, demand for the labor-intensive harvesting of rubber drove frontier expansion and slavery in both Latin America and Africa. The personal monarchy of Belgian King Leopold in the Congo Free State saw a massive use of killing and slavery to extract rubber (Adam Hochschild, King Leopold's Ghost). Meanwhile, indigenous people were enslaved as part of the rubber boom in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, and Brazil (Michael Edward Stanfield , Red Rubber, Bleeding Trees: Violence, Slavery, and Empire in Northwest Amazonia, 1850-1933). In Central America, rubber tappers participated in the enslavement of the indigenous Guatuso-Maleku people for domestic service (Mark Edelman, "A Central American Genocide: Rubber, Slavery, Nationalism, and the Destruction of the Guatusos-Malekus," Comparative Studies in Society and History (1998), 40: 356-390.).