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Miskito Slaving and Culture Contact: Ethnicity and Opportunity in an Expanding Population

Mary W. Helms
Journal of Anthropological Research
Vol. 39, No. 2, New World Ethnohistory (Summer, 1983), pp. 179-197
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3629966
Page Count: 19
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Miskito Slaving and Culture Contact: Ethnicity and Opportunity in an Expanding Population
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Abstract

During the colonial era the Miskito Indians of eastern Nicaragua established fruitful commercial ties with English colonists in eastern Central America and Jamaica. Among the diverse items they traded with the Europeans were captives obtained by slave raids into surrounding areas. For Miskito society slaving also coincided with demographic growth and ecological readaptation. For English settlers in Jamaica, indigenes from Central America provided a cheap source of labor early in the transition to a plantation economy. Comparable situations existed in the southeastern United States and the Orinoco region of South America, where native groups friendly with the British attacked other indigenous peoples with the intent to capture slaves for sale to foreign colonists.

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