The gradual suppression of the slave trade in the 19th century

Volume 22 of the Global Perspectives on Legal History out now

February 07, 2024

The treaties for the suppression of the slave trade were the subject of intense legal battles and debates in the first half of the 19th century. Adriane Sanctis de Brito’s book examines the legal disputes that took place within the context of the Anglo-Brazilian treaty by focusing on the political importance of the rules and proceedings regarding the search and capture of ships in the Atlantic Ocean.

While Britain constantly pushed to expand the legal use of force and possibilities of capture within the spaces outlined by the treaty regime, Brazilian representatives constantly challenged the scope and limits of the treaty, thus initially slowing down the abolishment of the slave trade. As time went on, however, the day-to-day interpretation of the bilateral treaties culminated in procedures by means of which international law could suppress the slave trade, as the author shows in her thorough analysis of the diplomatic correspondence and the legal interpretation of treaties taking into consideration the respective foreign policy aims.

Adriane Sanctis de Brito received her doctorate from the University of São Paulo for the thesis this monograph is based on. Her research focuses on the international history of legal imagination related to peace, humanitarianism, and the suppression of the slave trade. She is a co-founder of the Brazilian think tank LAUT.

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