Chocolate Islands: Cocoa, Slavery, and Colonial Africa
“Catherine Higgs’s Chocolate Islands: Cocoa, Slavery, and Colonial Africa is an elegantly written, well-illustrated account of the ensuing investigations into this so-called new slavery in Africa orchestrated largely by Cadbury and the British Foreign Office. …[The] study resonates today, dealing, as it does, with the often tainted international origins of our later era of mass consumerism.” —American Historical Review
This beautifully written and engaging travel narrative draws on collections in Portugal, the United Kingdom, and Africa to explore British and Portuguese attitudes toward work, slavery, race, and imperialism. In a story still familiar a century after Burtt’s sojourn, Chocolate Islands reveals the idealism, naivety, and racism that shaped attitudes toward Africa, even among those who sought to improve the conditions of its workers.
of Nations. Some Observations on Professor Ross’s Report: Submitted for the Information of the Temporary Slavery Commission of the League of Nations. Geneva, Switzerland: Imprimerie du Journal de Genève, 1925. “A Questão dos Serviçaes: Carta de A. Freire d’Andrade.” Revista Colonial, ano 1, n°1 (1913): 10–19. Reissued in pamphlet form as A Questão dos Serviçaes de S. Thomé: Carta de A. Freire d’Andrade, Edição da Agencia Colonial. Lisbon: Typ. do Annuario Commerical, 1913. Questões Africanas: A
six hundred of the original nine hundred along the way. At Catumbela, “the slaves were rested, sorted out, dressed,” and then marched the fifteen miles to Benguela, “usually disguised as ordinary carriers.” Burtt met with a local Portuguese judge critical of the labor-recruiting process and left convinced that “the whole city and district is eaten out with slavery and rotten to the core.” First prize in a recent raffle, ostensibly a bicycle, had in fact been a young woman. “A phrase used in the
slightly more complimentary. The bachelor Burtt depicted Africa as a sensual woman: Has she ever stooped and kissed you, With her warm and clinging lips, Till you fell back, hot with fever, Throbbing to your finger tips? The imagery was undeniably sexual, and Burtt was attentive to the physicality of the people he encountered. But while ready at all times to note the beauty of a young African woman, he was also ready to describe, for example, a small boy with a “solemn air” waiting on his
negotiations that followed Britain’s 1890 Ultimatum to Portugal, the Barotse came under British control. When Arnot and Schindler and their fellow missionaries met Nana Kandundu in October 1891, “she seemed very doubtful as to our real intentions, and was fearful of losing her position as chiefess.” In the unsettling circumstances in which she found herself, she gave the missionaries an ox and announced that “she and the whites would be friends for ever.” Arnot presented her with ninety-six yards
Cacao—Harvesting—São Tomé and Príncipe—History. 4. Cacao—Harvesting—Moral and ethical aspects. 5. Cacao growers—São Tomé and Príncipe—History. 6. Portugal—Colonies—Africa—Administration. 7. Burtt, Joseph, 1862–1939—Travel—Africa, West. 8. Cadbury, William A. (William Adlington), 1867–1957. 9. Cadbury Brothers—History. I. Title. HD4875.S36H55 2012 331.76337409670904—dc23 2012009341 FOR KATHY JOINER MILBURN AND JEFF MILBURN CONTENTS List of Illustrations Preface Acknowledgments Glossary