Circulation and commodification of prisoners of war in 18th century: the case of the Caribbean
17 Feb 2017, 17:15 to 17 Feb 2017, 19:15
IHR Seminar Room N304, Third Floor, IHR, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
Renaud Morieux, University of Cambridge
In the eighteenth century West Indies, unlike in Europe, prisoners of war were rarely detained for long periods: they were normally exchanged locally, between the different islands of the West Indies. This raises two main issues: first, due to the distance from the metropolis and the empowerment of local authorities which derived from it, governors and local assemblies took responsibility for determining the conditions and timing of these exchanges. The debate over who should pay the cost of maintaining locally and transporting prisoners of war reveals the institutional and financial tensions between the islands, and between the islands and the metropolis. Second, the exchanges of prisoners of war raise the issue of their 'worth' as well as their role in enabling the continuation of commerce in wartime, including between enemies.
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