This paper argues that violent clashes over sovereignty drove the abolition of the Brazilian slave trade, the largest in the Atlantic world. Between 1831 and 1856, Brazilian legislators, British agents, slave traders, and enslaved Africans battled over the course and scope of abolition. Encounters between these groups helped redefine Brazilian sovereignty in relation to land and people.
Jake Subryan Richards is Assistant Professor in the Department of International History at the LSE. His current research analyses the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade as a violent legal regime, with particular reference to the South Atlantic.