Ronald Hyam
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Empire and sexual opportunity
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Running the Victorian empire would probably have been intolerable without resort to sexual relaxation. On all plantations, whether worked by slaves or indentured labourers (but especially the former), there was obvious sexual exploitation. Frontier trading posts also articulated regular patterns of sexual interaction, whether under the Royal African Company in the eighteenth century, or the East India Company in India and on the China coast to the 1830s. All historians are agreed that sex between men flourished in the convict settlements, even if it did not leave much definite evidence. In South Africa, Africans believed that black maids in European houses would be seduced by their employers. The longer a place remained unexposed to the scrutiny of the memsahibs and the reformed officials the longer would persist the traditional solution to the problems of loneliness and sexual deprivation.

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Empire and sexuality

The British Experience


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