Introduction
Family matters: Slavery, commerce and culture
in The bonds of family
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This chapter provides an introduction to the Hibbert family and their trans-generational activities within the slave economy. It gives an overview of the frameworks, key themes and historiographical debates which the book engages with. It argues for the centrality of the family as a unit for analysis in understanding trade and colonisation in the Atlantic world. It considers the importance of the family and marriage to the maintenance of the slaving system in terms of the transference and management of capital, property and commercial interests. More intimately it suggests the ways in which family structures were reconfigured by the experience of transatlantic slavery. The role of culture is explored in relation to both the reinvestment of slave-based wealth and the establishment of racial hierarchies based on ideas of civilisation. Shifting between the narrative of the family and the nation, the chapter examines how microhistories can act as a useful lens for analysing broader issues of identity, legacies and historical memory.

The bonds of family

Slavery, commerce and culture in the British Atlantic world

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