Arming the Periphery: The Arms Trade in the Indian Ocean by Emrys Chew (auth.)

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By Emrys Chew (auth.)

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96 The fall of Riau, in particular, opened a new chapter of disorganization and warfare in the Malay world, revolving around the Riau-Johor Empire ‘below the wind’. But there was also a new configuration of entrepôt trade, accompanied by raiding and slavery, in the ‘Sulu zone’ connecting the Indonesian and Philippine Archipelagos. European commercial expansion into China further stimulated the growth of a slave economy in Southeast Asia. Slave labour was needed to procure the exotic local products much sought after in Chinese markets, which could then be exchanged for the tea that the Europeans wanted.

81 Among the maritime states of the Eastern Archipelago, Aceh developed a reputation for the production and deployment of large cannon, swivelguns, and arquebuses through its association with Turkey. The Javanese kingdom of Mataram had developed the capacity by the mid-seventeenth century to manufacture some 800 muskets every three months. The Bugis 34 Arming the Periphery and Makassar people of Sulawesi, the Minangkabau from the interior of Sumatra, and the Malays from around the Archipelago, also adapted quickly to the introduction of firearms owing to the frequency of wars between them.

57 Turned out rapidly and bound for coastal markets from western to southern Africa, these scandalously dangerous, cheap trade-guns would attract a great deal of negative publicity. Proofing legislation would be introduced deliberately to establish some measure of safety and quality control. 58 The native customers did not seem to disagree, for Britain exported some 52,540 guns and pistols to the Gold and Slave Coasts and the Bight of Benin in 1829, while Cape Coast received 2,781 cases of muskets in 1840.

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