This panel was compiled by the Conference Program Team from independently submitted paper proposals
The paper investigates and explains the extent to which the Iranian diaspora trading communities in the Indian Ocean ports and hinterland market towns of India and part of the Arabian Peninsula were involved in the early modern slave trade of the 16th to 19th centuries with emphasis on the 19th. While general historical narratives describe the Iranian merchant families involvements in transshipping and selling of slaves from Ethiopia (Abyssinia-Red Sea region), and from parts of East Africa and Western India into the Persian Gulf, there remains a number of questions about the Iranian diaspora's financial, shipping, and selling arrangements. Finally, the paper examines the extent of the commercial activities of the Iranian diaspora trading communiities along the East African, Arabian and Indian coastal regions with the homeland Iranian merchant communities particularly in Southern Iran and its ports up to the end of the nineteenth century. Trading bonds assisted the diaspora Iranians to maintain continuous ties with the Iranian homeland and with each other throughout the Indian Ocean trading network. The paper relies on key Persian and European traveler accounts, the East India Company records, the Augustinian Archives in Villanova University and, the Presbyterian Historical Society's archives along with the pertinent US records in the National Archives of College Park.