Chocolate Islands: Cocoa, Slavery, and Colonial Africa –

Good book, tough subject. San Tome and Principe is a tiny island African country about which I would never have learnt anything were it not for journalist Ann Morgan s example of reading a book from every country Chocolate Islands is a most memorable book that strips down to its core, the brutal realities of the cocoa trade in the 19th and early 20th century Vast profits were to be made in the UK and US markets through complex business and colonial alliances centred around these tiny islands whose chief assests were their location and climate The beans themselves were brought in Brazil and the labour induced from far off African territories then being opened up to the benefits of western civilisation by the avaricous agents of emerging imperial powers The truth is shocking and heartbreaking Amazingly, there is a parallel story of truth seeking by individuals of extraordinary conscience First, a young executive and family member in the Cadbury company who despite obstacles from the British and Portuguese governments, employed an agent to investigate realities on the island planatations and how labour was sourced and housed Joseph Burtt was a young man of principle and courage who took his brief seriously He spent six months on the islands and another year crisscrossing Central Africa, following the trails and sufferings of the indentured labourers back to their source Catherine Higgs completed a similar labour of love in archives around the globe The story she pieced together is a vital and timely reminder of what lay behind the sweet luxuries enjoyed around the world. In Chocolate Islands Cocoa, Slavery, And Colonial Africa, Catherine Higgs Traces The Early Twentieth Century Journey Of The Englishman Joseph Burtt To The Portuguese Colony Of S O Tom And Pr Ncipe The Chocolate Islands Through Angola And Mozambique, And Finally To British Southern Africa Burtt Had Been Hired By The Chocolate Firm Cadbury Brothers Limited To Determine If The Cocoa It Was Buying From The Islands Had Been Harvested By Slave Laborers Forcibly Recruited From Angola, An Allegation That Became One Of The Grand Scandals Of The Early Colonial Era Burtt Spent Six Months On S O Tom And Pr Ncipe And A Year In Angola His Five Month March Across Angola In Took Him From Innocence And Credulity To Outrage And Activism And Ultimately Helped Change Labor Recruiting Practices In Colonial Africa This Beautifully Written And Engaging Travel Narrative Draws On Collections In Portugal, The United Kingdom, And Africa To Explore British And Portuguese Attitudes Toward Work, Slavery, Race, And Imperialism In A Story Still Familiar A Century After Burtt S Sojourn, Chocolate Islands Reveals The Idealism, Naivety, And Racism That Shaped Attitudes Toward Africa, Even Among Those Who Sought To Improve The Conditions Of Its Workers The Book Is Published By Ohio University Press