Free Soil in the Atlantic World examines the principle that slaves who crossed particular territorial frontiers- from European medieval cities to the Atlantic nation states of the nineteenth century- achieved their freedom. Based upon legislation and judicial cases, each essay considers the legal origins of Free Soil and the context in which it was invoked: medieval England, Toulouse and medieval France, early modern France and the Mediterranean, the Netherlands, eighteenth-century Portugal, nineteenth-century Angola, nineteenth-century Spain and Cuba, and the Brazilian-Paraguay borderlands. On the one hand, Free Soil policies were deployed by weaker polities to attract worker-settlers; however, by the eighteenth century, Free Soil was increasingly invoked by European imperial centres to distinguish colonial regimes based in slavery from the privileges and liberties associated with the metropole.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Slavery and Abolition.
I: Introduction 1. Free Soil: The Generation and Circulation of an Atlantic Legal Principle Sue Peabody and Keila Grinberg II: Medieval Europe and Urban Liberties 2. An Alternative Genealogy of the Origins of French Free Soil: Medieval Toulouse Sue Peabody 3. Urban Safe Havens for the Unfree in Medieval England: A Reconsideration Stephen Alsford III: The Northern Atlantic: New Perspectives on Free Soil 4. Access to the Netherlands of Enslaved and Free Black Africans: Exploring Legal and Social Historical Practices in the Sixteenth–Nineteenth Centuries Dienke Hondius 5. Infidels at the Oar: A Mediterranean Exception to France’s Free Soil Principle Gillian Weiss 6. ‘Lucky to be born in Pennsylvania’: Free Soil, Fugitive Slaves and the Making of Pennsylvania’s Anti-Slavery Borderland Richard S. Newman IV: Iberian Atlantic Iterations of Free Soil 7. Soil Free from Slaves: Slave Law in Late Eighteenth- and Early Nineteenth-Century Portugal Cristina Nogueira Da Silva and Keila Grinberg 8. African Freedom Suits and Portuguese Vassal Status: Legal Mechanisms for Fighting Enslavement in Benguela, Angola, 1800–1830 Mariana P. Candido 9. Legislation on Free Soil in Nineteenth-Century Spain: The Case of the Slave Rufino and Its Consequences (1858–1879) Aurelia Martín Casares and Margarita García Barranco