Rethinking Trade as a Social Activity: An Introduction
This chapter focuses on one aspect of the archaeological analysis how the islands demographic composition seems to have shaped consumer decision making among the people of Clifton. It explores two interconnected scales of trade in the Bahamas during the Loyalist period, 1784-1834. The chapter examines the global and national trends and the preferences that shaped the demographics of the African slave trade to the Bahamas. It discusses how the dynamics of the slave trade shaped constructions of African identities in the New World. In the case of Clifton, the new subject position of African-Bahamian was being negotiated but not at the expense of other African identities. The popularity of the decorative types seems to be an expression of an emerging African-Bahamian aesthetic. To understand the African slave trade to the Bahamas during the Loyalist period, people used Eltis et al.s 1999 database of the transatlantic slave trade, supplemented with information drawn from period Bahamian newspapers.