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Libraries and Collections at King's College London are pleased to host a book launch for David H Mould's new work: Mission to Madagascar, published by Blackwater Press.

In his research for the book, David has drawn extensively on the holdings of the historical library collection of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), which is held in the Foyle Special Collections Library. We are delighted that resources held by King's have contributed to his new publication. and the book launch will include an additional display of these works.

Please see booking details for this event to the right, through the Eventbrite link. The event will comprise a presentation and talk by the author, a Q&A session and a drinks reception.

Further information

In Britain, most studies of the slave trade have focused on the transatlantic traffic to the United States, the Caribbean and South America. Yet for hundreds of years, a larger trade flourished in the Indian Ocean where Arab traders trafficked their human cargoes from East Africa to the slave markets of Arabia and India. Even after Britain ended the slave trade to its colonies in 1807, slaves were smuggled from Madagascar to the plantations of Mauritius, seized from France during the Napoleonic Wars.

This is the account of how James Hastie, an East India Company sergeant with no diplomatic training, persuaded Radama, ruler of the rising military power in Madagascar, to end the export of slaves. The treaty was a moral compromise: in return for the slave trade ban, the British trained Radama’s army and supplied muskets and gunpowder, allowing him to expand his dominions, while turning a blind eye to Madagascar's domestic slave trade. Hastie became the British agent in Madagascar, and a trusted adviser to Radama, accompanying him on his military campaigns and introducing social reforms, until his untimely death in 1826.

Mission to Madagascar is based on Hastie’s unpublished journals and other primary sources, including letters and political and military dispatches. The journals from 1817 to 1825, some of which are held in the Foyle Special Collections Library, offer the most comprehensive early 19th century account of Madagascar, its landscape, crops, industry, commerce, culture, and inhabitants. Sir Mervyn Brown, a former UK ambassador and historian of Madagascar, has described Hastie as 'one of the most important and attractive figures in the history of Anglo-Malagasy relations.'

Photograph of David Mould

About the author

David H Mould, Professor Emeritus at Ohio University, works as a consultant for UNICEF. Born in the UK, he has worked as a newspaper and TV journalist, documentary producer, media trainer, and freelance writer. He has published books and articles on World War One documentary film, the 19th century US transportation revolution and oral history. His travel tales from Asia and Africa, including Madagascar, are featured in the three-book Postcards series.

About the publisher

Blackwater Press is an independent publisher of fiction and non-fiction, dedicated to producing meaningful books.

Please note: copies of the book will be available to purchase (in cash) at the event for the price of £14.99.

Blackwater Press logo

Event details

Weston Room
Maughan Library
Maughan Library, Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1LR