ARTICLE: Barragan on Female Slaveholders in Colombia

Yesenia Barragan, “Gendering Mastery: Female Slaveholders in the Colombian Pacific Lowlands.” Slavery & Abolition (July 24, 2017): 1–26.


Gold Production, Colombia, 1826, Alcide Dessalines d’Orbigny, Voyage pittoresque dans les deux Amériques (Paris, 1836), facing p. 78, fig. 4. (Copy in Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library) as shown on, compiled by Jerome Handler and Michael Tuite, and sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library.

“This article examines the lives and power exercised by female slaveholders in the frontier lowlands of the Pacific coast of Colombia during the first half of the nineteenth century. Utilizing records from the Independence era to the abolition of slavery in 1852, it explores the varied economic activities, wealth management strategies, and administrative methodologies of lowlands mistresses in order to demonstrate their centrality in the preservation of slavery in Colombia’s Pacific frontier. The article argues that the possession of enslaved people was a powerful if contentious avenue for women to assert rights during a period of political instability and transition.”

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