Picture of Gustav Ängeby

Gustav Ängeby

PhD Student

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Works at Department of History
Visiting address Universitetsvägen 10 D, plan 9
Room D842
Postal address Historia 106 91 Stockholm

About me

Accepted as a PhD candidate as of September 2020. Affiliated with the Centre for Maritime Studies (CEMAS).

Research areas:

  • Scandinavian long-distance trade
  • Slavery, slave trade and abolitionism
  • Migration history

Ongoing research:

By the end of the eighteenth century, the trade networks of Sweden and Denmark reached from colonies in the Caribbean to offices in Canton and Macao. It included, besides activity in the Baltic Sea, shipping in the Mediterranean, Nordic Sea, Indian Ocean, and in the case of Denmark, encompassed trading stations and colonies West Africa and India. This development was tied to the institutional framework that produced increased circulation of global wares through slave-based commodity production - colonialism - and were ultimately dependent on major European and regional powers. As such, Scandinavian merchants, captains and plantation owners came to operate in the legal gray areas following their home countries adherence to a politically neutral foreign policy. Applying the role of 'neutral' meant that Swedes and Danes could act as go-betweens, middlemen and interlopers in important regions of global trade. Through a broad, largely unresearched and atypical source (see below), my thesis aims to explore the social networks amongst the merchants that followed on this development.

My project is based on the so-called 'Prize Papers', archived in the British Hight Court of Admiralty’s collection. In maritime law up until the 19th century, a 'prize' was an enemy ship captured in war. After a ship was captured, it fell on the Admiralty Prize Court to judge whether or not the ship actually was an enemy ship - and not a neutral one - and thus a 'Good Prize'. To aid the court in this endeavor, any written material found onboard was seized to provide evidence of the nationality of the ship's owner or the ownership of its cargo. Because some early modern ships essentially were floating post offices, the 'Prize Papers' contains a fascinating collection of (largely unopened) correspondence, log books, bills of lading, and notebooks that represents all levels of the early modern society.

Last updated: October 1, 2020

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