African Slave Trade History Essay Outlines

See also: African Diaspora

An Account of the Congo Independent State, by Henry Phillips, Jr.
Full text on-line. In Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. Vol. 26, No. 130 (Jul., 1889), pp. 459-476. From Google Books.

The African Background of American Culture Through the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade
An NEH Summer Institute for College Teachers at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, June 8- July 3, 1998 on the African background to American history, and the processes that brought Africans to the British Americas from the seventeenth through the early nineteenth centuries. Participants were full time undergraduate teachers. Co-directors were Jerome S. Handler (Anthropology) and Joseph C. Miller (History).

African Diaspora Archeology Network
Full text issues of its ADAN newsletter. Operates a discussion forum. Maintained by Dr. Christopher C. Fennell, Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. [KF]

African Studies Quarterly - A Roundtable on Reparations
Includes "From Slave Ship to Space Ship: Africa Between Marginalization and Globalization" by Ali Mazrui, "Political Versus Legal Strategies for the African Slavery Reparations Movement" by Ricardo Laremont, "The Debt Has Not Been Paid; the Accounts Have Not Been Settled" by Dudley Thompson. Volume 2, Issue 4, [1998]. Electronic journal published by the Univ. of Florida, Center for African Studies.

Africans in America - October 19-22, 1998
"...a companion to Africans in America, a six-hour public television series. The Web site chronicles the history of racial slavery in the United States -- from the start of the Atlantic slave trade in the 16th century to the end of the American Civil War in 1865 -- " Covers People & Events, Historical Documents; has a Teacher's Guide.

AfriGeneas, African Ancestored Genealogy
Has an beginners' guide, discussion list, surnames database, U.S. censuses, a description of the Louisiana Slave Database, 1719-1820, ny Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, and other databases, transcripts of America On Line interviews in the Genealogy Forum with Professor Gwendolyn Midlo Hall and others, newspaper / journal articles, related sites. [KF]

Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy, 1719-1820
Dr. Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, New Orleans writer and historian, assembled over 15 years a database of 100,000 slaves brought to Louisiana in the 18th and 19th centuries. Information was gathered from courthouses in Louisiana, and archives in France, Spain and Texas. Dr. Hall's database contains information about African slave names, gender, ages, occupations, illnesses, family relationships, ethnicity, places of origin, prices paid by slave owners, and slaves' testimony and emancipations. Through the free online database " locate individual slaves who lived in Louisiana between the years of 1718 and 1820..." Search by name, origin of the slaves, gender, racial designation, or plantation location. Includes a listing of slaves with African names, slaves involved in a conspiracy or a revolt against slavery, charts of characteristics, etc. One can download the slave database.

Ajayi, J. F. Ade - Unfinished Business: Confronting the Legacies of Slavery and Colonialism in Africa
18 p. in PDF. By Professor J. F. Ade Ajayi. "development remains elusive in Africa, not merely because of the misrule and warped personalities of many African leaders, but because Africa had been damaged severely, first by the slave trade, then by the colonialism which grew out of the slave trade."

Alpers, Edward A. - Sailing Into the Past. The African Experience in India
"This piece originally appeared in Samar 13: Winter/Spring, 2000." "an overview of the history of Africans in India within the wider context of the African diaspora, and ........their presence in other regions of the Indian Ocean." " the meaningful presence of Africans in India probably dates from the rise of Islam in the seventh century c.e.," "The most renowned representative of this class of African slaves in India was Malik Ambar, ruler of Ahmadnagar from 1600 to 1626."

American Colonization Society, Library of Congress Exhibit
The U.S. Library of Congress holds the records of the American Colonization Society which established Liberia. Exhibit descriptions provide historical background on this period. The Colonization section is part of the African-American Mosaic exhibit.

Amistad America
Site for Freedom Schooner Amistad and Amistad America. The Freedom Schooner visits U.S. and international ports providing educational programs, interviews with the captain or crew on the history and the significance of the Amistad story, the transatlantic slave trade and present-day race relations. Recounts the story of the 1839 Amistad incident. Extensive curriculum resource center for elementary, middle school, and high school lesson plans. Based in New Haven, Connecticut.

Amistad Links
Links to sites about the Amistad incident. Includes Exploring Amistad, a web site, partially funded by NEH, which will have primary historical documents. Also links to the Steven Spielberg/Debbie Allen film site which has a slavery timeline and huge (9MB) film trailer/ads video clips.

Ancient Dutch Forts and Castles in Ghana - Michel R. Doortmont and Michel van den Nieuwenhof
"Some notes on Fort Patience (Apam) and Ussher Fort (Accra). A special contribution to the official home page of the Netherlands Embassy in Accra by Michel R. Doortmont and Michel van den Nieuwenhof." Part of the web site of the Netherlands Embassy in Accra, Ghana.

Anti Slavery International - Breaking the Silence. Learning About the Transatlantic Slave Trade
For teachers, lesson plans. Organised by themes - Africa before the Transatlantic Slave Trade, through to Legacies in Africa, the Americas, Caribbean and Europe and Slavery Today. BBC African kingdoms timeline. Racist views of Africa, etc. "a joint initiative between UNESCO, Anti-Slavery International, the British Council and the Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation (NORAD)." Based in London, England. [KF]

Antislavery Literature Project
Provides access to the literature and history of the antislavery movement in the United States. Full text, annotated documents. Video readings of texts. Annotated links to related web sites. Based at the English Department, Arizona State University in cooperation with Iowa State University's EServer.
Texts include - Autobiographical memoir of Boston King, a fugitive slave from South Carolina who became a teacher and minister in Sierra Leone. 1798. Selected video and audio passages, by Prof. Neal Lester.

Arts Diary - The Slave Route
"The history of slavery in South Africa is as old as the establishment of white settlement at the Cape; the first slaves were domestic servants in Jan van Riebeeck’s household." From the 1999 Arts Diary site sponsored by the South African government's Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology. [KF]

Association les Anneaux de la Mémoire
In French. "L’association Les Anneaux de la Mémoire, créée en 1991, a pour objectif de mieux faire connaître l’histoire de la traite négrière, de l’esclavage et de leurs conséquences contemporaine...." Has an online exhibition on the Atlantic slave trade including a link to a video (in English and French). Has development projects in Burkina Faso and Cameroun. . Based in Nantes, France. [KF]

Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas: A Visual Record
Compiled by Jerome Handler (Virginia Foundation for the Humanities) and Michael Tuite (Digital Medial Laboratory, University of Virginia). Over 1,000 images of pre-colonial Africa (ex. Queen Nzinga, King of Benin, King of the Kongo, European trading posts) and the slave trade in Africa and the Americas. Includes many historical maps. Some images are in color; all have descriptive information and sources. [KF]

The Atlantic Slave Trade: Demographic Simulation
Developed by Patrick Manning, (Prof. of History and African-American Studies, Director, World History Center, Northeastern Univ., Boston) and Northeastern Computer Science Dept. members. Manning writes: "This simulation, ... enables users to set input data (rates of birth, death and migration), and observe the results for free, slave, and captive populations in Africa and in the Americas. Teachers and students may find it useful in sorting out the many connections involved in this forced migration. The site will be revised and updated regularly, especially in response to user comments. Part of a larger project on Migration in Modern World History, based at the World History Center at Northeastern, developed with support of The Annenberg/CPB Project.".

The Atlantic World: An Electronic Exploration
A discussion on the Atlantic World of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. "We envision papers that will be of interest to all who explore Atlantic history, but also papers that attract electronic gatherings of scholars whose interests are in a more narrowly defined subject such as the first British Empire or the Atlantic slave trade." Has full text of "African Political Ethics and the Slave Trade, Central African Dimensions," by John Thornton. "Scholars who have work in progress that they wish to test by putting it before a collegial gathering of others interested in the field are invited to send a paper in electronic form to one of the seminar moderators, listed below. They will share such submissions and rapidly decide which to post. If a paper is accepted the moderators will arrange with the author for a mutually convenient time when the author will be available for a ninety minute to two hour electronic chat session for discussion of the paper." The moderators are Dr. Francis J. Bremer and Dr. John Thornton or Millersville University (in Pennsylvania).

Atlas of Mutual Heritage (Amsterdam)
A data-bank on the Dutch East India Company trading posts and settlements which will include paintings, drawings, maps (Madagascar, South Africa), prints and photographs (Accra, Ghana, South Africa). "The first stage of the project involves the collation of illustrative data in the collections of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Rijksdienst voor de Monumentenzorg in Zeist and the Algemeen Rijksarchief in The Hague. Stage 2 will include the collation of illustrative data relating to Dutch East India Co. settlements in other collections in the Netherlands and abroad." "The data-bank is primarily intended for storing information relating to VOC settlements in Africa and Asia as well as illustrations of these settlements. The AMH data-bank can also be adapted for supplementary modules: for example, the Portuguese East India Company, embassies and expeditions, Dutch monuments overseas from 1800 to the present day."

Austen, Ralph - Who Owns History? Some Thoughts on the Slave Trade and Related Issues
Austen is Professor of African History at the University of Chicago. Includes a bibliography. On the web site of Pier Larson, History Professor at Johns Hopkins Univ.

Badji, Mamadou - Droit naturel, droits de l'homme et esclavage: l’exemple du Sénégal. Analyse historique du XVIIème siècle à l’Indépendance
In French. Full text of Badji's thesis. Pour le Doctorat en Droit, Universite Pierre Mendes-France (Grenoble II) Présentée et soutenue le 27 avril 1998. 202 p. in PDF. Hosted on the web site of the Département d’Histoire de la Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines, Universite Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Senegal.

Baquaqua, Mahommah Gardo. ; Moore, Samuel,; fl. 1854 -Biography of Mahommah G. Baquaqua a native of Zoogoo, in the interior of Africa (a convert of Christianity)
With a description of that part of the world, including the manners and customs of the inhabitants. Mahommah's early life, his education, his capture and slavery in Western Africa and Brazil, his escape to the United States, from thence to Hayti, (the city of Port Au Prince,) his reception by the Baptist Missionary there, the Rev. L. Judd; his conversion to Christianity, Baptism, and return to this country, his views, objects and aims. Full text. Detroit: Geo. E. Pomeroy & Co., 1854. 66 p. Electronic version by [Chapel Hill, N.C.] :; Academic Affairs Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2001. "Includes information about Central Africa "their religious notions, form of government, laws, appearance of the country, buildings, agriculture, manufactures, shepherds and herdsmen, domestic animals, marriage ceremonials, funeral services, styles of dress, trade and commerce, modes of warfare, system of slavery, &c., &c."

Benezet, Anthony - Some Historical Account of Guinea, Its Situation, Produce, and the General Disposition of Its Inhabitants
Originally published (Philadelphia, 1771. c. 200 pages). Full text. From Project Gutenberg. See also the entry for Wesley, John on this page.

Black History Canada
In English and French. Annotated online resources about Canada's Black history. Mathieu Da Costa (a free Black African translator); Slavery in Canada; Timeline; Teachers' Section. "compiled by editors from The Canadian Encyclopedia (Historica-Dominion Institute) in consultation with Rosemary Sadlier, President of the Ontario Black History Society."

Brinch, Boyrereau [Benjamin F. (Benjamin Franklin) Prentiss, 1774 or 5-1817] - "The Blind African Slave, or Memoirs of Boyrereau Brinch, Nick-named Jeffrey Brace
Containing an Account of the Kingdom of Bow-Woo, in the Interior of Africa; with the Climate and Natural Productions, Laws, and Customs Peculiar to That Place. With an Account of His Captivity, Sufferings, Sales, Travels, Emancipation, Conversion to the Christian Religion, Knowledge of the Scriptures, &c. Interspersed with Strictures on Slavery, Speculative Observations on the Qualities of Human Nature, with Quotation from Scripture." Imprint: St. Albans, Vt.: Printed by Harry Whitney, 1810. 204 p. Full text of the book. Part of the Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Documenting the American South, North American Slave Narratives site.

Bristol and Slavery, The City of Bristol and its link with Transatlantic Slave Trade
"In the long history of Bristol as a trading port, the Transatlantic Slave Trade lasted a relatively short time but it was of crucial economic and social importance to the city." Includes illustrations. Maintained by Andy Nash, Deputy-Head Teacher, Headley Park Primary School who wrote "my city of Bristol made its fortune from the slave trade and yet is only now beginning to acknowledge its role in one of the darkest periods of the past."

British Broadcasting Company. The Story of Africa
"...the history of the continent from an African perspective." "from the origins of humankind to the end of South African apartheid" by major African historians (Jacob Ajayi, George Abungu, Director-General of the National Museums of Kenya and others). Includes audio of each segment of the BBC program. (Requires sound card, speaker or headphone). Each segment has a timeline, bibliography, useful links.

British History Online
From the Institute of Historical Research and the History of Parliament Trust. Database of primary and secondary sources. List of the British Secretaries of State 1794-1870. If you register (free), you can save a personal bookshelf of links to useful resources and use a split screen feature to compare two documents simultaneously. Based in London.
Full text of the House of Commons Journal. Examples:

  • Report from Committee on Sierra Leone, No. 661. From: 'House of Commons Journal Volume 85: 13 July 1830', Journal of the House of Commons: volume 85: 1830, pp. 640-45. URL:
  • Petitions for abolition of Slavery. From: 'House of Commons Journal Volume 85: 13 July 1830', Journal of the House of Commons: volume 85: 1830, pp. 640-45. URL:

British Library - British Newspapers
Requires payment to access articles. Full text articles from British newspapers published 1800-1900.

Bruner, Edward M. - "Tourism in Ghana: Representation of Slavery and the Return of the Black Diaspora"
Article in American Anthropologist, Journal of the American Anthropological Association, Volume 98, Number 2, June 1996, 290-304. Article reprinted on the web site of Manu Herbstein. The site is about Herbstein's book, "Ama, A Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade."

Carey, Brycchan - "Ignatius Sancho: African Man of Letters"
"Sancho (1729-1780) was born a slave on a ship crossing the Atlantic from Africa to the West Indies." "He composed music, appeared on the stage, and wrote a large number of letters which were collected and published in 1782, two years after his death." Has the full text of Joseph Jekyll's biography of Sancho, an annotated bibliography (including reviews, 19th c. commentary, music), selections from Sancho's Letters, biographies of those who knew him, maps and paintings of London in the mid 18th c., links to related sites, etc. Dr. Carey is a lecturer at Kingston University (Surrey, U.K.).

Carey, Brycchan - "Olaudah Equiano, or, Gustavus Vassa, the African"
"Equiano (c.1745-1797) was born in what is now Nigeria. Kidnapped and sold into slavery in childhood..." "Coming to London he became involved in the movement to abolish the slave trade, an involvement which led to him writing and publishing The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa the African (1789) a strongly abolitionist autobiography." Has a map of Equiano's travels, an annotated bibliography, extracts from The Interesting Narrative..., arguments for and against the birthplace of Equiano, related web sites, etc.

Carey, Brycchan - "Quobna Ottobah Cugoano"
"Quobna Ottabah Cugoano was born in present-day Ghana in the 1750s. Kidnapped and taken into slavery, he worked on plantations in Granada before being brought to England, where he obtained his freedom." Site under construction.

Carey, Brycchan - Slavery Chronology
A chronology of slavery, abolition, and emancipation, from the fifteenth century to the present day with details of the main historical and cultural events related to slavery. Dr. Carey is Lecturer in English Literature, Kingston University, U.K. [KF]

Centre Culturel Français (in Benin)
In French. Has an online exhibit and articles about, "1848-1998, 150 ans d'abolition de l'esclavage."

Christine's Genealogy Website - Emigrants to Liberia
Links to sites with primary documents on the first Liberian emigrants. Has a Roll of Emigrants that have been sent to the colony of Liberia, Western Africa, by the American Colonization Society and its auxiliaries, to September, 1843, &c. with full text of passages from "Information relative to the operations of the United States squadron on the west coast of Africa, the condition of the American colonies there, and the commerce of the United States therewith," 28th Congress, 2d. Session, S. Doc. 150, serial 458. Includes 19th censuses, ships' passenger lists, etc. Maintained by Christine Charity, based in Pontiac, Michigan.

Chronology on the History of Slavery and Racism
"Compiled from Archive, library and Internet source documentation, this timeline on Slavery and in part the History of Racism, has been used to guide the direction of independent research into the history of enslaved Americans of African descent..." Compiled by Eddie Becker. The chronology begins with "1619. The forerunner of slavery in English colonies begins in Jamestown, Virginia, with the arrival of 20 black indentured servants aboard a Dutch vessel." On the Columbia Heights web site, a community in Washington, D.C.

Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East (CSSAAME)
Trade, Politics, and Identity in the Colonial Indian Ocean. Volume XIX, No. 2, 1999 is a special issue guest edited by Edward A. Alpers. Pub. by Duke University Press. Full text articles include:

  • Edward Alpers - Introduction. Trade, Politics and Identity in the Colonial Indian Ocean 2 p. in PDF. V
  • ijaya Teelock: The Influence of Slavery in the Formation of Creole Identity; [Mauritius]
  • Erik Gilbert: Sailing from Lamu and Back: Labor Migration and Regional Trade in Colonial East Africa
  • Charles Schaefer: "Selling at a Wash": Competition and the Indian Merchant Community in Aden Crown Colony
  • James R. Brennan: South Asian Nationalism in an East African Context: The Case of Tanganyika, 1914-1956.

Conference 2008 - Slavery and the Slave Trades in the Indian Ocean and Arab Worlds: Global Connections and Disconnections, Yale University, November 7-8

Conference 2005 - Legacies of Slavery: Comparative Perspectives, 11 July 2005, Centre for Cross-Cultural Research, Australian National University
"...seeks to bring together scholars from history, literature, anthropology, art history and cultural studies to examine the indelible mark left by slavery on societies, ..." " Abstracts are invited from writers, historians, artists, literary theorists, anthropologists, musicians and post-graduate students working on the theme of slavery and its legacies."

Conference 2001 - Discourses of Slavery and Abolition: Writing in Britian and its Colonies, 1660-1838, 6 - 7 April 2001
Many papers presented at the conference at the Institute of English Studies, London, United Kingdom will be published in a 2004 anthology.

Creolist Archives
Page of the CreoLIST mailing list for creolists and others interested in creolistics and other contact language issues. The website has a searchable inventory of various alternative names for West African ethnolinguistic groups involved in the transatlantic slave trade, by Mikael Parkvall. [KF]

Curtin, Philip D. and Herbert S. Klein. Records of Slave Ship Movements Between Africa and the Americas, 1817-1843
Compiled by Philip D. Curtin, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin (1967). Edited by Herbert Klein, Columbia University, New York (1973). From Parliamentary Papers XLIX (73) 593-633, Foreign Office, 1845. "...contains information on the ship's port of arrival, date of arrival, type of vessel, tonnage, master's name, number of guns, number of crew, national flag, number of slaves, port of departure, number of days of voyage, and mortality." The site is part of Slave Movement During the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries.

Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
Biographies of persons who died between the years 1000 and 1930. Has a biography of Richard Pierpoint (sold as a slave from Senegal). A joint project of the University of Toronto and the Université Laval. [KF]

Documenting the American South
Has full text primary sources (books, monographs) including works by African-American missionaries in Africa, slaves' accounts of Africa. The Education section has Lessons Plans. From the University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963 - The Souls of Black Folk; Essays and Sketches
Project Gutenberg provides the full-text of the book. Many editions were published beginning with the first edition in 1903.

DuBois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963 - Suppression of the African Slave Trade to the United States of America 1638-1870
New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1896. Project Gutenberg provides the full-text of the book.

Dutch Portuguese Colonial History
Dutch in South Africa, Portuguese language heritage in Africa, European forts in Ghana, Madagascar, Chronology of Portuguese possessions in Africa,Chronology of Dutch Possessions in Africa, a bibliography of Dutch Colonial history (16th-18th c.) by Marco Ramerini. the Dutch in Mauritius, bibliographies. Maintained by Marco Ramerini from Firenze, Italy.

Equiano, Olaudah b. 1745 - The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African. Written by Himself
Vol. I. London: Author, [1789]. Full text of the book. Electronic version by [Chapel Hill, N.C.] :; Academic Affairs Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2001.
See also the site Carey, Brycchan - "Olaudah Equiano, or, Gustavus Vassa, the African."

France. Bibliotheque nationale. Voyages en Afrique
In French. "900 volumes de textes, 30 titres de revues, 80 cartes venant des collections imprimées de la BnF, 20 heures d'enregistrements sonores des fonds du Musée de la parole et du geste et 6500 photographies issues des fonds de la Société de géographie." Access documents by type (books, journals, maps, photographs), geographic area, era. Part of the French national library's Gallica site.
Contents include:

  • Maps of peoples and kingdoms, colonial history, physical map, antique maps, nautical maps.
  • Full text books, journal articles, maps illustrating themes: L'Europe découvre l'Afrique (includes L'Esclavage), L'Afrique des cultures, Histoire coloniale : la France en Afrique, L'Afrique vue depuis la France.
  • Journal articles (Bulletins de la Société d'anthropologie de Paris; Bulletin de la Société de géographie de Paris; le Tour du Monde, 1860-1914; La Géographie; Bulletin de la Société de géographie commerciale de Bordeaux; Revue maritime et coloniale, Annales des voyages, de la géographie et de l'histoire: Nouvelles annales des voyages, de la géographie et de l'histoire. and many more.
  • A Bibliography and a Chronology and Music from the 1930s and earlier (see L'Afrique vue depuis la France).

France. Ministere des affaires etrangeres. La Petite Bibliotheque de France
In French. Has La traite des Noirs, an essay, by Éric Saugera, on the slave trade. Includes a chronology, bibliography. [KF]

France. Sénat - Victor Schoelcher (1804-1893). Une vie, un siècle. L'esclavage d'hier à aujourd'hui
In French. Schoelcher fought to abolish slavery. Includes a chronology, modern day slavery, citations to books, articles (mainly in French).
See also Sénat Junior - "L'abolition de l'esclavage, le combat de Victor Schoelcher - et aujourd'hui ?" In French. The French Senate web site for young people, Sénat Junior, has a section, "L'abolition de l'esclavage, le combat de Victor Schoelcher - et aujourd'hui ?"

George Mason University. Center for History and New Media - Women in World History
Primary sources about women and gender with guidelines to using primary sources. Sources include excerpts from the 17th c. Journal of Jan van Riebeeck, letters of the grand-daughter of Jan van Riebeeck, rock art of the San, drawings, narrative of the Cape (Southern Africa) 1705 to 1713, the situation of slaves in the Cape, letter of Mary Moffat, narrative by Mary Kingsley, autobiography of Buchi Emecheta, African novels, excerpt from Tsitsi Dangarembga's novel Nervous Conditions.
Has a case study by Beverly Mack on Nana Asma'u, Muslim Woman Scholar and one by Jeremy D. Popkin, The Calling of Katie Makanya (South Africa 1873-1956) and a classroom module on Cultural Contact in Southern Africa (17th century including slavery). Holds online forums for teachers; the forum beginning October 1, 2005 is Women in World History. Beginning November 2005 is a forum on Women in Africa.

Gross-Friedrichsburg in Princess Town Ghana
In English and German. About a film and book, "Rote Adler an Afrikas K?ste. Die brandenburgisch-preu?ische Kolonie Gro?friedrichsburg in Westafrika" on a Prussian fort on the coast of Ghana built by Friedrich Wilhelm of Brandenburg (1640 - 1688). "Includes a chronology, map, Site by Selignow, publisher of the book on the Prussian fort. The "Brandenburg - Princess Town - Eine Welt e.V." association supports maintenance of the fort.

Harvard University. Atlantic History Seminar
"Members of the Seminar are drawn from the nations of Western Europe, Africa, and Latin America, joined by U.S. and Canadian scholars who are also at an early stage of their careers, for presentation of work in progress,... and exchange of views with senior scholars." See the Working Paper Abstracts for papers such as "Women as Actors and Victims of the Slave Trade in Igboland, Nigeria" by Gloria Ifeoma Chuku (1999 papers). The Atlantic Slave Trade, 1527-1867 was the 1998 workshop. Has full text (inAdobe .pdf format) of the introduction by David Eltis to a cd-rom database of 27,224 slave voyages, 1562-1867.

Herbstein, Manu - "Ama: A Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade"
Site for a 450 page novel on Ama, captured and enslaved in Ghana in the eighteenth century and taken to a sugar estate in Brazil. The novel recounts "the experience of enslavement and resistance, seen from the point of view of one African slave." Has excerpts and maps from the novel, bibliographies of related sources, excerpts from books related to Attitudes to Slavery and the Slave Trade, links to related sites. Manu Herbstein's book won the 2002 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book overall and for the Africa Region.

Access by Subscription only; some universities subscribe. The American Council of Learned Societies has a $3-million grant to sponsor an electronic publishing initiative for monographs of high quality in the field of history. "The fully searchable collection is aimed at college and graduate students and scholars, and has additional potential on the secondary school level and in historical associations and museums." There are links to on-line book reviews. Once you are within the book site, you can do keyword searches of the text.
Historians from the African Studies Association are selecting Africa-related titles. Africa-related titles are in one listing by author:

  • Barry, Boubacar - Senegambia and the Atlantic Slave Trade (1998)
  • Bay, Edna G. - Wives of the Leopard: Gender, Politics, and Culture in the Kingdom of Dahomey (1998)
  • Campbell, James T. - Songs of Zion : the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States and South Africa.
  • Daaku, Kwame Yeboa - Trade and Politics on the Gold Coast, 1600-1720: A Study of the African Reaction to European Trade (1970) - includes a 1720 outline map of forest states, a 1729 coastal outline map
  • Dike, Kenneth Onwuka - Trade and Politics in the Niger Delta, 1830-1885 (1956)
  • Ehret, Christopher - The Civilizations of Africa: A History to 1800 (2002)
  • Harms, Robert W. - Games Against Nature: An Eco-Cultural History of the Nunu of Equatorial Africa (1987)
  • Hunwick, John O. - Sharia in Songhay: The Replies of al-Magh¯il¯i to the Questions of Askia al-òH¯ajj Muòhammad (1985)
  • Iliffe, John - A Modern History of Tanganyika (1979)
  • Iliffe, John - The African Poor: A History (1987)
  • Inikori, Joseph E. - Africans and the Industrial Revolution in England: A Study in International Trade and Development (2002). Includes Chapter 4 Slave-Based Commodity Production and the Growth of Atlantic Commerce, Chapter 5 Britain and the Supply of African Slave Labor to the Americas, Chapter 6 The Atlantic Slave Economy and English Shipping, Chaoter 7 The Atlantic Slave Economy and the Development of Financial Institutions,
  • Klein, Martin A. - Slavery and Colonial Rule in French West Africa (1998)
  • Law, Robin - The Oyo Empire c.1600-c. 1836: A West African Imperialism in the Era of the Atlantic Slave Trade (1977)
  • Law, Robin - The Slave Coast of West Africa, 1550-1750: The Impact of the Atlantic Slave Trade on an African Society (1991)

History Footsteps. Victoria County History Project
Includes The Bristol Slavery Trail. The British port town of Bristol was involved with the Transatlantic slave trade "just over 150 years from around the 1660's to the early 1800's. History as "told through historical documents (in Archive section), illustrations, photographs, video clips, with activity sheets for young people. There are teachers' notes. "The Slave Trail web was commissioned in 2001 by the Victoria County History Project based at the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London..." [KF]

Moderated discussion list "to promote interaction and exchange among scholars engaged in research on slavery, the slave trade, abolition, and emancipation....dedicated to the dissemination of information about the history of slavery and antislavery in all time periods and parts of the world." Subscribe at or at
To subscribe by e-mail, send a message from the account where
you wish to receive mail, to:
(with no signatures or styled text) and only this text:
sub H-Slavery firstname lastname, institution
Example: sub H-Slavery Leslie Jones, Pacific State U

International Slavery Museum, Liverpool, England
History of the slave trade (Africa before European slavery, European traders, Life on board slave ships, Arrival in the Americas, booklist, web sites). Videos, photographs. The Museum opened in 2007, the bicentenary of the 1807 British abolition of the slave trade.
See the New York Times article, A New Museum Is Frank in Its Exploration of the Slave-Trading Past, August 22, 2007

Internet African History Sourcebook - Paul Halsall
Has many full-text sources on the Impact of Slavery, including excerpts from "Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, The African" (London, 1789). Maintained by Paul Halsall, Fordham University. [KF]

Iziko Museums - Heritage of Slavery in South Africa
Slavery in South Africa as practised in the Cape Colony between 1658 and 1834. "In 1652, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) established a base at the Cape. A few years later, the first slaves were imported and the Cape remained a slave society for 176 years until it was abolished in 1834." Documents, bibliography, personal histories, maps, drawings, photographs. Covers the Groot Constantia farm which used slave labour (includes a list of names). [KF]

Klein, Herbert S. Angola Slave Trade in the Eighteenth Century, 1723-1771 (1970?, 1997)
"...contains information on the date ship sailed, name of ship, Brazilian port of arrival, persons (adults and children) shipped, total number of slaves aboard, physical capacity (arqueacao) of the ship." The site is part of Slave Movement During the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Distributed by Data and Program Library Service University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Liberia Pedia
"Digital archives of scholarship on Liberia...." Maintained by C. Patrick Burrowes, Ph. D., Associate Professor of Humanities and Communications, Penn State (Harrisburg, PA).

Library of Congress - Ancient Manuscripts from the Desert Libraries of Timbuktu
"Dating from the 16th to the 18th centuries, the ancient manuscripts... are indicative of the high level of civilization attained by West Africans during the Middle Ages." "The manuscripts...are from the Mamma Haidara Commemorative Library and the Library of Cheick Zayni Baye of Boujbeha,..." Has images of the documents which concern Islamic knowledge of astronomy, law, the Songhai Empire, slavery, Sufi religion, mathematics, political governance, medical knowledge, attitude towards non-Muslims, trade. [KF]

Library of Congress - Islamic Manuscripts from Mali
"...twenty-two Islamic manuscripts [in Arabic script] containing important insights into the life and culture of West Africans during the late Middle Ages and Early Modern Era." Topics include astrology, commerce, Islamic law, health care, mysticism, slavery, and agriculture. A project of the Library of Congress and the Mamma Haidara Commemorative Library of Timbuktu, Mali. photographs of Mali by Philip Harrington, as well as a selection of maps from the Library of Congress's Geography and Map Division.
Includes maps - Timbuktu in Space and Time, a history of Timbuktu as an Islamic cultural center, and Timbuktu architecture.

Liverpool National Museums (Liverpool, England)
Its Nuggets of Knowledge has a section, Slaves' Stories, which recounts imagined stories of four Africans (from West Africa) taken slave in 1780. "National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside was established as a national museum in 1986.....In 2003 we changed our name to National Museums Liverpool. Our origins go back to 1851..." [KF]
See also the International Slavery Museum.

Livingstone, David, "Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa"
Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa; Including a Sketch of Sixteen Years' Residence in the Interior of Africa, and a Journey from the Cape of Good Hope to Loanda on the West Coast; Thence Across the Continent, Down the River Zambesi, to the Eastern Ocean. (London, 1857). Full-text of the book with information on slavery. Part of Project Gutenberg. Includes an 1858 review of the book in Harper's Magazine. [KF]

Livingstone (David) National Memorial, Blantyre, Scotland
About the Livingstone Centre in Blantyre where Livingstone was born. Includes a biography of Livingstone.

Lodhi, Abdulaziz Y. - The Institution of Slavery in Zanzibar and Pemba
(Research Report 16) 43 p. Uppsala, Sweden, Scandivavian Institute of African Studies (now Nordiska Afrikainstitutet), 1973. Full text report, in Adobe pdf. Appendix I: Categories of Africans and Arabs. [KF]

Lovejoy, Paul - "The African Diaspora: Revisionist Interpretations of Ethnicity, Culture and Religion under Slavery"
On the Internet Archive: Wayback Machine.

Lovejoy, Paul E. (ed.) / Africans in bondage: studies in slavery and the slave trade: essays in honor of Philip D. Curtin on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of African Studies at the University of Wisconsin (1986)
Full text. From the University of Wisconsin Libraries Africana Digitization Project. See the Copyright notice for use.  

  • Chapter 1: when did smallpox reach the New World (and why does it matter)?, Henige, David
  • Chapter 2: the company trade and the numerical distribution of slaves to Spanish America, 1703-1739, Palmer, Colin A.
  • Chapter 3: slave prices in the Portuguese southern Atlantic, 1600-1830, Miller, Joseph C.
  • Chapter 6: Anast?cia and the slave women of Rio de Janeiro, Karasch, Mary
  • Chapter 5: healing and race in the South Carolina low country, Shick, Tom W.
  • Chapter 6: the slave trade in Niger Delta oral tradition and history, Alagoa, E. J.
  • Chapter 7: the Atlantic slave trade and the Gabon Estuary: the Mpongwe to 1860, Bucher, Henry
  • Chapter 8: Kru emigration to British and French Guiana, 1841-1857, Schuler, Monica
  • Chapter 9: slave trade, "legitimate" trade, and imperialism revisited: the control of wealth in the Bights of Benin and Biafra, Manning, Patrick
  • Chapter 10: problems of slave control in the Sokoto Caliphate, Lovejoy, Paul E.
  • Chapter 11: ex-slaves, transfrontiersmen and the slave trade: the Chikunda of the Zambesi Valley, 1850-1900, Isaacman, Allen
  • Chapter 12: slaves into soldiers: social origins of the Tirailleurs Senegalais, Echenberg, Myron
  • Chapter 13: warlords and enslavement: a sampleof slave raiders from eastern Ubangi-Shari, 1870-1920, Cordell, Dennis D.

Mariners Museum - "Captive Passage: the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the Making of the Americas"
This maritime history museum in Newport News,Virginia, has an online exhibition. Extensive narrative with photographs, links to background documents. Topics: Origins of race-based slavery, West Africa before slaving, contact between Europeans and Africa, the enslavement of Africans, resistance and endurance, Africa's gifts, etc. Includes a quiz with a section for K-12 teachers, and a bibliography. [KF]

Massachusetts Historical Society - African Americans and the End of Slavery in Massachusetts
Historical manuscripts and rare published works on the lives of African Americans in Massachusetts from the late seventeenth century through the abolition of slavery in Massachusetts in the 1780s. "Massachusetts and Rhode Island were the principal slave trading colonies in New England."

Mystic Seaport Museum. Exploring Amistad
The Amistad ship uprising "set off an intense legal, political, and popular debate over the slave trade, slavery, race, Africa, and ultimately America itself." Has an account of "the Africans' enslavement, revolt, legal struggle, and eventual return to Africa." Includes background essays with full text primary sources, several Timelines (Atlantic slave trade, Sierra Leone & West Africa to 1849, etc.), a curriculum / teachers' section. Includes the essay, "The African Squadron, The U.S. Navy and the Slave Trade, 1920-1862" by Calvin Lane, professor emeritus of English at the University of Hartford and the full text of "A History of the Amistad Captives" by John Warner Barber (New Haven, Connecticut: E.L. and J.W.Barber, 1840.) The Museum is located in Mystic, Connecticut.

National Archives of England - The Black Presence: Asian and Black History in Britain, 1500-1850
"People of African and Asian origin have lived in Britain for at least two thousand years. But this aspect of our heritage has been largely forgotten." "The word 'Black' is used here to denote people of African descent; 'Asian' to describe people of South Asian origin (from modern India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the area that formed the British territory of India);..." History, paintings, photographs, bibliographies. Black Romans, Atlantic Slave Trade, Africa and the Caribbean, India. Music, Theatre, Literature. Historical tour of London, Bristol, Liverpool.

National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, U.K. - Port
"The National Maritime Museum (Greenwich, London) has the largest and best collection of maritime-related artefacts [sic] in the world." Sections include "Slavery" with images (and a paragraph on each image) of The Slave Trade, the Abolition Movement, Trade with Colonial Africa. Has a timeline, a database connecting geographic locations to historical events, research guides for those doing in depth research. [KF]

New York Historical Society - Slavery in New York
Exhibit opens October 7, 2005

New York Public Library, Schomburg Center - Lest We Forget: The Triumph Over Slavery
In English, French, Spanish, Portuguese. Online exhibit on the transatlantic slave trade. On the occasion of 2004 the International Year to Commemorate the Struggle against Slavery and its Abolition. Includes photographs, art work. Curated by Howard Dodson of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Nigerian Hinterland Project
"The Nigerian Hinterland Project affiliated with the UNESCO Slave Route Project focuses on the development of the African diaspora stemming from the "Nigerian" hinterland during the era of the slave trade from approximately 1650 to 1900." Projects include: Archival Inventory and Preservation of Primary Sources, Biographical Data Base of Enslaved Africans, Historical Atlas of Slavery, Ports of the "Nigerian" Hinterland, The Muslim Diaspora in the Era of the Slave Route, Ethnic Identity in the Diaspora and the Nigerian Hinterland, Linkages between the Diaspora and the Nigerian Hinterland. Has full text of the Nigerian Hinterland Project Newsletter. The Director is Paul E. Lovejoy. Based at the Dept. of History, York University, Toronto, Canada. Has the full text of the Tubman Seminar papers and some full text papers from the conference "Repercussions of the Atlantic Slave Trade: The Interior of the Bight of Biafra and the African Diaspora" July, 2000, Enugu, Nigeria. [KF]

Nunn, Nathan - Slavery, Institutional Development, and Long-Run Growth in Africa, 1400-2000
Pub. October 4, 2004. 50 pages, in pdf. "Can Africa's current state of under-development be partially attributed to the large trade in slaves that occurred during the........ slave trades?" "........I combine shipping data with historical records that report slave ethnicities and construct measures of the number of slaves exported from each country in Africa between 1400 and 1913. I find the number of slaves exported from a country to be an important determinant of economic performance in the second half of the 20th century." Nunn is a Ph.D. candidate, Department of Economics and Institute for Policy Analysis, University of Toronto.

Organization of American Historians. 2004 Conference - The State of the Field: Slavery
Presentations from a panel. Papers by David Brion Davis, Martin Klein, and others.

Panos Pictures
Use the Search box to locate historical photographs (early 1900s) of the Congo (DRC) from Anti-Slavery International taken by Alice Seeley Harris and her husband, John Harris. Has extensive descriptions. " Their photographs formed part of what was probably the first orchestrated multimedia campaign against large scale human rights abuses. Alice Seeley Harris was a missionary in the Belgian Congo, and during her time there witnessed the horrific abuses of the indigenous population exploited by a wicked regime under King Leopold II of Belgium."

Qatar Digital Library (Qatar Foundation, the Qatar National Library, and the British Library)
In English and Arabic. "archives, maps, manuscripts, sound recordings, photographs and much more,...with contextualised explanatory notes and links" Has India Office Records 1763–1951.

Topics include slavery, the slave trade, ZanzibarMombasa (also spelled mombassa), East Africa
Articles by experts such as on the India Office Private Papers, Mombasa: Britain’s Shortest-Lived Protectorate?, Between Freedom and Slavery: The Employment of Runaway Slaves in the Indian Navy, The Arabic Manuscripts Collection in the British Library. [KF]

Roskilde University - Indian Ocean as a Visionary Area Post-Multiculturalist Approaches to Culture and Globalisation
"...project develop collaboration between researchers in Denmark, India and South Africa – as well as Nordic and European colleagues – engaged in studies of transnationalism and cultural exchanges around the Indian Ocean." Bibliography, Map, mailing list. Based at the Department of Society and Globalisation, Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark.

Royal Netherlands Embassy. Accra - Ghana and Holland, Three Hundred Years
Commemorates 300 years of diplomatic relations between Ghana and the Netherlands. Has a short history of Netherlands / Ghana relations from the 1593 arrival of the Dutch in Sao Tome and the 1701 visit of the first European to the Ashanti Kingdom, of slavery, and present day relations. [KF]

Sanneh, Lamin - Abolitionists Abroad: American Blacks and the Making of Modern West Africa
"Intercontinental Links in the Antislavery Movement, With Special Attention to the American and African Connection." Essay and bibliography. "....looks at the role of blacks themselves in the agitation for freedom and humanity, beginning in the 1770s and ending in the 1890s.....recounts how the vested slave interests of Europeans, Africans and Arabs came under direct challenge from the organized efforts of these blacks...' On the web site of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture - "In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience"
African-American migration over the past 400 years, including the The Transatlantic Slave Trade, 1450s-1867. Essays, historical photographs, maps, lesson plans, and documents.

  • OVERVIEW with an essay, "International Slave Trade: Causes and Consequences" by Paul E. Lovejoy, (York University), with statistics on slave exports from Africa, Regional Origins of Enslaved Africans Destined for the Americas, Proportion of Children and Females among the Enslaved Africans Crossing the Atlantic, Mortality among the Enslaved Population of the Middle Passage, Origins of Enslaved Africans Shipped to North America.
  • "Ethnicity in the Modern Atlantic World" from The Rise of African Slavery In The Americas, by David Eltis
  • Biography of Mahommah G. Baquaqua, a Native of Zoogoo by Baquaqua, Mahommah Gardo and Moore, Samuel, fl. 1854.

Shick, Tom W., Roll of the Emigrants to the Colony of Liberia Sent by the American Colonization Society from 1820-1843
The raw data and documentation which records all emigrants to Liberia between 1820-1843, brought by the American Colonization Society can be downloaded. The data set includes place of origin/arrival, status of individual, occupation, name of the ship which carried the emigrant, etc. Bundled with this is the data set, Liberian Census Data, 1843. The late,Tom Shick, Dept. of Afro-American Studies, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison, was Principal Investigator of this project.

Slave Movement During the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
Contains raw data and documentation. Includes:

  • Curtin, Philip D. and Herbert S. Klein. Records of Slave Ship Movement Between Africa and the Americas, 1817-1843
  • Curtin, Philip D. Slave Ships of Eighteenth Century France, 1748-1756, 1763-1792
  • Klein, Herbert S. Slave Trade to Rio de Janeiro, 1795-1811
  • Klein, Herbert S. Virginia Slave Trade in the Eighteenth Century, 1727-1769
  • Klein, Herbert S. English Slave Trade, 1791-1799 (House of Lords Survey)
  • Klein, Herbert S. Angola Slave Trade in the Eighteenth Century, 1723-1771
  • Klein, Herbert S. Slave Trade to Rio de Janeiro, 1825-1830
  • Klein, Herbert S. Internal Slave Trade to Rio de Janeiro, 1852
  • Klein, Herbert S. Slave Trade to Havana, Cuba, 1790-1820
  • Klein, Herbert S. Nantes Slave Trade in the Eighteenth Century, 1711-1791
  • Engerman, Stanley L. and Herbert S. Klein. Slave Trade to Jamaica, 1782-1788, 1805-1808
  • Distributed by Data and Program Library Service University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Slavery and Abolition(Abingdon, U.K.)
Table of contents online; full text access requires a subscription which some universities have. Has an annual bibliography on slavery. "journal devoted in its entirety to a discussion of the demographic, socio-economic, historical and psychological aspects of human bondage from the ancient period to the present. It is also concerned with the dismantling of the slave systems and with the legacy of slavery." Published by Taylor & Francis, U. K.

Slavery and Manumission Manuscripts of Timbuktu
"From the Bibliothèque Commémorative Mama Haidara in Timbuktu, Mali, a collection of 19th century manuscripts relating to slavery and manumission in Timbuktu. The materials, in Arabic script , provide documentation on Africans in slavery in Muslim societies." Browse the 206 mss. by subject. Project of the Center for Research Libraries, the Cooperative Africana Microform Project, CAMP, and Northwestern University. (CAMP)

Slavery and the Making of America
PBS television series (first aired Feb. 9, 2005). "four-part series documenting the history of American slavery from its beginnings in the British colonies to its end in the Southern states and the years of post-Civil War Reconstruction." "Episode one opens in the 1620s with the introduction of 11 men of African descent and mixed ethnicity into slavery in New Amsterdam." Chronology, resources for teachers, annotated book list for students, virtual museums prepared by four groups of students, on-line resources. See also a review of the TV series by David W. Blight, "America: Made and Unmade by Slavery" in The Chronicle Review, Feb. 4, 2005. [KF]

Slavery @ the Cape of Good Hope in both Dutch and British South Africa
Contents include (from book sources) the Cape slave code of 1754, social conditions of slaves at the Cape, a timeline of slavery at the Cape, an extensive bibliography, scholars of slave history, etc. Hosted on the Dutch East India Company website of the University of Ghent (Belgium).Site by Mogamat G Kamedien.

Societies After Slavery: A Select Annotated Bibliography of Printed Sources on Cuba, Brazil, British Colonial Africa, South Africa, and the British West Indies
Edited by Rebecca J. Scott, Thomas C. Holt, Frederick Cooper, and Aims McGuinness. Originally published as a print book - Pittsburgh, Pa.: University of Pittsburgh Press, c2002. Full text. Covers British Colonial Africa and South Africa. Each section has an essay and annotated entries. Compilers include Fred Cooper, Pamela Scully, etc. "the definitive resource for scholars and students engaged in research on postemancipation societies in the Americas and Africa." Part of the Univ. of Pittsburg Digital Library.

Spartacus Internet Encyclopedia - British History 1700-1930: The Slave Trade
Includes passages from primary sources, illustrations. Accounts of Olaudah Equiano, Olaudah Equiano, Zamba Zembola, and others. Covers the slave system, life, Amistad, anti-slavery legislation, anti-slavery organizations, etc. See also U.S. 1840-1960.
From Spartacus Educational and Schoolnet (a U.K. company providing internet service to schools).

[Speedy] Sarah Speedy: Daughter of Colonel Squire, Wife of Major Speedy ~ Recollections 1818 to 1859
Edited by Allan Lawrence Tristram Speedy. Full text account. 33 p. Sarah Speedy relates her travels in India, Mauritius, South Africa from 1818-1859, meeting with Robert Moffat, the missionary, helping Colonel Graham mark out Grahamstown, brief comments on slaves and other events. Allan Speedy, the great great grandson of Sarah Speedy, lives in New Zealand. [KF]

Stanford University, The Slave Trade
A selection of microform sources and print sources for studying the slave trade. In Stanford and outside Stanford. Notes for a two-week seminar.

Studies in the History of the African Diaspora – Documents, SHADD
Published by the York University. Harriet Tubman Resource Centre on the African Diaspora. "publishes manuscripts in Arabic, French, Portuguese, English, Spanish and other languages relevant to the history of the African diaspora." Selected documents are online.
Includes the full text of:

  • Slavery Question in Colonial Northern Nigeria, 1900-1906, by Paul Lovejoy and Jan Hogendorn
  • Texts of Ocha Ifa and Santeria, Regla, Cuba, 61 volumes; introduction by Henry Lovejoy (3 pages)
  • Robin Law (ed.), Documents on the History of the Oyo Empire; texts relevant to the history of Oyo, drawing on published documents and translations of non-English texts (previously published, Department of History, University of Ibadan).
  • Documents of the French Slave Trade on West Africa (in French)

Studies in the World History of Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation
Ceased publication. The Internet Archive has limited content. E-journal edited by Patrick Manning, John Saillant and Anthony Henderson-Whyte. Essays, documents, images, bibliographies and database information relevant to the history of slavery, abolition, and emancipation. Vol. 1, No. 1 is August 1996.*/

This Far by Faith: African-American Spiritual Journeys
Site for the TV program. Site does not work in some older browsers. Includes a profile of Olaudah Equiano, an essay on Religion in Africa, and a timeline beginning with 1526: the first North American slave revolt. Estimated Number of Africans Exported By Region, Estimated Number of Africans, Imported to the Americas,1451-1870. "a co-production of Blackside Inc. and The Faith Project, Inc. in association with the Independent Television Service. [KF]

Transatlantic Slave Trade Database
Information on almost 35,000 16th-19th century "slaving voyages." Essays by David Eltis and others. Statistics. Names list of "liberated Africans from slave vessels captured by British cruisers between 1819 and 1845, and taken for adjudication in the courts established in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and in Havana, Cuba." Video demos on how to use the web site. Images and maps. Lesson plans for grades 6-12. Related web sites.

UNESCO. Africa Revisited
In  English and French. About the "richness, the diversity, and the fragility" of Africa's cultural heritage. Includes West African forts (Elmina, Goree, James Fort). Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. [KF]

UNESCO - African Passages
The Ashley River Corridor is part of UNESCO's Transatlantic Slave Trade Education Project. The project "explores the journey of Africans from freedom to slavery, the transformation of the landscape and development of wealth generated by the work of enslaved Africans, and the surviving traditions of those individuals in contemporary South Carolina." Teacher lesson plans. Based in Charleston, South Carolina

UNESCO. Slave Trade Archives
Site "to preserve and enable access to primary source materials relating to the transatlantic slave trade worldwide and slavery." Concerns archives in Angola, Benin, Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria and Senegal) and in Argentina, Brazil, Haiti and St. Croix. Meeting reports. Photographs.
Also: and a searchable database of slave trade archives

UNESCO World Heritage Sites
"The Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage... agreement, signed to date by more than 150 States Parties, was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in 1972. Its primary mission is to define and conserve the world's heritage, by drawing up a list of sites whose outstanding values should be preserved for all humanity and to ensure their protection through a closer co-operation among nations." Africa sites include the island of Goree.

United Kingdom. National Archives. Learning Curve
The Archives' education section for schools includes:

From the seventeenth century on, slaves became the focus of trade between Europe and Africa. Europe’s conquest and colonization of North and South America and the Caribbean islands from the fifteenth century onward created an insatiable demand for African laborers, who were deemed more fit to work in the tropical conditions of the New World. The numbers of slaves imported across the Atlantic Ocean steadily increased, from approximately 5,000 slaves a year in the sixteenth century to over 100,000 slaves a year by the end of the eighteenth century.

Evolving political circumstances and trade alliances in Africa led to shifts in the geographic origins of slaves throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Slaves were generally the unfortunate victims of territorial expansion by imperialist African states or of raids led by predatory local strongmen, and various populations found themselves captured and sold as different regional powers came to prominence. Firearms, which were often exchanged for slaves, generally increased the level of fighting by lending military strength to previously marginal polities. A nineteenth-century tobacco pipe (1977.462.1) from the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Angola demonstrates the degree to which warfare, the slave trade, and elite arts were intertwined at this time. The pipe itself was the prerogative of wealthy and powerful individuals who could afford expensive imported tobacco, generally by trading slaves, while the rifle form makes clear how such slaves were acquired in the first place. Because of its deadly power, the rifle was added to the repertory of motifs drawn upon in many regional depictions of rulers and culture heroes as emblematic of power along with the leopard, elephant, and python.

The institution of slavery existed in Africa long before the arrival of Europeans and was widespread at the period of economic contact. Private land ownership was largely absent from precolonial African societies, and slaves were one of the few forms of wealth-producing property an individual could possess. Additionally, rulers often maintained corps of loyal, foreign-born slaves to guarantee their political security, and would encourage political centralization by appointing slaves from the imperial hinterlands to positions within the royal capital. Slaves were also exported across the desert to North Africa and to western Asia, Arabia, and India.

It would be impossible to argue, however, that transatlantic trade did not have a major effect upon the development and scale of slavery in Africa. As the demand for slaves increased with European colonial expansion in the New World, rising prices made the slave trade increasingly lucrative. African states eager to augment their treasuries in some instances even preyed upon their own peoples by manipulating their judicial systems, condemning individuals and their families to slavery in order to reap the rewards of their sale to European traders. Slave exports were responsible for the emergence of a number of large and powerful kingdoms that relied on a militaristic culture of constant warfare to generate the great numbers of human captives required for trade with the Europeans. The Yoruba kingdom of Oyo on the Guinea coast, founded sometime before 1500, expanded rapidly in the eighteenth century as a result of this commerce. Its formidable army, aided by advanced iron technology, captured immense numbers of slaves that were profitably sold to traders. In the nineteenth century, the aggressive pursuit of slaves through warfare and raiding led to the ascent of the kingdom of Dahomey, in what is now the Republic of Benin, and prompted the emergence of the Chokwe chiefdoms from under the shadow of their Lunda overlords in present-day Angola and Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Asante kingdom on the Gold Coast of West Africa also became a major slave exporter in the eighteenth century.

Ultimately, the international slave trade had lasting effects upon the African cultural landscape. Areas that were hit hardest by endemic warfare and slave raids suffered from general population decline, and it is believed that the shortage of men in particular may have changed the structure of many societies by thrusting women into roles previously occupied by their husbands and brothers. Additionally, some scholars have argued that images stemming from this era of constant violence and banditry have survived to the present day in the form of metaphysical fears and beliefs concerning witchcraft. In many cultures of West and Central Africa, witches are thought to kidnap solitary individuals to enslave or consume them. Finally, the increased exchange with Europeans and the fabulous wealth it brought enabled many states to cultivate sophisticated artistic traditions employing expensive and luxurious materials. From the fine silver- and goldwork of Dahomey and the Asante court to the virtuoso wood carving of the Chokwe chiefdoms, these treasures are a vivid testimony of this turbulent period in African history.

Alexander Ives Bortolot
Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University

October 2003


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