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Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade (The Lewis Walpole Series in Eighteenth-Century Culture and History) Hardcover – November 18, 2010
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*Starred Review* Based on the groundbreaking, free Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, which tracks approximately 35,000 slave-trade voyages (about 80 percent of all of them ever made), the information presented here is a result of a collaboration between African American studies programs at Harvard and Emory Universities and features contributions from scholars from all over the world. The atlas is organized around the 189 maps that were created especially for this volume. The maps, in turn, are broken down into six major categories: �Nations Transporting Slaves from Africa,� �Ports Outfitting Voyages in the Transatlantic Slave Trade,� �The African Coastal Origins of Slaves and the Links between Africa and the Atlantic World,� �The Experience of the Middle Passage,� �The Destinations of Slaves in the Americas and Their Links with the Atlantic World,� and �Abolition and Suppression of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.� The scope of coverage is from 1501 to 1867. Users looking for statistics will be delighted by the plethora of tables and charts, ranging from the broad to the specific. An example of the former is �Estimated Number of Slaves Carried on Vessels Leaving Major Coastal Regions of Africa,� while an example of the latter is �List of Sick and Dying Slaves on Board Ship Brandenbourg, 1791�1792.� Yet the personal and human side of the story of the slave trade is not buried under numbers here. Numerous examples of primary resources, such as poems, diary entries, and contemporaneous literary selections, are included. Photographs of artifacts, like metal branding irons and handwritten records of deaths on specific voyages, lend poignancy to the story. Information is presented in small, easily digestible bits, making this appropriate for students, yet the maps and tables are detailed enough to be of use to serious academic researchers. The large size of the volume, along with its gorgeous, colorful maps and illustrations, makes this nearly as much a work of art as a reference work, and it would be an excellent addition to nearly any reference collection. --Michael Tosko
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Much of their data comes from the logs of tens of thousands of voyages. They also draw on documentation from the sending and receiving ports. Breaking down slave voyages in different periods, one can visually capture both the changes and the specific providers.
The introduction by David Brion Davis, also a pioneer in this area, provides a cohesive overview to what follows. The brief summaries, as well as the illustrations, assist the reader in absorbing an overwhelming collection of data.
A number of scholars--Hugh Thomas's massive THE SLAVE TRADE comes immediately to mind--have paved the way for what clearly is the definitive portrayal of the magnitude as well as the specifics of this Atlantic slave trade. For generalists the fact that only about 500,000 Africans were sent to North American territories (about 4% of the total Atlantic slave trade) might seem surprising. Also, those Africans in North America multiplied, while the millions of Africans sent to Caribbean sugar plantations seldom lasted seven years.
The authors do not envisage any breakthrough scholarship on an earlier aspect of the African slave trade, which brought countless Africans into the slave markets of the Mediterranean.There apparently are no records remaining from slave traders who took their 'merchandise' across the Sahara. The Arab countries along the southern Mediterranean do not seem keen to encourage investigation of the magnitude of this slave trade, which may have included millions of souls. Ronald Segal's ISLAM'S BLACK SLAVES: THE OTHER BLACK DIASPORA provides an indication of a significant Saharan slave trade with precious few details as to whether 10 million or one million is a more accurate magnitude for this pre-Atlantic slave trade episode.
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Pg. 1, Introduction - In the early 16th century African Conceptions of eligibility...Read more