Final Passages: The Intra-American Slave Trade Database

Thursday, January 4, 2018: 4:10 PM
Roosevelt Room 2 (Marriott Wardman Park)
Alex Borucki, University of California, Irvine
Gregory E. O'Malley, University of California, Santa Cruz
From the publication of Phillip Curtin’s The Atlantic Slave Trade: A Census in 1969 to the launching of the webpage Voyages: The Transatlantic Slave Trade Database in 2008, scholarship on the slave trade has focused primarily on the forced Atlantic crossings of captives from Africa to the Americas. By contrast, the slave trade within the Americas has received scant attention from historians, especially before the abolition of the transatlantic traffic. Yet hundreds of thousands of African survivors of the transatlantic slave trade endured extensive continued journeys on the American side of the Atlantic. Slave routes within the Americas took a variety of forms depending on the particulars of geography, demand, taxation, politics, and economics at various sites where enslaved people arrived in the Americas and worked. Traders organized the intra-American traffic differently to fit local and regional conditions.

This paper serves as an introduction and update to the digital project Final Passages: The Intra-American Slave Trade Database. The Final Passages Database aims to document and make publicly accessible evidence on slave trafficking voyages within the Americas. Supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the new database—including the research of the current authors and numerous other scholars—will be added to the website Voyages, which already charts the transatlantic traffic of captives.

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