The Intra-American Slave Trade to Cuba, 1790–1808

Thursday, January 4, 2018: 2:10 PM
Roosevelt Room 2 (Marriott Wardman Park)
Jorge Felipe, Michigan State University
Between 1790 and 1808, 132,955 slaves disembarked in Cuba. Of them, 70,682 arrived directly from Africa (53 percent) while 63,330 captives (47 percent) were transported to the island from neighboring territories in the Caribbean and the North-American mainland. Every major slave-trading nation was involved. This paper is based on a new set of Cuban sources that makes possible to differentiate for first time intra-American from trans-Atlantic voyages. In the Intra-American case, it is now feasible to determine the exact ports of origins not only for Havana but also for other Cuban ports such as Santiago. It is also now possible to explain the fluctuations in ports of origins and nationality of the carriers. By combining ports of origins and the traders’ nationality against the backdrop of international changes during the beginning of the “Age of Revolutions,” this paper explores shifting patterns on the number of arrivals, slaves disembarked, the flag of the carriers, and ports of origins of the Inter-American slave trade to Cuba. This quantitative approach opens a new window to analyze other social patterns such as the ethnicities of the slaves (based on their ports of origins) and the commercial networks that facilitated the emergence of a Cuba-based slave trade during the 19th century.
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