Transatlantic Slave Trade Database Details the Largest Forced Migration in History

Between 1500 and 1866, slave traders forced 12.5 million Africans aboard transatlantic slave vessels. Before 1820, four enslaved Africans crossed the Atlantic for every European, making Africa the demographic wellspring for the repopulation of the Americas after Columbus’ voyages.

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database has information on almost 36,000 slaving voyages that forcibly embarked over 10 million Africans for transport to the Americas between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. The actual number is estimated to have been as high as 12.5 million. The database and the separate estimates interface offer researchers, students and the general public a chance to rediscover the reality of one of the largest forced movements of peoples in world history.

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database is available free of charge at: http://www.slavevoyages.org.

2 Comments

Patrick L. Coleman May 2, 2017 at 9:39 am

Dick–

I’m pleased to see that this work is getting wider publicity. I was at its introduction in Washington, DC in 2010 and have wondered what happened to it. I know the reason that it was introduced in DC was that the money to support the project came from there, likely National Endowment for the Humanities. The work was done at Emory University. I think your notice should note both attributions.

Best regards,

Patrick L Coleman

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David Paul Davenport May 2, 2017 at 12:37 pm

Three comments. First, the largest forced migration in human history was the “exchange” of Moslems and non-Moslems that took place when India was Partitioned in 1947. An estimated 15-16 million people were officially involved. Second, this database that is the subject of this transatlantic slave trade project seems to include only Spanish or Portuguese flagged vessels. I will admit to not finding a way to ask the database for information about vessels with the United States or any of its individual states as a search parameter, but there is little here of interest to US genealogists. Clicking on “search” should open a window into which the search term is entered, but it doesn’t. Third, it is very surprising to me that a US University would take the time and money to produce something that should have been done by a Latin American institution since “all” of the entries had Brazil or the Caribbean as a destination. Too bad Emory didn’t focus on the slave trade conducted by Liverpool and Bristol merchants the records of which I have seen at the UK Archives (when it was called the Public Record Office in Kew Gardens). These records have value to US Genealogists.

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