How would you organize, store, and disseminate data on 35,000 trans-Atlantic ship crossings that carried over 10 million Africans into slavery between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries?
The project team of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database has done just that. Data has been contributed by a few dozen people, and the project team consists of two principal investigators and an entire development team. Five universities are involved internationally, as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities. The end result is a database that allows users to search by (ship) voyage, another database that allows users to estimate the number of people transported, and a third that allows users to explore a database of African names using “name, age, gender, origin, and place of embarkation”.
Users may examine a timeline of the number of captives embarked and disembarked per year, as well as nine maps from the Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade (New Haven, 2010), that show the routes, number of enslaved persons transported, ports, currents, and direction of the voyages.
Figure 1: Screenshot via the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database Introductory Maps page.
The countries and regions covered in the database include Africa, Europe, Brazil (i.e., “South America”), the Caribbean, and North America. The project team has digitized manuscripts and images of people and places and put those documents online for users to read and view. Other resources available online include lesson plans for grades 6-12, and links to related resources on the Web.
This is a great resource for genealogists, historians, teachers, and anyone who is interested in learning more about the forced migration of Africans to the New World.