Part II: Slave Trade in the Atlantic World

Part II, The Slave Trade in the Atlantic World continues this ground-breaking series by charting the inception of slavery in Africa, its rise and aftermath throughout the Atlantic world. Part II is cross-searchable with Part I and features a wide range of materials, from monographs and individual papers to company records, newspapers, and a variety of government documents. More international in scope than Part I, this collection was developed by an international editorial board with scholars specialising in European, African, Latin American/Caribbean, and the United States aspects of the slave trade.

This collection chronicles the slave trade as a key global phenomenon which influenced the course of commerce, philosophy, morality, literature, empire, law, government, and international relations. Part II covers  the activities of the Company of Royal Adventurers of England Trading with Africa in detail, expands coverage  of the debates over the abolition of the slave trade, and provides documents that illustrate the slave trade in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, North America, and Europe. Including treatises, correspondence and reports between officials and naval officers,  leaders, and many early works on Africa and colonies from the imperial powers in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, Part II offer scholars the history, experience and significance of slavery from a transnational perspective.


  • 1.1 million pages
  • 4,000 books and pamphlets
  • 50 newspapers and periodicals
  • 15 manuscript collections including letters, reports, registers and financial records

Content in Part II  is especially valuable for:

  • European travelers and missionaries accounts: they often are the only records available to document the evidence of slavery in Africa
  • European business records: These records are particularly valuable for piecing together the many wars and commercial disputes among the African powers on the Gold Coast (modern day Ghana), Sierra Leone, the Gambia area and the region around the old kingdom of Dahomey (modern day Bénin)
  • Further evidence beyond the United States and the United Kingdom of the international debates around the abolition of the slave trade

Source Libraries:

  • The National Archives, Kew, UK
  • The British Library
  • Oberlin College
  • Bibliothèque Nationale de France
  • NARA
  • Library of Congress, Washington
  • Yale University

Key Titles and Collections:

Company of Royal Adventurers of England Trading with Africa and successors: Records from the National Archives in Kew
This collection covers the period 1660 to 1833. Ranging from account ledger books in London to day to day diaries of the West African Forts the documents reflect the financial and practical details of the running of an international trade organisation.

The Exploration and Colonization of Africa. Files 2 & 392 from the British Colonial Office
This collection contains letters about the British and French colonisation of Africa written by Europeans, Africans and officials in other countries.

The Slave Trade, 1858-1892: British Foreign Office, Collection 541, Confidential Print Series
This collection includes names of slave ships, lists of captains and crews, details of slave ship seizures as well as descriptions of slave conditions in countries worldwide and correspondence to and from African and Asian leaders involved in the slave trade.

Bibliothèque Nationale de France 
This collection contains a selection of more than 450 titles from Gale and the bibliography of Peter C. Hogg, The African Slave Trade and its suppression.

British Library collections
Key manuscripts related to the slave trade in Brazil, Portugal and Venezuela.

U.S. Customs Service Records: Port of New Orleans, Louisiana Inward Slave Manifests, 1807-1860/ Outward Slave Manifests, 1812-1860                    
This collection includes records of slaves shipped to New Orleans from other American ports, permissions granted slave owners requesting that slaves travel to other American ports and manifests of ships carrying slaves from New Orleans.

M89: Africa Squadron, 1843-1861; Letters Received by the Secretary of the Navy from Commanding Officers of Squadrons

M1883: Selected Records of the Danish West Indies, 1672–1917: Essential Records Concerning Slavery and Emancipation

T1121: RG 186: Records of the Spanish Governors of Puerto Rico, Registro Central de Esclavos, 1872 (Slave Schedules)

M1753: Records of the U.S. District and Circuit Courts for the District of Connecticut: Documents Relating to the Various Cases Involving the Spanish Schooner Amistad

M-2012: Appellate Case File No. 2161, United States v. The Amistad, 40 U.S. 518 (15 Peters 518), Decided March 9, 1841, and Related Lower Court and Department of Justice Records

Structure: Slavery and Anti-Slavery: A Transnational Archive is a thematically organized, historical archive presented in four parts.  In its entirety, Slavery and Anti-Slavery: A Transnational Archive will consist of more than 5 million pages. Subsequent parts will focus on the evolving phases of slavery and, once completed, all parts will be cross-searchable through a single interface.