Academic journal article African Economic History

Preface

Academic journal article African Economic History

Preface

Article excerpt

Under the leadership of David Eltis, and including Herbert Klein, Stephen Behrendt, David Richardson, Manolo Florentino, Paul Lachance, and many other scholars, the records of over 35,000 voyages have been assembled into a user friendly, open source, on-line database, The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database (www.slavevoyages.org). The database, which is hosted at Emory University, builds on the pioneering work of Philip D. Curtin (The Atlantic Slave Trade: A Census, Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1969). Subsequent demographic analysis of the forced migration of African peoples under slavery resulted in a more elaborate database, viz., David Eltis, David Richardson, Stephen Behrendt, and Herbert S. Klein, The Atlantic Slave Trade: A Database on CD-ROM (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999). The current version greatly expands the database as a result of extensive collaboration among scholars whose research has been incorporated to generate the on-line database. The great debt that scholars owe to the editors and compilers of this database is enormous. Their work has challenged scholars to reconsider the impact of the slave trade on the Atlantic world.

In May 2010, the Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples, York University, provided a forum for discussion of the relevance of the database in understanding African economic history. The workshop specifically challenged some of the achievements of this monumental collaboration and offered new insights into how the impact of slavery on Africa can be assessed. It should be noted that there is no standardized way to refer to the on-line database. In the essays that follow, the database is sometimes referred to under the names of the principal compilers, David Eltis, David Richardson, Stephen Behrendt and Manolo Florentino; sometimes simply as Slave Voyages Database or the Voyages database, and sometimes among specialists as the Transatlantic Slave Trade Database, and to distinguish the on-line version from 1999 CD-ROM publication, as TSTD2. …

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