The Atlantic Slave Trade
Philip D. Curtin
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Curtin combines modern research and statistical methods with his broad knowledge of the field to present the first book-length quantitative analysis of the Atlantic slave trade. Its basic evidence suggests revision of currently held opinions concerning the place of the slave trade in the economies of the Old World nations and their American colonies.
“Curtin’s work will not only be the starting point for all future research on the slave trade and comparative slavery, but will become an indispensable reference for anyone interested in Afro-American studies.”—Journal of American History
“Curtin has produced a stimulating monograph, the product of immaculate scholarship, against which all past and future studies will have to be judged.”—Journal of American Studies
“Professor Curtin’s new book is up to his customary standard of performance: within the limits he set for himself, The Atlantic Slave Trade could hardly be a better or more important book.”—American Historical Review
“Curtin has written a brilliantly provocative book that should lead to a range of new inquiries.”—Hispanic American Historical Review
About the Author
Philip D. Curtin (1922-2009) was author of The Image of Africa and Two Jamaicas. He edited Africa Remembered, a collection of narratives by former slaves and others involved in the slave trade. He was a member of the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin from 1956-1975. From 1975 until the time of his death, he was a member of the faculty of Johns Hopkins University.
published in 1845. It is therefore accepted. For 1848, Aimes gives the only estimate in any of the series. It appears to be plausible, and its acceptance will make little difference in the long-run totals. From 1849 to 1860, a very wide 39. Aimes, Slavery in Cuba. p. 245. The Hispanic Trade 43 discrepancy appears between Aimes's estimates and those of the Foreign Office. In this case, the Foreign Office figures are preferred-partly because Aimes's figures are only rounded-out estimates for
colonies of the major shipping nations, such as Portugal, Britain, or the Netherlands. In addition, planters often moved with their slaves from one colony to another. This pattern was especially prevalent in the first phase of settlement. Jamaica, for example, was first settled from Barbados-not directly from England and Africa. As the fortunes of war transferred Caribbean territory from one country to another, planters tended to move as refugees and often with their slaves. One group of British
to the whole period 1767-1807, the result would be an estimate of 22,600surely far too low. A third possibility is to interpolate from the seven known years in order to find estimates for the missing periods, 1767-83, 1789-1801, and 1804-7. If the annual average for each unknown period is taken to be the mean of the annual averages of adjacent known periods, if the annual average for 1736-66 is taken as a base line representative of the mid-eighteenth century, and if the annual average for 1802-3
0" 900 I Fig. 8. Destinations of the Atlantic slave trade, 1451-1600. Fig. by UW Cartographic Lab. Data from Table 33. I a The Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Centurie8 115 tion in the Atlantic between 1570 and 1670 by Frederic Mauro provides a reasonably reliable guide for Brazil.15 Contrary to the usual impression of the earlier literature, the Old-World slave trade was and remained dominant to the middle of the sixteenth century. The trade to Europe itseH was preponderant to the
trade regions in Africa. Rinchon's data are not commensurate with those produced by Gaston Martin's study, even though both used the declarations de retour at Nantes. Rinchon assigned a ship to a particular year according to its date of departure from Nantes, while Gaston Martin used the date of return. Since most voyages began in one 2. The overall rate of loss in transit on the fully recorded voyages was 14.3 per cent, but certain are inexplicably listed as having sold more slaves in the