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
Debates over the economic, social, and political meaning of slavery and the slave trade have persisted for over two hundred years. The Atlantic Slave Trade brings clarity and critical insight to the subject. In fourteen essays, leading scholars consider the nature and impact of the transatlantic slave trade and assess its meaning for the people transported and for those who owned them. Among the questions these essays address are: the social cost to Africa of this forced migration; the role of slavery in the economic development of Europe and the United States; the short-term and long-term effects of the slave trade on black mortality, health, and life in the New World; and the racial and cultural consequences of the abolition of slavery. Some of these essays originally appeared in recent issues of Social Science History; the editors have added new material, along with an introduction placing each essay in the context of current debates. Based on extensive archival research and detailed historical examination, this collection constitutes an important contribution to the study of an issue of enduring significance. It is sure to become a standard reference on the Atlantic slave trade for years to come.
Contributors. Ralph A. Austen, Ronald Bailey, William Darity, Jr., Seymour Drescher, Stanley L. Engerman, David Barry Gaspar, Clarence Grim, Brian Higgins, Jan S. Hogendorn, Joseph E. Inikori, Kenneth Kiple, Martin A. Klein, Paul E. Lovejoy, Patrick Manning, Joseph C. Miller, Johannes Postma, Woodruff Smith, Thomas Wilson
We all know the story of the slave trade—the infamous Middle Passage, the horrifying conditions on slave ships, the millions that died on the journey, and the auctions that awaited the slaves upon their arrival in the Americas. But much of the writing on the subject has focused on the European traders and the arrival of slaves in North America. In Crossings, eminent historian James Walvin covers these established territories while also traveling back to the story’s origins in Africa and south to Brazil, an often forgotten part of the triangular trade, in an effort to explore the broad sweep of slavery across the Atlantic.
Reconstructing the transatlantic slave trade from an extensive archive of new research, Walvin seeks to understand and describe how the trade began in Africa, the terrible ordeals experienced there by people sold into slavery, and the scars that remain on the continent today. Journeying across the ocean, he shows how Brazilian slavery was central to the development of the slave trade itself, as that country tested techniques and methods for trading and slavery that were successfully exported to the Caribbean and the rest of the Americas in the following centuries. Walvin also reveals the answers to vital questions that have never before been addressed, such as how a system that the Western world came to despise endured so long and how the British—who were fundamental in developing and perfecting the slave trade—became the most prominent proponents of its eradication.
The most authoritative history of the entire slave trade to date, Crossings offers a new understanding of one of the most important, and tragic, episodes in world history.