Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database
Deceber 5, 2008 - March 15, 2009
Between 1514 and 1866 an estimated 10.7 million people of African descent entered the Americas via the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the largest forced migration in history. At the slave trade’s peak, merchants in Europe, Africa, and the Americas annually dispatched 100,000 - 120,000 captives from Africa to the Western Hemisphere.
Though before 1820 four times more Africans than Europeans arrived in the New World much more is known about the role of Europeans in the re-peopling of the Americas than of Africans. Still, much can be done to recapture historical information concerning the forced migration of Africans to the Americas. Artifacts from other mass movements of people, though intimate and detailed, are often variable and sporadic (e.g. personal letters and diaries). Because the coerced migration of Africans to the New World was a business, the records of this movement are more abundant, more diverse, and richer than are their counterparts describing the parallel and, prior to 1820, much smaller movements of Europeans across the North Atlantic.
Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database (www.slavevoyages.org) offers information on nearly 35,000 voyages that carried captive Africans across the Atlantic – approximately 82 percent of the entire slave trade – and represents the most comprehensive resource on the slave trade available in the world. Though many details of Africans experience in the slave trade cannot be recovered, Voyages permits us to see the contours of the trade, over four centuries, across four continents, and through these patterns begin to understand its impact.
The official website launch of Voyages is celebrated in a Corridor Gallery exhibition that illuminates the journey from original material (i.e. the logbook of the vessel “Wanderer”) to a publicly accessible online database, and offers visitors tools , search support and kiosks through which to navigate the site. The Corridor Gallery is located adjacent to Schatten Gallery, Level 3, Robert W. Woodruff Library.