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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Roots of the African Diaspora: Methodological Considerations in the Analysis of Names in the Liberated African Registers of Sierra Leone and Havana
Authors:Nwokeji, G. Ugo
Eltis, DavidISNI
Periodical:History in Africa
Geographic term:Subsaharan Africa
History and Exploration
Ethnic and Race Relations
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3172169
Abstract:Europe and the Americas have long dominated studies of transatlantic exchanges and much more is known about European participation in the Atlantic than of its African counterpart. Current knowledge of how those parts of Africa located a few miles away from the littoral contributed to the early modern Atlantic World is particularly sparse. This paper describes a new method of measuring the composition of African groups forced into the New World. As part of international efforts to suppress the transatlantic slave trade, the British signed treaties with several countries to establish courts of mixed (or joint) commission in selected Atlantic ports (Havana, St. Helena, Sierra Leone, Capetown, Rio de Janeiro, and Liberia) to adjudicate suspected slave ships and liberate any captives found on board. Each liberated African falling within the jurisdication of the court was asked to provide name, age, and place of habitation. These personal details were recorded in large bound registers. The ethnic basis of the names is recognizable, and makes it possible to identify broad ethnic groupings and in some cases sub-groupings. With fieldwork and considerable help from African-based scholars in several disciplines, the authors expect to be able to draw inferences on the geography of the trade over the coming years. App., notes, ref.