Archaeology provides an interdisciplinary approach to the study of slavery that combines analyses of archaeological findings with careful readings of traditional primary sources of historiography. Excavations of sites where enslaved people once lived and worked yield residue of things produced, consumed, and discarded by the former occupants of these sites. This article discusses plantation spatial organization and the built environment of slavery; slave consumption, production, and exchange; religious expressions; slave resistance; and future directions in the archaeology of slavery.
Richard H. Steckel
This article discusses the demographic history of slavery. It covers the origins of African slavery, dimensions of the African slave trade, distribution of the slave population in 1825, health and mortality of slave populations, plantation conditions in the United States and in the sugar colonies, and fertility.
This article examines issues of traditional concern to economic historians of slavery: the origins of and motivations/rationales for slavery; pattern and variation in the institution both across space and over time; questions relating to slavery's profitability; the developmental effects of slavery; and the reasons for its demise. The focus is on slavery in the Western hemisphere, and, only then, on slavery in societies established therein by European colonizers beginning in the late fifteenth century.
This article reviews scholarship on internal slave trades in the Americas. Intra-regional slave trades in the Americas have often left few records and have been little noticed by historians. In many cases, historians have probably ignored significant inter-regional trades that pre-dated the era of abolition. The internal slave trades that have been most researched are long-distance trades that operated under the critical attention of active abolitionist movements, and they are trades that flourished after the supply of slaves from Africa had terminated or been much restricted. The internal trade was most prominent in North America from 1807 (the abolition of the African trade) to 1865, in Brazil from 1850 (the ending of African importation) to 1888, and in the British Caribbean from 1807 (again the abolition of the African trade) to 1833.