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date: 30 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article reviews scholarship on the transatlantic slave trade. The foundations of a slave trade historiography date to the late eighteenth-century abolition movements in North America, Britain, and France. Before then, occasional voices sounded in protest. The Dominican friar Tomás de Mercado, for example, published in 1569 an anti-slave trade tract based on his observations of slave sales in Seville and of the institution of slavery in Mexico. From 1698 to 1714, 198 pamphlets concerning the Royal African Company's monopoly were published in England. With the founding of the world's first antislavery crusade, antislavery advocates came to predominate among the researchers who were seeking information on the slave trade. Abolitionist energies coalesced in 1787–9 in London with the formation of anti-slave trade committees and the subsequent British parliamentary inquiries. In this three-year period at least twenty-five British, American, and French authors wrote about the slave trade, a total that would not be reached again until the 1970s, when academics organized the first major conferences on Atlantic slaving.

Keywords: slavery, slave trade, historiography, anti-slavery crusade, abolition

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