Slave Biographies: The Atlantic Database Network

Capture d’écran 2013-11-09 à 10.54.35Slave Biographies: The Atlantic Database Network is an open access data repository of information on the identities of enslaved people in the Atlantic World. It includes the names, ethnicities, skills, occupations, and illnesses of individual slaves. Phase one of a multi-phase project is presented here. Users of the website can access data about slaves in colonial Louisiana and Maranhão, Brazil. They can download datasets, search for ancestors, and run statistical analysis

Marronnage in Saint-Domingue (Haïti) – Le marronnage à Saint-Domingue (Haïti)

The history of marronage features prominently in the history of Haiti, the first black Republic. Today it continues to raise very sensitive questions of memory. Nevertheless, the sources of this history remain little known and often inaccessible to the general public. This is the case of fugitive slave notices published in the colony’s principal newspaper, Affiches américaines, between 1766 and 1790. A racist and disparaging source that refers to slaves as mere lost objects or stray animals, the fugitive slave notice is nonetheless one of the most important sources for understanding the way slaves in the Saint-Domingue colony reclaimed their bodies and asserted their right to dignity, even temporarily. Historians who write the history of slavery—and more generally that of the oppressed and marginalized—have no choice but to work on the sources written by slave masters and to deconstruct their underlying racial ideology. They are often the only traces remaining to tell of those who refused the dehumanization of slavery. What would be known today about Narcisse if there had not remained a notice published in June 1776? More than 10 000 slaves like him are described in the main newspaper of the colony, which in 1804 would become Haiti. This site brings them back to life for the first time (…)

An original project supported by the French Atlantic History Group (McGill University, Mellon Foundation) in collaboration with the Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines of the Université de Sherbrooke, « Marronnage in Saint-Domingue (Haïti) » is an electronic interface meant to decompartementalise the archives of slavery in the French Atlantic world.

Egalement disponible en français :


THE DUTCH IN THE CARIBBEAN WORLD, C. 1670-C. 1870 This project offers a research tool in two parts: a) a guide to archival sources on the Dutch colonies in the Caribbean World and b) a summary of the relevant laws and regulations of the period.

Capture d’écran 2013-08-03 à 11.29.26After experiencing many wars, the Dutch possessions in the West Indies entered a much more quiet period from the 1670s onwards. In the Caribbean the Dutch possessions concerned a few islands of the Antilles (Curaçao, Aruba, Bonaire, St. Martin, St. Eustatius and Saba) and some of the great estuaries on the Wild Coast, including the rivers nearby (Suriname, Berbice, Essequibo and Demerara). Within these colonies a whole social fabric of multicultural relations took shape. The society became rather stratified, and social status became defined by clear conventions about class, colour and religion. The phenomenon of slavery played a central role in this formation. Slavery itself was not abolished until 1863, but under government supervision the former slaves in Suriname still had to carry out paid work on a plantation of their own choice for a period of ten years. The period between 1670 and 1870 can be called the ‘classic era’ of the Dutch colonial presence in the Caribbean world. As a result of the wars in the wake of the French Revolution, the colonies of Berbice, Essequibo and Demarara were lost to the Dutch by treaty in 1814, after a long British occupation, to become British Guyana. A separate description of the government administration and justice can be consulted in Han Jordaan and Marijcke Schillings,‘Organisatie van bestuur en rechtspraak in de Nederlandse Caraïbische wereld’.

 The guide to archival sources covers collections in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Curaçao, Suriname and Guyana, especially those that might contain information about slavery and multicultural relations(…)

The first release of this project is dated 1 August 2013. Questions or remarks? Please send them to Marijcke Schillings.

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