Slave Trade - The National Library of Jamaica

The transatlantic slave trade is largely responsible for bringing to the Americas enslaved Africans. The slave trade is said to have drawn between ten and twenty million Africans from their homeland, with approximately six hundred thousand coming to Jamaica (one of the largest importer of slaves at the time) between 1533 and 1807.

Referred to as the triangular trade, it involved three points, Europe, Africa and the West Indies and represented a complex financial business at its peak in the 18th century. The cruel and inhumane conditions experienced by the Africans from their initial capture, their journey along the middle passage and enslavement in the West Indies demanded that the slave trade be abolished and slaves be freed.

After much agitation by anti-slavery individuals and groups in and outside of the Caribbean, as well as passive and active resistance by the Maroons as well as the enslaved, the Slave Trade Abolition Bill was passed in the British House of Lords on the 25th of March 1807.

The bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade (2007), in the British West Indies is being recognized in Jamaica and other regions. In acknowledgment of this year as an important historical event, the National Library of Jamaica has compiled a select bibliography of materials available on this subject in its collections. The National Library of Jamaica holds a number of materials on the slave trade, dating as far back as 1671 and publications from each century thereafter.

The slave trade has been the subject of extensive scholarship; confronting issues such as the number of Africans transported to the Americas and the social, economic and political effects of the trade. These studies are available in a variety of formats such as manuscripts, books, newspaper articles and CD-ROMs. In addition to analytical studies of the slave trade, there are also descriptive materials including narratives by those directly involved such as freed persons, slave traders and observers.

This bibliography is divided into categories according to the type of material, as follows:

Ø Books and Pamphlets

Ø Periodical Articles

Ø Newspaper References (Royal Gazette & Jamaica Courant 1805-1806)

Ø Illustrations

Ø Manuscripts

Ø Prints

Ø Audio-Visual Materials

Each item is arranged by title, author, publisher and year of publication along with the Dewey Decimal Classification number assigned. There are a few newly acquired items uncatalogued at the time of compilation and therefore do not have a classification number.

This bibliography is intended for use by students, researchers, teachers, librarians and any interested reader.