ARCH 566 /AAS 406

Feb. 1 - West Africa and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Guest Lecturer: Joseph C. Miller


This illustration is published in, among other sources, S. Drescher and S. Engerman, A Historical Guide to World Slavery (Oxford Univ. Press, 1998), p.291, where it is captioned "Gang of captives met at Mbame's on their way to Teffe," and is identified as an engraving from Harper's Weekly (vol. 32, May 1866). [See Handler, Image Archive]

Class Outline

This session will provide you with a general orientation to the broad context of the Atlantic slave trade, with some emphasis on its West African/Gold Coast dimension. The session will consist of two parts.

I. The African context of the trade, i.e., a general historical overview of the region over the centuries preceding the "slave trade itself" (in this area, c. 1670s-1830s).

II. A discussion of how and why and who in Africa participated in the Atlantic-scale developments. This part of the presentation will also sketch the general proportions (regions, timing, numbers, etc.) of the Diaspora itself.

back to top

Assigned Readings
  • Kevin Shillington, History of Africa (New York: Macmillan, 2nd ed. 1995).

    • Ch. 7 (pp. 90-106): Islam and the Sudanic states of west Africa

    • Ch. 12 (pp. 170-180): The Atlantic Slave Trade, sixteenth to eighteenth centuries

    • Ch. 13 (pp. 181-196):West African states and societies. to the eighteenth century

  • James L. Newman, The Peopling of Africa: A Geographic Introduction (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995.)

    • Ch. 7 (pp. 104-36): Western Africa


  • Paul Bohannan and Philip Curtin, Africa and Africans (4th ed.) (Prospect Heights IL: Waveland Press, 1995)

back to top

Digital Resources

back to top