The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: A Database on CD-ROM
Skip to main content

Book Information

Eltis, David, Stephen D. Behrendt, David Richardson, and Herbert S. Klein, eds. The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: A Database on CD-ROM. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, .

"For most entries in the new data set, we maintained the spelling or wording of the names of vessels, captains, and merchants. Exceptions include corrections of obvious mistakes arising from the fact that the recorder of the information was often less than fluent in the language of the nation to which the vessel belonged. Even without this problem, variations of spelling were, of course, common before the nineteenth century and, as discussed below, we have standardized some spellings to facilitate sorting. We removed the article 'the' from vessel names; thus we deleted Le or La from French names. Occasionally sources reported different names for the same vessel. The Pretty Betty is also identified, for example, as the Pretty Peggy. In such cases, we separated the two names with '(a)' to indicate an alternate name/spelling, as in Pretty Betty (a) Pretty Peggy." (manual, page 11)

This database "contains the records of 27,233 trans-Atlantic slave ship voyages made between 1595 and 1866." The documentation claims 25,990 of the voyages contain ship names, though I counted 18,955. After deduplicating the file (since there's no need for duplicates in this index) I found 17,084 unique ship/year combinations, which were added to the index. If you find a mention of a vessel in this database, you can check the CD-ROM for further information, such as captain, number of slaves, information about the vessel's voyages, etc. Each entry also includes an indication of its source from among the hundreds of primary and secondary sources cited in the bibliography.