The Voyages Database
The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database comprises more than 35,000 individual slaving expeditions between 1514 and 1866. Records of the voyages have been found in archives and libraries throughout the Atlantic world. They provide information about vessels, enslaved peoples, slave traders and owners, and trading routes. A variable (Source) cites the records for each voyage in the database. Other variables enable users to search for information about a particular voyage or group of voyages. The website provides full interactive capability to analyze the data and report results in the form of statistical tables, graphs, maps, a timeline, and an animation.
This part of “The Database” contains a guide to help newcomers start using the database. An essay explains in detail the sources and methods used in constructing the database and creating the set of estimates based on it. A list of the variables in the version of the database on this website is provided. Lastly, the user will find a comprehensive bibliography of primary and secondary sources consulted in creating the database. This link takes you to the page for querying the main database. You can search for information about a specific voyage, a small group of voyages, or a large subset of the data set, such as all voyages under the Portuguese flag. There is a choice between a smaller “basic” set of 25 variables and a larger “general” set of 64 variables. Each set groups variables into the same eight categories. The interface of the query section is designed to be as intuitive as possible, but many of the FAQs are about how to use its features. The variables accessible online cover the full range of information available in the database. Some users will want to work with variables that have not been included in the selection for the website and/or use spreadsheets or statistics software to analyze the data. This link takes you to a page with buttons to download the full set of variables in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database in SPSS format, a PDF copy of the SPSS codebook, and the website version of the database in two formats (SPSS, csv). The “Contribute” section consists of data entry forms by which users of the website can supply new information or revise existing information on trans-Atlantic slaving voyages. Specialists on the slave trade will review submissions of new or revised information. Once confirmed, the new or revised information will be incorporated in the next revision of the database appearing in the website. We anticipate releasing a new revision every three years.
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