September 24, 2008
By Elisabeth Grant
From datasets to CD-ROM to online project, the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database was decades in the making. And it was time well spent. Voyages (the web site of the project) allows users to experience information on nearly 35,000 slave voyages through a clean and well-designed interface.
Visitors should start off by reviewing the “Guide to Understanding and Using the Voyages Database and Website.” This document (which also can be downloaded as a PDF) details what’s on the site, and how to navigate through it. It starts off by noting the four databases available on the site:
- The Voyages database (where you can search for information on specific voyages or sets of voyages)
- The Estimates database (which takes an “educated guess of how large the slave trade actually was,” since not all voyages were documented and some documentation has been lost)
- The Images database (a collection of scanned documents, maps, and illustrations)
- The African Names database (which “offers a compilation of lists of liberated Africans from slave vessels captured by British cruisers between 1819 and 1845”)
As if these databases and their abundance of information weren’t enough, the site also contains essays on the trans-Atlantic slave trade, maps created from information culled from the database, educational materials in the form of 6th-12th grade lesson plans, and links to related sites.