American Slavers


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Merchants, Mariners, and the Transatlantic Commerce in Captives, 1644-1865

Sean M. Kelley

View Inside Format: Hardcover
Price: $35.00
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The first telling of the unknown story of America’s two-hundred-year history as a slave-trading nation
A total of 305,000 enslaved Africans arrived in the New World aboard American vessels over a span of two hundred years, yet this is the first book-length study covering the whole of the North American slave trade. American merchants and mariners sailed to Africa and to the Caribbean to acquire and sell captives. Using exhaustive archival research, including many collections that have never been used before, historian Sean M. Kelley argues that slave trading needs to be seen as an integral part of the larger story of American slavery.
Engaging deeply with both African and American history and addressing the trade over time, Kelley examines the experience of captivity, drawing on more than a hundred African narratives to offer a portrait of enslavement in the regions of Africa frequented by American ships. Kelley also provides a social history of the two American ports where slave trading was most intensive, Newport and Bristol, Rhode Island.
In telling this tragic, brutal, and largely unknown story, Kelley corrects many misconceptions while leaving no doubt that Americans were a nation of slave traders.

Sean M. Kelley is professor of history at Essex University. He is the author of The Voyage of the Slave Ship Hare: A Journey into Captivity from Sierra Leone to South Carolina and Los Brazos de Dios: A Plantation Society in the Texas Borderlands, 1821–1865. He lives in Colchester, UK.

“This book will for many years to come be the only comprehensive and integrated overview of U.S. involvement in the North American–based slave trade from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries.”—David Eltis, coauthor of Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

“This is one of the best syntheses of the history of the U.S. slave trade ever written. A book that offers not only a great historical narrative of a long-term process but also dives into specific themes in new ways.”—Leonardo Marques, Universidade Federal Fluminense
ISBN: 9780300263596
Publication Date: May 30, 2023
488 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
18 b/w illus.