Book Review – ‘Before Middle Passage: Translated Portuguese manuscripts of Atlantic slave trading from West Africa to Iberian territories’ by Marc Eagle

By Marc Eagle, published November 2020


The great majority of scholarly work on the transatlantic slave trade has focused on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a period for which sources are plentiful. In Before Middle Passage, Professor Trevor Hall brings two little-known Portuguese documents from the early sixteenth century to an English- language readership, offering valuable insight into the roots of this trade. These sources – a customs receipts book from Portugal’s Cape Verde islands for the years 1513 to 1516 and the 1526 logbook of a slave ship from Lisbon – come from a time when Portuguese and Spanish merchants had developed a regular traffic in African captives taken to Europe, but before the slave trade across the Atlantic had begun in earnest …

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Filed under: Atlantic
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines | Miscellaneous

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