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From Africa to Jamaica

The Making of an Atlantic Slave Society, 1775–1807

Audra A. Diptee

Publication Year: 2010

Rich with historical sketches of the life and experiences of slaves in Africa, on slave ships, and in Jamaica, this volume illustrates the way enslaved Africans lived and helped to shape Jamaican society in the three decades before British abolition of the slave trade.

Audra Diptee's in-depth investigations reveal unexpected insights into the demographics of those captured in Africa and legally transported on British slave ships. For example, there is a commonly held belief that slave traders had a preference for adult males. In fact, the practicalities of slave raiding meant that women, children, and large groups of the elderly were particularly vulnerable during raids and were more often captured and made available for sale in the Caribbean.

From Africa to Jamaica offers a new look at the Atlantic slave trade in its final years, fleshing out the historical portrait of the African men, women, and children who were sold in Jamaica and were thus among the last of the enslaved to put their stamp on Jamaican society. There is no comparable study that takes such a comprehensive approach, looking at both the African and Jamaican sides of the trade system.

Published by: University Press of Florida


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xiv

...This book traces the historical trajectory of the men, women, and children forcibly transported to Jamaica in the last thirty-two years of the British slave trade. It looks at the dynamics that shaped their lives as well as how they interpreted and sometimes even forced change on the Atlantic system...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xv-xviii

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pp. 1-7

...In the seventeenth century, there was a settlement called Jamaica Point on Sherbro Island off the coast of Sierra Leone (see map 4). It was an important, well-fortified port town. Like the island of Jamaica in the Caribbean, Jamaica Point was also intimately bound to the Atlantic slave trade. There the British established a “slave factory” from which captive men, women...

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1. The Atlantic Crucible

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pp. 8-24

...There are very few persons who would challenge the notion that British justifications for the Atlantic slave trade and slavery in the Caribbean were grounded in racist assumptions. Yet to better understand human behavior under these racist institutions, using the lens of “race” alone proves inadequate. Above all else, the history of the Atlantic slave trade is a history...

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2. “Provided they arrive in health”

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pp. 25-49

...hoped to meet with good sales in Jamaica then it would be impossible for him to be “too chosie [sic]” when he selected Africans for purchase on the other side of the Atlantic. Simon Taylor also wrote that he and two other potential purchasers would be interested in taking “a great part of the cargo” if the Trusty brought the “proper assortment” of captives...

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3. “We took man, woman, and child”

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pp. 50-72

...society was completely spared from its horror and trauma. According to the eyewitness account of Isaac Parker, a sailor who in the 1760s was invited to go on a slave raid in the Biafran hinterland, at the moment of capture enslavers “took man, woman, and child as they could catch them in the...

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4. The Atlantic Crossing

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pp. 73-88

...After their capture and trek to the coast, the enslaved were then forcibly transported across the Atlantic to begin what British slave traders referred to as the “middle passage.” From the point of view of captives, however, it is doubtful that they understood this voyage as the “middle” of their journey. For the enslaved, being put on board a slave vessel was merely part...

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5. African Expectations, Jamaican Realities

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pp. 89-114

...Although enslaved Africans brought to Jamaica were placed into a society organized primarily along racial lines, the social and cultural dynamics of the enslaved were grounded in dynamics far more complex. Jamaican slave society comprised not only Africans, who were divided by ethnicity, but...

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pp. 115-118

...On March 25, 1807, the act to abolish the slave trade received Royal Assent, thereby establishing a law that made slave trading illegal throughout the British Empire. After May 1 of that year, ships could no longer legally leave Britain for the purpose of slave trading, and any ship that left on or before that date had until March 1, 1808, to reach the West Indies and sell...

Appendix. Thirteen Documents Relating to the Voyage of the Slave Ship African Queen (July 1792–May 1793)

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pp. 119-142


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pp. 143-164


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pp. 165-178


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pp. 179-188

E-ISBN-13: 9780813042992
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813034829

Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2010