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Preface to the Second Edition

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

Paul E. Lovejoy
Affiliation:
York University, Toronto
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Summary

Preface to the Second Edition

Twenty years have passed since I first offered an overview of the history of slavery in Africa (Lovejoy 1979). The first edition of this book was my attempt to relate the internal development of slavery in Africa to external forces. My approach was to use the newly available quantifiable data on the scale, timing, and direction of the slave trade across the Atlantic to explore the political, economic, and social history of Africa, looking for correlations in the trans-Atlantic trade with developments in western Africa. From an Africanist perspective, such an approach also required consideration of the Islamic trade in slaves, Indian Ocean patterns, and Dutch use of slaves at the Cape of Good Hope. My approach tried to tie the known dimensions of the external trade in slaves to a history of slavery in Africa. Since the publication of the first edition, there has been considerably more research done on the demography of the slave trade, resulting most especially in the combination of various data into a single database, the W.E.B. Du Bois database, which draws on records of more than 27,000 slaving voyages between Africa and the Americas.

In preparing the second edition, I have relied on the Du Bois database, although in certain minor ways, the Du Bois data have been supplemented. In the first edition, I generated my own synthesis of available data on the scale of the slave trade, drawing heavily on Curtin’s earlier work (1969). This overview was in turn subjected to critique and revision. The Du Bois database makes much of the debate over the initial Curtin census (1969) and the subsequent revisions obsolete. In addition, other statistical studies have meant that most of the tables in the first edition have had to be modified. Hence most of the tables in this edition are new, although reference to the earlier literature is retained for purposes of comparison. To take account of the new demographic data, I have altered the discussion of the various tables accordingly, and additional references have been provided to reflect ongoing scholarship on the history of Africa and the role of slavery in that history. Where appropriate, I have qualified or otherwise modified my analysis in exploring the implications of the revised figures.

Type
Chapter
Information
Transformations in Slavery
A History of Slavery in Africa
, pp. xvii - xx
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2011
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