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    Legacies of British Slave-Ownership

    Key Facts About This Resource

    Fields Economics, Empire and Imperialism, Legal, Political, Race, Slavery
    Geographic Focus Caribbean, Great Britain and Ireland
    Chronology 1700s, 1800s
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      Online Only
    • Jonathan

      Contributed By



    This is without a doubt one of the most significant new digital humanities projects to launch in the last year. It traces the history of British slave owners in great detail, and will have a massive impact on the way scholars teach and research the history of slavery in the Caribbean and abolition.  It also has the potential to reopen debates regarding reparations, and will likely have significant cultural and political impact. 

    The research for the project began in 2009, so this is nearly eight years in the making.  Some of the largest names in British history, including Catherine Hall, have participated in this project. It only launched this year, and it has already won some fairly prestigious prizes for digital humanities including the History Today Digital Humanities Prize. 

    The project explores the commercial, cultural, historical, imperial, political, and physical legacies of slave ownership. This is top-notch scholarship that will be absolutely fantastic for working with students or engaging in your own research. 

    You can search the records of just over 9,000 estates. The level of detail here varies by estate, but at minimum you can trace the number of enslaved persons and the owners of the property from the late 18th century through abolition in 1834. You can also view maps of the British Caribbean and see where the estates were located. This is potentially useful if you are focusing on one particular region. There is also the ability to search by individual owner. The search works quite well. 

    Legacies of British Slave-ownership 2016-11-07 16-35-09.png

    What to know: 

    • At present, this is a site that allows you to study slave-owners. It does not include much information regarding the enslaved persons themselves. 
    • There is a collaborative element to this program that is really fascinating. They invite those working in this field to contribute knowledge that might have been initially overlooked. 
    • The possibilities for research and using this as a teaching tool are endless. It is hard to overstate the importance of this project. 

    Edited by Jonathan


    About Jonathan

    I am currently an Adjunct Professor of History at Lynchburg College in Virginia. I received my PhD in Modern British History from Florida State University in 2016. My research explores the way in which competing definitions of masculinity influenced army reform in the mid-nineteenth century. Civilians called for moral reforms; however, they were constantly hampered by politician and military officials' financial concerns. This work offers a number of interventions in the current historiography by exploring issues of corporal punishment, soldiers' sexuality, military suicide, and soldiers' families. 

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