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    The Liberated Africans Project

    Key Facts About This Resource

    Fields Crime and Punishment, Economics, Empire and Imperialism, Legal, Military, Political, Race, Religion, Slavery
    Geographic Focus United States, Canada, Caribbean, Latin America, Argentina, Brazil, Europe, France, Great Britain and Ireland, Africa, West Africa
    Chronology 1500s, 1700s, 1800s
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    • Jonathan

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    The British abolished the Transatlantic Slave Trade in 1807, and in 1808 they seized the colony of Sierra Leone from a company and placed it under state authority in the form of a Vice Admiralty Court. The Vice Admiralty Courts and the British Navy would spend the next six decades patrolling the coast of Africa and seizing illegally captured Africans. In total, the courts would oversee the emancipation of over 200,000 Africans. 

    The Vice Admiralty Courts documents provide a unique lens into the lives and experiences of the enslaved and emancipated. However, they are scattered in numerous archives (throughout multiple countries) and they are often in numerous languages. This meant that it became extraordinarily difficult for one historian to make sense of everything. This is where the Liberated Africans Project comes into play. This is a collaborative project. The aim of the project is to bring together as much data as possible about the 200,000 emancipated persons. 

    What to Know:

    • This is an ongoing project and at this point is a bit limited. Over time, this should become an extraordinarily useful and important project. 
    • It should be used in conjunction with the Voyages: The Transatlantic Slave Trade Database, Slave Biographies: The Atlantic Database Network, and the Ecclesiastical & Secular Sources for Slave Societies database. 

    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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