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Lost Slave Narratives

Regions of Africa with information in the database
Engage in raw primary source research using the Transatlantic Slave
Trade Database ( and the related site, African
For instance, one way to complete the report is to go to the African Origins page and type a name in the search
box available — any name. A list of similar names of those enslaved will appear, and then all you have to do is
choose one of the individuals and start there. Beginning with that person, you should know their name (as it
was recorded), the name of the ship they sailed on, perhaps the name of the captain of that ship, the port from
which the ship left, and the port where the ship was returned to. You may also be able to discover the language
and ethnicity of the individual, or the language/ethnicity of other travellers on the ship.
Using this information, you can write a short description of the journey undertaken by the person, with some
speculative background information about the person’s life, and some description of the ship used in the
You may also choose to focus on a ship captain, or a ship itself. Using the search functions of the Transatlantic
Slave Database ( , you should be able to find out other voyages
that ship undertook, where it was constructed, how much cargo it could hold, and much more.
Of course, you could also write your report on all three: African captive, ship captain, and ship — in describing
the one voyage in detail.
Additional Resources for Background
Good resources for research into the languages and ethnicities you may encounter include the University of
Iowa Art & Life in Africa ( site , or the Almanac of African Peoples and Nations.