ARTICLE: Stark on African Slave Trade to Puerto Rico

David M. Stark, “A New Look at the African Slave Trade in Puerto Rico Through the Use of Parish Registers: 1660–1815.” Slavery & Abolition 30, no. 4 (December 1, 2009): 491–520. doi:10.1080/01440390903245083.

Abstract:

“Our knowledge of the volume of slave traffic as well as the geographic origin and ethnicity of slaves introduced into peripheral areas of the Americas, such as the former Spanish colony of Puerto Rico, is limited. Information contained in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century parish baptismal, marriage, and death registers enables us to locate and identify Africans in a number of island communities, including San Juan. Drawing upon data culled from parish registers this study seeks to broaden our understanding of the slave trade to Puerto Rico in the years 1672 to 1810. Few slaves were brought in either from Africa or from elsewhere in the Americas to Puerto Rico, and the supply of these was erratic and limited. Although they were small in number, there was considerable diversity in the geographic origins and ethnicity of African arrivals, with individuals from West and West Central Africa predominating. For the most part, these shared a relatively homogenous culture and a greater similarity insofar as the language(s) they spoke. Such commonalities facilitated integration and promoted social cohesion among the newly arrived Africans as well as those already present in the host population. It also facilitated their integration into what was emerging as a unified Afro-Puerto Rican slave community.”

Read the essay via Taylor & Francis Online ($$)

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