As many of you know, I am training to be a historian of the British Empire and “Atlantic Africa” in the eighteenth-century. With that in mind, I thought that it would be helpful to create a bibliography of secondary-sources on Atlantic Africa. That way I would have all of the major surveys and monographs in one convenient location, and I could also share these works with interested TZR readers. Below I have started to make a bibliography of materials on Atlantic Africa in the early-modern era, roughly 1455 to 1807.
The first date represents the arrival of Portuguese explorers to the Gambia River in 1455. The second date represents the abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade in both Britain and the United States in 1807. Most European powers ended this trade between the 1790s and the 1810s. However, the last Transatlantic Slave Trade voyage to be recorded did not occur until 1866 and there were probably a number of illegal voyages that occurred after that. Please keep in mind that this trajectory was a bit different in East Africa, where the slave slave grew after the abolitions of 1807 and was not outlawed until 1873.
Historians generally separate African History into a precolonial and colonial period, with the separation coming around the decade of the Berlin Conference in the 1880s. As such, “Atlantic Africa” is a term that refers to both a place and a time. It refers to the centuries of the precolonial period during which certain regions of West and West-Central Africa became increasingly integrated with a wider, hemispheric commercial world. This world was based around the Atlantic Ocean and it included Europe and the Americas. As a final note, please be aware that this bibliography privileges the relationship between Britain and Atlantic Africa, since that relationship is at the heart of my dissertation.