Books and sources for research on Bristol’s transatlantic slave trade

All the following books, including academic journal articles, can be ordered through your library by way of inter-library loan.

Books and articles with a substantial amount of information specifically about Bristol

Madge Dresser Slavery Obscured: The Social History of the Slave Trade in an English Provincial Port (London: Continuum Books, 2001)

Madge Dresser and Sue Giles (editors) Bristol & Transatlantic Slavery (Bristol: Bristol Museums & Art Gallery, 2000)

Madge Dresser Caletta Jordan and Doreen Taylor Slave Trade Trail around Central Bristol (Bristol: Bristol Museums & Art Gallery, 1999)

Christine Eickelmann and David Small Pero:the life of a slave in eighteenth-century Bristol (Bristol: Redcliffe Press (forthcoming))

Donald Jones Clifton: A history (Chichester:Phillimore, 1992)

Donald Jones Bristol’s Sugar Trade and Refining Industry (Bristol: Bristol Branch of the Historical Association, 1996)

Pip Jones and Rita Youseph The Black Population of Bristol in the 18th Century ( Bristol: Bristol Branch of the Historical Association, 1994)

Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic (London: Verso, 2000)

Paul E. Lovejoy (editor) Africans in bondage: studies in slavery and the slave trade: essays in honor of Philip D. Curtin on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of African Studies at the University of Wisconsin (Madison: University of Winsconsin, 1986)

C M MacInnes Bristol: Gateway to Empire (reprint Newton Abbot David and Charles, 1968)

Peter Marshall The Anti-Slave Trade Movement in Bristol (Bristol: Historical Association, Bristol Branch, 1968)

Peter Marshall Bristol and the abolition of slavery: the politics of emancipation (Bristol: Historical Association, Bristol Branch, 1975).

Kenneth Morgan Edward Colston and Bristol (Bristol: Historical Association, Bristol Branch, 1999)

Kenneth Morgan Bristol and the Atlantic Trade in the Eighteenth Century. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993)

Richard Pares A West India Fortune [the Pinney family] (London: Longman, 1950)

David Richardson Bristol, Africa and the Eighteenth-Century Slave Trade to America Vol.1 The Years of Expansion 1698-1729 (Bristol: The Bristol Record Society, 1986); Vol.2 The Years of Ascendancy 1730-1745 (Bristol: The Bristol Record Society, 1987) Vol.3 The Years of Decline 1746-1769 (Bristol: The Bristol Record Society, 1991) Vol.4 The Final Years 1770-1807 (Bristol: The Bristol Record Society,1996)

David Richardson The Bristol Slave Traders: A Collective Portrait (Bristol: Bristol Branch of the Historical Association, 1985)

Hugh Thomas The Slave Trade: The History of the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1440-1870 (London: Picador, 1997)

Nigel Tattersfield The Forgotten Trade: Comprising the Log of the Daniel and Henry of 1700 and Accounts of the Slave Trade from the Minor Ports of England 1698-1725 (London: Jonathan Cape, 1991, London: Pimlico, 1998)

General Books on the Slave Trade and Slavery

Hilary Beckles and Verene Shepherd (editors) Caribbean Slavery in the Atlantic World (Princeton : Marcus Wiener, 1999)

Ira Berlin and Philip D Morgan (editors) Cultivation and Culture: Labor and the Shalping of Slave Life in the Americas (Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 1993)

Robin Blackburn The making of New World Slavery from the Baroque to the Modern, 1492-1800 (London:Verso 1997)

Robin Blackburn The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery 1776-1848 (London: Verso, 1988)

Ottobah Cuguano Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil and Wicked Traffic of Slavery and the Comnmerce of the Human Species (London, 1787, reprinted by Dawsons 1969)

David Brion Davis The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988)

Seymour Drescher and Stanley L. Engerman (editors) A Historical Guide to World Slavery (Oxford: Oxford University Press,1998)

Olaudah Equiano The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African (London, 1789, reprinted by Longmans 1988, and others)

Susanne Everett History of Slavery (London: Grange Books, 1996)

Paul Farnsworth (ed) Island Lives (Alabama: 2001)

Peter Fryer Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain (London: Pluto Press, 1984)

Gretchen Gerzina Black England: Life Before Emancipation (London: John Murray, 1995)

Guy Grannum Tracing Your West Indian Ancestors; Sources in the Public Record Office (London: PRO Publications, 1995)

Douglas Hall Five of the Leewards, 1834-1870: The Major Problems of the Post-Emancipation Period in Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, Nevis and St Kitts (Aylesbury: Ginn & Co Bridgetown: Caribbean UP, Caribbean History Monographs)

J.S. Handler and F.W. Lange Plantation Slavery in Barbados An Archaeological and Hisotorical Investigation (Cambridge Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1978)

Richard Hart Slaves Who Abolished Slavery: Blacks in Rebellion (Barbados, Jamaica et al: University of the West Indies Press, 1985, 2002)

Barry W Higman Montpelier, Jamaica – A Plantation Community in Slavery and Freedom 1739-1912 (Barbados, Jamaica et al: The Press University of the West Indies, 1998)

Patrick Manning Slavery and African Life: Occidental, Oriental, and African Slave Trades (New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990).

Kenneth Morgan Slavery, Atlantic Trade and the British Economy 1660-1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000)

J.R. Oldfield Popular Politics and British Anti-Slavery: The Mobilisation of Public Opinion against the Slave Trade, 1787-1807 (London: Frank Cass, 1998)

James A. Rawley The Transatlantic Slave Trade: A History (New York and London: Norton, 1981)

Edward Reynolds Stand the Storm: A History of the Atlantic Slave Trade (London: Alison and Busby, 1985)

Verene Shepherd and Hilary McD. Beckles Caribbean Slavery in the Atlantic World: A Student Reader (Kingston, Jamaica: Ian Randle, 2000)

Theresa A Singleton (editor) The Archaeology of Slavery and Plantation Life (Orlando: Academic Press, 1985)

Anthony Tibbles (editor) Transatlantic Slavery: Against Human Dignity (London: HMSO, 1995)

James Walvin Black Ivory: A History of British Slavery (London: Fontana, 1993)

Eric Williams Capitalism and Slavery (Chapletown, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press,1944)

JR Ward British West Indian Slavery 1750-1834 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988)

Marcus Wood Blind Memory: Visual Representations of Slavery in England and America (Manchester:Manchester University Press, 2000)

Journal Articles and Chapters in Books

R. Anstey ‘A re-interpretation of the abolition of the British slave trade 1806-7’ in English Historical Review, vol. 87 (1972) pp. 304-332.

H. McD. Beckles ‘The “Hub of Empire”: the Caribbean and Britain in the Seventeenth Century’ in N. Canny (editor) The Oxford History of the British Empire: The Origins of Empire (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998) vol. 1 pp. 218-240

H. McD. Beckles ‘White women and slavery in the Caribbean’ in History Workshop, Autumn 93, no.36, pp. 66-82

V. Carretta ‘Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa? New light on an eighteenth-century question of identity’ in Slavery & Abolition, 20:3 (1999), pp. 96-105

S. Drescher ‘Whose abolition? Popular pressure and the ending of the British slave trade’ in Past and Present 143, May 1994

David Eltis and Stanley Engerman ‘The importance of slavery and the slave trade to industrialising Britain’ in Journal of Economic History, 60:1 (2000), pp. 123-44

J.P. Greene ‘Liberty, slavery and the transformation of British identity in the eighteenth century West Indies’ in Slavery and Abolition, vol. 21 (2000), pp.1-31

P.E.H. Hair and R. Law ‘The English in Western Africa to 1700’ in The Oxford History of the British Empire: The Eighteenth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998) vol. 2, pp. 241-263

J.P.E. Lovejoy ‘Trust, pawnship, and Atlantic history: the institutional foundations of the Old Calabar slave trade’ in American Historical Review, 104:2 (1999), pp. 333-55.

C. Midgely ‘Antislavery and feminism in Britain’ in Gender and History, vol. 5 no. 3, (1993 pp 475-488)

C. Midgely ‘Slave sugar boycotts: female activism and the domestic base of British anti-slavery culture’ in Slavery and Abolition vol. 17 no. 3, Dec. 96 pp. 137-162

Kenneth Morgan ‘Sugar refining in Bristol’ in Kristine Bruland and Patrick K. O’Brien (editors) From family firms to corporate capitalism: essays in business and industrial history in honour of Peter Mathias (Oxford: Clarendon, 1998) pp. 139-69.

Philip D. Morgan ‘The black Experience in the British Empire 1680-1765’ in The Oxford History of the British Empire: The Eighteenth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998) vol. 2, pp. 465-486

J. Pieterse ‘Slavery and the triangle of emancipation’ in Race and Class vol. 13 no. 3 (1998), pp.1-21

M. Reckford ‘The Jamaica slave rebellion of 1831’ in Past and Present no. 40, (1968), pp. 72-83

D. Richardson ‘Shipboard revolts, African authority and the Atlantic slave trade’ in The William and Mary Quarterly third series, vol. LVIII, no.1 (Jan. 2001): this is on line at

R. Sheridan ‘The Formation of Caribbean Plantation Society, 1689-1748’ in P.J. Marshall (editor) The Oxford History of the British Empire: The Eighteenth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press 1998) vol. 2, pp 394-414

Tim Taylor ‘Nevis, West Indies’ in TimeTeam 99: The Site Reports (London: Channel 4, 1999)

J. R. Ward ‘The British West Indies in the Age of Abolition, 1748-1815’ in The Oxford History of the British Empire: The Eighteenth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998) vol. 2, pp.415-439


Philippa Gregory A Respectable Trade (London: Harper Collins, 1992)

Nana Grey-Johnson I of Ebony (Kanifing, the Gambia: Vinasha Consulting and Production Agency, 1997)

Marguerite Steen The Sun Is My Undoing (New York: International Thomson Publishing, 1941)

For younger readers

David Bygott Black and British (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992)

Alison Grant Bristol and the Sugar Trade: Illustrated from contemporary sources (Harlow: Longman 1981)

Websites (see also External Links – accessible through the home page, for a wider range of websites)

The Bristol slavery trail on-line with teacher’s notes:

To see how Bristol compared to other ports in terms of slave ship departures:

For timelines (other than the one on this site): and

Introductory websites

For two first rate American sites see:

Other general websites on slavery

For a wealth of material on the African trade see:

For some excellent material on Olaudah Equiano and other black writers and slavery related material, see

Two good sites on Africa and slavery include:

The BBC’s World Service ‘Story of Africa’:


Harvard University:

examples include:

For searching your Jamaican roots


For an on-line list of members of the Society of Merchant Ventuers of the city of Bristol and a tour of a sugar plantation etc:

Other Libraries and Archives in Bristol

Bristol Library Service: Holds contemporary newspapers, 1831 parliamentary election pamphlets, Abolition leaflets and a wide range of books printed on the subject. It has the logbook of the slave ship the Black Prince, and a copy of the logbook of the slave ship the Molly. Many records are available on microfiche. It has a bibliography of its holdings available see

Bristol Record Office: Holds the records of the Spring Hill Plantation in Jamaica, Munkley papers (shipping), the Estlin papers (Abolition) and various documents relating to trade and merchants. A pamphlet detailing the records held is available. See their website which has an on-line search engine:

University of Bristol: Holds the Pinney papers and a number of contemporary books, maps and other documents relating to the slave trade, the Caribbean and sugar. It publishes a leaflet on its slavery material.

Special Collections Librarian, Arts Library, University of Bristol, Tyndall Avenue, BS8 1TQ

Empire & Commonwealth Museum: Holds books and government papers relating to the slave trade. The Curator, Empire & Commonwealth Museum, Clock Tower Yard, Temple Meads, Bristol BS1 6QH

Kuumba Cultural Centre: Has a library with a good selection on black history and culture. 2 Hepburn Road, Bristol BS5

Other Libraries and Archives

Public Record Office: Holds a large number of documents that relate to Bristol, including the business papers of James Rogers (slave trader). There is a book by Guy Grannum, Tracing your West Indian Ancestors, available from the shop. The millions of documents held here are well-catalogued, but records relating to Bristol merchants and slaving might be in an unexpected file, like ‘Portuguese trade’.

The Archivist, PRO, Ruskin Avenue, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU