African Studies Africans in the Atlantic World
by
Toby Green
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 April 2018
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846733-0201

Introduction

The place of Africans in the Atlantic world is one of enormous, and contested, significance. Demographically, they form the large majority of those who crossed the Atlantic and settled in the Americas between the 16th and the middle of the 19th centuries. Nevertheless, traditional historiography suggested that African migrants were largely “passive victims” of the patterns of European colonization and settlement in the Americas. Since the 1990s, this idea has been challenged by a series of studies in a range of fields that show decisively the influence that African peoples had in shaping the emergence of Atlantic cultures. Scholars working in the fields of cultural, food, religious, and military history have all shown the many different ways in which African worldviews and actions contributed to the emergence of American societies. The most recent studies suggest continuities of revolutionary movements from West Africa into the Age of Revolutions in the Americas from the late 18th century onward. Meanwhile, though, new theoretical paradigms stressing the agency and involvement of Africans in New World societies themselves have drawn some criticism, as underestimating the impact of imperial violence in shaping the African experience. This powerful, important, and contested subject remains one of the liveliest fields in historical studies during the early modern period; this article should be read alongside that related to the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, where works relating more specifically to Atlantic slavery are considered.

General Overviews

There is a huge range of possible ways into the experience of Africans in the Atlantic, and most begin from the starting point of recognizing the complex dynamic of agency as opposed to the violence and coercion of enslavement. Thornton 1998 was one of the most significant works in shaping the engagement with this dynamic, since taken into other languages through the work of Caldeira 2013 and Coquéry-Vidrovitch and Mesnard 2013. The unique and different dynamics of Brazil were first properly delineated by Russell-Wood 1982, while Lovejoy 2009 and Lovejoy and Trotman 2004 both look at vital aspects of identity and continuity of experience between Africa and the New World, and emphasize this complex balance of enslavement and agency in the experience of Africans in the Atlantic world. Thornton 2012 then produces an excellent synthesis of the activity and engagement of Africans in shaping cultural forms and productions of the Atlantic, including food, language, and religious practice.

  • Caldeira, Arlindo. Escravos e Traficantes no Império Português: O Comércio Negreiro Português no Atlântico durante os Séculos XV a XIX. Lisbon: Esfera dos Livros, 2013.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »

    Important book by one of the leading historians of the Atlantic world in the Lusophone world, this saw the first sustained engagement of Portuguese historiography in a systematic way with the developments in the field in Anglophone studies. A detailed and accurate synthesis of the study of Africans and slavery in the Portuguese Atlantic context.

    Find this resource:

    • Coquéry-Vidrovitch, Catherine, and Éric Mesnard. Être Esclave: Afrique-Amériques, XVe-XIXe Siècle. Paris: La Découverte, 2013.

      Save Citation »Export Citation »

      This book co-authored by one of France’s leading historians of Africa looks at the active role of enslaved Africans in shaping societies in both the Americas and Africa even through the experience of enslavement.

      Find this resource:

      • Lovejoy, Paul E., ed. Identity in the Shadow of Slavery. 2d ed. London: Continuum, 2009.

        Save Citation »Export Citation »

        An outstanding collection of essays from leading authorities in the field that look at the complexity of the African experience in the Atlantic in terms of language, identity, religious practice, and belief—and ranging from North and South America to the Caribbean.

        Find this resource:

        • Lovejoy, Paul E., and David V. Trotman, eds. Trans-Atlantic Dimensions of Ethnicity in the African Diaspora. 2d ed. London: Continuum, 2004.

          Save Citation »Export Citation »

          An excellent collection of essays looking at the question of ethnic identities in the diaspora and the effect this had on African identities in the Atlantic world, both in the New World and among those Africans who at times “returned” from the Americas to Africa.

          Find this resource:

          • Russell-Wood, A. J. R. The Black Man in Slavery and Freedom in Colonial Brazil. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave, 1982.

            DOI: 10.1007/978-1-349-16866-8Save Citation »Export Citation »

            A pathfinding work in the study of the complexity of the African experience in Brazil, which was itself the destination of the largest African population in the Atlantic world. Based on huge archival research and deep knowledge of colonial Brazil, it conveys well the complexity of the subject.

            Find this resource:

            • Thornton, John K. Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400–1800. 2d ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

              DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511800276Save Citation »Export Citation »

              One of the earliest general works to focus on the agency of Africans in shaping Atlantic societies, written by a leading authority in the field. The work came specifically in response to the paradigm of dependency theory, which, the author contended, had occluded the active place of Africans in shaping Atlantic society.

              Find this resource:

              • Thornton, John K. A Cultural History of the Atlantic World, 1250–1820. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

                Save Citation »Export Citation »

                An overview that provides an extraordinary synthesis of almost 600 years of history, showing the relative importance of African contributions alongside those of other peoples in the shaping of Atlantic cultures. Shows well the plural nature of the cultures that emerged and the place of African social formations [use of structures unclear] and peoples in shaping them.

                Find this resource:

                Reference Works

                There are several large-scale reference works on the Atlantic, but few that focus specifically on the place of Africans in Atlantic societies. Of the general overviews, Benjamin 2009 and Miller 2015 both give a balanced overview that recognizes and celebrates the place of Africans in the shaping of Atlantic societies, while also recognizing the place of factors of imperial control in the emergence of this world.

                • Benjamin, Thomas. The Atlantic World: Europeans, Africans, Indians, and their Shared History, 1400–1900. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

                  Save Citation »Export Citation »

                  One of the best general single-author surveys of Atlantic history, which achieves a fine balance of European expansion and African involvement and interaction. The place of Africans as actors, participants, and also enslaved persons in this world is well delineated. A good starting point.

                  Find this resource:

                  • Miller, Joseph C., ed. The Princeton Companion to Atlantic History. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015.

                    Save Citation »Export Citation »

                    A major reference work to Atlantic history, whose principal editor is one of the leading authorities on precolonial Africa and the slave trade. Arranged thematically and written by leading authorities, offers an important thematic entry point to Atlantic history and the place of Africans within this history more generally.

                    Find this resource:

                    Journals

                    There is a large range of journals that publish work generally related to this field and increasingly offer coverage of the place of Africans in the emergence of Atlantic societies. Though many cover fields that will not specifically relate to this topic, they are important to consult, as many times they will contain relevant and important material and arguments. Slavery and Abolition offers many very important articles looking at the African experience through the lens of slavery. For an African-centered approach to history and some reference to the diaspora, the Journal of African History is the standard port of call. For more thoroughgoing Atlantic dimensions, both the Luso-Brazilian Review and the Journal of Atlantic Studies offer important articles.

                    Primary Sources and Bibliographical Tools

                    There is a good mix of published sources and online databases as a starting point for study. The collections Schwartz 2010 and Splendiani 1997 offer good examples of cases relating to the experience of enslavement in the Nuevo Reino de Granada (Colombia) and Brazil, while Burnard 2010 does the same for Guyana. Curtin 1967 was the first publication of some important cases linked to experiences in the diaspora, and it remains a decent starting point. Dubois and Garrigus 2006 offers some good documents relating to the actions of Africans in the Haitian Revolution. Two fine new databases run from Vanderbilt University and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs offer excellent new archival sources on the African experience from the 16th to the 19th centuries.

                    • Burnard, Trevor. Hearing Slaves Speak. Georgetown, Guyana: Caribbean Press, 2010.

                      Save Citation »Export Citation »

                      Important collection of documents from the early-19th-century prosecutor’s office from Berbice, in Guyana, which opens a window onto the lives, hopes, and possibilities of the enslaved at that time.

                      Find this resource:

                      • Curtin, Philip D., ed. Africa Remembered: Narratives by West Africans from the Era of the Slave Trade. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1967.

                        Save Citation »Export Citation »

                        One of the earliest collections of primary documents to offer narratives and experiences from the perspectives of enslaved Africans themselves, including often when they had found freedom. Has an early discussion of the place of Ayuba Suleiman Diallo in the 1720s, and other useful and important experiences from the late 18th and 19th centuries from Segu and Sokoto.

                        Find this resource:

                        • Dubois, Laurent, with John Garrigus. Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789–1804: A Brief History with Documents. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2006.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »

                          Very useful collection of documents relating to the Haitian revolution, including key declarations of the revolutionaries. The best collection of documents related to this cornerstone of African resistance in the Americas.

                          Find this resource:

                          • Ecclesiastical and Secular Sources for Slave Societies.

                            Save Citation »Export Citation »

                            Remarkable database of original documents related to the experience of African slaves in the Americas, coordinated by Professor Jane Landers of Vanderbilt University.

                            Find this resource:

                            • Liberated Africans Project.

                              Save Citation »Export Citation »

                              Remarkable database of original documents often from the Americas, related to the experiences of Africans who won freedom from slavery or were liberated by Mixed Commission courts in the 19th century. Very strong on Brazil and Cuba; coordinated by Henry Lovejoy of the University of Colorado—Colorado Springs.

                              Find this resource:

                              • Schwartz, Stuart B., ed. Early Brazil: A Documentary Collection to 1700. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

                                Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                A useful collection of early documents edited by one of the leading authorities on colonial Brazil, many of which deal in one way or another with the institution of slavery in early Brazil.

                                Find this resource:

                                • Splendiani, Anna-Maria. Cincuenta Años de Inquisición en el Tribunal de Cartagena de las Indias, 1610–60. 4 vols. Santafé de Bogotá: Centro Editorial Javeriano CEJA, 1997.

                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                  Far and away the best documentary collection for the study of the Inquisition in the Americas, which has some interesting cases relating to Africans imprisoned by the Tribunal of the Inquisition in Cartagena in the first half of the 17th century—offering a useful window onto social history.

                                  Find this resource:

                                  Theoretical Paradigms on Africans and the Formation of Atlantic Societies

                                  The place of Africans in the formation of Atlantic studies has important theoretical implications. Since the mid-20th century the meanings of key terms and concepts have changed along with the intellectual weather. Patterson 1982 viewed enslavement as a form of social death, and made many important theoretical connections between slavery, honor, and freedom. An increasing interest and emphasis on agency saw a changing pattern of research. As Holm 1988 discusses, “Creole” languages were once seen as degenerated versions of a pure original (European) language, yet are now seen as representative of cultural flexibility and pluralism, as the essays in Cohen and Toninato 2010 show. The question of agency, which as noted has been an important element of the new work considering the place of Africans in the Atlantic, has been critiqued as derivative of prejudiced enlightenment thinking by Johnson 2003. The balance between historical oppression and pushback is a strong theoretical driver, settling in different conclusions in the work of Gilroy 1993 and Mintz and Price 1992.

                                  • Cohen, Robin, and Paola Toninato. The Creolization Reader: Studies in Mixed Identities and Cultures. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2010.

                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                    Important collection of essays that moves the debate on from Creole languages to the role of creolization as a “master metaphor” for cultural mixing in the Atlantic world. Here the place of Africa and Africans is foregrounded.

                                    Find this resource:

                                    • Gilroy, Paul. The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness. London: Verso, 1993.

                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                      Highly influential work looking at the emergence of modernity and black identities through the prism both of enslavement, cultural resistance, and dynamic action in the early modern period.

                                      Find this resource:

                                      • Holm, John. Pidgins and Creoles. 2 vols. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                        Landmark study and compendium of Creole languages, with a focus on the Atlantic, and important historical considerations on the evolution of the idea of the Creole from “bastard” offshoot of European languages to vernacular languages in their own right.

                                        Find this resource:

                                        • Johnson, Walter. “On Agency.” Journal of Social History 37.1 (2003): 113–124.

                                          DOI: 10.1353/jsh.2003.0143Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                          Landmark essay critiquing the agency paradigm, and revealing its dependence on earlier histories of inequality and an enlightenment worldview derived from racial and social inequality.

                                          Find this resource:

                                          • Mintz, Sidney W., and Richard Price. The Birth of African-American Culture: An Anthropological Perspective. 2d ed. Boston: Beacon, 1992.

                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                            Important work originally published in 1972 that argued that cultural retentions and survivals from Africa to the Americas were the exception not the rule. Largely superseded by newer scholarship, yet remaining an important work to understand the sociological transformations in the study of the field.

                                            Find this resource:

                                            • Patterson, Orlando. Slavery and Social Death: A Comparative Study. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982.

                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                              Landmark sociological study of enslavement, emphasizing physical and natal alienation, control by slave owners, and social isolation and exclusion.

                                              Find this resource:

                                              Chronological Settings

                                              Grasping the parameters of African interactions and exchanges within the Atlantic requires a good sense of overall parameters of cultural interactions. These can be divided into those in the earlier period, where the trade in enslaved persons coincided with diplomatic missions of African governments (such as Kongo and Benin), and those in the later period where the trade in enslaved persons predominated, but where, nevertheless, African agency, autonomy, and influence on Atlantic structures persisted.

                                              The Early Period (c. 1400–1660)

                                              The foundational period of African mobilities in the Atlantic world, c. 1400–1660, has recently seen a wealth of interesting and important studies, building on earlier work by scholars, such as the study of 15th and 16th century Portugal in Saunders 1982, and Bowser 1974’s outstanding study of early colonial Peru. Bennett 2003 and Bennett 2009 show how there was an emergence of a complex “Afro-Creole” identity in early colonial Mexico that depended on legal frameworks and cultural frameworks from home cultures in Africa. De la Fuente 2008’s study of 16th-century Havana is exceptionally documented, and has a wealth of material on early African communities there. Wheat 2016 shows well how cultural frameworks from West Africa were influential in early colonial societies, while Jacobs 2012 reveals this analysis as applicable to linguistic transformations in the Creole language of Curação. The role of autonomous African individuals in shaping early Atlantic space is studied carefully in Green 2016.

                                              • Bennett, Herman L. Africans in Colonial Mexico: Absolutism, Christianity and Afro-Creole Consciousness, 1570–1640. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003.

                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                An excellent study of African lives in early colonial Mexico, showing the ways in which a Creole identity emerged through developing legal claims according to colonial law, and what this meant for individuals born in Africa or of African descent.

                                                Find this resource:

                                                • Bennett, Herman L. Colonial Blackness: A History of Afro-Mexico. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009.

                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                  An exceptionally rich and detailed study of African identities in colonial Mexico, revealing private lives, freedoms, and identities that emerged there. Bennett argues that marriage via the Catholic rite conferred certain rites, and explores church records as to what these consisted of.

                                                  Find this resource:

                                                  • Bowser, Frederick. The African Slave in Colonial Peru, 1524–1650. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1974.

                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                    The first and still perhaps most detailed study of the lives and roles of enslaved Africans in colonial Peru, with a wealth of original material and important perspectives on the diversity of occupations prior to the rise of the plantation complex.

                                                    Find this resource:

                                                    • De la Fuente, Alejandro, with the collaboration of César García del Pino and Bernardo Iglesias Delgado. Havana and the Atlantic in the Sixteenth Century. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008.

                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                      Important study of early colonial Havana using a striking wealth of records to show the interplay of colonial authorities and especially African peoples in the early colonial space. Useful study of continuities of ethnic identities and cultural patterns.

                                                      Find this resource:

                                                      • Green, Toby. “Beyond an Imperial Atlantic: Trajectories of Africans from Upper Guinea and West-Central Africa in the Early Atlantic World.” Past and Present 230.1 (2016): 91–122.

                                                        DOI: 10.1093/pastj/gtv040Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                        Comparative study of African trajectories from West and West-Central Africa, showing the importance of autonomy and migration and mobility of many persons from Africa in the origins of the early Atlantic space.

                                                        Find this resource:

                                                        • Jacobs, Bart. The History of a Creole: Papiamentu and Its African Ties. New York: Morton De Gruyter, 2012.

                                                          DOI: 10.1515/9781614511076Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                          Important lexical analysis of the Papiamentu Creole spoken on the island of Curação, and the place that African linguistic forms and migration to and from the Cape Verde islands had in the shaping of this language in the early Atlantic space.

                                                          Find this resource:

                                                          • Saunders, A. C. de C. M. A Social History of Black Slaves and Freedmen in Portugal, 1441–1555. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1982.

                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                            Early and original study of the place of Africans in Golden Age Portugal, showing the significance of their population and the variety of the roles they adopted in a Portuguese society still recovering from the demographic impacts of the Black Death.

                                                            Find this resource:

                                                            • Wheat, David. Atlantic Africa and the Spanish Caribbean, 1570–1640. Chapel Hill, NC: Omohundro Institute of Early American Culture, 2016.

                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                              Useful analysis of early African identities and cultures in the early Spanish Caribbean. Wheat argues that the demographic majority of the African population enabled them to act more as colonists than enslaved persons. The cultural pluralism of these communities engaged and created the space for new societies to emerge.

                                                              Find this resource:

                                                              The Atlantic Peak (c. 1660–1820)

                                                              The period with the largest volume of migrations of Africans in the Atlantic world coincided with the peak of the trade in enslaved persons. Nevertheless, this period did not see only coerced migration, and the role of Africans as actors in the Atlantic dynamic needs to be considered through the lens of both free and coerced mobilities. Thornton 2014 discusses this especially with relation to Dahomey and its Atlantic engagements. The complex nature of the relationships of Africans in this dynamic are best analyzed in the Brazilian context. They were first properly analyzed by Verger 1968. Sweet 2003 considered how Africans sought to recreate their communities in Brazil, followed by Kananoja 2012. More recently, Ferreira 2012 has pioneered a study that sees a continuity and connection in communities of the South Atlantic, linking Angola and Brazil, while the embassies of the kingdom of Dahomey to Brazil are analyzed by Araujo 2012 and Parés 2013. Further north, Landers 1999 has an important study of the complexities of black societies in colonial Florida, while Rupert 2012 looks at the role of free blacks in shaping the society of Curação. The importance of African cultural frameworks in the emergence of the charter generations of Africans in what became the United States is well shown by Heywood and Thornton 2007.

                                                              • Araujo, Ana Lucia. “Dahomey, Portugal, and Bahia: King Adandozan and the Atlantic Slave Trade.” Slavery and Abolition 33.1 (2012): 1–19.

                                                                DOI: 10.1080/0144039X.2011.604562Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                Useful study of the embassies from Dahomey to Bahia and Portugal in the late 18th and early 19th century, which reveals a different side to Atlantic exchanges in the Age of Revolutions.

                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                • Ferreira, Roquinaldo. Cross-Cultural Trade in the Atlantic World: Angola and Brazil in the Era of the Slave Trade. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

                                                                  DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139025096Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                  Pathfinding work linking the cultural frameworks of Angola and Brazil as a “unitary South Atlantic world” and showing detailed commercial, political, and cultural links between Africans, free and enslaved, on both sides of the Atlantic.

                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                  • Heywood, Linda M., and John K. Thornton. Central Africans, Atlantic Creoles and the Foundation of the Americas, 1585–1660. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                    Study of the formation of Creole cultures in West-Central Africa (Angola), then transplanted to the Americas and becoming, the authors argue, the foundational cultures of the charter generation of enslaved Africans in what became the United States.

                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                    • Kananoja, Kalle. Central African Identities and Religiosity in Colonial Minas Gerais. Abo, Finland: Abo Akademi University, 2012.

                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                      Detailed cultural history linking patterns of religious belief and cultural change in West-Central Africa with religious culture in Minas Gerais after the opening up of the seams of gold there and the mass forced migration of Africans there in the first half of the 18th century.

                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                      • Landers, Jane G. Black Society in Spanish Florida. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999.

                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                        Important study of the complexities of black societies in colonial Florida, when it was under Spanish rule. Runaway slaves from Anglo-American plantations were offered sanctuary, and mixed marriages were welcomed. The interaction of free and enslaved persons is especially important.

                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                        • Parés, Luis Nicolau. “Cartas do Daomé: Uma Introdução.” Afro-Ásia 47 (2013): 295–395.

                                                                          DOI: 10.1590/S0002-05912013000100009Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                          Possibly the most detailed analysis yet made of the letters of the kings of Dahomey to the Brazilian officials in Bahia, and the context of the embassies of the late 18th and early 19th century, written by the foremost expert in the field based in Brazil.

                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                          • Rupert, Linda. Creolization and Contraband: Curação in the Early Modern Atlantic World. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2012.

                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                            Important study of the role of “illegal” trade in forming an early modern Caribbean society. Here the role of free Africans in Curação is shown to be a vital part of the structure of this urban, trading island of the Dutch Atlantic.

                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                            • Sweet, James H. Recreating Africa: Culture, Kinship, and Religion in the African-Portuguese World, 1441–1770. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003.

                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                              Interesting study of the transformation and recreation of West and West-Central African cultural worlds in Brazil, largely in the later 17th century and first half of the 18th century.

                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                              • Thornton, John K. “Dahomey in the World: Dahomean Rulers and European Demands, 1726–1894.” In Africa’s Development in Historical Perspective. Edited by Emmanuel Akyeampong, et al., 447–459. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                Important article that emphasizes the long range of Dahomey’s diplomatic and commercial interactions with European traders and emissaries in the 18th and 19th centuries.

                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                • Verger, Pierre Fatumbi. Flux et reflux de la traite des nègres entre le Golfe de Benin et Bahia de Todos os Santos du XVIIe au XIXe siecle. Paris: La Haye, 1968.

                                                                                  DOI: 10.1515/9783111728476Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                  Foundational work in Atlantic history as it is currently practiced, which Verger really invented here without being aware of it. Pathfinding analysis of the cross-cultural links between Yoruba and Afro-Brazilian cultures in and outside of slavery.

                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                  African Contributions to New World Ideas

                                                                                  To gain a proper understanding of the African contribution to the Atlantic world, it is important to understand the intellectual frameworks that emerged from many parts of Africa, and that subsequently had a decisive role in shaping Atlantic frameworks. These can be analyzed in many fields, from healing and health through religion, to agricultural knowledge and the institutions that facilitated the emergence of plural societies.

                                                                                  Healing

                                                                                  The past few years have seen an interesting range of works showing how African healing practices were very important to the functioning of early Atlantic societies, in which in many cases Africans were in the majority. Gómez 2013 and Gómez 2017 examine the place of Africans in the dynamic of knowledge-creation and healing practices in the early Caribbean worlds. This follows Sweet 2011’s pathfinding biography of Domingos Álvares, a Mahi healer in colonial Brazil. Kananoja 2015 and Havik 2016 have meanwhile transplanted the debate to Africa, showing the Portuguese adoption of African healing practices in early modern Angola and Gunea-Bissau.

                                                                                  • Gómez, Pablo F. “The Circulation of Bodily Knowledge in the Seventeenth-Century Black Spanish Caribbean.” Social History of Medicine 26.3 (2013): 383–402.

                                                                                    DOI: 10.1093/shm/hkt014Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                    Useful article exploring the role of African itinerant healers and the knowledge placed in them among many communities of the Spanish Caribbean world in the 17th century. Shows the importance of African healing practices in creating popular frameworks.

                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                    • Gómez, Pablo F. The Experiential Caribbean: Creating Knowledge and Healing in the Early Modern Atlantic. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017.

                                                                                      DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469630878.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                      More detailed than Gómez 2013, pathfinding analysis of the framework of African knowledge in shaping the early Caribbean worlds of health and curing.

                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                      • Havik, Philip J. “Hybridising Medicine: Illness, Healing and the Dynamics of Reciprocal Exchange on the Upper Guinea Coast (West Africa).” Medical History 60.2 (2016): 181–205.

                                                                                        DOI: 10.1017/mdh.2016.3Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                        Important study offering a comparable analysis to Kananoja 2015, this time focused on Upper Guinea, and revealing also the formation of cross-cultural approaches to healing and illness grounded in the exchange of African and European ideas of the body and health.

                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                        • Kananoja, Kalle. “Bioprospecting and European Uses of African Natural Medicine in Early Modern Angola.” Portuguese Studies Review 23.2 (2015): 45–70.

                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                          Innovative study of the Portuguese use of medicinal practices from Angola, drawing on archival and printed textbooks, and revealing that these ideas were even circulating actively in 18th-century Portugal.

                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                          • Sweet, James H. Domingos Alvares, African Healing and the Intellectual History of the Atlantic World. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011.

                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                            Micro-historical study of the life and times of a healer from Dahomey, Domingos Álvares, whose inquisition trial shows that both white and African Brazilians came to him for healing, and that once in Portugal, too, he operated as a healer.

                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                            Agriculture

                                                                                            The stereotype of Africans providing labor alone in Atlantic transformations has now been comprehensively debunked. Building on the earlier work Wood 1974, Carney 2001 developed the “Black Rice” thesis, arguing for the place of Africans in developing rice-growing cultures of South Carolina. Subsequently, Carney and Rosomoff 2009 and Voeks and Rashford 2013 have shown the range of botanical and agricultural frameworks through which Africans decisively affected New World food cultures. Hawthorne 2010 and Carney 2004 have looked at this in more detail for Brazil. Knight 2010 examines the case for the Anglosphere. To this can be added work looking at practices of live fencing and cattle ranching, examined by Duvall 2009 and Sluyter 2012, that shows the extent of the influence of African techniques in developing New World agriculture and societies.

                                                                                            • Carney, Judith A. Black Rice: The African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001.

                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                              More West African-centered analysis of the rice-growing techniques from West Africa, and the subsequent influences in the Americas. Produced from the perspective of a historical geographer, exemplifying the interdisciplinarity of this field in Atlantic history.

                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                              • Carney, Judith A. “With Grains in Her Hair: Rice History and Memory in Colonial Brazil.” Slavery and Abolition 25.1 (2004): 1–27.

                                                                                                DOI: 10.1080/0144039042000220900Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                Continuity of the author’s work on the Carolinas, derived from oral interviews and the memory of West African rice forms and plants in Maranhão.

                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                • Carney, Judith A., and Richard Rosomoff. In the Shadow of Slavery: Africa’s Botanical Legacy in the Atlantic World. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009.

                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                  Exceptionally detailed analysis, continuing the overarching thesis of Carney 2001 into an analysis of many fields of West African agricultural influences, with important studies of Maroon communities and their botanical legacies, and the role of the slave trade itself in transporting agricultural ideas and produce.

                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                  • Duvall, Chris. “A Maroon Legacy? Sketching African Contributions to Live Fencing Practices in Early Spanish America.” Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 30.2 (2009): 232–247.

                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9493.2009.00366.xSave Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                    Useful study of the import of practices of constructing live fences as boundaries used in early Maroon communities in the Americas. These were practices that then became used for other agricultural purposes, especially in ranching.

                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                    • Hawthorne, Walter. From Africa to Brazil: Culture, Identity and an Atlantic Slave Trade, 1600–1830. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511779176Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                      Work continuing earlier research on rice production in the Guinea-Bissau region, including useful analysis of the potential for recreation of such techniques in the context of northern Brazil (Maranhão).

                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                      • Knight, Frederick C. Working the Diaspora: The Impact of African Labor on the Anglo-American World, 1650–1850. New York: New York University Press, 2010.

                                                                                                        DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814748183.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                        Important study revealing the skills and significance of African agricultural labor and techniques in the British colonial and early American independence worlds.

                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                        • Sluyter, Andrew. Black Ranching Frontiers: African Cattle Herders of the Atlantic World, 1500–1900. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012.

                                                                                                          DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300179927.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                          A book that demonstrates the influence of African cattle herders in developing cattle husbandry techniques in the New World. Methodologically innovative and containing a significant amount of new material showing the Atlantic connections between West African and American techniques.

                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                          • Voeks, Robert, and John Rashford, eds. African Ethnobotany in the Americas. New York: Springer, 2013.

                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                            Without doubt the most important collection of essays in this field, touching on an important array of topics, including rice and sesame, and also importantly the use of herbs in healing practices (cf. Carney and Rosomoff 2009).

                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                            • Wood, Peter H. Black Majority: Negroes in South Carolina from South Carolina through the Stono Rebellion. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1974.

                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                              The “Black Rice” thesis in many ways begins with this landmark book, which shows the importance of West African rice-planting technology to the choices of planters and the emergence of the rice paddies of South Carolina.

                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                              Plural Societies

                                                                                                              One of the most important contributions from Africans to the emergence of New World ideas and social forms was in the shaping of mixed communities. In the Greater Senegambia region, the role of the diaspora and the landlord/stranger model in early New World societies are shown by Green 2012 and Wheat 2010. The crucial role of the Angolan institution of the quilombo, a lineageless structure allowing incorporation of outsiders that was ideally suited to the New World context, is shown for colonial Brazil in the important works Anderson 1996 and Schwartz 1992, following the pioneering work Kent 1965. The potential of flexible cultural associative incorporations deriving from the Angola region is shown in the case of Capoeira by Assunção 2002; while in the case of Yoruba migrants to Brazil, Voeks 1997 shows the flexibility and adaptiveness of herbal healers to the new contexts of the New World.

                                                                                                              • Anderson, Robert. “The Quilombo of Palmares: A New Overview of a Maroon Settlement in 17th-Century Brazil.” Journal of Latin American Studies 28.3 (1996): 545–566.

                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1017/S0022216X00023889Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                One of the more detailed studies of Palmares, challenging certain elements of Kent 1965 but showing the importance of the community and its broader context within colonial Brazil.

                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                • Assunção, Matthias Rohrig. Capoeira: The History of an Afro-Brazilian Martial Art. London: Routledge, 2002.

                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                  Perhaps the best book-length study of Capoeira. The author takes the theoretical prism of creolization to understand the transformation of Capoeira from several different martial traditions, and the role of cultural frameworks from West-Central Africa in facilitating this.

                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                  • Green, Toby. The Rise of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in Western Africa, 1300–1589. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                    Detailed study of the early cultural transformations that accompanied the first Atlantic trade. The place of West African social structures and diasporic communities in constructing early Atlantic diasporic identities is a useful contribution.

                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                    • Kent, R. K. “Palmares: An African State in Brazil.” Journal of African History 6.2 (1965): 161–175.

                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1017/S0021853700005582Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                      Pioneering study that first made the link between Palmares and African state formations in Angola. Although quite general and at points superseded, still a pioneering and hugely important work.

                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                      • Schwartz, Stuart B. “Rethinking Palmares: Slave Resistance in Colonial Brazil.” In Slaves, Peasants, and Rebels: Reconsidering Brazilian Slavery. 103–136. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992.

                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                        Perhaps the most important study of Palmares, Schwartz shows in several crucial areas how far the quilombo derived from the structure and communities known to Maroons from their former lives in Angola.

                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                        • Voeks, Peter. Sacred Leaves of Candomblé: African Magic, Medicine and Religion in Brazil. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1997.

                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                          Probably the best study of the botanical frameworks of the Candomble faith, but worth reading in this context instead for the important dimension of cultural and intellectual adaptability, which Voeks shows decisively as practiced and enacted by healers from Yoruba societies when they reached the New World.

                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                          • Wheat, David. “Nharas and Morenas Horras: A Luso-African Model for the Social History of the Spanish Caribbean, c. 1570–1640.” Journal of Early Modern History 14.1–2 (2010): 119–150.

                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1163/138537810X12632734397061Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                            Important micro-analysis of the place of the landlord and stranger model for the emergence of Caribbean social models in the early colonial world. Has useful material on free black women and their social role in early urban sites, and how this shaped new plural societies.

                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                            Religious Practice

                                                                                                                            One of the best known and longest lasting aspects of African influence in the formation of the Atlantic comes in the sphere of religious practice. The best-known examples come in the form of the Candomblé practiced in north-eastern Brazil and the Santeria practiced in Cuba. The study of Candomblé and the pan-Atlantic Yoruba influence was studied in detail by Matory 2005. Parés 2013 looks in more detail at the transatlantic influences and reciprocal effects in West Africa, and there is an important discussion between these authors in Matory and Parés 2015. Johnson 2002 provides a very detailed and powerful analysis of the incorporation of Candomblé into public life in Brazil, which Reis 2008 offers a detailed microhistory of through one priest, Domingos Sodré; this microhistory is complemented by that of Marcellina da Silva, a Candomblé priestess examined by Castillo and Parés 2010. In the Cuban case, the earlier study Brandon 1997 provides excellent historical background. Brown 2003 looks at the religious synthesis in great detail and the impact on practice in the United States. Ayorinde 2004 shows the pan-Atlantic dimension and connection to Yoruba societies well. The role of religion in the formation of colonial North American societies is well studied by Young 2007 and Brown 2012.

                                                                                                                            • Ayorinde, Christine. Afro-Cuban Religiosity, Revolution, and National Identity. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2004.

                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                              Detailed and ethnographically rich study of the practice of Santeria and the connection between practitioners and the state in revolutionary Cuba. Ayorinde shows well the importance of Afro-Cuban religion as a prism for understanding the evolution both of the revolution and of practice in Cuba.

                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                              • Brandon, George. Santería from Africa to the New World: The Dead Sell Memories. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997.

                                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                One of the best historically documented accounts of the rise of Santeria through the prism of lay Catholic brotherhoods in urban Havana in the second half of the 19th century. Dispels many myths and shows in detail the Yoruba connections.

                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                • Brown, David. Santería Enthroned. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.

                                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                  Excellent study of Santeria from the perspective of the religious practice and the transnational diasporic links embodying the practice of Santeria between the United States and Cuba.

                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                  • Brown, Ras Michael. African-Atlantic Cultures and the South Carolina Lowcountry. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139162241Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                    Important analysis of the relationship between African and African-Atlantic cultures and the emergence of the cultural and material worlds of the Carolina Lowcountry.

                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                    • Castillo, Lisa Earl, and Luis Nicolau Parés. “Marcelina da Silva: A Nineteenth Century Candomblé Priestess in Bahía.” Slavery and Abolition 31.1 (2010): 1–27.

                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1080/01440390903481639Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                      Important study of the founder of a classic terreiro in Salvador and of the oral histories around her through new archival documents, revealing long-suspected direct connections with West Africa and commerce of this religious leader.

                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                      • Johnson, Paul. Secrets, Gossip and Gods: The Transformation of Brazilian Camdomblé. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1093/0195150589.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                        Detailed analysis of Candomblé as an indigenous Brazilian religion, and its incorporation into public life in Brazil through the agency of its practitioners.

                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                        • Matory, J. Lorand. Black Atlantic Religion: Tradition, Transnationalism and Matriarchy in the Afro-Brazilian Candomblé. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005.

                                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                          Influential book showing how the urban and prosperous free Africans in the New World developed and promoted the religion of Candomblé, and the influence this had far beyond Brazil in the Americas and in Africa.

                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                          • Matory, J. Lorand, and Luis Nicolau Parés. “Scholarly Exchange.” Americas (2015): 607–642.

                                                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                            Important exchange between two of the leading scholars of Candomblé and the Yoruba diaspora in the Atlantic world, developing further their research and ideas.

                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                            • Parés, Luis Nicolau. The Formation of Candomblé: Vodun History and Ritual in Brazil. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2013.

                                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                              Fullest recent book-length study, discussing the role not only of Yoruba orixas but also of Fon vodun shrines in the formation of Brazilian Candomblé. Also focuses on influences in West Africa.

                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                              • Reis, João José. Domingos Sodré: Un Sacerdote Africano: Escravidão, Liberdade e Candomblé na Bahia do Século XIX. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2008.

                                                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                Pathfinding micro-historical account of one Candomblé priest, Domingos de Sodré, in Bahia in the 19th century, drawing on new documents to show the varied aspects of this priest, leader of free blacks, and also slave-owner.

                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                • Young, Jason R. Rituals of Resistance: African Atlantic Religion in Kongo and the Lowcountry South in the Era of Slavery. Baton Rouge: University of Louisiana Press, 2007.

                                                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                  Excellent study of continuity in religious practice from Kongo to the Lowcountry South in the 17th and 18th centuries, and the recreation of religious practice as a form of cultural identity and resistance.

                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                  Maroons and Alternative Forms of the Resistance to Power

                                                                                                                                                  One of the most significant contributions of African culture to the Atlantic space was in the forceful cultural framework that resisted the cruelty of imperial power in the Atlantic. Many of the issues already discussed provided vital frameworks for resistance, through religious practice, intellectual and social structures, and language. Resistance dated from the very earliest times of the colonization of the Americas. Heuman 1986 offers what remains an important collection, dealing with a variety of slave societies in the New World, while Thompson 2006 also offers a comparative pan-American perspective. Yingling 2015 offers the best recent analysis of the phenomenon in the important setting of Santo Domingo. Tardieu 2009 shows the importance of resistance to identity from the beginning, focusing on Panama in the late 16th century, while Brereton 2009 and Dator 2011 look at the long history of marronage as a form of resistance in various parts of the Caribbean. Paton 2015 shows how religion also acted as resistance, and reveals the way in which Obeah was always defined and defined itself as opposition in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.

                                                                                                                                                  • Brereton, Bridget. “Resistance to Enslavement an Oppression in Trinidad, 1802–1849.” Journal of Caribbean History 43.2 (2009): 157–177.

                                                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    Detailed and well-conceived study of the active resistance and violence toward enslavement in Trinidad during and after the Age of Revolutions, showing how marronage persisted throughout this period and challenged colonial power.

                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                    • Dator, James F. “Search for a New Land: Imperial Power and Afro-Creole Resistance in the British Leeward Islands 1624–1745.” PhD diss., Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 2011.

                                                                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                      One of the best recent studies of Caribbean societies in the era of slavery, which looks at the active agencies of Africans in shaping ideas and fomenting revolts in the period of 1725–1745, known as the “black awakening.”

                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                      • Heuman, Gad, ed. Out of the House of Bondage: Runaways, Resistance and Marronage in Africa and the New World. London: Routledge, 1986.

                                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                        Important collection of essays in which some of the major figures in the field discuss the role of marronage in different colonial societies of the New World, and how they shaped and challenged colonial power.

                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                        • Paton, Diana. The Cultural Politics of Obeah: Religion, Colonialism and Modernity in the Caribbean World. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139198417Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                          The best recent full study of Obeah, the African religious practice of Jamaica and the wider British Caribbean world, as a form of resistance and also a form of definition of resistance in colonial and postcolonial discourse. The political correlations are importantly addressed.

                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                          • Tardieu, Jean-Pierre. Cimarrones de Panamá: La Forja de una Identidad Afroamericana en el Siglo XVI. Vervuert: Iberoamericana, 2009.

                                                                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                            One of the best studies of the emergence of an African American identity very early in the colonial period, through the study of the Maroon communities of Panama in the late 16th century, an important element in the formation of colonial societies.

                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                            • Thompson, Alvin O. Flights to Freedom: African Runways and Maroons in the Caribbean. Kingston, Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press, 2006.

                                                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                              Excellent attempt to offer a pan-American scope to the phenomenon of the Maroon communities, and their significance in the formation of new political systems independent of European authority in the Americas.

                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                              • Yingling, Charlton W. “The Maroons of Santo Domingo in the Age of Revolutions: Adaptation and Evasion, 1783–1800.” History Workshop Journal 79.1 (2015): 25–51.

                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1093/hwj/dbv010Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                Useful discussion of the vital arena of Santo Domingo, and of the role that Maroons played in the increasingly fraught and contested atmosphere surrounding the Age of Revolution.

                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                Africans in the Age of Revolution

                                                                                                                                                                Historians have recently recast the so-called Age of Revolution to give it a much more African perspective than was hitherto the case. Recent work has emphasized the African framework of the Haitian revolution, the role of West African revolutions in the revolutions that followed in the Americas, and the significance of return movements of free Africans to the continent in the 19th century. Such work shows that Africa and Africans were integral actors in this key period in world history.

                                                                                                                                                                Haitian Revolution and Its Successors

                                                                                                                                                                The most successful example of African revolutionary movements in the New World is the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804), for which there is a vast and growing literature. The significance of the Haitian Revolution was first fully outlined in James 1989. Dubois 2005 offers one of the most authoritative recent works, while Smartt Bell 2007 provides a gripping biography of the revolutionary leader Toussaint Louverture. The essays in Geggus 2002 offer an important discussion of the legacy of the revolution, while Childs 2009 and Barcia 2012 provide an important discussion of successor revolts in Cuba in 1812 and 1825. Trouillot 1995 offers a gripping analysis of Western historiography’s (mis)treatment of the revolution.

                                                                                                                                                                • Barcia, Manuel. The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825: Cuba and the Fight for Freedom in Matanzas. Baton Rouge: University of Louisiana Press, 2012.

                                                                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                  Important analysis of the “African revolt of Matanzas,” which continued the experience of Aponte and the generalized rebellion of enslaved Africans in the Atlantic world following Haiti. Very detailed archival research makes for a compelling argument.

                                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                  • Childs, Matt D. The Aponte Rebellion in Cuba and the Struggle against Atlantic Slavery. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009.

                                                                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                    An important and detailed study of the multiple contexts of the Aponte Rebellion: local, imperial, and as part of the African diaspora. Situates strongly the persistence of diasporic frameworks as part of the experience of the Age of Revolution.

                                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                    • Dubois, Laurent. Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005.

                                                                                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                      Updated and important study of the Haitian revolution, drawing on a wealth of new research and importantly bringing also the role and relevance of African experiences, such as warfare in Kongo. One of the best analyses available.

                                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                      • Geggus, David, ed. The Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World. Charleston: University of South Carolina Press, 2002.

                                                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                        An interesting and influential collection of essays, looking both at the revolution and the legacy in the Atlantic world by important scholars including David Brion Davis, Seymour Drescher, and Robin Blackburn.

                                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                        • James, C. L. R. The Black Jacobins: Toussaint Louverture and the San Domingo Revolution. New York: Vintage, 1989.

                                                                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                          Classic and pioneering analysis of the Haitian revolution by a leading figure in the intellectual movements then transforming the Caribbean. Remains the work to begin with; first published in 1938.

                                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                          • Smartt Bell, Madison. Toussaint Louverture: A Biography. New York: Pantheon, 2007.

                                                                                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                            Important biography of Toussaint Louverture, in which the author matches a large amount of new research with his style as a novelist to recreate the life of this pivotal figure in Atlantic history.

                                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                            • Trouillot, Michel-Rolph. Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History. New York: Beacon, 1995.

                                                                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                              Classic account of the vectors of institutional power, history, and racism that affect the narratives of the past. Trouillot begins with an excoriating analysis of how this has affected the discussion of the Haitian revolution itself.

                                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                              West African Jihad and the Impact in the Americas

                                                                                                                                                                              One of the ways in which historians of West Africa have recently made extraordinary strides in incorporating West Africa and Africans into the narratives of the Age of Revolution is through the analysis of the jihad movements that convulsed West Africa from the 1790s onward. One of the first sustained accounts of this was the analysis of the Male Rebellion in Reis 1995, a classic account of this 1835 rebellion that saw it as having been specifically mobilized through Islamic discourse and ideals. Barcia 2014 analyzes the movements of rebellion in Bahia and Cuba in the 19th century and sees them as specifically deriving from the movements of jihad and the collapse of the Oyò empire in Yoruba country in the early 19th century. Lovejoy 2016 specifically connects the unfolding warfare transnationally with events in the Atlantic.

                                                                                                                                                                              • Barcia, Manuel. West African Warfare in Bahia and Cuba: Soldier Slaves in the Atlantic World, 1807–1844. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.

                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198719038.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                Important study of the connected histories of West Africa and Latin America in the Atlantic world, bringing Cuba to the dimension analyzed by Reis, and showing the connected histories of jihad to the movements of slave warfare in the New World.

                                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                • Lovejoy, Paul. Jihād in West Africa during the Age of Revolutions. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2016.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                  Important interconnected analysis linking the transformations in this era in West Africa not only to Brazil and Cuba but far beyond to the United States, France, and all corners of the Atlantic world. This connected history, argues Lovejoy, in fact led to the expansion of slavery, not its elimination.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Reis, João. Slave Rebellion in Brazil: The Muslim Uprising of 1835 in Bahia. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                    Now classic account of the Male rebellion, in which Reis specifically draws attention through pathfinding research to the Islamic character of the rebellion against slavery in Bahia in 1835, and the impact this had in the city and the colony as a result.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                    Return Movements to Africa

                                                                                                                                                                                    A corollary of the rise of the Age of Revolutions and the Haitian Revolution, combined with a growing Free African population, was the increasing prevalence of return migrations from the Americas to Africa, and the establishment in Africa of Atlantic Creole populations. A good overview is in Campbell 2006, while Everill 2012 offers a sound context of the abolitionist settlements of the British in Sierra Leone at this time. Lindsay 2017 provides a fascinating micro-history of an African American returning to Liberia and Yorubaland in the 19th century. Brazilian return movements are discussed in a fascinating collection of essays in the edited collection Bay and Mann 2001, and in important essays by Lindsay 1994. An important micro-study of this is more recently located in Castillo and Parés 2010, and the role of Yorubas who found freedom in Cuba in these movements is given important emphasis in Ojo 2015.

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Bay, Edna, and Kristin Mann, eds. Rethinking the African Diaspora: The Making of a Black Atlantic World in the Bight of Benin and Brazil. London: Frank Cass, 2001.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                      The most comprehensive overview of the interconnections between West Africa and Brazil in the 19th century, including fascinating essays on both Brazilians in West Africa and the existence of a pan-Atlantic framing of cultures. Remains important as a collection.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Campbell, James. Middle Passages: African American Journeys to Africa 1787–2005. New York: Penguin, 2006.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                        Important overview of a vital and neglected theme in general historiography, Campbell begins with the establishment of the Sierra Leone colony, and has several important American migrants to Africa in the 19th century also. A good starting point.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Castillo, Lisa Earl, and Luis Nicolau Parés. “Marcelina da Silva: A Nineteenth Century Candomblé Priestess in Bahía.” Slavery and Abolition 31.1 (2010): 1–27.

                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1080/01440390903481639Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                          Important archival reconstruction of the journey of one of the founders of the oldest Candomblé terreiro in Bahia, back to West Africa in the first part of the 19th century, and of her commercial and social ties in Bahia.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Everill, Bronwen. Abolition and Empire in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                            The most recent and detailed overview of the contexts in which returning African migrants inserted themselves in Sierra Leone and Liberia, including fascinating connections between the two colonies.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Lindsay, Lisa A. “To Return to the Bosom of Their Fatherlands”: Brazilian Immigrants in Nineteenth-Century Lagos.” Slavery and Abolition 14.1 (1994): 22–50.

                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1080/01440399408575114Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                              Significant study of Afro-Brazilian liberto “returnees” to Lagos in the 19th century, their family and commercial ties, and the significance of their settlement in the region from which many of their ancestors had come to Brazil.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                              • Lindsay, Lisa A. Atlantic Bonds: A Nineteenth-Century Odyssey from America to Africa. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017.

                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469631127.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                A pioneering and deeply research micro-historical analysis of one African American, James Churchwill Vaughan, and his journeys in West Africa in the 19th century in an attempt to reach real emancipation and reckoning with Atlantic histories.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                • Ojo, Olatunji. “Amazing Struggle: Dasalu, Global Yoruba Networks, and the Fight against Slavery, 1851–1856.” Atlantic Studies 12.1 (2015): 5–25.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1080/14788810.2014.997176Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Remarkable micro-history of John Dasalù from Abeokuta, and his mobilization of anti–slave trade networks after his release in Cuba, including among his Yoruba allies in West Africa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Africans and the Atlantic Sound

                                                                                                                                                                                                  One enduring contribution of Africans to Atlantic cultures was through music. West Africans were important contributors to Jesuit missions in early colonial times, and their musical structures influenced the rise of the blues, the shape of the banjo instrument of the American South, the form of samba, and, in time, the emergence in refraction of popular music in Africa in the 20th century. No study of African contributions to the Atlantic world can therefore be complete without assessing the place of music.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Blues

                                                                                                                                                                                                  The African contribution to the blues is undoubted. Coolen 1982 traces important parallels between the musical style of Senegambian ensembles, and the fodet rhythm, and what emerges in the blues. A more general overview is provided by Kubik 1999, with a wealth of detail. Work has also been done on specific musical instruments; Daniel Laeomahuma Jatta’s work as noted by Rieck 2013 on the akonting shows a specific relationship between this and the banjo, while the most comprehensive and significant overview of the banjo’s relationship to African musical instruments is Dubois 2016.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Coolen, Michael Theodore. “The Fodet: A Senegambian Origin for the Blues?” Black Perspective in Music 10.1 (1982): 69–84.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.2307/1214999Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pioneering study of the musical grammars linking Senegambian music of balafon and ngoni/xalam with the blues music of the American South. One of the first serious studies of the connections.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Dubois, Laurent. The Banjo: America’s African Instrument. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.4159/9780674968813Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Pioneering study of the banjo and its multiple African roots, based on exhaustive research and updating it to the 20th and 21st centuries. A tour de force.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Kubik, Gerhard. Africa and the Blues. New York: Roundhouse, 1999.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Perhaps the most comprehensive overview of the relationship between African music and the blues, including a very useful study of return influences from American music in West Africa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Rieck, Josh. “The Roots of the Banjo in Africa and AnteBellum America: History and Construction.” 2013.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Useful study of the origins of the banjo, including welcome recognition of the importance of Laeoumahuma Jatta’s work on the akonting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Samba and Bossa Nova

                                                                                                                                                                                                          The connection between popular music in Brazil and African musical styles and structures has been explored in depth by a number of authors in recent years. Henry 2008 sees the heart of Brazilian popular music in axé, a Yoruba concept for life force, often found in the natural world. Chasteen 1996 shows the interlocking connection of a variety of West and West-Central African influences in the emergence of samba in the early 20th century. The later influence of blues’s 12-bar beat in bossa nova is well analyzed by McCann 2007, while Treece 2013 brings the connections up to the present day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Chasteen, John Charles. “The Prehistory of Samba: Carnival Dancing in Rio de Janeiro, 1840–1917.” Journal of Latin American Studies 28.1 (1996): 29–47.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1017/S0022216X00012621Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Useful article that shows the intersection of a variety of dance styles such as the lundu and the macixe, and their African origins. Chasteen sees these as significant in the emergence of samba as a popular dance and music style in the early 20th century.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Henry, Clarence Bernard. Let’s Make Some Noise: Axé and the African Roots of Brazilian Popular Music. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2008.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781604730821.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Interesting study of the Yoruba concept of axé as it was recast in popular Brazilian culture, showing the interconnection of this spiritual concept with the emergence of both popular musical and religious practice in Brazil.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                              • McCann, Bryan. “Blues and Samba: Another Side of Bossa-Nova History.” Luso-Brazilian Review 44.2 (2007): 21–49.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1353/lbr.2008.0005Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                McCann shows the historical and musical overlaps that saw blues music circulating in Rio de Janeiro during the 1930s and 1940s and influenced the emergence of bossa nova in the 1950s.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Treece, David. Brazilian Jive: From Samba to Bossa and Rap. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Excellent general overview of the emergence of Brazilian popular music since the 1950s, with a useful emphasis on the history of African presence and experiences in Brazil as a foundation point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Reciprocal Influences in Africa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  No history of the African sound in the Atlantic is complete without considering the reciprocal movement of music from the Americas—already influenced by West African musical structures and forms—back to Africa in the 20th century, influencing the rise of African popular music. Aranzadi 2010 and Jackson 2012 consider the first “returned” music, gumbe drums in the 19th century, and their influence in Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Guinea-Bissau. Shain 2002 and Shain 2009 consider the influence Cuban music had on the emergence of Senegalese mbalax music in the 1950s, while White 2002 considers this for rumba in Congo during the same period, and Moehn 2011 updates it to the 21st century to consider reciprocal relations between Brazil and Angola.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Aranzadi, Isabela. “A Drum’s Trans-Atlantic Journey from Africa to the Americas and Back after the End of Slavery: Annobonese and Fernandino Musical Cultures.” African Sociological Review 41.1 (2010): 20–47.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Fascinating and well-documented study of the return of the gumbe drum with Maroons from Jamaica, and the influence this has had on the subsequent emergence of musical cultures in these Atlantic African islands.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Jackson, Rachel. “The Trans-Atlantic Journey of Gumbé—Where and Why Has It Survived?” African Music 9.2 (2012): 128–153.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      More general account of gumbe in the Atlantic world, with a persuasive account of gumbe as symbolic of resistance in the black Atlantic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Moehn, Frederick. “New Dialogues, Old Routes: Emergent Collaborations between Brazilian and Angolan Music Makers.” Popular Music 30.2 (2011): 175–190.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1017/S0261143011000018Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        New analysis of how globalization affects the shape of modern Atlantic sounds, examining the reciprocal relationships between musicians and producers in Rio de Janeiro and Luanda in the early 21st century.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Shain, Richard M. “Roots in Reverse; Cubanismo in Twentieth Century Senegalese Music.” International Journal of African Historical Studies 35.1 (2002): 83–101.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.2307/3097367Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The best analysis of Cuban music’s influence in the emergence of modern Senegalese music, looking at the record labels, the role of radio, and the historical connections of these mutually familiar sounds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Shain, Richard M. “The Re-Public of Salsa: Afro-Cuban Music in Fin-de-Siècle Dakar.” Africa 79.2 (2009): 186–206.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.3366/E0001972009000680Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            More atmospheric piece in which Shain describes the enduring hold that Cuban music has in some circles in Dakar, as in the emergence of salsa mbalax and other styles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • White, Bob. “Congolese Rumba and Other Cosmopolitanisms.” Cahiers d’ Études Africaines 168.4 (2002): 663–686.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.4000/etudesafricaines.161Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Interesting account of the way in which, as Shain reveals in Senegal, Cuban music influenced the emergence of rumba in Kinshasa in the late 1950s, including useful interviews and a history of this unfolding process.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Biography and Atlantic Africans

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              With the volume of research and consequent reappraisal of African contributions to the Atlantic showing no sign of abating, new methodological concerns are pushing research directions. One of the most recent innovations is in the field of the biographical turn, which sees historians take an interest in life histories of Africans in the Atlantic world as a means of escaping the macro-historical violence to which many were subjected. Law and Lovejoy 2001 offers an early example of this with a study of Mahommah Baquaqua. The edited collection Lindsay and Wood Sweet 2013 offers a fair summary of the state of the field. Scott and Hébrard 2014 follows one family from slavery in Senegal through an Atlantic odyssey into the 20th century. The works Reis 2008 (cited under Religious Practice) and Sweet 2011 (cited under Healing) are also excellent exemplars of this genre.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Amos, Alcione M. “Afro-Brazilians in Togo: The Case of the Olympio Family, 1882–1945.” Cahiers des Etudes Africaines 162 (2001): 293–314.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.4000/etudesafricaines.88Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A detailed micro-history of one family of Afro-Brazilian returnees, which shows also the possibility of the micro-history not only in the story of Africans in America, but also in the reverse case.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Law, Robin, and Paul Lovejoy. The Biography of Mahommah Gardo Baquaqua: His Passage from Slavery to Freedom in Africa and the Americas. Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener, 2001.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Remarkable biography of Baquaqua, enslaved in the region of Benin in the 1840s and later emancipating himself, escaping to Haiti, before studying in a black college in Boston. A pioneering example of the micro-history.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Lindsay, Lisa A., and John Wood Sweet. Biography and the Black Atlantic. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2013.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Important collection of essays that exemplifies the “biographical turn” in Atlantic studies and gives several important examples of the latest directions of research in this field.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Scott, Rebecca J., and Jean Hébrard. Freedom Papers: An Atlantic Odyssey in the Age of Emancipation. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Impressive micro-history in which Scott and Hébrard piece together the tale of this remarkable family, from enslavement and traffic from Senegambia to emancipation in America and France during the 19th and 20th centuries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      back to top

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Article

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Up

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Down