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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Reconstructing the life histories of liberated Africans: Sierra Leone in the early nineteenth century
Author:Schwarz, SuzanneISNI
Periodical:History in Africa (ISSN 1558-2744)
Geographic term:Sierra Leone
historical sources
Abstract:In the six decades which followed British abolition in 1807, over 90,000 African 'recaptives', as the people rescued by the West Africa Squadron from slaving ships were termed, were forcibly relocated to Freetown, Sierra Leone. This article draws attention to the scope and significance of the Registers of Liberated Africans, which were recently retracted in the Public Archives of Sierra Leone after a period of neglect. These registers, spanning a period between 1808 and 1819, provide details of the names and physical characteristics of the first groups of 'recaptives' released at Freetown by royal naval patrols in the immediate aftermath of British abolition of the slave trade. The evidence from the registers, when combined with other categories of records generated by colonial administrators, offers a rare opportunity to reconstruct biographical information about enslaved Africans after their release from slaving vessels. The methodology discussed in this article demonstrates how nominal linkage across diverse categories of records surviving in Sierra Leone and Britain make it possible to trace aspects of the subsequent movements of individuals after their cases had been adjudicated by the Vice Admiralty Court at Freetown. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]