The Haitian Revolution, which began on the night of August 22-23, 1791, is a symbolic event that had a decisive influence on the abolition of slavery and the slave trade. This is why the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is celebrated on August 23rd of each year by the United Nations. It is in this context that CartoVista decided to publish a commemorative map to illustrate geographically this tragedy. This map, which uses a traditional style of old nautical maps, focuses on the triangular trade with several explicit themes.
Flows of deportation
The first theme represents by arrows the flow of slaves deported from Africa to America. The darker and thicker the arrows, the higher the number. It is easy to see that many Africans were transported to Brazil. The number of slaves who died during the crossing is also frightening.
CartoVista decided to illustrate the importance of slave ports in this sinister trade, by focusing on the number of departures of ships to Africa from European ports. This allows us to see that the port of Liverpool was the most active, but also that the French Atlantic coast was also very involved.
Slaves captured in Africa and landed in America
In addition, the map illustrates with proportional red circles the origin of African slaves bought or captured by focusing on the number and percentage for all regions of Africa. It is thus easy to observe that nearly 40% of these slaves came from Central and West Africa (the current countries of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola).
Another theme focuses on the ports in America, where Brazil and the Caribbean are largely represented by the blue proportional circles. They, therefore, saw a significant number of slaves arriving.
Finally, the CartoVista team decided to map the slave empires, showing that Portugal and Great Britain were the two nations that were most active in this greedy trade, but that France and Spain were not far behind. The different types of activities and plantations (ore, sugar, coffee, cotton etc.) installed in America are also mapped with symbols.
It should be noted that all numbers are estimates calculated by specialists in the field.
Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade (D. Eltis, D. Richardson, New Haven, 2010)
Le Monde Diplomatique
University of Virginia