Slave Trade - Bonny Question Research Paper


Bonny is a port located in the most eastern part of the Gulf of Guinea. It was considered to be a favorable place for transacting slave purchases. It attractiveness included:

The ability to purchase yams for feeding the slaves on the middle passage,

The predictability of slave availability based on the agricultural calendar

The organized slave trade with slaves brought to market from non-coastal areas after harvest

And, the stability of the government, which allow the trades to provide trade goods to the slave merchants prior to receiving the slaves without pawnship as collateral.

Between 1727-1769 X ships arrived in Virginia. Of these, seven ships came from Bonny, carrying 1,453 slaves for a mean average of 208 per ship. Like question one, there are some ambiguities to question two: shipments of what and what are the geographical boundaries of Bonny. Bonny can be referring to either the port of Bonny or the Bight of Bonny. If the second definition is used, ships from Callabar must be included in the analysis. In the same time period as mentioned above five ships arrived from Callabar with a total of 1,157 slaves, an average of 231 slaves per ship.

Again, one must question the validity of the data collection;...


There are 17,880 slaves arriving on ships who identified their origin to be Africa. Given the popularity of Bonny for slave trading, it is fair to consider some portion of the slaves coming from Bonny. According to Paul Lovejoy's Transformations in Slavery (Cambridge Press, 2000), 14.6% of slaves sold in the new world were from the Bight of Biafra (another name for the Bight of Bonny). If you multiply the number of slaves on ships originating from Africa by this percentage, there would be an additional 2,610 slaves from Bonny. The table below summarizes three possible answers to question two assuming that shipments refers to the number of slaves:
# of Ships

# of Slaves

Avg slaves/ship







14.6% of ship recorded as From Africa

99 (approx)

2610 (approx)


In conclusion, the questions asked in this assignment lack the specificity for a single answer. Also given the length of time over which the data was collected, the validity of the data must be questioned.

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