Stanford University
The Broken Paths of Freedom

Main Project Page
Historical Background
The Voyage of the Cezar
Search and Visualization Tool
The Geography of Suppression


The most important archival registries of the Free Africans of Brazil are found in Brazil, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. Additional archival materials are located in other spaces touched by the trade to Brazil and its suppression, including Angola, Cape Verde, France, Mozambique, and Sierra Leone.

“The Broken Paths of Freedom” draws from numerous nominal registries, diplomatic correspondence; the proceedings of the Anglo-Portuguese and Anglo-Brazilian mixed commissions, the Brazilian Auditoria da Marinha, British Admiralty Courts; Free African and concessionaire petitions; and other manuscript materials located in the following archives:

  • Arquivo Histórico-Diplomático, Lisbon, Portugal
  • Arquivo Histórico do Itamaratí, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil [Coleções Especiais: Comissões Mistas, Missões Diplomáticas, Ministérios]
  • Arquivos Nacionais-Torre do Tombo, Lisbon, Portugal [Ministério de Negócios Estrangeiros]
  • Arquivo Nacional, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil [Fundos AM, OI, ZV, 0E, 1R, 4V, 7X]
  • Arquivo Ultramarino Histórico, Lisbon, Portugal [SEMU Códigos DGU, DGU/CR, DGU/CU]
  • National Archives, Kew, United Kingdom [Series ADM, CO, FO, PRO]
  • Additional manuscript materials are to be found in various state and municipal archives located throughout Brazil, ministerial archives, and the private collections for former concessionaires, diplomats, mixed commissioners, and abolitionists.

    The project also makes ample use of serials published in Brazil and the United Kingdom, notably the Almanak geral do Império do Brasil (1838) and the Almanak Laemmert (1844-1889); the annual reports of the Brazilian ministries of justice and foreign relations; the Slave Trade Correspondence; and newspapers.

    Selected Bibliography:

    The African Origins Project. []

    Asiegbu, Johnson U. J. Slavery and the Politics of Liberation, 1787-1861: A Study of Liberated African Emigration and British Anti-Slavery Policy. Harlow: Longmans, 1969.

    Bethell, Leslie. The Abolition of the Brazilian Slave Trade: Britain, Brazil and the Slave Trade Question, 1807-1869. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970.

    Chalhoub, Sidney. A força da escravidão: ilegalidade e costume no Brasil oitocentista. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2012.

    __________. "Illegal Enslavement and the Precariousness of Freedom in Nineteenth-Century Brazil." In Assumed Identities: The Meanings of Race in the Atlantic World, ed. by John D. Garrigus, et. al., 88-115. College Station, TX: A&M University Press, 2010.

    Christie, William D. Notes on Brazilian Questions. London: Macmillan, 1865.

    Conrad, Robert. "Neither Slave nor Free: The Emancipados of Brazil, 1818-1868." Hispanic American Historical Review 53, no. 1 (1973): 50-70.

    Cooper, Frederick, Thomas C. Holt, and Rebecca J. Scott. Beyond Slavery: Explorations of Race, Labor, and Citizenship in Postemancipation Societies. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000.

    Eltis, David and Olatunji Ojo. "The Diaspora of Africans Liberated from Slave Ships in the Nineteenth Century." Unpublished manuscript, 2012.

    Ferreira, Roquinaldo. "The Suppression of the Slave Trade and Slave Departures from Angola, 1830s-1860s." In Extending the Frontiers: Essays on the New Transatlantic Slave Trade Database, ed. by David Eltis and David Richardson, 313-34. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008.

    Frank, Zephyr and Whitney Berry. "The Slave Market in Rio de Janeiro circa 1869: Context, Movement and Social Experience." Journal of Latin American Geography 9 (2010): 85-111.

    Florentino, Manolo, org. Tráfico, cativeiro e liberdade: Rio de Janeiro, séculos XVII-XIX. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 2005.

    Grinberg, Keila. Liberata, a lei da ambigüidade: as ações de liberdade da Corte de Apelação do Rio de Janeiro no século XIX. Rio de Janeiro: Relume Dumará, 1994.

    Karasch, Mary. Slave Life in Rio de Janeiro, 1808-1850. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987.

    Mamigonian, Beatriz Gallotti. “Conflicts over the Meanings of Freedom: The Liberated Africans' Struggle for Emancipation in Brazil (1840s-1860s).” In Paths to Freedom: Manumission in the Atlantic World. Rosemary Brana-Shute; Randy J. Sparks, orgs. 235-264. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press, 2009.

    ___________. “In the Name of Freedom: Slave Trade Abolition, the Law and the Brazilian Branch of the African Emigration Scheme (Brazil-British West Indies, 1830s-1850s).” Slavery & Abolition, 30 (2009): 41-66.

    __________. “A Grã-Bretanha, o Brasil e a liberdade dos africanos na crise da abolição do tráfico atlântico de escravos (1848-1851).” in Intelectuais e Modernidades. by Daniel Aarão Reis and Denis Rolland, org., 13-29. Rio de Janeiro: Editora da FGV, 2010.

    __________. "To Be a Liberated African in Brazil: Labour and Citizenship in the Nineteenth Century." PhD Dissertation, University of Waterloo, Canada, 2002.

    Martinez, Jenny S. "Antislavery Courts and the Dawn of International Human Rights Law." Yale Law Journal 117 (January 2008): 550-641.

    Miller, Joseph C. "Atlantic Ambiguities of British and American Abolition." William and Mary Quarterly 66, no. 4 (2009): 677-704.

    Moraguez, Oscar Grandio. "Dobo: A Liberated African in Nineteenth-Century Havana." Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave-Trade Database, Emory University. [online]

    Perdigão Malheiro, Agostinho Marques de. A escravidão no Brasil. 2 vols. Rio de Janeiro, 1866-67.

    Rediker, Marcus. The Slave Ship: A Human History. New York: Viking, 2007.

    Rodrigues, Jaime. O infame comércio: propostas e experiências no final do tráfico de africanos para o Brasil, 1800-1850. Campinas: Editora da Unicamp, 2000.

    Tavares Bastos, Aureliano Cândido. Cartas do Solitário. Rio de Janeiro: Typ. Correio Mercantil, 1863.

    Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave-Trade Database. []

    White, Richard. "What is Spatial History?" Spatial History Project, Stanford University. [link]

    Spatial History