Voices of Labor in the Atlantic World

An Interactive Tour of Servitude, Commerce, and Travel in the 1600s and 1700s


Now that you have written an argument about a specific historical figure from the seventeenth or eighteenth century and reviewed several details about Atlantic World trade, you are better prepared to answer midterm exam questions about the development of the British empire up to the American Revolution. The primary sources in this activity will also provide excellent evidence for an essay assignment or extra credit opportunities. You can explain the impact of British trans-Atlantic trade using a personal vignette, a comparison with a different perspective, general trends, political economics, historical fiction, and geography. The variety of these types of sources can help you craft a well-developed analysis of labor in the Atlantic World in the 1600s and 1700s.

For further information, see these suggested resources:


Slave Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database -- http://www.slavevoyages.org

Virtual Jamestown, Seventeenth Century Labor Contracts -- http://www.virtualjamestown.org/servantcontracts.html

Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Essays on the Origins of Slavery -- http://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/colonization-and-settlement-1585-1763/origins-slavery/essays


Berlin, Ira. Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998.

Calloway, Colin. New Worlds for All: Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early America, 2d ed. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013.

Campbell, Mavis C. Back to Africa: George Ross and the Maroons: From Nova Scotia to Sierra Leone. Trenton: Africa World Press, Inc., 1993.

Campbell, Mavis C, ed. Nova Scotia and the Fighting Maroons: A Documentary History. Williamsburg, VA: Department of Anthropology, College of William and Mary, 1990.

Equiano, Olaudah. The Interesting Narrative and Other Writings: Revised Edition. Edited by Vincent Carretta. New York: Penguin, 2003.

Harms, Robert. The Diligent: A Voyage Through the Worlds of the Slave Trade. New York: Basic Books, 2002.

Jordan, Don and Michael Walsh. White Cargo: The Forgotten History of Britain's White Slaves in America. New York: NYU Press, 2008.

Linebaugh, Peter and Marcus Rediker. The Many-Headed Hydra: the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic. New York: Verso, 2012.

Morgan, Philip. Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake & Lowcountry. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998.

Richter, Daniel. Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001.


This site was created by Dr. Kimberly Hill with grant support from the American Historical Association and the National Endowment for the Humanities. For further details and support, please contact her at kimberly.hill@utdallas.edu or 972-883-6908.