Dutch Ships in the Transatlantic Slave Trade

In our American studies class during the winter and spring of the class years 2016-2017, we are digging into the history of freedom and slavery in Connecticut and especially in Suffield during 1774. We are looking into how the Boston Tea Party, which happened in 1773, affected the rest of the states at that time, as well as how our state and town governments responded to it. I think learning about Old “Ti’s” family and about the Dutch ships they came on is crucial in understanding where these slaves may have originated from. The origin of these slaves and important facts about his family is vital in understanding the Colonial Slavery in Suffield. I think that learning about this history will help me understand more and helped me with my research into the Dutch slave ships.

It is important to understand how the transatlantic slave trade worked. “The majority of slaves transported to the New World were sold by Africans from central and western parts of Africa to European slave traders” (1). Slavery started way before the transatlantic slave trade. African tribes would sell slaves within the tribes. From my experiences in Cape Coast and Ghana, I’ve learned about the slave trade within tribes. Although this is no longer common, there is still slavery where children are sold to fishermen to be slaves. When the Europeans came to the central and western Africa, they opened slave castles whereof the slave trade would be conducted. After visiting one of the biggest slave castles in the coast in Ghana, the thing that stuck with me the most was “the door of no return.” this is the gate whereof many slaves departed through to get on their ship, and that most never return back through.

It is important to figure out whether Suffield was in a Dutch territory, because sometimes slave traders brought their slaves to other colonies. Even if we know that Titus came on a Dutch ship we need to figure out whether it was in a Dutch territory, and we can thereby trace where it came from.


Figure 1


From looking at figure 2 we can see the origin of many of the slaves that came on


Figure 2

Dutch ships. We can see that Dutch slaves mainly came from Ghana and Nigeria. From my research The Netherlands transported around 500,000 slaves during 2,000 journeys (3).

When it comes to the transatlantic slave trade, the Netherlands was not the biggest country involved, but the origin of the slaves they did export and how many is crucial in our research. I am looking into where the Dutch ships originated from, especially trying to find the origin of Titus, Old “Ti’s” father and mother, whom had a tattoo that suggested royalty. This could help us find information about where other slaves in Suffield are from, and find info about Mum Bett.

  1. http://www.ascleiden.nl/content/webdossiers/dutch-involvement-transatlantic-slave-trade-and-abolition
  2. https://books.google.com/books?id=HGoyvMF7xw8C&pg=PA224&lpg=PA224&dq=dutch+slaves+destination&source=bl&ots=nbarL9BagV&sig=tzp2fvt4S1av73DpqeYhgAR0Eug&hl=no&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi2-L3J6-7QAhUKthQKHQuJAEQQ6AEISzAG#v=onepage&q=dutch%20slaves%20destination&f=false
  3. http://www.slaverysite.com/Body/facts%20and%20figures.htm

4 thoughts on “Dutch Ships in the Transatlantic Slave Trade

  1. tannerm1516

    I enjoy your connection to the topic and how you have provided your own insight from your life experiences. Do you have any ideas on how to further research the Dutch connection to Suffield? I believe it would be important to introduce Old Ti in your first paragraph, so readers who are unfamiliar with his name will understand.


  2. Jackson Bischoping

    I like how you commented on your on a experience and informed the readers about how slavery slightly still exists with the fishermen and children. Is it possible to find out how that is still going on even though the rest of the world has abolished its slavery for the most part? I think to polish off this post you should add more about Old Ti and why his life will further connect us to our topic.


  3. riley1617

    I really liked how you provided photo evidence and traced evidence directly back to Suffield. I am wondering how we as a class are going to figure out if Suffield was Dutch Territory but it seems like you have concluded a variety of different conclusions. You should keep providing photo evidence!


  4. katherinekalill

    Your topic is extremely interesting to me considering I have traveled with you to the slave castle in Cape Coast and seen “The Door Of No Return” with my own eyes. Old Ti has proved to be a very valuable name in our quest to find information regarding the year 1774 in Suffield. My favorite part about your explanation of your topic is the visuals and your reference to them in your writing. Now that we are aware that Old Ti came from a Dutch ship and we now know the trace of his parents as well it would be interesting to include something about Old Ti’s family and the impact that slavery had on them as a family, as well as information on where they came form. Your final statement about tracking Dutch ships from the slave trade back to Ghana and Nigeria makes me so curious to find out more details about the ships and the ports they were sent from, especially if they have a connection to Ghana. I would be pleased to see more research on the tracking specifically of the Dutch ships and their relationship with the Cape Coast slave castle. Great work overall!!!



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