Connecting the information in runaway slave advertisements to the manifests of the ships on which slaves were transported allows us to map an expanded understanding of an individual’s life. Of the records that were matched, the most represented geographical regions were West Central Africa, the Bight of Benin, the Gold Coast, and Sierra Leone.
Some slave ships stopped at multiple trading posts during one voyage, which accounts for slightly larger record total in this table.
An example of records that have been paired offers a strong visual component to this research.
This collection of advertisements from late 1775 & early 1776 describes seven individuals (six of them named: César, Samson, Hector, Favori, Kicony and Bamby) who have escaped from locations spread across Saint Domingue.
The yellow triangles indicate the stated location of the plantation or the slave owner. The purple triangle marks Port-au-Prince, where all seven arrived in the colony. The advertisements identify the slaves as coming from the Saint Guillaume, of Nantes. This ship, archived as Vessel Identification Number (VIN) 24722 in the Slave Voyages database, originated in Nantes, France; purchased slaves in Malembo, West Central Africa; and arrived in Saint Domingue on August 27, 1775. According to the manifest, 250 Africans embarked but only 209 survived to disembark in the colony. Dramatically, the Saint Guillaume was shipwrecked and nearly lost off the coast of the Ile de la Gonave; however, it was reported “the Crew and most of the Slaves saved.”
Of the 209 men and women to survive their arrival in Saint Domingue, at least 7 would very quickly make the decision to run away.