In spite of British efforts to suppress the traffic in slaves from Africa to the Americas in the first half of the nineteenth century, “two triangles of the transatlantic slave trade” (9) not only persisted but flourished: one that joined the US eastern seaboard, Africa, and Cuba, and another that brought together Cuba, Brazil, and Africa. Dale T. Graden’s new work reconstructs these triangular trades, which reached their acme between the 1820s and 1840s, and the factors that led to their suppression in the 1850s and 1860s. The core of his research is the famous British Foreign Office series dedicated to the surveillance and policing of the slave trade.

Chapter 1 describes the two triangular trades, in which US involvement was crucial to each. Eastern port cities provided ships, material, crews, and capital to the Iberian-world slavers, while the US flag provided...

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