This work is divided in two major sections. The first, intended as an introduction, is an unnecessarily long and often confusing survey of slavery from biblical times to the eighteenth century. The second half of the volume concentrates on the slave traffic and contains Mr. Goulart’s main theories concerning the importation of Africans to Brazil.

Goulart’s thesis is that the total number of African slaves brought to Brazil has been exaggerated by historians and that it was nowhere near, for instance, the 15 million estimated by João Calogeras. Instead, he contends, the total influx of African slaves to Brazil during the two and one-half centuries of the traffic was “in round numbers between 3,500,000 and 3,600,000.”

How did the author arrive at these figures? Can Goulart’s estimate be accepted as accurate and definitive? Borrowing from contemporary chroniclers and some archival material, the author used the following data as a basis for his computations: the number of slaves needed by each mill; the number of Africans among the entire slave population; the average annual productivity of Negroes in the sugar mills, mines, and coffee plantations; the number of Negroes working in other occupations; their survival rate under slavery; and finally, the total number of Negroes exported from Africa. Like all estimates of the slave traffic to Brazil, Goulart’s figures cannot be accepted as definitive. However, they are not too far off the mark and can be of great value as a guide for further study.

Unfortunately, this revised third edition of Goulart’s work (the first appeared in 1949) still needs further revision. The book can surely profit from an examination of the literature since 1949, and additional archival research. The peça de Indias, for example, was more likely to have been a Negro between the ages of 15 and 25 as suggested by Frédéric Mauro (Le Portugal et L’Atlantique au XVIIe Siècle: 1570-1670, p. 173) than between 30 and 35 as Goulart writes. If Mauro’s definition of the peça is adopted, it will certainly affect Goulart’s calculations of the productivity of the Negroes. Documents at the Arquivo Histórico Ultramarino in Lisbon reveal that customs officials in Pernambuco made numerous mistakes in the collection of duties. This data too can be used to improve the author’s calculations, particularly those based on the head tax collected. Finally, the introduction should be revised and written in a more succinct manner in order to make the book more attractive and complete.

Nevertheless, A escravidão africana no Brasil is still the most interesting study of the slave traffic to that country. This edition, therefore, is a welcome newcomer to Brazilian historiography because it brings back this important and stimulating work, long out of print.