Final Passages

The Intercolonial Slave Trade of British America, 1619-1807
Gregory E. O'Malley
Paperback price: $32.50
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Publisher: Omohundro Institute and University of North Carolina Press
Imprint: OIEAHC
Cloth/Hardcover Publication Date: 08/2014
Pages: 416
Paperback ISBN: 9781469629841
Paperback Publication Date: 08/2016
Ebook ISBN: 9781469615356


This work explores a neglected aspect of the forced migration of African laborers to the Americas. Hundreds of thousands of captive Africans continued their journeys after the Middle Passage across the Atlantic. Colonial merchants purchased and then transshipped many of these captives to other colonies for resale. Not only did this trade increase death rates and the social and cultural isolation of Africans; it also fed the expansion of British slavery and trafficking of captives to foreign empires, contributing to Britain’s preeminence in the transatlantic slave trade by the mid-eighteenth century. The pursuit of profits from exploiting enslaved people as commodities facilitated exchanges across borders, loosening mercantile restrictions and expanding capitalist networks.

Drawing on a database of over seven thousand intercolonial slave trading voyages compiled from port records, newspapers, and merchant accounts, O’Malley identifies and quantifies the major routes of this intercolonial slave trade. He argues that such voyages were a crucial component in the development of slavery in the Caribbean and North America and that trade in the unfree led to experimentation with free trade between empires.

About The Author

Gregory E. O’Malley is associate professor of history at the University of California, Santa Cruz.


James A. Rawley Prize, American Historical Association (2015)

The Morris D. Forkosch Prize, American Historical Association (2015)

Frank L. and Harriet C. Owsley Award, Southern Historical Association (2015)

Elsa Goveia Book Prize, Association of Caribbean Historians (2014)


“A refreshing and authoritative history of the English slave trade.”–Journal of American History

“In this rigorously-argued and well-sourced volume, Gregory E. O’Malley establishes himself as being on the cutting edge of scholarship with regards to the complexities of the transatlantic slave trade.”–American Historical Review

“Fills a major gap in the literature….The standard for many years to come.”–Journal of Southern History

“Groundbreaking…enhances the scope and complexity of our understanding of the slave trade.”–New England Quarterly

“A new and arresting perspective on the British slave trade in the early modern world.”–Choice

“Important scholarly insights to our collective understanding of the Atlantic slave trade, and, more broadly, Atlantic slavery, continue to arrive with increasing frequency every year. Few, however, are as likely to provide such major quantitative contributions and qualitative insights as Greg O’Malley’s exemplary first book, Final Passages.”–Journal of British Studies

“A useful book for any scholar who studies colonial British North America.”–Business History Review

“It is rare for a first book to make such an important contribution to a field of such depth and maturity as the study of the slave trade. Scholars will be working through the broader implications here for some time to come.”–Journal of Early American History

“With the publication of Final Passages, the historiography of the intra-American slave trade has made a giant leap forward.”–William and Mary Quarterly

“Will be the definitive account of intercolonial slave trading for many years to come, and it is a major . . . contribution to our understanding of the politics and economics of slavery.”–English Historical Review

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