The Slave Trades out of Africa

This chapter describes the external slave trades out of Africa. It discusses how the slave trades developed over time, and factors that contributed to the growth of the slave trades out of...
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African Commodity Trade Database

The African Commodity Trade Database (ACTD) aims to stimulate and deepen research on African and global economic history. The database provides export and import series at product level for more than two and a half centuries of African trade (1737-2010). The ACTD consists of three main parts which are continuously updated as we retrieve additional sources. Currently data for the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth century is available below. The data from the ACTD is freely available as long as reference is made to: Frankema, Ewout, Jeffrey Williamson and Pieter Woltjer. “An Economic Rationale for the West African Scramble? The Commercial Transition and the Commodity Price Boom of 1835-1885.” The Journal of Economic History 78, no. 1 (2018): 231-267.

Trade database  (latest versions)

Part I – Quantities and official prices, 1737-1808: ACTD_1737t1808_volumes_v1_0

Part II – Prices, quantities and values, 1808-1939: ACTD_1808t1939_database_v1_3 [updated]

Supplemental material

– Notes on the ACTD: ACTD_1808t1939_notes

– British Customs Records, 1697-1808, unprocessed: ACTD_1697t1808_raw_data

Future updates

– Market prices African commodities, 1730-1808

– Coastal prices African commodities French colonies, 1885-1939

– Values and quantities African trade, 1945-2010


The data was collected by the Rural Environment History Group at Wageningen University. For comments and suggestions please send an email to Pieter Woltjer ([email protected]) or Felix Meier zu Selhausen ([email protected])

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The Partitioning of Africa

This chapter describes the process of the partitioning of the African continent at the end of the 19th century into the countries we still know today. We start by discussing the technological...
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What is Development?

This chapter discusses various definitions of the term ‘development’. It explains how ‘human development’ is conceptualized in the development literature and how it differs from economic, political or cultural developments. The chapter...
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