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Ecclesiastical and Secular Sources for Slave Societies

The ESSSS project, directed by Jane Landers and administered at Vanderbilt University, digitally preserves endangered ecclesiastical and secular documents related to Africans and Afro-descended peoples in the Americas. Other non-European groups, such as Chinese and indigenous groups are also represented.  This website provides information about the project and its history and tools that allow researchers to search the ESSSS database containing over 600,000 documents from diverse archives in four countries (for image counts by country, click here). While most of the documents contained here date from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, there are documents from Cuba and Spanish Florida from the sixteenth century and Brazilian documents from the seventeenth.

On this website you will find areas dedicated to each geographic entity -- Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, and Spanish Florida -- and additional resources to assist in your research. We welcome feedback and encourage researchers to share the research and transcripts that they develop based on the ESSSS website.

* Image citations: The seventeenth-century map from the Kingdom of Granada, above, is a portion of the map: Nicolás Sanson, Terre ferme ou sont les governations ou gouvernemens de Terre ferme, Cartagene Ste. Marthe, Rio de la Hache, Venezuela, nouvelle Andalusie Popayein, nouveau royme de Grenade, &c. (Pierre Mariette, 1656). Map reproduction courtesy of the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library.


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