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Areas of Research:

York/UNESCO Nigerian Hinterland Project

The Nigerian Hinterland Project affiliated with the UNESCO Slave Route Project focuses on the development of the African diaspora stemming from the "Nigerian" hinterland during the era of the slave trade from approximately 1650 to 1900. The region under investigation includes the interior of the Bights of Benin and Biafra, from where approximately 40 per cent of all slaves who went to the Americas trace their origins. In addition, slaves from this region were sent to various parts of the Islamic world. The project concentrates on the effects of this population displacement on historical developments both in Africa itself and in the African diaspora. The region identified here as the "Nigerian" hinterland today comprises modern Nigeria, the Republique du Bénin and, to a lesser extent, neighbouring countries (Togo, Ghana, Niger and Cameroon).

The programme of research is collaborative in nature, involving a network of scholars and institutions. The project explores the historical impact of Africa on world history as reflected in the development of the African diaspora and the extent to which enslaved Africans and their descendants in the Americas and elsewhere contributed to the making of an "Atlantic world". The areas of research concentration include: Archival Inventory and Preservation of Primary Sources, Biographical Database of Enslaved Africans, Historical Atlas of Slavery, Ports of the Nigerian Hinterland, The Muslim Diaspora in the Era of the Slave Route, Ethnic Identities in Atlantic Africa and the Diaspora, and  Linkages between the Diaspora and Africa.

This project is financed by a five-year grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada under its Major Collaborative Research Initiative (MCRI) programme. 

Department of History, York University,  Toronto, Canada
Email: nigerian@yorku.ca
Fax: (416) 650-8173