A history of human trafficking, pursuit of profit and distressing archival documents from the collections of the Zeeland Archives
On a trans-Atlantic slave voyage, a ship left the European homeport loaded with goods for the West-African coastal region. There, goods were traded for Africans, ivory and gold.
The ship would then sail across the Atlantic to the colonies in the Americas. The Africans were sold to plantation owners and faced a future of enslavement, working at one of the sugar, coffee, tobacco, or cotton plantations.
Once the Africans were sold, the ship returned home to Europe, loaded with goods from the colonies, gold and ivory.
This triangular trade took place between the 16th and 19th century. The MCC sold approximately 30.000 Africans during the 18th century.
The slave voyage of The Unity in 1761-1763 is only one out of the 114 trans-Atlantic slave voyages made by MCC-ships.
The MCC sold approximately 31.000 enslaved Africans during the 18th century.
The MCC archives contain the administration of not only the trans-Atlantic slave voyages but also the return voyages to Africa and the Caribbean, as well as the letters by the director and their worldwide correspondents and many more documents.
The Zeeland Archives has digitized and published online the entire adminstration of the Middelburg Commerce Company (MCC):
For educational purposes the Zeeland Archives launched a educational website for primary and secondary school teachers. It offers lessons and assignment, linked to The Unity's blog:
The voyage of the ship The Unity and a daily report of the events taking place aboard via a blog with interactive map and timeline:
Trailer showing the 3D reconstruction of The Unity
This exhibition was made by the Zeeland Archives.
• Concept and creation: Zeeland Archives, Roosanne Goudbeek
• Infographics: DATBureau, Amsterdam
• 3D-reconstruction & trailer: DPI Animation House, The Hague
We would like to thank those who have supported the Zeeland Archives in reaching a wider audience for the archives of the MCC:
• Metamorfoze, the Dutch National Programme for the Preservation of the Paper Heritage - Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW)
• Mondriaan Fonds
• Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds
• United Nations Human Rights Council
• UNESCO Memory of the World
• Google Art & Culture
Hofplein 16, Middelburg, the Netherlands
P.O. box 70, 4330 AB Middelburg, the Netherlands
T +31 (0) 118 67 88 00