Learn More about the Project

History of the Project

In 1854, the Portuguese government ordered the registration of slaves in all of its territories within a thirty day period. This came following the change in regime in Lisbon to a liberal government, facing international pressures regarding their major role in continued slave trade. Those not registered would be considered libertos or freedmen, with all slave imported into Portuguese territories following the decree being considered libertos as well, though required to serve their masters for 10 years.

The Between Oceans and Continents project began in 2018 when Daniel Domingues da Silva travelled to Maputo and visited the Historical Archives of Mozambique and procured copies of the slave registrars. While some of the registrars have no doubt been lost to time and some have yet to be catalogued, many of the registrars remain perfectly intact. The registrars list many details about the individual slaves, including their master, their name, their age, their place of origin within Mozambique, their sex, their occupation, and notes about their appearance and scars each slave or liberto. The information help document the history of the slave trade in Portuguese Africa by providing useful demographic for all of the documented slaves.

The Resilient Digital Humanities Jump-Start Grant is helping provide the opportunity for Daniel Domingues da Silva and several other people to locate the remaining registrars, create digital copies of the registrars to preserve them for the future, and create a database to document the information, so that the public may benefit from the registrars as well.

Team Members

Lead Researchers

Student Researchers

Spring 2020

Fall 2019

Spring 2019

Fall 2018


How to Cite

Citations vary according to the style users adopt (APA, Chicago, MLA, etc.). To cite the website according to the Chicago Manual of Style, for example, we recommend the following:

“Between Oceans and Continents: The Registers of Slave and Liberated Africans from Mozambique,” 2019. africanregisters.org. Accessed January 15, 2019.

To cite a specific essay within the website using the same citation style, users may do so in the following manner:

Domingues da Silva, Daniel B. and Abigail Fields, “The 1854 Royal Decree.” Between Oceans and Continents: The Registers of Slave and Freed Africans from Portuguese Mozambique, 2019, africanregisters.org. Accessed January 15, 2019.

Conditions and Permissions

Type of Content Use Restrictions Citations
Data Historical Data falls under the Public Domain, use restrictions do not apply. [name of database]. [latest year of publication data]. Between Oceans and Continents: The Registers of Slave and Freed Africans from Mozambique. [website URL] (Accessed [date])
Images Contact the institution that provided the digital copy and/or holds the original. [title provided for digital image]. JPG. Between Oceans and Continents: The Registers of Slave and Freed Africans from Mozambique. [URL] (Accessed [date])
Texts All text on the site, including essays, acknowledgements, and descriptions are covered by a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License [author of essay]. [title of essay]. [title of website] [publication date of essay]. See How to Cite above for examples.


Special Thanks

About This Site

This site is built and maintained by Rice University undergraduate researcher Miles Olson using a combination various modern web technologies. The site’s post HTML is generated from plaintext using the static site generator Jekyll. The database visualizer is written entirely in JavaScript heavily utilizing D3.js, a JavaScript library for producing dynamic and interactive data visualizations directly in the browser. By bringing in this powerful tool more often used in the context of data science, we allow people to explore our extremely rich dataset in a uniquely useful and tactile way. Through our interactive vizualizers, we hope users are able to find insightfull connections that would otherwise have been made opaque in the data’s original, tabular form.

The source of this site is open and availible on Github.