Building a Linked Open Data Platform for the study and exploration of the historical slave trade.

We are excited about the article in the Smithsonian Magazine, “A Massive New Database Will Connect Billions of Historic Records to Tell the Full Story of American Slavery.”

As the article notes Enslaved will be launching in the Spring of 2020. We are currently adding resources to our database. If you would like to contribute to the Enslaved project (either data or support) please contact

Please revisit the Enslaved Conference by viewing the videos at the Matrix YouTube channel.  

In recent years, a growing number of archives, databases, and collections that organize and make sense of records of enslavement have become freely and readily accessible for scholarly and public consumption. This proliferation of projects and databases presents a number of challenges: 


  • Disambiguating and merging individuals across multiple datasets is nearly impossible given their current, siloed nature;
  • Searching, browsing, and quantitative analysis across projects is extremely difficult;
  • It is often difficult to find projects and databases;
  • There are no best practices for digital data creation;
  • Many projects and datasets are in danger of going offline and disappearing.


In response to these challenges, Matrix: The Center for Digital Humanities & Social Sciences at Michigan State University, in partnership with the MSU Department of History and scholars at multiple institutions, has begun work on Enslaved: Peoples of the Historic Slave Trade, a constellation of software and services built to address these challenges. Enslaved’s primary focus is people—individuals who were enslaved, owned slaves, or participated in slave trading. 

Enslaved Conference Recap

More than 100 people attended the Enslaved: People of the Historic Slave Trade conference held March 8-9, 2019, at Michigan State University. 52 participants from more than 10 countries presented databases on slavery across all parts of the Atlantic World, including...

read more

Enslaved Conference Livestream

The Enslaved Conference at Michigan State University was livestreamed and uploaded to the Matrix Youtube channel here. You can watch the first segment below. The full conference can be viewed as a playlist on the Matrix youtube...

read more
Enslaved would not be possible without the support and input of many partner scholars, projects, and institutions. Find out more about our partners by selecting below.