Zeeland Archives launched educational website about trans-Atlantic slave trade, October 2014

Press release
October 30, 2014

MIDDELBURG – On October 29, 2014 the Zeeland Archives presented the bi-lingual educational website ‘Slave voyage aboard The Unity | Slavenreis van de Eenigheid’ http://www.zeeuwsarchief-educatie.nl/webprojecten/slavenhandel/en/.
The educational website is linked to the web-log about the voyage of the slave ship The Unity, which began on October 1, 2013. With the web-log and the educational website, the Zeeland Archives hopes to contribute to the knowledge expansion about trans-Atlantic slave trade. With that the Zeeland Archives wishes to add to the awareness of the importance of this period in present society.

Release educational website ‘Slave Voyage Aboard The Unity’

The Zeeland Archives launched the international educational website about trans-Atlantic slave trade Slave voyage aboard The Unity | Slavenreis van de Eenigheid.
In 2013 it was 150 years ago that the Netherlands abolished slavery. In 2014 it is 200 years ago that the Netherlands abolished slave trade. In previous centuries over 12 million people were shipped as merchandise from Africa to the America’s.


To enhance awareness of the importance of trans-Atlantic slave trade on present society amongst the youth, knowledge of the past is needed. For this reason it was decided to link an educational website to The Unity’s web-log. With this the Zeeland Archives presents a response to the need for educational material about the trans-Atlantic slave trade. In the spring of 2014 the pilot for the educational website took place. Four schools, primary school De Vossenburch from Middelburg (the Netherlands), the Scheldemond College from Vlissingen (the Netherlands), the Tata Colin MULO from Totness (Surinam) and the Accra Academy Senior High School from Accra (Ghana) tested the website. As of October 29, 2014 the website is freely accessible to educators worldwide.

International educational website

The educational website Slave voyage aboard The Unity | Slavenreis van de Eenigheid consists of various aspects: short multidisciplinary lessons using worksheets, enrichment lessons based on discussion, viewing and research assignments and suggestions for processing lessons. Amongst other things, the website has primary source materials from the archives of the Middelburg Commerce Company (MCC). The website is aimed at pupils in the senior levels of primary school to the first years of high school in the Netherlands. The site is offered in both Dutch and English, it can easily be used in bilingual educational systems. International schools can therefore also use the site.

The educational website was developed by Onwijs Producties from Oude Tonge. The website was made possible through subsidies from the Stichting Herdenking Slavernijverleden 2013 in Amsterdam, the Province of Zeeland in Middelburg and the Mondriaanfonds in Amsterdam.

Triangle Voyage in seven steps

The menu is set up chronologically: in seven steps it follows the triangle voyage of The Unity (1761-1763) from the preparations all the way to the sale of the cargo brought back. Teachers who wish to pay attention to the subject of trans-Atlantic slave trade can make a selection from the offerings in the introduction, enrichment and processing lessons. Based on the content of the lessons they can decide which levels are appropriate for their students. The website meets the Dutch targets for the primary and secondary education, the ‘10 Time Periods’, the ‘21st century skills and competencies’ and in the National and Zeeuwse (Zeeland) Canon.

The Unity’s web-log, also serves as a source for more information. In all seven introductory lessons refer to the corresponding subjects via a hyperlink. The research assignments, in which the pupils can gain experience in conducting online research, are also linked to The Unity’s web-log.

Slave trade Middelburg Commerce Company

The Republic of the United Netherlands was involved in the so-called triangle trade: trade goods were traded in Africa for people, gold and ivory. The Africans were sold as slaves to work on the plantations in the ‘New World’. The ships departed with new cargo to the homeland. The people of Zeeland were also responsible for a large portion of this triangle trade. Thanks to the MCC archives, in the eighteenth century the company mainly conducted slave trade, much is known about the triangle trade. The MCC archives have been saved exceptionally well and complete. In 2011 it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list Memory of the World.

The Zeeland Archives maintains and is digitalizing the MCC archives. With the voyage of the slave ship The Unity via the web-log, the Zeeland Archives asks attention for archives in general and the archives of the MCC in particular.

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Further information

For more information about the Zeeland Archives educational website: Slave voyage aboard The Unity | Slavenreis van de Eenigheid, you may contact Mrs. Anneke van Waarden-Koets, coordinator education & expositions, telephone +31 (0)118 678 800, E-mail: educatie@zeeuwsarchief.nl.

Zeeland Archives | P.O. box 70, 4330 AB Middelburg | Hofplein 16, 4331 CK Middelburg | The Netherlands | telephone +31 (0)118 67800 | fax +31 (0)118 628 094 | E-mail info@zeeuwsarchief.nl | www.zeeuwsarchief.nl.

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