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The first open-access digital encyclopaedia on sociability in Europe throughout the long-eighteenth century

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DIGITENS network event: Of Eighteenth-Century Merchants and the Enslaved: Records at The National Archives

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National Archives, Kew - Wednesday 25 May, 14:00 - 15:30 5brit. time) - Online event

This Digitens workshop will explore some of the rich eighteenth-century records on mercantile history and the history of slavery at The National Archives. Merchant activity was bound up with various sociable practices with their credit and trustworthiness based on commercial connections forged through networks, reputations, and relationships. Records can build up knowledge of mercantile networks and merchant’s social activity, but, in the context of slavery, they also conceal the experience of those they enslaved and imprisoned. The session will see presentations from records specialists at The National Archives on two key collections and the potential they hold for researchers of the long eighteenth century. This will be followed by two research presentations – on Black French prisoners of war and shipping during the Revolutionary wars - by scholars engaged in using Kew’s records in their research.


Spotlight on TNA Collections
* ‘Approaching the Records of the Royal African Company’, Philippa Hellawell, Eighteenth Century Records Specialist, The National Archives
* ‘The Prize Papers’, Oliver Finnegan, Prize Paper Records Specialist, The National Archives


Using TNA’s Records
* ‘Portchester’s Black French prisoners of war 1796-1801: Using Kew’s archives to recover their story’, Abigail Coppins, University of Warwick
*‘The Prize papers and neutral shipping during the Revolutionary Wars (1793-1795)’, Pierrick Pourchasse, Université de Bretagne Occidentale