Michael Zeuske

Michael Zeuske is Senior Research Professor at the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies (BCDSS / University of Bonn) and Emeritus Professor of Iberian and Latin American History at the University of Cologne, Germany. In 2007, he was a research fellow at the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition (Yale University, New Haven). He is a leading expert on Atlantic history, the history of the Caribbean, especially Cuba and Venezuela, and best known for his studies on world slavery, the slave trade, and biographies of enslaved peoples.

He is the author of 17 books, 20 edited books and almost 200 scientific articles.

Publications (selection):


2019. Handbuch Geschichte der Sklaverei. Eine Globalgeschichte von den Anfängen bis heute. 2 Bde., De Gruyter, New York/Berlin 2019, (segunda edición stark überarbeitete und erweiterte 2. Auflage).

2018. Sklaverei. Eine Menschheitsgeschichte. Von der Steinzeit bis heute, Stuttgart: Reclam.

2018 Esclavitud. Un historia de la humanidad, Pamplona: Katakrak, 2018.

2016. Kleine Geschichte Kubas. Beck, München 2016; (cuarta edición)

2015.Sklavenhändler, Negreros und Atlantikkreolen. Eine Weltgeschichte des Sklavenhandels im atlantischen Raum. Berlin/ Boston: De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2015.


2017. "La Habana and Nueva Orleans/ New Orleans – Two Metropolis of Slave Trade“, in: Ette, Ottmar / Müller, Gesine (eds.), New Orleans and the Global South. Caribbean, Creolization, Carnival, Hildesheim/ Zürich/ New York: Olms, pp. 337-375.

2016. con Sanz, Vicent. "Microhistoria de esclavos y esclavas“, in Sanz; Zeuske (eds.), Millars. Espai i Història Vol. XLII/1 (2017) (=número monográfico dedicado a ‘Microhistoria de esclavas y esclavos’), pp. 9-21.

2016. “Coolies – Asiáticos and Chinos: Global Dimensions of Second Slavery”, in: Damir-Geilsdorf, Sabine; Lindner, Ulrike; Müller, Gesine; Tappe, Oliver; Zeuske (eds.), Bonded Labour: Global and Comparative Perspectives (18th-21st Century), Bielefeld: transcript Verlag, 2016, S. 35-57 (online:

2016. "Francisco de Arango y Parreño: Representación (1811). Oder: Der ‚Adam Smith der Plantagensklaverei in den Amerikas‘ und das Verhältnis von ‚Rasse‘ und Klasse“, in: Stieglitz, Olaf / Martschukat, Jürgen (eds.): race & sex: Eine Geschichte der Neuzeit. 49 Schlüsseltexte aus vier Jahrhunderten neu gelesen, Berlin: Neofelis Verlag, pp 353-357.

2016. "Sklaven und Tabak in der atlantischen Weltgeschichte“, in: Historische Zeitschrift (HZ) Bd. 303:2, pp 315-348 (online: (26. Oktober 2016)).

2016. "Alexander von Humboldt, die Sklavereien in den Amerikas und das ‚Tagebuch Havanna 1804‘“, (60 S.) (online: (04 de octubre de 2016)).


Research project as a fellow of CALAS:

Title: Slavery in New Spain around 1800 / Alexander von Humboldt on wealth and slave owners

Abstract: New Spain / Mexico was one of the richest and most economically successful regions in the world around 1800. Although it is generally represented as a caste society during the colony, it was also a society of slavery, among which the servitude of the Africans was very massive. Furthermore, slavery already played an important role in pre-colonial societies and during the Conquest. There was a multitude of other slavery, such as incursion slavery (Comanches, Apaches, Panis), many forms of domestic, child, and female slavery (mainly in Mexico City), the slavery of indigenous peoples (" the other slavery "); there was also slavery among indigenous peoples; the Chinese enslaved (mainly through the Philippines or the Manila trade, with the consequent smuggling of people), illegal slavery, but also port and urban military slavery of people from Africa and their descendants (especially in Veracruz and Acapulco), as well as the slavery of Africans and their descendants on plantations (often for the production of sugar). In addition, it is necessary to re-evaluate the resistance against slavery on the part of the indigenous people and the importance of slaves, freedmen, and their descendants in silver mining and mining companies

In line with CALAS' crisis approach, the essay will first attempt to draw a portrait of Mexican society around 1800 as a society of slavery (I emphasize the plural). Second, will delve into the role of slaves and Afro-Mexicans (including women) during the outbreak of independence and the great social eruptions that accompany (one of the first decrees of Hidalgo was the abolition of slavery). Third, the essay attempts to sketch from the diaries of Alexander von Humboldt the economic and social profile of the slave-owning elites of Mexico around 1800 in the sense of the "poverty and wealth" approach.