ERC grant for research into Swedish slavery

3 February 2023

Fredrik Thomasson, researcher at the Department of History at Uppsala University, has received the ERC Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). This grant relates to a project on Swedish colonial history on the island of Saint Barthélemy in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Fredrik Thomasson, researcher at the Department
of History at Uppsala University.

The five-year project will start in January 2024 and will examine Swedish participation in Caribbean slavery and colonialism on the island of Saint Barthélemy. Fredrik Thomasson will now be able to employ two doctoral students and two postdocs for the project thanks to the ERC grant.

"This will mean greater stability in the research. Now we can continue and delve more deeply into the research that has been ongoing for the past decade," says Fredrik Thomasson.

Historical studies of Caribbean colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade do not usually include Sweden. But following the acquisition of Saint Barthélemy in 1784, Sweden was involved in the trade and enslavement of captive Africans until Swedish slavery was abolished in 1847.

Digitised data on the slave trade

Fredrik Thomasson's ongoing project has previously digitised the Swedish colonial archives in France and Sweden, which will be made available for research next year. The new digital archive provides the starting point for the five-year research project.

"We want to shift the emphasis of the historiography from the European colonisers to building knowledge about the enslaved and the free Afro-Caribbean majority population," says Fredrik Thomasson.

As part of the project, five sub-projects are planned on aspects of Swedish Caribbean history: slavery laws and justice, slave trade, abolition of slavery, colonial demography and colonial governance.

European Research Council (ERC)

The European Research Council (ERC) was established in 2007 as the first EU funding organisation for excellent researchers. Each year, the ERC awards grants to very best and most creative researchers. The ERC awards four different types of grant: Staring Grants, Consolidator Grants, Advanced Grants and Synergy Grants.