In a watery grave off the coast of Florida lies the earliest slave ship ever recovered. The English-owned Henrietta Marie plied the waters from Europe to Africa and the New World, sinking in the year 1700. She has waited three hundred years to reveal her story. Taking the wreck of the ship as its dramatic heart, Spirits of the Passage presents the first general-interest history of the early years of the slave trade. Told in part from the decks and the cargo hold of a single merchant slaver, this powerful and fascinating story covers a period that has heretofore been largely the territory of scholars - the late seventeenth century, when the slave trade began a period of explosive growth. Spirits of the Passage describes the story of the largest forced migration in human history, with a powerful text that personalizes the experience of slavery in the most gripping way. Richly illustrated with artifacts found in the wreck along with etchings and paintings of the time, the book documents a tragic tale of human misery even as it reveals the strength of spirit that made survival possible for enslaved Africans. Included throughout are narratives of resistance and survival, many of them never before told. The mosaic of profiles breathes life into stories from all sides of the trade, stories that will contribute to a more complete understanding of the dilemmas of the time. As integral parts of this important volume, profiles, anecdotes, illustrations, and incisive narrative all combine to create a compelling account of one of history's most important, and shattering, moments.