I'm writing a novel based on a trade ship crew during the colonial era and there many adventures, what are some must knows of colonial era? I was thinking of having free african slaves in my crew but would that be historically accurate?
>going the inclusive, non offensive route
Please don't. Be accurate, be gritty, call them colored folk. Remember Mel's quote about his own character in The Patriot:
"I would have made him a slave owner. Not to just to please audiences is a cop-out."
it's an American trade ship, the cargo is actually spices and ivory that was gotten from Africa, I don't really have a specific year but late 1700s I was also thinking of having them contact some african tribe that had no contact with europeans.
Go back to /lit/.
Also many pirate ships freed slaves they captured to join the crew, if you're interested. Perhaps use that as a contrast where the "criminals" respected modern human rights more than the "lawkeepers" (merchant ships and navy ships).
Read "Two Years Before the Mast" by Henry Dana. It's a diary of his two-year trip on a sailing ship. He talks a lot about how common sailors were treated on merchant ships, and what their everyday lives were like.
Project Gutenberg link: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/4277
Better link with PDF download: https://archive.org/details/twoyearsbeforema02dana