PortCities London

London and the transatlantic slave trade

18th-century peak

The 'asiento' and the South Sea Company

Coat of Arms of the South Sea Company.
View full size imageCoat of arms of the South Sea Company. © NMM
In 1713, when the Treaty of Utrecht was drawn up to end the War of the Spanish Succession, Britain gained the 'asiento'. The 'asiento' was the much-prized right to carry enslaved Africans to the Spanish Americas. 

The British government sold this privilege to the South Sea Company (SSC) for £7.5 million - an enormous sum. But the SSC suffered the same problems of illegal 'interlopers' as the