The role of Britain and London in perspective
|Liverpool taken from the opposite side of the river. © NMM|
Between 1662 and 1807 British and British colonial ships purchased an estimated 3,415,500 Africans. Of this number, 2,964,800 survived the 'middle passage' and were sold into slavery in the Americas.
The transatlantic slave trade was the largest forced migration in human history and completely changed Africa, the Americas and Europe. Only Portugal/Brazil transported more Africans across the Atlantic than Britain.
The ports comparedBetween 1699 and 1807, British and British colonial ports
mounted 12,103 slaving voyages:
|The West Indiaman Britannia. Trade with the West Indies steadily decreased after the abolition of slavery. © NMM |
- 3,351 from London
- 2,105 from Bristol
- 5,199 from Liverpool.
Until the 1730s, London dominated the British trade in enslaved people. It continued to send ships to West Africa until the end of the trade in 1807. Because of the sheer size of London and the scale of the port’s activities, it is often forgotten that the capital was a major slaving centre.