PortCities London
UKBristolHartlepoolLiverpoolLondonSouthampton
You are here:  PortCities London home > People and places > Port communities
Text Only About this Site Feedback
Explore this site
About maritime London
Early port
Tudor and Stuart port
18th-century port
19th-century port
20th-century port
People and places
Port communities
Crime and punishment
Leisure, health and housing
Thames art, literature and architecture
The working Thames
London's docks and shipping
Trades, industries and institutions
Port of science and discovery
Historical events
Ceremony and catastrophe
London in war and conflict
Fun and games
Things to do
Timeline games
Matching games
Send an e-card

London and the transatlantic slave trade

Introduction
The Elizabethan slave trade
17th-century expansion
18th-century peak
The horror of the slave trade
The rights of Africans in Britain
The abolition campaigns
Final balance sheet
*
Send this story to a friendSend this story to a friend
Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version
View this story in picturesView this story in pictures

Final balance sheet

The role of Britain and London in perspective

Liverpool taken from the opposite side of the river
View full size imageLiverpool 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 compared

Between 1699 and 1807, British and British colonial ports
The West Indiaman Britannia.
View full size imageThe West Indiaman Britannia. Trade with the West Indies steadily decreased after the abolition of slavery. © NMM 
mounted 12,103 slaving voyages:
  • 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.

Useful links:

Page 8 of 8. Previous page

*
*
Glossary
Indiaman
Port

Find out more
Atlantic Worlds
A gallery exploring the relationships between Britain, Africa and the Americas, 1600-1850
*
*
*
Hot spotOnline slavery trail
Discover the slavery trail through Maritime Greenwich
*
*
*
TrailPrintable slavery trail
Print and take the slavery trail through Maritime Greenwich
*
*
*
The Bristol slave trade
Explore the Portcities Bristol site
*
*
*
The Liverpool slave trade
Explore the Portcities Liverpool site
*
*
*
Fact fileIgnatius Sancho
A freed slave and talented composer and poet
*
*
*
Fact fileOlaudah Equiano
The slave who bought his freedom and fought the slave trade
*
*
*
Fact fileMabruki “Cupid”
A freed East African slave who served with the Royal Navy and in the merchant marine
*
*
8
National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory GreenwichNew Opportunities Fund 
Legal & CopyrightPartner sites:BristolHartlepoolLiverpoolSouthamptonAbout this SiteFeedbackText Only