For too long the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade in 1807 and slavery in the British colonies in the Americas in 1833 have dominated the ways in which Britons have (mis)remembered slavery. The Legacies of British Slave-ownership project at UCL set out to re-think the history of Britain’s long involvement with the slavery business across the Atlantic through exploring British slave-owners. When slavery was abolished, £20 million was paid in compensation to the owners for the loss of what was defined as their property. Almost half this money came to Britons. We followed the money, establishing who got it and, in so far as has been possible, what did they do with it and with the power they derived from it? Was it invested in railways and banking, or spent on country houses, or used to buy art works? How significant is this history to the establishment of racial hierarchies both in Britain and the Caribbean? Compensation was our starting point, but in exploring the longer histories of British ownership of land and people in the Caribbean the deep entanglements between metropole and colony have been excavated.
This lecture is part of the Connected Sociologies module on Colonial Global Economy: https://connectedsociologies.org/curr…
For further resources on this topic visit: https://connectedsociologies.org/curr…
Legacies of British Slave-ownership Databases
Legacies of British Slave-ownership http://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs
Questions for Discussion
How should the history of slavery be remembered in Britain?
What is meant by the term ‘the slavery business’?
What evidence can you find both of slave-owners and abolitionists where you live?