Why did it take so long to abolish the Slave Trade?
Define: Slave Trade
“The procuring, transporting, and selling of human beings as slaves, in particular the former trade in African blacks as slaves by European countries and North America’’
Arguably the Slave Trade makes up one of the most disagreeable periods of European, American and African history. Its brutalities went on from the 16th until the early 19th centuries; black slaves totalling between 9 and 11 million were removed from their homeland and brought to America (the New World,) against their will. Forced to preform back-breaking labour, under inhumane conditions, otherwise face a punishment such as: whipping or branding, the process of abolition was a slow and gradual one. Throughout this essay I will identify the causes of why it took so long to abolish the slave trade and focus on the arguments surrounding the debate regarding abolition.
A key factor of why it took so long to abolish the Slave Trade was the economic benefits it brought to Britain; the slave trade has even been linked by some historians, for example, Eric Williams to Britain’s Industrial Revolution. During the 18th century Lancashire became famous for its mills and textile factories which turned raw cotton into cloth. Much of this cotton was imported from America, from plantations where it had been grown and picked by enslaved Africans. The cloth made in the likes of Lancashire was then exported to British colonies including some parts of Africa and India. Birmingham became the centre of the arms trade to Africa during the Transatlantic Slave Trade with over 4000 gun makers. They began exporting guns in 1698 as a means of buying slaves, and also as a method of enforcing the Slave Trade. Sugar cane was described as ‘King Sugar’ in the Caribbean, where it became the most widely produced crop. Many are aware that the sugar plantations were amidst the most brutal and dangerous in terms of...