DESCRIPTION

Between the early seventeenth and early nineteenth centuries, British ships transported over three million enslaved Africans to the New World. By 1800 enslaved people could be found throughout the Western hemisphere, where most performed the physically demanding tasks required to grow, cultivate, and harvest agricultural commodities. The Atlantic slave system came under sustained criticism beginning in the 1780s, leading to the abolition of the slave trade in 1807 and the abolition of slavery in 1833. Despite antislavery becoming a central part of Britain’s imperial identity, the nation throughout the nineteenth century continued to economically benefit from unfree labour overseas in myriad mays, while social reformers used the trope of slavery to underscore social ills closer to home.