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Slavery & Abolition

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John Geipel on how the enforced diaspora of the slave trade shaped South America’s largest nation.

Jos Damen tells the stories of two unusual men who lived a century apart in the Dutch colony at Elmina in West Africa; a poet who became a tax inspector and a former slave who argued that slavery did not contradict ideas of Christian freedom.

Volume: 62 Issue: 8 2012

After bringing slavery in the West Indies to an end in 1834, Britons differed over how to treat other forms of oppression around the world, says Richard Huzzey.

Volume: 62 Issue: 12 2012

For much of the British Civil Wars the colony of Barbados remained neutral, allowing both Parliamentarian and Royalist exiles to run their plantations and trade side by side. But with the collapse of the king’s cause in the late 1640s matters took a violent turn, as Matthew Parker relates.

Volume: 61 Issue: 7 2011

James Walvin praises Arnold Whitridge's study of the Atlantic slave trade, first published in History Today in 1958

Volume: 61 Issue: 7 2011

William Beckford was the model of an 18th-century progressive and aesthete. But the wealth that allowed him to live such a lifestyle came from the slaves he exploited in his Caribbean holdings. Robert J. Gemmett looks at how an apparently civilised man sought to justify his hypocrisy.

Volume: 61 Issue: 10 2011

Emma Christopher analyses the recent treatment of the sensitive issue of slavery and abolition, both by historians and popular culture at large.

Volume: 60 Issue: 10 2010

The author Graham Greene journeyed to West Africa in 1935, ostensibly to write a travel book. But, claims Tim Butcher, it was a cover for a spy mission on behalf of the British anti-slavery movement which was investigating allegations that Liberia, a state born as a refuge for freed US slaves, was guilty of enslaving its own people.

Volume: 60 Issue: 10 2010

The West Indies is home to a large and vibrant South Asian population descended from indentured labourers who worked the plantations after the abolition of slavery. The arrival of the first, from Bengal in 1838, is recorded in the journal of a young doctor who accompanied them, as Brigid Wells describes.

Volume: 59 Issue 10 2009

Jean-François Mouhot traces a link between climate change and slavery, and suggests that reliance on fossil fuels has made slave owners of us all.


Kevin Shillington looks at the impact on Africa of the slave trade, and its abolition 200 years ago this month.

Volume: 57 Issue: 3 2007

This West African state was a focus of the slave trade for centuries, and the first African colony to win independence, exactly fifty years ago. Graham Gendall Norton finds lots of history to explore.

Volume: 57 Issue: 3 2007

Gervase Phillips examines the extent and significance of an often misunderstood phenomenon.

Issue: 59 2007

The story of the British anti-slavery and abolitionist movements has been dominated by the figures of Clarkson and Wilberforce. Yet, the success of the Slave Trade Act of 1807 and the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 benefited from the votes of Irish MPs. Christine Kinealy shows how Daniel O’Connell, Irish campaigner for Catholic Emancipation and Repeal of the Act of Union, played a prominent role in the anti-slavery movement.

Volume: 57 Issue: 12 2007

Britain’s first Anti-Slavery Act was ineffective, says Marika Sherwood – British slave traders found ways around it to carry on their profitable activities, while British commerce flourished through the import of slave-grown cotton.

Volume: 57 Issue: 3 2007

Richard Cavendish describes the massacre of the 'slave hounds' at the settlement of Pottawatomie Creek on May 24th, 1856.

Volume: 56 Issue: 5 2006

Graham Gendall Norton travels in search of those who fought for the rights of all.

Volume: 55 Issue: 7 2005

Bill Rolston describes the impact of an erstwhile slave, who toured the Emerald Isle speaking out against slavery in 1845.

Volume: 53 Issue: 6 2003

Angela V. John looks at the uncomfortably long and close links between slavery and the cocoa trade.

Volume: 52 Issue: 6 2002

James Walvin reviews current ideas about the vast network of slavery that shaped British and world history for more than two centuries.

Volume: 52 Issue: 3 2002

Harriet Beecher Stowe's influential work first appeared in the National Era on June 5th, 1851.

Volume: 51 Issue: 6 2001

Richard Cavendish charts the early life of the abolitionist John Brown, born on May 9th, 1800.

Volume: 50 Issue: 5 2000

Ghana's slaving past, long regarded as too sensitive to even discuss, is now becoming a lively issue. A group of Ghanaians, led by lawyers and tribal chiefs, have convened an Africa-wide meeting to seek 'retribution and compensation for the crime of slavery’.

Volume: 49 Issue: 8 1999

John Geipel on how the enforced diaspora of the slave trade shaped South America’s largest nation.

Volume: 47 Issue: 8 1997

Graham Norton looks at dilapidated forts and castles in West Africa

Volume: 45 Issue: 10 1995

Robin Blackburn describes how the message of liberte, egalite, fraternite, acted as crucial catalyst for race and class uprisings in Europe's Caribbean colonies.

Volume: 41 Issue: 11 1991

Emancipation in British Guiana brought an influx of indentured labourers from India, whose working and living conditions were destructive of caste and culture, and often as harsh as those of the slaves they replaced.

Volume: 36 Issue: 4 1986

The English philanthropist was born on August 24th, 1759. Ian Bradley explains how his reputation as a champion of the abolition of slavery, evangelical and politician has undergone a series of reassessments.

Volume: 33 Issue: 7 1983

'Thrice had his foot Domingo's island prest, Midst horrid wars and fierce barbarian wiles; Thrice had his blood repelled the yellow pest That stalks, gigantic, through the Western Isles!' ran the epitaph to one of the more than 20,000 British soldiers sent to St. Domingue in the 1790s.

Volume: 32 Issue: 7 1982

Stephen Usherwood shows how Lord Mansfield employed his precise legal mind and his reasoned humanitarianism to expose the iniquities of slavery - and thus helped pave the way for its abolition.

Volume: 31 Issue: 3 1981

Derek Severn describes how the assault secured the release of many slaves and much ransom money but Barbary pirates remained a menace until the French annexation.

Volume: 28 Issue: 1 1978

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