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ss triple helix - autumn 2007,  Abolition - The struggle to abolish slavery in the British Colonies (Book Review)

Abolition - The struggle to abolish slavery in the British Colonies (Book Review)

Richard S Reddie - Lion 2007 - £9.99 Pb 235pp - ISBN 0 74595 2291

British colonial slavery was finally outlawed in 1838 after 276 years. The British were not the first to start this outrage, but they were the first to end it. Abolition is a well presented book. Richard Reddie describes three types of African slavery: Trans-Saharan slavery, African indigenous Chattel slavery, and the infamous Transatlantic Triangular slave trade. In addition to Wilberforce, he pays tribute to the Quakers, Thomas Clarkson and Olaudah Equiano, John Newton and John Wesley.

Bristol, Liverpool and London were the main British profiteering seaports. Surprisingly, famous Elizabethans such as Sir Francis Drake and Sir John Hawkins (who transported 1200 slaves) profited from the slave trade, as did Queen Elizabeth I herself. The Transatlantic slave trade started in earnest under Charles II around 1662 with the development of the West Indian Colonies.

Crucial dates are 1807 (the ending of transatlantic slavery), 1833 (the total abolition of colonial slavery) and 1838 (final freedom from the deceptive apprenticeship system). The book is full of little known facts and makes fascinating reading.

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