David Blight on the meaning of British participation in the slave trade
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Q: What does it mean for the British to actively start participating in the slave trade? And how do the establishment of colonies in the New World contribute to their activity?
A: Well, at first the British had a hard time morally participating in the African slave trade in the 17th century. In fact, the British often condemned other European powers like the Spanish, their traditional rivals, and the Portuguese and the French for participating so heavily in this trade in human flesh. But eventually as the economy particularly of Barbados and Jamaica in the Caribbean and then of the colonies in the South on the mainland of North American began to prosper and grow, by the middle of the 17th century and especially by the end of the 17th century over a period of generations, the moral qualms that the British tended to have about the slave trade eroded. David W. Blight
Professor of History and Black Studies
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