Africans’ Arrival to Great Britain

African men and women lived free and enslaved in Great Britain as early as the 12th century. Some were brought to train as interpreters to aid in trade relations between Africa and Britain. Others were brought from Africa, the Caribbean, or the Americas as the slave trade became more popular.

“The African” was literally a unit of currency due to the numbers of West African people who were captured by British traders between the 17th to 18th centuries. Smaller numbers of captured Africans were ferried into London, Liverpool, and Bristol on ships carrying:

  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Sugar
  • Fruit
  • Cotton
  • Rum
  • Wine
  • Tobacco

Those brought to the country as slaves labored merciless in the heat of the day. Others were brought as companions and later sold to preformed domestic services. Stereotypes were formed about the African descendants. In a hierarchy of social status they were placed next to domestic animals.

Time Line

  • In 1596, Queen Elizabeth I blamed the numbers of Africans to Britain for creating social problems and ordered all Africans to be deported.  This did not sit well for those who had become accustom to servants and free labor. Many of the Africans were free men and women.
  • In 1731, a law passed making it illegal for Africans to learn a trade, making it impossible to earn a living without sub coming to slavery.
  • In 1772, a court decision made it illegal to send an African living in Britain “back” into slavery. This law came as a result to a promise made to slaves living in America, who helped the British during the Revolution. It did not mean that slavery was illegal as many people misinterpreted, although many walked away from their enslavement.
  • In 1787, Britain “resettled” an estimated 400 free Africans to a settlement in Sierra Leone known as Freetown. “Resettlement” was done as a further attempt to rid Britain of Africans. They were joined in 1797 by freed Africans living in Jamaica and Nova Scotia.
  • In 1833, parliament passed the Slavery Abolition Act making it illegal to own slaves in Great Britain. Compensation was paid to the slave “owners”, yet there were no reparations made to the released African descendants.

By making it illegal to train people of African descent, Britain then made  many of the freed  victims of poverty.

One Response to “Africans’ Arrival to Great Britain”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by mikecarrol. mikecarrol said: RT @DeborahMazon Africans’ Arrival to Great Britain « Mijiza's Blog Africans’ Arrival to Great… […]

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