Project Overview

Project Context

In 1833 Parliament finally abolished slavery in the British Caribbean, Mauritius and the Cape. The slave trade had been abolished in 1807, but it had taken another 26 years to effect the emancipation of the enslaved. However, in place of slavery the negotiated settlement established a system of apprenticeship, tying the newly freed men and women into another form of unfree labour for fixed terms. It also granted £20 million in compensation, to be paid by British taxpayers to the former slave-owners. That compensation money provided the starting point for our first project. We are now tracking back to 1763 the ownership histories of the 4000 or so estates identified in that project.

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The Project

At the core of the project is a database containing the identity of all slave-owners in the British Caribbean at the time slavery ended. As the project unfolded, we amassed, analysed and incorporated information about the activities, affiliations and legacies of all the British slave-owners on the database, building the Encyclopedia of British Slave-Owners, which has now been made available online...

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How you can contribute

We are also very interested to receive information about known or possible slave-owners in the British Empire. We know from experience that much material is in the hands of institutions, families and individuals which bears on the history of slave-ownership, and we are eager to hear from you if you have records or papers, especially journals, which are relevant to the aims of our project...

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