The Role of Slavery in the British Economy: The Impact of the Royal African Company

TLDR The Royal African Company played a significant role in the British economy by enslaving black Africans and transporting them to the Caribbean to work on sugar plantations. The demand for sugar in Europe led to the growth of the slave trade, with millions of Africans being transported across the Middle Passage.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 The episode discusses the role of slavery in the British economy, specifically focusing on the Royal African Company and its significant impact.
04:38 The Royal African Company was a royal crown enterprise, unlike other private enterprises, and in this system, black Africans were enslaved for life with no means of escape.
08:45 The transatlantic slave trade took place out of sight, with slaves being taken from West Africa to the Caribbean, and the products of their labor arriving back in Britain, which may explain the silence and lack of opposition to the practice for hundreds of years. The numbers involved in the transatlantic slave trade were on an industrial scale, with 12 million black Africans transported across the Middle Passage, of whom only 10% survived the journey.
12:46 The English, led by Sir John Hawkins, began their involvement in the slave trade in 1562 by taking around 300 slaves from West Africa to the Caribbean, where they were sold to the Spanish for profit.
16:50 The key to the success of the slave trade and the growth of slavery was the demand for sugar in Europe, which led to the establishment of sugar plantations in British colonies like the Caribbean.
20:45 The British initially turned to white workers, such as indentured servants, for labor in the new world, but they soon realized that this was not the most efficient form of labor due to high mortality rates and the workers' eventual freedom after their period of indenture, leading them to turn their gaze towards West Africa to fill the labor gap.
24:40 The British turned to native people, white indentured laborers, and convicts before turning their gaze towards Africa for an "inexhaustible supply of labor" to work the plantations, and there was no moral questioning of slavery at this time.
28:36 The English fleet expanded into the Mediterranean and established an English colony in Tangiers, while at the same time, the Royal Navy dominated the Caribbean for the first time, all of which laid the background for the Pirates of the Caribbean, and Charles II believed in the concept of monopoly, which also underpinned the East India Company.
32:27 The Royal Africa Company, dominated by the question of monopoly, was founded in 1660 as a means for the Stuart monarchy to finance the restoration, with the crown keeping the majority of the profits, and was initially focused on finding gold in West Africa before shifting its focus to the slave trade.
Categories: History

The Role of Slavery in the British Economy: The Impact of the Royal African Company

54. Royal African Company: Slavery Inc
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