The Background Of The British Imperialism

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Throughout this essay the issue of British Imperialism will be addressed; nevertheless, it will be focus principally on the slavery, which it was abolished during that time. The term of “slave” as the Oxford dictionary says is “a person who is owned by another person and is forced to work for them; or a person who is so strongly influenced by something that they cannot live without it, or cannot make their own decisions” (Oxford University press, 2019).

First, it is worth considering knowing a little about British Imperialism. This event took place between the 17th and the 20th century. This was the second largest and one of the most important empire, before all this event happened, England had been against the Nordic, Scottish and Celts and thanks to Henry VIII the British Empire started.

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In terms of slavery, it has not been only in that period. Unfortunately, slavery has existed ever since because of the social hierarchy. It goes without saying that grow in the social hierarchy is one of the most important issues facing us from the beginning. Nevertheless, formerly was harder to be in the lowest classes than now and over time the difficulty of changing status has been declining.

On the one hand, when talking about slavery we can also find a bit of sexism on it. “Female slaves were often preferred to male slaves. This was probably because females were easier to control. They could also be used for sexual pleasures and rape.” (Farhad Malekian, 1881)

On the other hand, women were a principal reason to start the abolition of slavery; however, they were not the only ones:

“Scholars have long known that Quakers were a motive force behind and the first organizers of the abolition movement, but at the height of the cultural turn the role of religion in British abolition was either minimized or ignored. It is clear that women were key to abolitionist organization on both sides of the anglophone Atlantic, and that they were often inspired by, and certainly claimed authority for this political work through, their Christian beliefs. The importance of Christian beliefs to American abolitionism has never been in doubt, and now there is a clearer equivalence between the deeply interconnected American and British movements.” (George E. Boulukos, 2013)

In 1660, English monarch Charles II created the ‘Royal African Company’ in order to facilitate the slave trade:

“From the restoration of the monarchy until the abolition act of 1807 —the peak years of the slave trade ¬— British transatlantic slaving was either conducted by companies or by private traders. The two main companies involved in the British slave trade were the Royal African Company and the South Sea Company. The former was established by a royal charter granted by Charles II in 1672. It succeeded the Company of Royal Adventures Trading into Africa. […] The Royal African Company in theory held that monopoly until 1698, when William III and Parliament opened up the slave trade to private merchants in an explicit attack on monopolies held by chartered trading organizations.” (Kenneth Morgan, 2007)

During the existence of The Royal African Company, the company bought around 125,000 captives losing the 20 per cent on the Middle Passage; this term was used to the journey from the African coast to the Americas.

“The Middle Passage lasted for four, five or six weeks, and was associated with mortality and which slave resistance. In the first half of the eighteenth century around 20 per cent of the slaves taken on board English slaving vessels died en route to the Americas; after 1750, the mortality loss fell to 10 per cent and less. This was a higher loss of life on oceanic shipping vogages than occurred with other long-distance trades such as the shipment of convicts to Australia.” (Kenneth Morgan, 2007)

Obviously, enslaved people fought for freedom and we can find two rebellions ‘The Stono Rebellion’, in South Carolina in 1739; and ‘The New York Conspiracy Trials’, in New York City in 1741.  

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