What was slavery’s impact on England and West Africa?

New World slavery had an immense impact on every part of the ‘triangular trade’ route. In this lesson, we shall explore how both England and West Africa were affected by slavery, and consider the major winners and losers of the transatlantic slave trade.

You can download the worksheet for today’s lesson below. If you are unable to download the worksheet, complete the tasks in the yellow boxes.

– I can identify the key figures in the New World slavery business.
– I can explain who profited and who lost out from New World slavery.
– I can justify why New World slavery has had a long-term impact on both England and West Africa.

Enslaved = Made into a slave
Legacy = Something handed down from the past. The legacy of slavery was devastating for most Africans, for example.

On your worksheet, write down three facts about the triangular trade and the Middle Passage. If you struggle, look back over your notes from the last lesson.

TASK ONE: How did Britain’s cities profit from slavery?

Watch the video below. It explains how cities such as Liverpool, Glasgow and Bristol became rich through slavery.

As you are watching the video, answer the following questions:
1) Why was Liverpool known as the slave trading capital of Britain?
2) How did Sir Thomas Johnson help Liverpool become rich?
3) Why is it said that black people helped build British cities?
4) Why was the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol torn down by protesters in 2020?

TASK TWO: Who profited and who lost out from the transatlantic slave trade?

Read the information below to understand who profited and lost out from the transatlantic slave trade.

For each of the following people, decide if they profited or lost out, and explain why:
– British slave traders
– The British people
– The West African people
– West African slave traders
– West African leaders

Who was affected by transatlantic slavery?

New World slavery had huge implications for everybody involved. The horrors of the slave trade ripped up the lives of countless people in West Africa, whilst a small number of slave traders and merchants from Europe became incredibly wealthy.

Having a stake in the slave trade could be extremely lucrative (something that helps you make a lot of money). Men such as Sir Thomas Johnson and Foster Cunliffe invested in slave voyages to help them import goods produced by slaves, such as tobacco, sugar and rum. These goods were sold for massive profits in Britain, and made these men richer. Their growing wealth helped them gain positions of power. Foster Cunliffe, for example, became mayor of Liverpool three times, whilst Sir Thomas Johnson was knighted in 1708.

Sir Thomas Johnson became very wealthy by funding the slave trade.

This helped many people in England also become wealthier. The introduction of luxury goods made by slaves, such as tobacco and rum, helped English merchants sell these goods for a cheap price and still make a profit. Banks made huge sums of money from the new trading activity from the New World. Factories also became hugely successful by making items, such as guns, that slave traders could sell to West African slave traders and leaders, which made them even more money. It is true to say that England became an extremely wealthy country through its involvement in slavery.

Yet this wealth in England came at a massive cost to those living in West Africa. As Europe became more dominant on slavery from West Africa, more and more people became enslaved in the region. The African slave traders that the Europeans traded with for slaves began to travel further in land to capture enough slaves. Due to this, the scale and the violence of the slave trade increased. Furthermore, Europeans often traded guns in exchange for the African slaves, which meant that there were more guns in Africa. More guns meant more war. More war meant that more slaves were captured. A vicious cycle was created.

A 19th-century engraving showing slaves in Africa being walked to the coast by African slave traders. They would then be sold to European traders. Those too weak to walk would be killed or left behind to die.

It is not just the lives of the millions of people that were enslaved that were negatively affected. Those left behind in Africa were affected by famine as there were not enough farmers left. Entire communities disappeared as people fled away from the slave trading routes. West African leaders that initially agreed to the slave trade to make money saw their tribes and communities fade away, and there was little they could do about it. Some historians argue that the present-day underdevelopment of certain regions of Africa is partly a legacy of the slave trade.

TASK THREE: Why has slavery had such a big impact on Europe and Africa today?

Answer the following questions using a PEE structure. Use the structure guide below.

Can you decide what the biggest consequence of transatlantic slavery has been on West Africa?

Can you decide what the biggest consequence of transatlantic slavery has been on Britain?

POINT: The biggest consequence of transatlantic slave trade on West Africa/Britain was
EVIDENCE: This was… [explain what happened]
EXPLANATION: This was a significant consequence of the slave trade because… [explain what impact it has had on the region].

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