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*Migration Histories > Caribbean > Origins
* Slavery 
 
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These unusual photographs were found in an admirality file dated 1869.
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These unusual photographs were found in an admirality file dated 1869. The file related to the 'policing' of illegal slave trading after abolition. It is likely that these slaves were from West Africa and that the vessel had been intercepted.
* Moving Here catalogue reference (PRO) FO 84/1310
Slavery and the slave trade laid the foundations for the Caribbean as it is today. The islands were first settled by outsiders during the 16th century, during the competitive struggle between European powers for trade supremacy, and the exploitation of newly discovered resources. In the latter part of the century, the export of sugar became highly profitable, and the cultivation of sugar became a major industry. The riches earned from this trade helped to fund the industrial revolution in Britain and the other European countries involved.

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A slave register from Antigua dated 1869.
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A slave register from Antigua dated 1869. Registers are organised by the name of the slave owner and details given about the slaves are simply name (usually the first name only), gender, colour and 'reputed age'. In the left hand column you can see names such as London, Ned and Solomon. There are over 1600 such registers in the National Archives. Have a closer look at one of them.
* Moving Here catalogue reference (PRO) T 71/244
But growing sugar cane and producing sugar from it was complicated. A plantation was a large unit that had to combine agriculture and the mechanised processing of the sugar cane. This semi-industrial process required an intensive use of labour, and this was the motivating force behind the massive expansion of the slave trade in the 17th and 18th centuries.

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Creators: Mike Phillips

 
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