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Slave Trade & the Industrial Revolution

Essay by review  •  March 6, 2011  •  Essay  •  877 Words (4 Pages)  •  2,104 Views

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The Atlantic slave trade was a key driving force to the industrial revolution in Britain

Britain experienced a huge industrial development from 1750 onwards. This development led to Britain being one of the wealthiest countries in the world. The changes and development happened at the same period of time that the slave trade was at its peak and Britain was one of the countries most heavily involved. Britain also played the biggest role in the trade out of any other European country. Is this merely coincidence or is there a connection between these two? Was the slave trade causing Britain's growth in economy and industrial development? Seeing as the ports, such as the ports in Bristol and Liverpool became wealthy, more jobs were created, and individuals who became wealthy from the slave trade invested their money into the development of industries, it is safe to say that the Atlantic slave trade played the main role in the industrial revolution.

By the end of the 17th century an enormous amount of slaves were being transported by the British, twice as many slaves as their closest competitors, the Dutch. In the 18th century about 1 100 ships were fitted out in England for the slave trade. There are also estimates that about 3 million people were transported into slavery in the 18th century. Because of this, the economy benefited hugely and from the profits made, Britain was able to afford the development in the industry. In the triangular trade, things were beginning to be on demand from the British, such as glassware, copper and guns. The products sold to the people were sold at a about three times their original price meaning a huge profit was being made. The profits brought in had a very positive effect on the economy growth. This therefore leads us to belief that the triangular trade played an important role in the rise of Britain's economy.

Many of the ports, such as Liverpool, became very wealthy during the slave trade. This was mainly because of the tax price on goods that were brought in and out of these ports. London and Bristol were the most important slave trading cities but were soon overtaken by Liverpool, which meant that Liverpool was making amazing profits from the trade. Liverpool soon became the largest slave trading port in the Atlantic slave trade system. From this, Liverpool gained a lot of money from taxes on imports and exports which was hugely beneficial to the economy. The government gained about 5% of their income from the taxes paid on these ports which meant that the slave trade was accumulating significant amounts if money. Many jobs were also created by the trade as dockworkers, sailmakers, sailors and ship reporters were needed. Because of the job increase, the economy grew because of taxes and there were fewer unemployed people.

From all the money that was being accumulated from the slave trade, Britain was able to finance a lot of new technology, such as the steam engine. This proves that the slave trade was highly involved in the industrial revolution. Huge profits were being made by investors, merchants and plantation owners and they were investing these

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