“This is a landmark study given its clear status as easily the best researched and most comprehensive book on the British slave trade to date.”―David Eltis, coauthor of Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade
“A masterful account of one of the most brutal moments in the history of capitalist modernity. Radburn brilliantly details all aspects of the process of commodification of human beings in the Liverpool slave trade, vividly depicting the long journeys endured by Africans in Africa, across the Atlantic, and in the Americas.”―Leonardo Marques, Universidade Federal Fluminense
During the eighteenth century, Britain’s slave trade exploded in size. Formerly a small and geographically constricted business, the trade had, by the eve of the American Revolution, grown into a transatlantic system through which fifty thousand men, women, and children were enslaved every year.
In this wide-ranging history, Nicholas Radburn explains how thousands of merchants collectively transformed the slave trade by devising highly efficient but violent new business methods. African brokers developed commercial infrastructure that facilitated the enslavement and sale of millions of people. Britons invented shipping methods that quelled enslaved people’s constant resistance on the Middle Passage. And American slave traders formulated brutal techniques through which shiploads of people could be quickly sold to colonial buyers. Truly Atlantic-wide in its vision, this study shows how the slave trade dragged millions of people into its terrible vortex and became one of the most important phenomena in world history.
Nicholas Radburn is a senior lecturer in Atlantic history at Lancaster University and co-editor of www.slavevoyages.org. He lives in Lancaster which, after Bristol, Liverpool and London, was Britain’s fourth largest slave-trading port.