in St Kitts
Europeans were involved in the transportation
of enslaved Africans to the Americas. Among those
involved were people from Portugal, Spain, Britain,
France, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden.
the 1640's Britain was heavily involved in this
"trade" through private trading companies. The
largest was the London based Royal African Company
which had a monopoly of Britain's slave trade
from 1672 to 1698. By the early 1700's the main
base ports for slave merchants were:
In Scotland, Glasgow also drew on this trade to
increase it's wealth after the Act of Union of
England and Scotland in 1707. From about 1730
Liverpool began to dominate the slave trade not
only in England but also in Europe and this continued
until its abolition in 1807. The British role
in this African Diaspora was central to shaping
the Caribbean and North America, since the British
carried more Africans across the Atlantic than
any other nation.
first leg of this triangle of trade was the loading
of various goods onto ships in England. These
goods consisted of muskets, gunpowder, copper....
These were usually transported by the ships from
England to the west coast of Africa.
The goods were traded for enslaved Africans who
were loaded onto the ships.
The ships then took their human cargo to the The
American mainland or the Caribbean islands where
they were sold.
The money from the sale was then used to purchase
tobacco, sugar or rum which was then transported
the same ships back to their home port in England
where they were sold.
transportation of enslaved Africans to the islands
of St. Kitts and Nevis began soon after Europeans
began to colonise islands.
The first recorded presence of African slaves
in Nevis can be found in the will of James Hewitt
dated the 9th August 1649.
He left half a plantation in Gingerland and another
plantation in Indian Castle to his wife which
also included three indentured servants and four
"nigroes". One of the slaves was also noted to
be "out in rebellion", another way of describing
a slave who was a runaway
The purchasing of enslaved Africans was finally
outlawed in the British Empire by an Act of Parliament
in 1807. The abolition of slavery as an institution
was not achieved until an Act of Parliament became
law from the 1st August 1834.
Emancipation was followed by four years of apprenticeship
which was put in place to protect the plantation
owners from losing their labour force.
a result the 1st August is now celebrated as a public
holiday and is called "Emancipation Day".
of large-scale introduction of African slave labour
in the British Caribbean for sugar production.
of the Slave Trade Act was passed by the British
Parliament of Parliament on 25th March 1807. It
outlawed the slave trade within the British
A passionate speech by Lord Greenville stated that the slave trade was "contrary to the
principles of justice, humanity and sound policy"
and admonished his fellow parliamentarians for
"not having abolished the trade long ago".
Act was carried in the House of Lords by 41 votes
to 20 and the House of Commons by 114 to 15.
British captain who was caught transporting slaves
was fined £100 for every slave found on board
ship. However, this law did not stop the British
slave trade. If slave-ships were in danger of
being captured by the British navy, captains often
reduced the fines they had to pay by ordering
the slaves to be thrown into the sea.
declares slave trading piracy, thus punishable
Slavery Abolition Act was
passed by the British Parliament on 24th August
The Act did not become law until 1st August 1834
when all slaves in the British colonies were to
become emancipated, and slavery was to be abolished
throughout the British possessions abroad.
This date is remembered and celebrated as a Public
Holiday called "Emancipation Day" in St. Kitts
and Nevis and most of the ex-British colonies
in the Caribbean.
measures were brought in to soften the economic
blow to the Plantation Owners:
first was the 5 year apprenticeship system.
second was that the British government paid compensation
to the slave owners. The amount involved depended
on the number of slaves held. One example was
the Bishop of Exeter's 665 slaves resulted in
him receiving £12,700.
Assemblies introduce legislation to abolish the
System of Apprenticeship.
against vagrancy and squatting attempt to keep
the social and labour system of the plantation
economy intact, with varying results.