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Parliament and the British Slave Trade: Overview

Find out about Parliament's relationship with the transatlantic slave trade, and the public campaign that finally abolished it.

Parliament and commerce

The growth in the importance of the sugar trade to England's economy

Trade routes and the slave trade

By the end of the 17th century Parliament had supervised the development of English colonial possessions in the Americas

What happened next

Although the British ended their slave trade in 1807, slavery itself continued in the British colonies until full emancipation in 1833

The first parliamentary debates

In 1788 the Prime Minister commissioned a report on the slave trade and the debates that followed led to legislation limiting the numbers of enslaved Africans carried from Africa to the West Indies

Trading with Africa

Trading with Africa soon became hugely lucrative at the heart of which was the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans