Parliament and the British Slave Trade

Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries Parliament significantly shaped the progress and development of the transatlantic slave system. The Act of Parliament to abolish the British slave trade, passed on 25 March 1807, was the culmination of one of the first and most successful public campaigns in history.

Key dates

1641–1833: Parliament's involvement with the slave trade. A timeline of events.


Listen to poetry from abolitionists, extracts from the letters of the Black abolitionist, Olaudah Equiano, and dramatisations exploring the morality of slavery

Reflections and anecdotes

Discover what a Lord, a writer, a historian and an archivist think about the slavery related items in the Parliamentary collections, and read poems and letters by the students of Burntwood school

Further your research

Web resources on the history of the British slave trade.

From the Parliamentary Collections

Explore records from the Parliamentary Archives about the British Slave Trade

Historic Hansard

Read House of Commons Historic Hansard for debates from 1803-2005


You can access biographies from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography for free, online, using your local library card number (includes nine out of ten public libraries in the UK) or from within academic library and other subscribing networks.

Related information

Access details of millions of records from both Houses and other historical material relating to Parliament.