Un-Revising History

A shared Anglo-Saxon heritage includes Africa, the strongest trade, cultural, and economic link between the early history of England and the colonies that became the US.

England’s Liverpool was the global center of manufacture for the sailing ships called barks that were the transporters of significant numbers of the 10 million Africans transported thru the Middle Passage to the New World. Later Willian Wilberforce, MP, would oppose slavery, but the British Parliment granted the Royal African Company, (founded by the Stuarts, run by the Duke of York), an exclusive franchise to the African trade in 1660, finally opening the trade up to all comers by 1698.

An extremely rare illustration. 3 Castles, or forts for the capture, containment, and sale of slaves on Africa’s West Coast, drawn in panoramic view approaching from the sea. From a French illustration, 1890; in a text found in the National Library of France. Click and zoom browser to enlarge for better detail.

Major “castles,” European fortified forts, organized and conducted the trade on African shores. Those run by the British include Christianborg, Cape Coast, Elimina, and Bunce Island (Bunce is an English word for sudden, unexpected illicit wealth, a term used by 18th robbers and pickpockets). Bunce Island’s owner/investor, Richard Oswald and the American slave broker (his friend, they frequently corresponded), Henry Laurens, along with others on both sides, negotiated the terms of the Paris peace treaty ending the American Revolution.

The British were up to their cups in slavery as the fine museum at Liverpool shows, its full-size models drydocked with entry barred for not meeting modern sailing and space standards. The Royal African Company provided so much gold to the mint, the gold English coin, struck with Royal busts, stamped with the African elephant, was called the “guinea” after the African coast that was a main slave source. The Royal Navy enforced the blockade of 1807 going forward when both Britain and the US ended the Atlantic trade.


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