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Madge Dresser

Controversial philanthropist and merchant involved in the slave trade. He was the Bristol‐born son of a Bristol merchant who spent his early life in London, but it is in Bristol that he is most famous. A staunch Anglican and Tory, he was briefly MP for the city in 1710. His huge donations to church renovation and school building projects, mainly but not exclusively in Bristol, ensured his reputation as the city's greatest benefactor, as his major statue in the centre and his fine tomb by Michael Rysbrack attest. Several Bristol streets, schools, buildings, and venerable local charities still bear his name, and his birthday is still honoured in civic celebrations.

Colston s relevance to black history lies in the fact that he was involved in the British slave trade and in the trade of slave produced goods By the 1670s he was a City of London merchant trading ...

Article

Trevor Hall

and his elder son, Diego Columbus (1479?–1526), governor of Hispaniola during the first recorded revolt by enslaved Africans in the Americas, both had significant connections to Africa. The elder Columbus, known as Cristoforo Colombo in Italian and Cristóbal Colón in Spanish, remains a mysterious historic figure, even though, in the twentieth century alone, more than 250 scholarly articles and books were written on his origins (Sale, The Conquest of Paradise). Over a dozen birthdates have been claimed for him as well as at least twenty-five nationalities (Catz, p.83). Most biographers agree, though, that he was born in the Italian port of Genoa, the eldest son of Domenico Colombo, a wool worker and merchant, and Susanna Fontanarossa.

The sources also agree that, from about 1477 to 1485 Columbus and his brother Bartolemeu were mariners in Portugal involved in trade with West Africa Very little has been written ...

Article

Cecily Jones

Queen of England and patron of slave‐trading ventures.

1.Genesis of the British slave trade

2.Africans in Elizabethan England

3.Scapegoating ‘Blackamoors’

4.Attempts to expel Blacks

Article

David Dabydeen

Slave owner, instigator of the ‘coolie trade’, and father of the British prime minister William Ewart Gladstone (1809–98). Sir John Gladstone was a leading member of the West Indian Association of Liverpool, a group of plantation owners and merchants trading with the West Indies in slave‐produced commodities. He owned sugar estates in Jamaica and British Guiana and was a passionate opponent of abolition. In 1830, in a series of last‐ditch attempts to persuade the government not to end West Indian slavery, Gladstone (then a member of Parliament and spokesman for the West India interest) argued that slavery was normal in primitive societies, and that West Indian Blacks had peculiar constitutions, enabling them to work easily under a tropical sun. He held up the dreadful prospect of freed slaves slaughtering the smaller white populations.

In 1833 Gladstone was deputed by Liverpool's West Indian interest ...

Article

Erin D. Somerville

The first Englishman to transport African slaves across the Atlantic. The son of a sea merchant and Mayor of Plymouth, Hawkins inherited the family sea business after his father's death. After early voyages to the Canary Islands, he moved to London in 1560 to seek support for voyages to the West Indian colonies, then under tight Spanish control.

Hawkins's first slave trading voyage departed for the west coast of Africa in October 1562. Upon arrival in Upper Guinea, Hawkins raided Portuguese ships for African slaves and other merchandise. Three hundred slaves were brought to Hispaniola, where he illegally sold them to English planters. The financial gains of the expedition were so extensive that Queen Elizabeth I supported an equally profitable second voyage in 1564, which moved over 400 slaves from Sierra Leone. A third slaving voyage in 1567 also supported by the Queen was not as successful ...

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Rafael Chambouleyron

also known as José Lopes Espínola, freeborn African from the archipelago of Cape Verde who was probably an Indian slave trader and a military leader in the late-seventeenth- and early-eighteenth-century Portuguese Amazon region. José Lopes’s deeds in northern Brazil reveal the roles played by Africans, along with Indians and some mestizos, as middlemen in the vast colonial hinterland. They also point out the Atlantic connections of the internal Indian slave trade in the Amazon.

Although there is no information about Lopes’s arrival in colonial Portuguese America, the Cape Verde islands were an important stopover for those who traveled from Lisbon to the north of colonial Brazil. During the last decade of the seventeenth century, and especially after 1693 the slave trade from the Guinea Coast to the Amazon region through Cape Verde increased It is more than likely that Lopes embarked on one of the many ships bringing in ...

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John Gilmore

Clergyman of the Church of England who led what he later considered to be a reprobate youth and worked in the slave trade. It was while on a slaving voyage (1748–9) that he experienced a religious conversion. Nevertheless, he continued to work in the slave trade, and made three more voyages before retiring from the sea in 1754. He became widely known as an evangelical Christian, and was eventually ordained as a clergyman of the Church of England in 1764, serving first in the parish of Olney in Buckinghamshire, and later, from 1780 until his death, at St Mary Woolnoth in London.

At Olney, Newton became a close friend of the poet William Cowper, and together they wrote the collection known as the Olney Hymns. Newton's own contributions include the words to some of the best known hymns in the English language ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

runaway slave and slave-raiding warlord, was born with the name Koko around 1750 in the town of Kalangba, later located in the Gbendembu-Gowahun chiefdom in the Sierra Leonean district of Bombali. He belonged to the Loko ethnic community.

According to oral and written accounts Smart accidentally killed one of his brothers and had to flee from Kalangba as a result A group of raiders seized the young man and sold him off to British traders based at Bunce Island on the coast of Sierra Leone Instead of being sold to the Americas like so many unfortunate Africans who were kept in bondage on Bunce Island Gumbu ended up working for British traders His English masters were so impressed by his trading skills that they dubbed him Smart and he used this name for the rest of his life The English traders regularly advanced Smart trade goods such as cloth and ...

Article

Ray A. Kea

Cape Coast, Gold Coast (later Ghana), trader-broker and officer holder, was also referred to in the documents as “Abee Coffu Jantie Seniees,” “Jan Snees,” “Janque Senece,” or “Johan von Sinesen.” The time and place of his birth are not known. Information about him comes from contemporary trading company records (principally Danish, Dutch, and English) and published texts, which cover a period from the 1640s to the 1670s.

Jantie Snees came from a commoner background and is probably to be identified with a man named Jantie van roeye or Jantie son of the boatman who lived in Kormantse a Fante coastal town where the Dutch West Indies Company had a fort Snees was employed by the company as a trading servant or broker in the 1640s By the late 1650s he was a rich merchant living in Little Komenda a coastal town in the Eguafo polity He was one of the ...

Article

a slave trader born in Brazil, lived a half-century in coastal West Africa. He allied himself to Dahomey’s King Gezo (c. 1818–1858 whom he helped to power and fostered a Portuguese speaking community that had close links to Brazil and played key roles in nineteenth and twentieth century Dahomey Benin Gezo gave Souza the nickname Chacha which evolved into an inherited title still in use in Bénin Made sole commercial agent for the king in the port of Ouidah Whydah he developed a lifestyle comparable to that of big men or caboceers in the kingdom and for a time was immensely wealthy though he died deeply in debt In part because he so thoroughly embraced local culture and in part because he spawned an influential family that continues to be active in West African politics intellectual life and commerce Souza and his history are typically told with adjectives such ...

Article

John Gilmore

Poet born in Jamaica, the son of John and Dorothy Williams, who were free black people. John Williams was a former slave who had been freed by the will of his master, Colonel John Bourden (a prominent local figure who died in 1697), and who subsequently became a successful merchant, whose activities included moneylending on an extensive scale, and trade between Jamaica and Britain.

As a young man, Francis Williams lived in Britain, possibly for several years, and may have been entrusted with the British end of his father's business concerns. On 8 August 1721 he was admitted as a member of Lincoln s Inn while there is no evidence to suggest that he was ever called to the Bar or practised as a lawyer the Inns of Court often functioned in this period as a sort of finishing school for young men of gentlemanly status who ...