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Article

David Northrup

Atlantic merchant, was born and lived in Duke Town, a part of the trading community of Old Calabar, near the Cross River in what is now southeastern Nigeria. The names of his parents are unknown. His name is also given as Ntiero Edem Efiom. He married Awa Ofiong, whom he called his “dear wife,” as well as two other wives whose names are not known. His only known child was a son, Duke Antera.

Antera grew up in a family prominent in the marketing of merchandise brought by Europeans in exchange for African slaves and other goods In addition to the local Efik language the young Antera learned to speak English through contact with the British captains and crew who called at Old Calabar The fact that he could also read and write English suggests he may have received some formal education in England as did the sons of other ...

Article

The triangular shipping route of the slave trade largely formed the banking industry in England. British goods such as textiles, arms, and iron were exchanged for slaves in Africa, which were then transported to the West Indies and traded for sugar, tobacco, cotton, spices, and rum. The triangular trade was a system of immense earnings, as every ship sailed with a profitable cargo. The wealth generated by the triangular trade brought increased affluence to the planters who cultivated the West Indian produce, the merchant capitalists who sold the slaves, and the industrial capitalists who produced the British goods, which in turn demanded new banking facilities and functions.

Primary of these new requirements was insurance Shipowners and slave merchants themselves insured early voyages travelling the triangular trade route However the increasing amount of bills drawn against West Indian merchants and accumulated wealth soon required large scale insurance schemes most often drawn ...

Article

Florencia Guzmán

accomplished master cobbler and organizer of a guild of shoemakers of color in Buenos Aires (Argentina) during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In 1793, with the objective of obtaining official recognition for this guild, he traveled to Spain, where he had a meeting with the royal authorities. While there he managed to obtain the permission he had fought so hard for, but he was prevented from carrying out his plans for the guild because of other restrictions. As a result, he became bitter and left Buenos Aires.

Baquero was born in Buenos Aires in 1748 and began working as an apprentice cobbler at the age of 12 Though no details are known about his parents it is clear that Baquero followed the custom of leaving his home and living with the family of a master cobbler whose scarce resources he shared After four years of working intensely as ...

Article

James Graham

Privateers operating from the coasts of North Africa. ‘Britons never will be slaves’, proclaimed James Thomson's ‘Rule Britannia’ (1740), but between the early 17th and early 18th century up to 20,000 white, Christian ‘Britons’ experienced capture and servitude at the hands of Barbary corsairs. The corsairs were licensed by the Islamic governments of the Barbary powers, Morocco, Algiers, Tripoli, and Tunisia, to attack the shipping of Christian countries in the Mediterranean and also as far north as the British and Irish coasts. While the majority of attacks took place at sea, corsairs also ventured into British coastal waters, and nocturnal raids on sleepy fishing villages in south‐west England and the south coast of Ireland were not unknown. In this way over 100 villagers from Baltimore, Ireland, were taken captive by Algerian pirates in 1631.

At one level symptomatic of political tensions between the Islamic regencies of the ...

Article

John Gilmore

Domestic servant to Samuel Johnson. He was born a slave in Jamaica, but his date of birth and original name are unknown. He was brought to England by Richard Bathurst, formerly a planter in Jamaica, who had him baptized and who gave him the name by which he is known. Bathurst sent him for some time to a school at Barton in Teesdale in Yorkshire, and his will (dated 1754) left Barber his freedom and £12.

By this date, probably in 1752, Barber had entered the service of Samuel Johnson, who was a friend of Bathurst's son (also Richard). The exact date, and how old Barber was at the time, are uncertain, but he was probably still a young boy. In 1756 he ran away and worked for about two years for a London apothecary though he returned to visit Johnson regularly during ...

Article

Jonathan Morley and Cassandra Adjei

City with historic links to the slave trade. The first guns to be exported to Africa in 1698 were manufactured in Birmingham, renowned for its metalworking; this triggered a growth in the city's industries, and by 1766, 100,000 guns a year were shipped, as well as other tools of the slave trade: manacles, chains, branding irons, thumbscrews, pincers, muzzles, and instruments for prising open the mouths of recalcitrant slaves to make them eat. Cheaply made flintlock muskets, the guns were often dangerous to their users, and contributed to the militarization of the continent: it has been estimated that 20 million went to Africa by 1907.

The city's Lunar Society (a group of freethinkers and radicals) included members who were vehement abolitionists. Thomas Day, from Lichfield, was co‐author with Joseph Bicknell of the poem The Dying Negro (1773 a famous tract that spoke of a ...

Article

Philip J. Havik

merchant and trader in Portuguese Guinea, present-day Guinea-Bissau, was born in the 1780s, in the town of Cacheu on the Guinea coast, into a family with strong connections to administration and commerce in the region. Her father, Manuel de Carvalho Alvarenga, was also Guinean-born; he was descended from Cape Verdeans who had settled there in the 1700s, acting as commanders of the ports of Cacheu, Farim, and Ziguinchor, who intermarried with African women. Her brother, Francisco de Carvalho Alvarenga, became an important trader and held posts in the Portuguese administration in the town of Ziguinchor in the Casamance region (part of Senegal since 1886 Her aunt Josefa de Carvalho Alvarenga was born in the Cape Verde islands and married wealthy officials and owned landed property and slaves in the archipelago Although Rosa de Carvalho Alvarenga s mother s name is unknown she was in all likelihood of Banhun origin ...

Article

Stewart King

was a free man of mixed race from the northern province of Saint-Domingue, the future Haiti. His family owned several dozen slaves and over a hundred acres of farmland. He was a military veteran who served in the American Revolution and in the colonial militia. During the early stages of the Haitian Revolution, he and Vincent Ogé led a free colored uprising in 1790.

Chavannes was born in 1748 in Grand-Rivière du Nord, a mountain valley located near the border with the Spanish colony of Saint-Domingue, the future Dominican Republic. The region was experiencing rapid economic growth in his youth, as coffee became an important crop. His parents were both members of prominent free mixed-race families in the region, and they built a prosperous coffee operation. Upon his father’s death before 1783 Jean Baptiste became the manager of the family s properties He was able to give his ...

Article

David Dabydeen

Journeymantailor and prominent leader of the Chartist movement. Cuffay was born in Chatham, Kent. His father, originally from St Kitts, had come to Britain as a roots on a British Warship. Cuffay became a journeyman tailor in his teens, but involvement in the strike by the Grand National Consolidated Trades Union in 1834 resulted in the loss of his job. Angered by this, he joined the movement in support of the People's Charter, advocating universal suffrage. He was militant in his left‐wing views, and in 1839 contributed to the founding of the Metropolitan Tailors' Charter Association. He also became a member of the Masters and Servants Bill Demonstration Committee, which opposed the power given to magistrates to imprison employees for two months based solely on the employer's statements. His involvement in the Chartist movement grew, and in 1842 he was elected the president of the London Chartists He ...

Article

Ian Read

small-scale slaveholder and owner of a small farm in northern Santos, a coastal município (township) in São Paulo, Brazil. Damazio was also a man of color, with a skin tone that was not too different from the slaves of his small holdings. As a pardo (brown or mulatto) and a slaveholder, Damazio was part of a common group in Brazil. Men and women like him show how slaveholding was viewed as a necessary precondition for social standing and economic production during the first half of the nineteenth century in Brazil, regardless of one’s color or even previous enslavement.

Damazio s farm was not far from Bertioga a small fishing village that mostly provided goods for the larger port city of Santos 12 miles 20 kilometers to the south Bertioga home of white fish in Tupi had once played an important role for Portugal s first settlement in the New World ...

Article

Karen N. Salt

was born in Jamaica to a local black or mixed-race woman, whose name is not recorded, and her white lover. Published records identify the father as the island’s then English attorney general, although this has not been verified by the historical record. Davidson also purportedly claimed to have a Scottish grandfather.

Davidson grew up in Jamaica, but was sent to Scotland at 14 (possibly by his father) to study law. He spent time in Edinburgh before journeying to Liverpool to apprentice with a lawyer. Fleeing this situation, he joined the British Navy. Once discharged, he studied mathematics at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. A few years later, he traveled south to England, staying briefly in Birmingham (and beginning a cabinet-making trade) before traveling to London.

Davidson experienced three major shifts in his life while in London marriage to widower Sarah Lane with whom he would have two sons in ...

Article

Shani Roper

was born on the island of St. Kitts in the British West Indies. Little is known about how he came to be in Falmouth, Virginia, in the 1770s. However, both the towns of Falmouth and Fredericksburg sat on the banks of the Rappahannock River and were bustling eighteenth-century port cities. Many ships leaving the Rappahannock traded goods and provisions in the West Indies. Jeffery Bolster (1997) argues that in the eighteenth century, enslaved Africans worked extensively on ships and schooners, thereby participating in the complex shipping network in the Americas. Many of these enslaved Africans were skilled seamen who were familiar with the geography of major ports throughout the region. Norman Schools (2010 suggests that it is possible that John DeBaptiste was one of many enslaved Africans from the Caribbean who arrived on these ships visiting the port and who either escaped or took residence in ...

Article

Georges E. Fouron

freedman who became a pioneer and fur trader and who is now hailed as the founder of the city of Chicago, was probably born in 1745 in the town of St. Marc in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (today, Haiti). Du Sable (sometimes rendered as du Sable or DuSable) was the son of a black captive from the Congo named Suzanne, and a French mariner and swashbuckler from Marseille, making him a mulatto in Haitian racial nomenclature. It is believed his father’s name was originally Point Dessaible and he later changed it to Du Sable. As was the practice during that period, to elevate their social status in the French colony, many French expatriates would place a “de” or “du” before their name to connote their high-class lineage.

Another much contested version by the historian Milo Milton Quaife claims that his father s name was Pierre He was born in ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

an influential trader in early nineteenth-century Sierra Leone, was born in the town of Wonkafong in the Sumbuya district near Conakry, Guinea, around 1770. His father, Fendu Modu, was a prominent merchant from the Susu ethnic community who also served as the chief of Wonkafong and advised the ruler of the small Sumbuya kingdom. Dala Modu first came to the fledgling British colony of Sierra Leone in 1794 with his father. Fendu Modu realized the commercial potential of the colony’s capital of Freetown, and so he sent his son and roughly fifty followers to the outskirts of this town in 1795 The community they established would become known as Dalamodiya in honor of Dala Modu Sumbuya was a major producer of white polished rice that was much in demand in Freetown and Fendu hoped to secure new markets for that crop This proved beneficial to the British administration ...

Article

In return for subsidies to the state, the Dutch West India Company was granted a monopoly of trade in the Americas and Africa, with the right of colonizing and of maintaining armed forces. The colonizing activities of the company were notable for the settlement of New Netherlands (later New York), Suriname, and Curaçao, An Island in the Netherlands Antilles. In Brazil the company took Bahia in 1623 but later lost it to the Spanish and Portuguese. The company established itself at Pernambuco and elsewhere until 1661, when it resigned all rights in the country. Armed forces of the Netherlands were used to enforce the sovereign rights of the company wherever possible and to plunder Spanish and Portuguese settlements worldwide.

The trading career of the Dutch West India Company was not as successful as that of its sister company, the Dutch East India Company. In 1674 it ...

Article

Lucy MacKeith

From as early as the 16th century, black people were employed in Britain as musicians and performers, and there was often an element of display in the employment of black servants, whose exotic appearance served to advertise their masters' wealth, colonial connections, or both.

Rather different was the way in which, particularly in the 18th and 19th centuries, there were cases of black people being displayed as exhibits to appeal to the curiosity of white viewers, especially if they were in some way out of the ordinary. Sometimes the curiosity was allegedly scientific, as with the ‘white boy’ (an albino child of African parents, born in Virginia in 1755) who was brought to Britain and ‘shewn before the Royal Society’ in London in January 1765 More often it was the result of the same sort of attitude that attracted paying customers to exhibitions of white people who were ...

Article

Glasgow  

Jacqueline Jenkinson

One of Britain's leading trading ports between the 17th and 20th centuries. Links between Glasgow and the black world originated through trade. In the late 17th century the merchant guilds of Glasgow added to its flourishing trade with the colonial tobacco plantations in mainland North America by forging trading connections with the West Indies. The Glasgow West India Association was founded in 1807. The Association spent many of its early years defending the slave trade interest. Glasgow was involved in the slave trade, but to a much smaller degree in comparison to the major slaving ports of Bristol, London, and Liverpool. Trade connections and the slave trade led to the creation of a permanent black presence in Glasgow by the late 18th century as black people arrived, settled, and married. One early black Glaswegian was David Cunningham lawfully born to Anthony a black labourer and ...

Article

Bruce L. Mouser

trader, traditional medical practitioner, and political arbiter, was born on the coast of Guinea-Conakry. She is also known as Elizabeth, Beth, and Liza Heard. Her likely father was a British merchant attached to commercial firms maintaining factories at Bance Island in the Sierra Leone River or on the nearby Iles de Los. It was customary for African headmen to arrange a husband/wife relationship for resident foreign “strangers”—of which Heard’s father was likely one. Her mother’s name and relationship to local leaders are unknown. At a young age, Betsy was recognized as exceptionally intelligent, and she was sent to Liverpool, where she was boarded and educated, with the expectation that she would return to the Windward Coast as an agent for European commerce and Liverpool interests.

By the 1790s Heard had established a commercial footing at Bereira on the southern Guinea Conakry coast At that time Bereira was a border ...

Article

Melinda Elder

Small port on the north‐west coast of England, favourably located to participate in the 18th‐century African slave trade, with clearances at their most prolific between 1750 and 1775 The port s direct trade with the Americas meanwhile largely accounts for Lancaster s historical black presence above all the result ...

Article

Laura Tabili

Indian and Caribbean workers employed in British shipping from the early 19th century.

1.Who were the Lascars?

2.Pay and conditions

3.Black seamen in British ships

4.Racial and gender divisions in maritime labour

5.Lascars, black seamen, and the National Union of Seamen

6.Significance