How Important Was the Slave Trade to the British Economy?

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The slave trade was very important to the British economy. Without the slave trade, the triangular trade would not have taken place. This is because there would have been no reason to trade slaves from Africa for goods in the West Indies and the USA. Because there were so many slaves being traded, there was plenty of sugar being exported from the sugar plantations to Britain (3,750 tons in 1951 to 9,525 tons in 1669) due to the increase in labour. This trade of sugar had a big impact on the British economy. Because of the large quantities of sugar being produced by African slaves, sugar was able to become a staple food in Britain. “The poorest English farm labourer’s wife took sugar in her tea” which suggests that even the poorest of…show more content…
More work was available for British sailors as there were frequent voyages to Africa to gain slaves. This enabled the sailors to earn money from work as well as steal items from slaves. The British government really gained from the slave trade due to factors such as sugar tax because sugar was in high demand. Liverpool is an example of a place in Britain that really benefited from the slave trade. Liverpool was able to gain 12 million pounds from 878 voyages and the sale of 30,000 African slaves. This money helped greatly towards reshaping Liverpool’s infrastructure and kick starting the industrial revolution. The slave trade made Liverpool the second city of the British Empire as well as turning Liverpool from a struggling port to one of the most richest and successful trading centers in the world. Liverpool gained 90% of Britain’s share of the slave trade which helped to build buildings such as the Town Hall. However, sometimes the slave trade wasn’t profitable and voyages would often come back losing money. “My concern in it was not profitable to my employers: there were gainful voyages, but the losing voyages were though more numerous.” For example, the firm of Giraud et Raim-baud of Nantes bought a ship for 6,000 livres. The initial cost came to 156,000 and the slaves and goods sold for 366,000 livres. Overall the profit was 210,000 livres (135%). The slave trade was seen as a lottery to some as many
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