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Slave Trade & the Industrial Revolution

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Slave Trade & the Industrial Revolution

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  • July 4, 2007
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The Atlantic slave trade was a key driving force to the industrial revolution in Britain

Britain experienced a huge industrial development from 1750 onwards. This development led to Britain being one of the wealthiest countries in the world. The changes and development happened at the same period of time that the slave trade was at its peak and Britain was one of the countries most heavily involved. Britain also played the biggest role in the trade out of any other European country. Is this merely coincidence or is there a connection between these two? Was the slave trade causing Britain's growth in economy and industrial development? Seeing as the ports, such as the ports in Bristol and Liverpool became wealthy, more jobs were created, and individuals who became wealthy from the slave trade invested their money into the development of industries, it is safe to say that the Atlantic slave trade played the main role in the industrial revolution.

By the end of the 17th century an enormous amount of slaves were being transported by the British, twice as many slaves as their closest competitors, the Dutch. In the 18th century about 1 100 ships were fitted out in England for the slave trade. There are also estimates that about 3 million people were transported into slavery in the 18th century. Because of this, the economy benefited hugely and from the profits made, Britain was able to afford the development in the industry. In the triangular trade, things were beginning to be on demand from the British, such as glassware, copper and guns. The products sold to the people were sold at a about three times their original price meaning a huge profit was being made. The profits brought in had a very positive effect on the economy growth. This therefore leads us to belief that the triangular trade played an important role in the rise of Britain's economy.

Many of the ports, such as Liverpool, became very wealthy during the slave trade. This was mainly because of the...