“Legacies of British Slave-Ownership”, A UCL Database

The long and at times disputed effects of the Atlantic Slave Trade of 1526 to 1807 is not only ancient history to many, but an open wound to some who live in it’s long term civil and social effects.

'Slave Emancipation; Or, John Bull Gulled Out Of Twenty Millions'.

So when it came to my attention that there was a database detailing the compensation claims of almost every slave owner at the point of slavery’s end, I thought it was worthy of investigation.

Following a £20million compensation pot given out by the British Government after 1833 to former slave owners, University College London has pooled together the resources from not only the British National Archives staged in London, but the collective resources of the British Caribbean, Mauritius and the Cape.

Today’s estimated value of that compensation pot was £17billion. Not a penny was given to a slave.

It is a rather comprehensive database too. Currently tracking compensation claims back to 1763, the Legacies of British Slave-Ownership database covers 4000 estates and the individuals, firms and nations who took park, allowing you to search owners from their names, the companies they worked for, addresses and/or ‘notes’ on that person.

The database also allows you to find information on topics and people if you don’t know what to search, allowing you to browse the legacies of the commercial, cultural, historical, imperial, physical and political effects the slave trade had in the British Caribbean, Mauritius and the Cape.

This far -reaching and nearly complete database provided by UCL will be featured in the upcoming documentary; ‘Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners’, hosted by the BBC and will air Wednesday 15th July.

So if you want to look up the family history of your family, friends or enemies and their involvement in the exchange of human slavery, you can visit the UCL, Legacies of British Slave Ownership website: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/ and if you want to make the figures into something more relevant, the ‘measuring worth’ website (http://www.measuringworth.com/ppoweruk/) has proven to be helpful.


This is something that should be run alongside all those websites allowing people to research their family history
I suspect more people that would care to admit t , will find ancestors or even their very direct ancestral family benefited from or was actively involved in the slave trade.

Thanks for writing this brief summary, and giving those links.

Compensation for the slave ‘trade’ is summed up by “… £17bn. Not a penny was given to a slave”
How grossly misleading the words of that initial phrase. And how evidently actions spoke then, and do still speak, louder than any words.

I would like to find out more regarding my grandma grandpa . I have done my own DNA test and found out that my grandparents were from west Africa originally but brought to Antigua my dad was brought to England when he was nine he is now 78 would like to learn more about this

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