Which sodding century?

Now it is becoming the perhaps unexpected centre of a pan-Caribbean move to redress one of the great horrors of the 19th century: the transatlantic slave trade.

The 17th or the 18th perhaps, but not the 19th I think?

19 thoughts on “Which sodding century?”

  1. The Abolitionists in Britain didn’t get their way until the early part of the 19th century, and simply abolishing it didn’t somehow stop the slave trade overnight. Only the US Civil War brought a real end to the transatlantic trade.

    Tim adds: Err, no, not really. US banned importation of slaves in 1808.

  2. We abolished it on British ships in 1807, but it continued for other nations’ ships for some time.

    1817 we persuaded the Spanish and Portuguese to abolish the slave trade north of the equator, and to permit the Royal Navy to enforce that (with some restrictions), but they retained the South Atlantic slave trade to supply their own colonies.

    In 1824 we declared slavery equivalent to piracy, allowing the Royal Navy to seize non-British slave ships.

    So it went on for some time into the 19th century, first legally and then illegally (the last American to be hanged for slave trading was in 1862), and 30% of slaves shipped across the Atlantic were in the 19th century.

    But most of the trade was in the 18th century. In the 18th century it was legal, normal and expanding; in the 19th century it was gradually being wiped out. So yes, primarily an 18th century thing rather than 19th century.

    Useful details here:
    http://www.royalnavalmuseum.org/visit_see_victory_cfexhibition_timepost1807.htm
    and here:
    http://www.slaverysite.com/Body/facts%20and%20figures.htm

  3. So Comrade Ralph will be going after the various tribal chiefs and assets in W.Africa who organised the dry land sourcing of product?

    hmmm… thought not.

    The victimhood card played yet again – surely not?

  4. One advantage of the Muslim slave trade across the Sahara was that it was common to castrate the males, accept the death rate, and march the survivors north. So there won’t be descendants of those chaps around to sue. There will be descendants of the women, of course.

    (I read this account in a History Book so it may not be true. A study of the y chromosomes of North African males would shed some might on it.)

  5. “Reparation doesn’t totally and necessarily mean financial compensation,” he says. “It is about recognising a wrong, about recognising that slavery was an injustice against humanity. And about us retrieving our history.”

    Christ on a bike. I’m pretty sure that one of my ancestors got raped by a centurion or a hun at some point or lost a husband fighting the Armada or had to quit France because of religious persecution. Where’s my fucking compo?

    I’ll accept reparations on one condition. That you get full reparations and that includes burning whatever citizenship papers you have and getting on a plane to Ghana or Senegal.

    Seriously, anyone who got shipped out of Africa got a shitty deal, but generations later their descendants got a far better life than those left behind. So, stop being cocks about it.

  6. Stig-

    From the Graun’s comment thread:

    By the way, as a Bahamian, I feel like kissing every Englishman I come across when I reflect that, thanks to the slave trade, I live in the Bahamas rather than Nigeria (the land of my African forebears).

  7. What Stigler said. Also this could open the floodgates to something even worse than slavery: annoying cold calls like the ones asking if you’ve claimed your PPI back.

  8. Hmm, wonder what they’ll do to the West African coastal tribes who hunted for the tribes in the interior to sell to the white men?

    Equality and all, yah?

  9. It is about recognising a wrong, about recognising that slavery was an injustice against humanity.

    Fuck me, is there a white man on the planet who hasn’t recognized this already?! Who was the last person of any prominence to say that slavery was all fine and dandy?

  10. Just remember that everything evil was at it’s very worst just before the latest possible generation of ‘fellow travellers’ had it stopped. And the people that they stopped doing it were white, male and either imperialists or neo-liberals.

    Mere history is not just sexist, it is irrelevant. Only facts that support progress are admissible. Long live the Maoist proletariat. Down with the man!

  11. So Much For Subtlety

    Tim Newman – “Fuck me, is there a white man on the planet who hasn’t recognized this already?!”

    The key word being White. There is no shortage of British Muslims who claim slavery is part of God’s law and can never be abolished.

    “Who was the last person of any prominence to say that slavery was all fine and dandy?”

    Jacques Soustelle leaps to mind. Of course he said it about *Aztec* slavery. Which was apparently fine. A fairly common viewpoint in modern academia when dealing with non-Western slavery.

  12. I’m waiting for the Occupy team to jump on the anti-slavery bandwagon. They join any campaign that stands up for an oppressed minority so I’m sure they will put the full weight of their social media campaigns behind it.

  13. “Seriously, anyone who got shipped out of Africa got a shitty deal, but generations later their descendants got a far better life than those left behind. So, stop being cocks about it.”

    Seriously…? Look, with everybody getting their knickers in a twist about a politician being a politician at least don’t go down the same stupid road.

    You just can not compare present-day west-coast Africa with one that might have been without the massively evil Atlantic slave trade. It’s like watching someone dragging some kids out of a house before burning it down with the rest of the kids’ family in it, and saying that the perpetrators did the kids a favour because otherwise they wouldn’t have had a place to live.

    ‘cocks’ is a good description, just wrongly targeted.

  14. You just can not compare present-day west-coast Africa with one that might have been without the massively evil Atlantic slave trade

    Well no, in the sense that you can’t realistically compare something that does exist with something that doesn’t. Not sure that’s all that helpful.

    Tim’s made the point about tort before, though, which is that the purpose of redress is to take both parties back to the state they were in before the wrong was committed. If that’s not desireable, you don’t get to claim that you should get lots of redress anyway as well as keeping any current advantages. We know slavery was massively evil. But, and I really do think this is the key point here, the people who did it aren’t alive and neither are the people to whom it was done. So wanting to be ‘compensated’ carries about as much moral weight as demanding French compensation for 1066, or Roman compensation for AD43.

  15. “But, and I really do think this is the key point here, the people who did it aren’t alive and neither are the people to whom it was done. ”

    Unarguably, but you are assuming that claims are to be made against individuals and not institutions. If claims are against existing institutions that profited from the slave trade, then your point is not so strong.

    But I’m really not making a judgement on the value of the claims, I was just pointing out that ‘you can’t realistically compare something that does exist with something that doesn’t’. Glad you agree with me.

  16. What should be compesated though, is the damage done to the Caribbean sugar industry when we joined the EEC. Now reparations CAN be made there to put us all back where we were can’t they.

  17. So Much For Subtlety

    Doug – “Seriously…? Look, with everybody getting their knickers in a twist about a politician being a politician at least don’t go down the same stupid road.”

    It is not a politician being a politician. It is a leftist turd who is using the usual “let’s guilt trip White liberals until they give us lots of dosh”. Assuming he is not, of course, part of the ever popular “White people are just evil” school of thought.

    It makes as much sense blaming modern Brits for slavery as it does to blame all Jews for killing Christ.

    “You just can not compare present-day west-coast Africa with one that might have been without the massively evil Atlantic slave trade.”

    Sure. It may be better off. They did get paid for those slaves after all. But as we all agree, we can’t tell one way or the other.

    “It’s like watching someone dragging some kids out of a house before burning it down with the rest of the kids’ family in it, and saying that the perpetrators did the kids a favour because otherwise they wouldn’t have had a place to live.”

    You assume that the slave trade set the house on fire. If you look around at the history of Africa, you find a lot of societies built on slavery. Not much of which had anything to do with the West at all. Nigeria, for instance, is basically the Sokoto Caliphate, which the British liked, linked with the Coast, which they did not. The Caliphate basically existed in order to raid other Africans for slaves. At one point, some parts of it not only relied on slave agriculture – slaves making up about a third to a half of the population – but the government relied on slave officials and a large part of the Army was made up of slave soldiers. The point being that none of it had anything to do with the West at all. Even the guns they got came from Libya.

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