It was tough being a businessman in the early 1800’s. The price of slaves was going out of sight and so many respectable pillars of the community found they had to go into the slave-breeding business just to make ends meet. It wasn’t all tea and crumpets on the plantation, ya know!
Clive.. I found this rather lengthy article on a blog. It doesn’t have many sources properly laid out, but it still looks like a well done overview of the development of the slave trade. Would you have a read and comment please?
THE BRITISH ROLE IN THE TRANS-ATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE
The trans-Atlantic slave trade undoubtedly culminated in one of the most inhumane atrocities in history. However, unlike subsequent human holocausts, the de-population experienced by the African continent from 1550-1850 is unique as it was initiated, conducted, and abolished with full agreement from all controlling bodies on all sides.
The trans-Atlantic slave trade coincided in time with the rise of industrialisation and free trade on the European continent, and contrary to popular belief, the removal of millions of people from Africa was not a mass abduction by European aggressors (African armies were too strong to allow this), but a legitimate business deal between European traders and African leaders, who initially encouraged the trade as a fair exchange of European goods for African captives. From the seventh century onwards, and long before European arrival, both internal and long-distance slave trading (to northern Islamic African states and the Middle East) had been an integral part of African society as part of trade agreements.
This was made possible due to the lack of a prison system in Africa, so if an African committed a crime they were liable to endure a temporary period of servitude as punishment, and could be retained or sold on by the owner as desired (even though the slave would still remain free in the community). It was only once the Europeans arrived and offered more favourable terms than any other traders that emphasis began to shift to the trans-Atlantic trade.
… continue reading this article at Rec-Ignition Blog (link here)