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Why were the British involved in the slave trade?

60 second histories
Live experience

This video covers:  Some of the reasons the British were involved in the slave trade and a quote from William Wilberforce's parlimentary speech about the abolition of slavery.

One way of looking at the reasons the slave trade existed is to look at what the slaves produced; commodities like sugar, tobacco and cotton. Although these products should have been classed as luxury goods, people regarded them as essentials, not caring how they were produced. The trading companies who owned the ships and slaves made an absolute fortune in profit, not only from buying and selling the slaves themselves but also by trading the goods they produced so cheaply. I believe the slave trade existed purely because of greed and it was because of this I made my speech in parliament. Now, let me see, how did it go? Ah yes, “The grand object of my parliamentary existence is the abolition of the slave trade. Before this great cause all others dwindle in my eyes. If it pleases God to honour me so far, may I be the instrument of stopping such a course of wickedness and cruelty as never before disgraced a Christian country.” But it took me over forty years to bring an end to slavery within the British Empire.
Eras: 
British Empire
Topics: 
British Empire
Trade
Slavery
Character: 
William Wilberforce
Key words: 
History video, video, William Wilberforce, abolition, slavery, abolition movement, greed