Attitudes to slavery

Nottinghamshire and Slavery

Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands was home to some of the plantation investors and slaveholders, who prior to the Slave Trade Act, traded in slaves.


Look at the source to the right of this page, 'Slave Account, 19 March 1663'. It was written a long time ago but you can still make out some modern words. The source appears to be a list or inventory. Human beings are listed, just like property or any other kind of goods, to be bought, sold and exchanged. The account shows that a person's worth could be decided by the colour of their skin, their gender, age or their equivalent value in other goods such as sugar.

The Slave Trade Act of 1807 outlawed the trading of slaves in the British Empire, but the practice of slavery in the British Empire carried on until its eventually banning in 1833. During this time, campaigners fought to have slavery outlawed as the tide began to turn against the practice of slavery and public opinion changed. Anti-slavery campaigners used various methods to spread the word. Some of these are explored on the next page.


Discussion Points

The Slave Account shows that a person's worth could be decided by the colour of their skin, their gender or age. Today this is quite a shocking thing. Discuss why this is? What kind of laws protect us from being judged by these factors in modern life?

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