Wednesday, March 28, 2007

British Apology for Role in Slave Trade Stirs Controversey

Britain's efforts to acknowledge the role their nation played over the course of the Atlantic slave trade has drawn criticism from Jamaicans of African descent as well as UK citizens of all races from the various nations once considered part of the British Empire. Prime Minister Tony Blair's apology on behalf of England, created anger and resentment amongst some Jamaicans, many of whom feel an apology is scant compensation for centuries of entrenched brutality, forced labor and countless violations of human rights. Read how the dark legacy of slavery still, to this day impacts the lives of people who's descendants were forcibly removed from Africa and sold as property.

It is difficult for many Americans of all races and nationalities to truly grasp the scope of slavery and it's role in commerce, banking, trade and even education. For instance, Brown University is one of many institutions partly built and financed from profits from the Atlantic Slave trade, take a few moments to read more about the Brown family's role in the slave trade.

The historian and writer Hugh Thomas is one of many experts who actually consider the Atlantic Slave trade the world's first example of global multi-national corporations. Dutch, Venetian and various European banking families were the financiers who bankrolled the Portuguese, Spanish and eventually British trading companies who sent ships laden with goods to the West Coast of Africa. Once there the goods were traded for slaves, the ships, their cargo holds packed with Africans chained next and often on top of one another, sailed West to South America, Central America, the Caribbean and the East coast of North America

The Africans who survived the Middle Passage were then sold, and the money was used to purchase goods like indigo, sugar and cotton which was then shipped back East before the process started again. It is staggering to say the least and could, in the author's view constitute perhaps the greatest crime against humanity in history. If you really want to read the definitive history, Culturegeist suggests The Slave Trade, by Hugh Thomas an immense and eye-opening work of well written and meticulously documented research that will change your view of world history.

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