Topics: Slavery, African slave trade, Atlantic slave trade Pages: 4 (1280 words) Published: May 9, 2014
Between 1698 and 1807 there were many factors caused Bristol to fluctuate as a slave trading port. Partly due to variations in the slave trade itself but also the competition of ports like London and Liverpool. As the second largest port after London, Bristol already had the facilities necessary to start trading in slaves when the Royal African Company’s monopoly ended. Liverpool did not which meant it was not initially a major competitor against Bristol. However, it developed the facilities quickly and became a major port in the slave trade; Liverpool’s emergence eventually led to the downfall of Bristol as a slave trading port. The first factor that led to the rise of Bristol was the end of the Royal African Company’s monopoly in 1698 following pressure from the Society of Merchant Venturers who protested against it. This was significant in the rise of Bristol as it enabled the local merchants to participate in a trade that was previously illegal to them. Bristol’s port was able to gather momentum and superiority quickly because the port had already been ‘illegally trading to Africa for slaves at least as early as the 1670s’ . This meant that Bristol had already established international trade contacts and was prepared for slave trading activity. From the end of the monopoly in 1698 to the abolition of the slave trade in 1807 ‘some 2,108 slaving ventures were fitted out in Bristol’ . Therefore, it is possible to suggest that the end of the Royal African Company’s dominance was a substantially important factor in Bristol’s rise, as it instigated the rise of the port and enabled Bristol to establish itself as a slaving port throughout the eighteenth century. However, it is feasible to suggest that the rise of Bristol was to some extent hindered by the outbreak of the Spanish War of Succession in 1701. The deterring effect of this war is emphasised by the fact that no more than four vessels were departing from Bristol each year during the first decade of the...
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