“The first English slave-trading expedition was that of Sir John Hawkins in 1562. Like so many Elizabethan ventures, it was a buccaneering expedition, encroaching on the papal arbitration of 1493, which made Africa a Portuguese monopoly. The slaves obtained were sold to the Spaniards in the West Indies. The English slave trade remained desultory and perfunctory in character until the establishment of British colonies in the Caribbean and the introduction of the sugar industry. When by 1660 the political and social upheavals of the Civil War period came to an end, England was ready to embark wholeheartedly on a branch of commerce whose importance to her sugar and her tobacco colonies in the New World was beginning to be fully appreciated.”

Source: Eric Williams. Capitalism & Slavery. pg. 30. 1944. 


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