- This document comes from a report from a Foreign Office official to
Joseph Chamberlain in 1895. Chamberlain was the government minister
who was responsible for Britain's colonies and the empire.
- The report refers to the actions of British officials and military
in trying to stamp out the slave trade in East Africa. After the Atlantic
slave trade ended, this was the biggest area of slave trading. The centre
of this trade was the port of Zanzibar, ruled by the Sultan of Zanzibar.
- Sir Bartle Frere was a British official who visited the area in 1872-73.
This report is describing what he tried to do and how much progress
has been made in the fight against slavery in the twenty or so years
since his visit.
- The British probably benefited more from the slave trade than any
other country. In the 1700s they transported millions of Africans from
their homes to plantations in the West Indies and the southern states
of North America.
- By the early 1800s pressure was mounting against the trade. In 1807
the slave trade was abolished in the British empire. In 1833 slavery
itself became illegal in the empire.
- Once the British did abolish slavery, they invested a huge amount
of effort into destroying the slave trade altogether. There was a lot
of illegal slaving within the empire, and large scale slaving outside
the empire as well. The main markets for slaves were South America,
North Africa and Arabia. The British signed treaties with all the major
European powers and the USA (after 1865) to get them agree to stamp
out the slave trade.
- Not surprisingly, there have been very different views about
the British anti-slavery campaign. There is no doubt that the British
campaign against slavery did much good and saved many Africans from
a terrible fate. Admirers of the British empire see this campaign as
one of its greatest achievements. On the other hand, critics of the
British suggest that they only attacked slavery once it was no longer
profitable for them. They also wanted to stop slavery in other areas
because doing so would help British trade.