In the 18th century, London was the largest city in Europe. It
was the seat of government and the location of many of the royal
palaces. The river Thames had for centuries been Britain’s
main trading link with Europe and the rest of the globe.
By the 17th century, huge business interests and powerful companies
had set up their offices in London.
Companies such as the Royal African Company and the South Sea Company,
which traded in slaves with royal patronage, based their operations
in London. The capital, with its strong financial and banking links,
as well as its ports, was the natural place to conduct this business.
The East India Company, which would later have such a profound
impact on the history of India and its peoples, had also based its
operations in London.
By the 18th century, there was also a significant Black and Asian
presence in the capital. Historians estimate that between 15,000
and 20,000 Black and Asian people were living in London.
Map of London
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specific area of London.