Historian David Olusoga finds out about Britain's Forgotten Slave Owners and, as he forensically examines the compensation records, he learns about the surprising range of people who owned slaves. This illuminating two-part series reveals the forgotten price of the abolition of slavery and how its lasting impact has affected British society. In 1833 Britain abolished slavery, a defining and celebrated moment in history. But it came at a price. Forty percent of the country's financial budget - £16.5 billion in today's money - was used to compensate the former slave owners. Exploring this extraordinary step taken by the British government, this series uses meticulously detailed records of the compensation to reveal the sheer scale of slavery across all social classes. At the same time, it also examines the political storm that surrounded abolition and emancipation - the 25 years of bitter argument that eventually led to compensation. The mass injection of cash that followed fundamentally changed British society - financially, politically, commercially, and culturally. Britain's Forgotten Slave Owners offers a fascinating, in-depth look at a key moment in British history - a time of great change that continues to be felt today.
Runtime: 30 minutes
Britain's Forgotten Slave Owners - Slavery in Canada - Netflix
Slavery in Canada includes both that practised by First Nations from earliest times and that under European colonization. The latter was legal until the Slavery Abolition Act 1833. Forms of slavery, such as human trafficking, still occur in Canada. Some slaves were of African descent, but most were Aboriginal (typically called panis, from the French term for Pawnee). Slavery within what is now Canada was practised primarily by Aboriginal groups. While there was never significant Canadian trade in African slaves, native nations frequently enslaved their rivals and a very modest number (sometimes none in a number of years) were purchased by colonial administrators (rarely by settlers) until 1833, when the British Parliament abolished slavery across the British Empire. (There is often confusion over the date at which this occurred; Britain had abolished the slave trade in 1807, but did not abolish slavery itself until 1833, in an act of Parliament that came into effect on 1 August 1834.) Prior to this, however, courts had, to varying degrees, rendered slavery unenforceable: for example, in Lower Canada after court decisions in the late 1790s, the “slave could not be compelled to serve longer than he would, and ... might leave his master at will.” A small number of African people were forcibly brought as chattel slaves to New France, Acadia and the later British North America during the 17th century. Those in Canada came from the American colonies, as no shiploads of human chattel went to Canada directly from Africa. The number of slaves in New France is believed to have been in the hundreds. They were house servants and farm workers. There were no large plantations in Canada, and therefore no large slave work forces of the sort that existed in most European colonies in the southerly Americas, from Virginia to the West Indies to Brazil. Because early Canada's role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade was so minor, the history of slavery in Canada is often overshadowed by the more tumultuous slavery practised elsewhere in the Americas, particularly in the southern United States and colonial Caribbean. Afua Cooper states that slavery is “Canada's best kept secret, locked within the National closet”. Some Black Canadians today are descended from these slaves.
Britain's Forgotten Slave Owners - Under British rule - Netflix
Canadian First Nations owned or traded in slaves, an institution that had existed for centuries or longer among certain groups. Shawnee, Potawatomi, and other western tribes imported slaves from Ohio and Kentucky and sold them to Canadian settlers. Thayendenaga (chief Joseph Brant) used blacks he had captured during the American Revolution to build Brant House at Burlington Beach and a second home near Brantford. In all, Brant owned about forty black slaves. Black slaves lived in the British regions of Canada in the 17th and 18th centuries—104 were listed in a 1767 census of Nova Scotia, but their numbers were small until the United Empire Loyalist influx after 1783. As white Loyalists fled the new American Republic, they took with them about 2000 black slaves: 1200 to the Maritimes (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island), 300 to Lower Canada (Quebec), and 500 to Upper Canada (Ontario). In Ontario, the Imperial Act of 1790 assured prospective immigrants that their slaves would remain their property. As under French rule, Loyalist slaves were held in small numbers and were employed as domestic servants, farm hands, and skilled artisans. The subject of slavery in Canada is unmentioned—neither banned nor permitted—in both the 1763 Treaty of Paris and the Quebec Act of 1774 or the Treaty of Paris of 1783. The system of gang labour, and its consequent institutions of control and brutality, did not develop in Canada as it did in the USA. Because they did not appear to pose a threat to their masters, slaves were permitted to learn to read and write, Christian conversion was encouraged, and their marriages were recognized by law. The Quebec Gazette of 12 July 1787 had an advertisement: For sale, a robust Negress, active and with good hearing, about 18 years old, who has had small-pox, has been accustomed to household duties, understands the kitchen, knows how to wash, iron, sew, and very used to caring for children. She can adapt itself equally to an English, French or German family, she speaks all three languages.
Britain's Forgotten Slave Owners - References - Netflix