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The Driving Force - Money. AIM:. Identify profits involved in slave trading. Discover the role of the slave trade in British economic development . SUCCESS CRITERIA: You can explain the financial benefits of slave trading.

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  • Identifyprofits involved in slave trading.
  • Discover the role of the slave trade in British economic development.


  • You can explain the financial benefits of slave trading.

The money generated from the slave trade is difficult to work out exactly, partially due to the fact that the figures are incomplete, and also because prices have changed so much in 200 years.


The slave ship ‘Enterprise’ carried 412 slaves across the Atlantic in 1803. Each slave cost around £25 and they were all sold except one. 19 had died during the voyage.

  • The table below shows the costs and profits of this voyage –

Much of the British economy was reliant on the slave trade - both directly and indirectly.

  • Raw produce such as sugar, tobacco, tea, coffee and cotton all came from slave plantations. These foods were widely consumed in British households, served in British shops, coffee and tea houses.
  • Slave grown cotton was made into fabric in British factories and worn by the public.
  • 18th century coffee houses

The money generated by the trade allowed great country estates and elegant buildings to be built.

Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art

Built in 1778 by William Cunninghame

who made his wealth through dealing in tobacco which had been cultivated by slaves.BBC - Learning Zone Class Clips - Wealth created by British slave traders - History Video

Harewood House, Leeds.

Build by the Lascelles family in the mid 1700s who had made millions from the slave trade


A study of the activities of 23 London merchants who were heavily involved in the slave trade found they had invested hugely in the building of roads and bridges. They had also invested greatly in other industries such as coal, lime stone, iron, glass and wool.

the benefits of slavery to britain
The Benefits of Slavery to Britain
  • Many people argue that slavery played an important part in British prosperity and success in the 18th and early 19th centuries.
  • There is a clear and link between the growth in prosperity in Britain and the growth of the slave trade.
  • Those who supported the slave trade argued that it made important contributions to the country\'s economy.
  • Overall, slaves made a large contribution to British prosperity.
  • Perhaps without the slave trade Britain would not have become as rich and successful as it did.
  • Britain got off to a good start at the time of the Industrial Revolution, and many Britons still enjoy this prosperity to this day