Today, however, the North East’s early links with the Caribbean have largely been forgotten.
This exhibition reminds us of their importance. It introduces people who prospered from slave
ownership, as well as the local campaigners who fought to persuade Britain that slavery was wrong.
The Alantic Slave Trade
The three-part journey undertaken
by British slaving ships in the
Note: Click images to enlarge
Slaving ships made a three-part voyage, which
is often called the ‘Triangular Trade’. First, they left European ports laden with goods for sale in West and Central Africa. In Africa the slavers exchanged the goods for African war captives, whom they loaded onto their ships like cargo.
Second, they sailed across the Atlantic to the
Americas. This ‘Middle Passage’ was a terrifying
experience for the people crammed below decks. Thousands perished in rebellions or from disease and despair.
In the Americas, the slavers sold their
surviving captives to European planters
as slave labourers. Then they loaded up
with plantation produce - sugar, rum,
tobacco, coffee and cotton - and sailed back
to Europe on the final leg of their voyage.
The Africans they left behind became the
legal property of their new owners, with
the status of an ox or a mule. Like a work
animal, they had to labour for their owners,
unpaid, until they died.