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New portal offers insight into slavery 200 years ago

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New portal offers insight into slavery 200 years ago

16 March 2007

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The online exhibition has been created to serve as an informative resource for schoolchildren, budding amateur historians and complete novices interested in the history surrounding the bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act. The Act was passed on 25 March 1807, 26 years before the Emancipation Act (1833) which led to the gradual abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire.

The exhibition draws together a range of historical documents and information describing Britain's involvement in slavery and the slave trade, and finally its eventual abolition. This is linked to the extensive records held within The National Archives, including:

Slave registers containing personal details of enslaved persons

Colonial Office records describing how slavery shaped the history of Britain's former colonies

Records of British African companies describing Britain's early relationships with Africa and the supplying of Africans to the Americas

Britain's naval and diplomatic records relating to the suppression of the slave trade

The aim of the site is to become the first starting point for anybody interested in learning more about the subject. It contains links to significant collections and other online resources available from The National Archives and other archives, as well as links to the popular Archive Awareness Campaign, whose theme for 2007 is Freedom and Liberty

The National Archives has also produced six new research guides, in collaboration with key experts and interested community leaders. These introduce new researchers to the material on slavery held in The National Archives (as well as other archives) and how they can locate and research it. 

Guy Grannum, Caribbean specialist, The National Archives said:

"To be involved in a project like this is important for The National Archives. The new guides and the online exhibition will prove to be a valuable research tool. Researchers from anywhere in the world can now easily access our material on this subject.

The launch of the online exhibition was marked with an event at the House of Lords, River Room, hosted by Baroness Ashton of Upholland, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, giving everybody involved in the project the opportunity to view the new exhibition and discuss the guides.

View the exhibition

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