By David R. Murray
The Atlantic slave exchange delivered to Cuba the African slaves who created the dramatic transformation of the island from a relative backwater of Spain's colonial empire within the mid-eighteenth century to the world's richest plantation colony 100 years later. Britain performed an important function during this transformation. British slave investors have been the executive providers of Cuba's slaves within the eighteenth century; within the 19th century Britain grew to become the best probability to Cuba's prosperity whilst she tried to make Spain persist with her instance and abolish the slave exchange. Dr Murray's learn, according to an intensive exam of British and Spanish documents, finds how very important British impression used to be at the process Cuban background.
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Additional resources for Odious Commerce: Britain, Spain and the Abolition of the Cuban Slave Trade
With the recommendation of the Contaduria before him, the Fiscal of the Council of the Indies thought that the Consulado of Cadiz ought to be asked for its opinion, since the Intendant's proposals had included the free export of Peninsular goods to be exchanged in foreign countries or colonies for articles needed in the slave trade. 66 The Council agreed67 and, accordingly, on 28 September 1811 the Consulado of Cadiz was asked to report on the suggestions of the Intendant of Havana for stimulating and enlarging Spanish participation in the slave trade.
Now that Britain and the United States had prohibited slavetrading by their nationals only clandestine expeditions would come to Cuba. Necessity demanded that Spaniards and Spanish colonists enter the slave trade on a scale large enough to supply the needs of Spanish colonies. His principal new proposal was therefore designed to stimulate Spanish slaving expeditions. It amounted to a modified form of free commerce. Any Spaniard would be allowed to export in Spanish ships 'merchandise, produce and assets' to any foreign country or colony and there exchange these for supplies needed in the slave trade.
As a result of the joint address, a vague article on the slave trade was included, but in the end the treaty never was ratified. British statesmen and abolitionists were aware of the likelihood of the abolition of the American slave trade from the beginning of 1808 and, therefore, Britain took no further action except to welcome the United States abolition when it finally came. 12 The passage of the Foreign Slave Trade Bill and the Resolution for Abolishing the Slave Trade in the 1806 Parliamentary session noticeably weakened the opposition to complete abolition.