It is estimated that between thirty and forty million people died as a result of the Atlantic slave trade between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, victims of a commercial operation more vast and more callous than any other movement in world history.
'Black Cargoes' tells the full story of this barbaric trade in people, which brutalised all those involved. Men and women were stripped of their humanity and reduced to mere units of production: captured, packed like merchandise into the holds of unsanitary ships, tossed overboard if they became sick, or sold in the West Indian and American markets into perpetual servitude.
In America it gave rise to the plantation system, the Civil War and a bitter legacy of racism. And in Britain it is also woven into the fabric of our society, helping to finance the Industrial Revolution and enrich cities such as Bristol and Liverpool.
This is a compelling history of greed, exploitation and terrible inhumanity.