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Slavery

Which African country did English settlers import slaves to Antigua?

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October 25, 2009 2:39PM

After the British colonized Antigua in 1632, the early settlers cultivated cotton and tobacco, which were exported to the United Kingdom. Towards the end of the 17th century, the poorer landowners continued to grow cash crops such as indigo, cotton, ginger or tobacco while the more wealthy ones were planting or preparing to plant sugarcane. Less than half the Antiguan planters possessed slaves but there were some, like Christopher Codrington and Phillip Warner, who had over a hundred slaves.

Slaves were obtained from the Royal African Company, which had been given the monopoly of supplying slaves to all the British colonies. By the end of the 17th century, there were about 6000 slaves in Antigua. The planters preferred "Coromantees" since they were hard working and tractable but the Royal African Company lost their monopoly, which led the planters to trade with other suppliers and purchasing slaves from other tribes.

About one-third of the slaves brought to Antigua at this time were females. These female slaves were very beneficial to the planters since they not only provided labour but sexual pleasures and consequently other slaves. More than 50,000 arrived between 1720 and 1755 and another 30 - 40,000 followed between 1755 and 1775.