A new database called Legacies of British Slave-ownership has been launched by University College London (UCL). The database allows anyone to find out details of the families involved in slavery in the Caribbean; Mauritius; and the Cape Colony (part of modern-day South Africa).
The British government paid out £20 million to compensate 3,000 slave-owning families for the loss of their “property” when slave ownership was abolished in Britain’s colonies in 1833. At the time, that sum amounted to 40% of the UK’s annual spending budget; in today’s money, that’s around £16.5 billion.
Wealthy families that have benefited from slavery and are still enjoying the proceeds of slavery include current PM David Cameron, former minister Douglas Hogg, authors Graham Greene and George Orwell, poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and the new chairman of the Arts Council, Peter Bazalgette.
The Independent goes into details about how the families benefited.
We’ve always known that people got rich through slavery, what we still don’t know is whether the government think black people should now be compensated for it.