Bristol's sugar industry

Bristol quickly became the centre of a booming sugar import trade and was not overtaken until 1799 (by Liverpool). Sugar was the most profitable of Bristol's industries.

There were many signs of this wealth - at one time Bristol had 22 sugar houses. These refineries were to process the crude sugars shipped across the Atlantic from the slave plantations.

With a booming British market for sugar to sweeten foodstuffs (most of all for tea), Bristol grew in prominence and civic stature. Bristol was home to groups of prosperous sugar merchants, as well as West Indian planters who returned 'home' to retire to grand houses in the West Country.

Bristol still contains important architectural monuments to its links with sugar and the slave trade.

Pero's Bridge was named after an enslaved person brought to Bristol from St Kitts by the famous planters, the Pinneys. Guinea Street, Queen’s Square (home to prominent sugar merchants) and the Merchants' Hall were all built with profits gained from the trading of enslaved people.

Bristol was keen to maintain its prosperity and success. In 1775 a petition was sent to Parliament by the mayor, merchants and people of Bristol in support of continuing the slave trade.

Glasgow's tobacco industry

Glasgow boomed during the 18th century with profits from the slave trade.

A small group of Glaswegian merchants dominated the rapidly expanding transatlantic tobacco trade. These Scottish merchants became known as ‘Tobacco Lords’. They created tobacco trading networks in Virginia and by 1760 Glasgow had overtaken London as the main importer of tobacco.

The merchants' enduring influence can be seen in some of the major roads and buildings in Glasgow. Many of the old streets of Glasgow - Buchanan, Glassford, Ingram and Dunlop are named after Tobacco Lords.

The negative impact of the slave trade on the development of the Caribbean islands

The slave trade had long lasting negative effects on the islands of the Caribbean. The native peoples, the Arawaks, were wiped out by European diseases and became replaced with West Africans.

Another adverse affect of the slave trade was the damage to the Caribbean economies due to the concentration on sugar production. The lasting effects of colonisation are still felt as these countries try to recover their own cultures which were effectively wiped out by colonial domination. The wealth and power accumulated by the rich western world still makes it difficult for colonised countries to become truly self sufficient financially.

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