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Slavery and Glasgow
Slave Owners
Tobacco Lords
Slave Conditions
Anti Slavery
 

Glasgow City Council
 
Black History Month - Glasgow

 

 

Slavery and Glasgow
Slave Conditions
 

Two thirds of the slaves brought to the Americas were brought to produce sugar. The slave population in the sugar colonies did not reproduce itself naturally and slave mortality was especially high so its survival depended on constant renewal by the African slave trade.

The purchase of a slave was an investment and they often outnumbered the free by 20 to 1. Sugar production required intense labour and slaves were expected to work 18-20 hour days, 7 days a week. They were worked with the same intensity from the age of 12 and the burden was only eased for women in the 8th and 9th months of pregnancy.

No leniency was shown toward the slaves as the plantation owners felt this could lead to a loss of control. Keeping the slaves constantly occupied was also seen as a means of keeping them out of trouble. The beliefs of the slaves were something the owners had no authority over and they tried to convert the slaves to Christianity. There were frequent uprisings which were punished with great severity and a slave could receive the death penalty for striking the master or his family.

Fugitive slaves were a problem and when caught were given severe punishments. Slaves who harboured fugitives were flogged and free blacks faced the possibility of re-enslavement. Many slaves commited suicide by drowning, suffocation, hanging or by 'fixed melancholy' where they lost the will to live, stopped eating and drinking and died. Slave suicides often made up over 80% of overall suicides.

Staff in Glasgow City Archives and Special Collections are actively seeking records relating to Glasgowís black history to add to their collections. Do you know of any organisations, businesses or individuals who may have records they would like to deposit? If you do and would like to discuss the potential deposit, please contact the Duty Archivist.

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Letter from William Colhoun
Letter from William Colhoun
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List of slaves with ages and duties
List of slaves
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Illustration showing slaves at work
Illustration of slaves at work
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Description of the nature of slavery, 1823
Illustration of slaves at work
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