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#13 Bristol's White Slave Trade

by Andrea Button

This pamphlet explores the little-known indentured white servant system that was rife throughout Bristol in the 17th century. It was used by merchants to meet the labour demand in Britain's new colonies and often involved white servants being 'spirited' (kidnapped) off the streets and forcibly transported and indentured.
SKU: BRHG 13

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Bristol’s role as a supplier of labour to the American and West Indian colonies in the eighteenth century is associated with the African Slave Trade however, this trade was not officially open to the Bristol merchants until 1698. The indentured white servant system, operated in Bristol during the seventeenth century, was used by merchants to meet demand for labour in Britain’s new colonies until the Bristol merchants were legally able to compete in the lucrative transatlantic trade.

This pamphlet reveals the extent of this ‘white slavery’ and its links to Bristol.

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