Bristol slave traders

The picture here shows Edward Colston, the son of a prominent Bristol merchant. Colston is thought of in Bristol today as a merchant who had links with the slave trade. He is also remembered for donating much money to local causes such as schools. Colston’s wide-ranging business interests included trading in cloth and wine from Europe, and in sugar from the island of St Kitts, in the Caribbean. He was also actively involved in the transatlantic slave trade as an official of the London-based Royal African Company. The company had control of the British trade with Africa and the forts on the west coast of Africa. These were where the slaves could be collected and from where they could be sold by traders.

Henry Bright, also pictured here, was part of an important Bristol merchant family. The family had extensive interests in the slave trade and plantations in Jamaica, in the Caribbean. Between 1746 and 1769, Henry Bright and Co was responsible for 21 slaving voyages out of Bristol.

Slave traders were one group amongst many people in Bristol who were involved in the slave trade. In Africa, there were also prominent slave traders who provided enslaved Africans to the Europeans.