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Envoys of abolitionBritish Naval Officers and the Campaign Against the Slave Trade in West Africa$
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Mary Wills

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620788

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620788.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
(p.iii) Envoys of Abolition

Mary Wills

Liverpool University Press

This chapter situates the activities of the West Africa squadron within several interconnected themes and contexts relating to the impact of the Britain’s Abolition Act of 1807. Britain’s abolitionist cause was regarded as an indicator of the national character, dedicated to morality, humanitarianism and freedom, and naval suppression fitted neatly into this narrative. The role of the Royal Navy in enforcing the 1807 Act transformed notions of British identity and evolving ideas of imperialism on the international stage. This chapter positions the book within the existing literature on the nineteenth-century campaign against the transatlantic slave trade, the role of the Royal Navy in the post-Napoleonic Wars period, and the British role in Africa more widely.

Keywords:   National identity, Abolition Act, Royal Navy, Imperialism, Africa, Slave trade, Anti-slavery, Naval officers

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