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.
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