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Distant freedom"St Helena and the abolition of the slave trade, 1840-1872"$
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Andrew Pearson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781781382837

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781382837.001.0001

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(p.75) Chapter Three Sailortown
Distant freedom

Andrew Pearson

Liverpool University Press

It was through the agency of the Royal Navy in the Equatorial and South Atlantic that prizes, both laden with slaves and empty, were dispatched to the Vice-Admiralty court at St Helena; this in turn set in train the reception, treatment and resettlement of tens of thousands of freed slaves. This chapter examines the reasons why the Admiralty and Foreign Office considered the island to be a place of such advantage for the West Africa Squadron, and sets out how it was integrated into naval operations from 1840 until the collapse of the Cuban slave trade a quarter of a century later. It also considers the other places in West Africa and the Atlantic to which Britain had access. The advent of a Vice-Admiralty court in Jamestown also created a new social and economic dynamic on the island. Naval sailors, once just transient visitors, now called at St Helena regularly, repeatedly and in large numbers, bringing income, vibrancy and, at times, no little chaos.

Keywords:   Admiralty, Foreign Office, Royal Navy, Vice-Admiralty court, West Africa Squadron

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