Essay on The Development of Royal African Company

Essay on The Development of Royal African Company

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England’s interest in Africa for trading purposes can be traced back to 1481 when two Englishmen prepared for an expedition to the Guinea Coast. At this time the King of Portugal, John II asked Edward IV of England if they could not continue with the expedition because of Portugal’s claim to the Guinea Coast, and Edward complied. It was not until 1536 when William Hawkins, father of famous shipbuilder in the Elizabethan era Admiral Sir John Hawkins, made the first three voyages and traded with Brazil. Hawkins went back in 1553 to the Gold Coast and sold goods mainly for gold near Elmina on the South Coast of present day Ghana. He then traveled inland to Benin where they obtained pepper and elephant teeth. After losing about two-thirds of his crew from sickness they retuned to England. Hawkins made another voyage several years later and returned with gold and slaves. As England became more aggressive in African trade it was common for English ships to be harassed by the Portuguese with the intention to prevent trade.
In 1555, 1556, 1557 William Towrson lead three voyages where he was unsuccessful because of this kind of harassment. However, because of demand for English goods such as cloth and Iron a lucrative trade was established. Under Elizabeth’s rule these voyages mainly dealt with pepper, gold, and elephant’s teeth. Slave trade was not common during the early stages. Until 1562 when John Hawkins sailed for Sierra Leone with three vessels and captured three hundred slaves that he sold to the Spaniards at Hispaniola. In 1564 there was a second slave raid because of the success in 1562. On May 3, 1588 Queen Elizabeth recognized this success and granted the first patent of monopoly to the West Coast of Africa. Hawkins voyages...


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...mported into South Carolina the Duty Act of 1703 was passed. It imposed lower duties on slaves that were directly brought from Africa.
The voyage from Africa to South Carolina was traumatic one, “each man might have a floor space measuring 16 inches by 6 feet (women got 5ft, 10 in)” When they arrived in south Carolina mainly in the summer time because of demand for crops, they were sold for about 30 sterling, most plantation owners would buy in groups of a dozen.
The history of the many charters granted previous to the Royal African Company is significant because it traces the path of legislation and creates a situation for the establishment of the Royal African Company. The occurrences in the past ultimately leads to parliaments decision to open slave trade to all. The result is a huge demand for slaves in South Carolina as well as the rest of the colonies.

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