8 podcasts about slavery and the slave trade to listen to right now

Want to learn more about the history of slavery? Here, BBC History Revealed editor Charlotte Hodgman rounds up eight HistoryExtra podcasts about the slave trade – from the Haitian slave rebellion to the history of slavery within the British empire...

A slave in chains expressing the inhumanity of slavery with the words 'Am I not a man and a brother?', 1774. (Photo by Getty Images)
1

Slave revolt

Historian and expert on the transatlantic slave trade James Walvin explores historic resistance to slavery in this fascinating podcast – from the underground railroad of North America, which smuggled hundreds of enslaved people to freedom, to the Haitian slave rebellion which resulted in the first black republic outside of Africa.

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2

Britain and the slave trade

Christer Petley charts the history of slavery within the British empire and considers how it should be reflected upon today. Plus, Afua Hirsch offers her thoughts on the recent toppling of Edward Colston’s statue in Bristol.


3

Crusade logistics and the battle over the slave trade

In this podcast, Ryan Cronin, assistant librarian at St John’s College, explores a collection of letters and documents relating to a Jamaican sugar plantation which demonstrate just how firmly entrenched slavery was in the day to day running of 18th-century society.


4

The end of slavery and headaches in history

James Walvin takes a closer look at the run-up to the abolition movement of the 19th century – how and when did Britain first become involved in the slave trade and what was the lure of sugar for Europeans?

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5

Roman slavery and the man who started the First World War

The Roman empire could be a brutal place, particularly for slaves, who, says historian Jerry Toner, once made up 30-40% of Rome’s population. In this interview, Jerry explores the lives of ancient Roman slaves, the roles they performed – from hairdressing to cooking – and how they were viewed by Roman society.


6

Anglo-Saxon saints and British slave-owners

Historian and broadcaster David Olusoga discusses how and why slavery was finally abolished in the British empire, and explores the decision to compensate Britain’s slave owners – to the sum of £20 million (around £16-17 billion in today’s money).


7

Latin American slavery and historical hair

Long after the Abolition Act of 1833, a bitter battle was being fought between British entrepreneurs and abolitionists over the use of African slaves in Cuban and Brazilian mines. Professor Chris Evans of the University of Glamorgan explores the legal loophole that allowed London-based companies to exploit slave labour in Latin America.

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8

Francis Drake: slave trader

Sir Francis Drake was an English naval hero, famed for circumnavigating the globe and his role in defeating the Spanish Armada. But, he was also a slave trader. Following calls for statues of Drake to be removed, historian Claire Jowitt explores this dark chapter in Tudor history.

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Charlotte Hodgman is the editor of BBC History Revealed magazine