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Idea slavery was exclusively perpetrated by westerners is ‘complete rubbish’

Historian Jeremy Black says it is typical for everybody who is knocking empires to emphasise the negatives of the British Empire but neglect the fact the British navy “ended slavery”.

Mr Black – who has written numerous books on British imperial history as well as slavery – said the British navy spent much of its time after the 1810s “fighting slavers”.

“It’s absolutely typical at the moment with everyone knocking empire, that everybody emphasizes the bad part but doesn’t discuss the more positive aspects that we could look at,” Mr Black told Sky News host Rowan Dean.

He said on top of Britain banning the slave trade at home, it attempted to stop it occurring at all abroad.

“The idea that slavery was something only done by westerners is rubbish just as the idea that imperialism was only something done by westerners is rubbish”.

“You’ve had massive empires that are non-western, you’ve had important slave societies which were non-western.

“But at the present moment – because for some reason people can’t contextualise that – they think of this as being only western.

“The idea that slavery is simply a construction by westerners simply as a way in which people who are black are oppressed by people who are white is complete rubbish.”

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