Reveal The Truth: New Database Will Name 6,500 British Investors In The Slave Trade

Isheka N. Harrison
Written by Isheka N. Harrison
Reveal The Truth: New Database Will Name 6,500 British Investors In The Slave Trade. In this photo taken on Thursday, April 9, 2015, cheering students climb over the decades old bronze statue of British colonialist Cecil John Rhodes, as it is removed from the campus at the Cape Town University, Cape Town, South Africa. Responding to student protests describing it as symbolic of slow racial change on campus. Cecil Rhodes lived from 1853 until 1902, he was a businessman and politician in South Africa and was a fervent believer in British colonial rule. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

A new database funded with $1 million in taxpayer money is set to reveal 6,500 British investors, women and companies that participated in the slave trade.

The government project is officially called The Dictionary of British Slave Traders and it highlights research done by British academics, historians and other experts, according to Daily Mail.

It is said to be the largest of its kind in history and was motivated by the increased momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement across the world in 2020.

The team compiling the database consists of faculty and staff from the universities of Lancaster and Manchester, and the University College London (UCL). The entries will cover a period of more than 250 years and include biographies of the named individuals.

The Black Lives Matter movement “made it even more important that people have a resource of high-quality information to go to to obtain data about the breadth of Britain’s involvement in the slave trade,” according to team member Prof. William Pettigrew.

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While companies such as Lloyd’s of London issued public apologies for their roles in slavery earlier this year and committed to paying reparations, the database will also feature smaller investors, women, failed investors and other shareholders for the first time ever.

Critics worry that doing so will cause Brits who have no idea their families have historical ties to slavery to be vilified, according to the report. They have asked for it to be vetted for accuracy before being released to the public online and in print in 2024.

While there have been previous databases that focused on certain Brits’ role in slavery, they mostly focused on those who had dealings in the Caribbean.

The dictionary will complement the work of those pre-existing databases, including the Legacies of British Slave-ownership (LBS) project.

Among those to be included are Robert Walpole, Britain’s first Prime Minister, the Royal African Company and more. Advocates hope exposing investors and others who either made or sought to make profits from slavery will help further explore the financial legacy of slave wealth.