Britain's colonial past: Sugar

As tea and coffee grew in popularity in Britain in the 18th century, the demand for sugar to sweeten them also grew. Sugar plantations in the West Indies owned by European colonists needed more workers, so their owners imported slaves from West Africa. A circular trade developed and islands such as Jamaica and the Bahamas became British colonies. Ships from Britain carried cotton and metal goods to Africa, where they were traded for slaves, who were taken on a three-month voyage to the West Indies. They were traded with the plantation owners for sugar, and the sugar returned to Britain, Georgian Britain, especially the ports of Liverpool and Bristol, grew rich on the profits of the slave trade, turning a blind eye to the cruelty and the suffering involved.

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