An Introduction to the Rise of the Atlantic Slave Trade

Ref: C2419817

The Atlantic slave trade was different from all other forms of slavery. To explain why the course examines slavery in the ancient world and unfree labour in Africa. It will look at how the “triangular” trade developed and how society and racism developed in the Americas and how Britain and Holland came to be dominant in the trade, replacing Spain and Portugal. It will look at records left by former slaves including Olaudah Equiano, slavers and campaigners against the trade. Each week's discussion will include visual presentations.

Course aim

Understand how and why the Atlantic slave trade arose when it did, its relation to the rise in the power of Europe and the devastating effect it had on Africa

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Understand the different types of labour that are called slavery.
  • Explain the specifics of the Atlantic trade
  • List the main reasons Britian was involved in the trade and became dominant.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you
  • It would be useful if you can take notes.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full course information sheet

An Introduction to the Rise of the Atlantic Slave Trade


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  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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