London: Sugar and Slavery

London: Sugar & Slavery “ is the title of the permanent exhibition at the Docklands Museum London, which exposes since 2007 the English role in the history of slavery and human traffic. The great financial and artictic center of |London has been built partially on the profits pof humman traffic. For centuries London was a key hub of the worldwide slave trade. A passing station for millons of abducted African people.

This inconvenient historical truth is often silenced, but comes alive at the young Docklands Museum, located in the old port area along the Thames, in an former colonial sugar factory. Like other cities on both sides of the Atlantic (like Amsterdam and like Cartagena), the English capital was a pivot of the triangular trade between Europe, Africa, and America. It was the globalization of those times: European ships sailed to Africa carrying textiles, tools, guns, alcohol and so on, to exchange the merchandise for human beings and transport these to the plantations and mines of the New World: the West Indies, the Spanish Main and North America. From there the fleets returned rich to Europe, heavy with sugar, coffee, cotton, tobacco and other “colonial wares”. Slave shipments were traded through the London Stock Exchange and the Bank of England financed the equipment of those ships of suffering.

The wealth then gathered is still visible everywhere through the city, in buildings and monuments, in musea and palaces, in the names of streets and insurance companies. Behind that brilliant façade, the injustice and violence against the enslaved and their descendants is often forgotten. The Docklands Museum now offers a much-needed counterpoint to the image the city has of itself.

LASO keeps a visual and documentary archive on Transatlantic slavery history and broadly on contemporaneous Black, indigenous and social movements.