Industrial Revolution And Slave Trade
Industrial Revolution started in England in the 1780s. To make the industrial revolution successful, there was a need for capital. From where did this capital come to Britain?
One view is that England’s industrial revolution got the capital from India. England had just started the colonization of the Indian subcontinent. The battle of Plassey of 1757 and the battle of Bauxar of 1764 helped England to control Bengal. Bengal was a very rich province. So, it is argued that the industrial revolution of England was financed by Bengal resources. But it is not true.
The wealth exploited by Bengal was mostly used by British officers for their personal gratification. These officers used the wealth to buy land assets and to show off. Thus if the industrial revolution was not financed by India then from where did the capital come to finance the industrial revolution?
The second view is that the industrial revolution was financed by the slave trade of that period. The European powers were clearly the main player in the slave trade from the 17th century onward but many of them were also capturing these trade routes from older feudal powers in Asia.
The greatest London slave trader of the first half of the 18th century as well as a member of parliament and director of the Bank of England, Humphrey Morice frequently instructed his ship captain to purchase slaves as they arrived in Africa. But instead of sending them to America, in most letters, Morice insisted that the ship captain should sell all captives on Gold Coast to the Portuguese in exchange for gold. It was more profitable.
So, from above, it is observed that the British capitalists engaged in the slave trade. Through this slave trade, they earned huge profits throughout the century. This huge earned profit was deployed by the British capitalists in the growth of the industrial revolution of 1780.
To conclude, the emergence of industrial capitalism fostered the immoral human bondage of the 17th and 18th centuries.