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Insuring the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Pearson, Robin; Richardson, David

Authors

David Richardson



Contributors

David Richardson

Abstract

One important, but overlooked, risk mitigation device that facilitated the growth of the slave trade in the eighteenth century was the increasing availability of insurance for ships and their human cargoes. In this paper we explore, for the first time, the relative cost of insurance for British slave traders, the underlying processes by which this key aspect of the business of slavery was conducted, and the factors behind price and other changes over time. Comparisons are also drawn with the transatlantic slave trades of other nations. As well as analysing the business of underwriting slave voyages, the paper has two other objectives. First, we explore the meaning of slave insurance from the perspective of those directly involved in the trade. Was it about insuring lives or goods? Second, we provide new estimates of the importance of the slave trade to UK marine insurance. Did the former drive the growth of the latter, as Joseph Inikori has claimed?

Citation

Pearson, R., & Richardson, D. (2019). Insuring the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Journal of Economic History, 79(2), 417-446. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022050719000068

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 12, 2018
Online Publication Date Apr 26, 2019
Publication Date 2019-06
Deposit Date Jan 31, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jan 31, 2019
Print ISSN 0022-0507
Publisher Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 79
Issue 2
Pages 417-446
DOI https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022050719000068
Public URL https://hull-repository.worktribe.com/output/1152980
Publisher URL https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-economic-history/article/insuring-the-transatlantic-slave-trade/F1E2354A667CF7A4DB989838F37B2DC2

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