The origins of many, although not all, of Britain’s Black and Asian population lie in British traders’ search for profit around the globe. Britain was responsible for uprooting millions of people from Africa and Asia and scattering them across the world as enslaved or indentured labourers.During the 17th century, the East India Company established shipyards along the River Thames at Deptford (shown here) and Blackwall. There they built the large three-masted ships known as ‘East Indiamen’. These were used initially to trade in India for silk and cotton goods, spices, and other commodities; and later, as the East India Company extended its activities, for trade in south and southeast Asia, too.
National Maritime Museum BHC 1873 (c. 1660)
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