The Scandal of the British Slavery Abolition Act Loan.

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Author: Kris Manjapra
Date: Sept-Dec 2019
From: Social and Economic Studies(Vol. 68, Issue 3-4)
Publisher: University of the West Indies, Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies
Document Type: Article
Length: 7,456 words
Lexile Measure: 1440L

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Abstract :

The British government redeemed the Slavery Abolition Act loan in February 2015. This loan was contracted by the government in 1835 in order to pay [pounds sterling]15 million (approximately [pounds sterling]200 billion in today's money, in terms of public debt burden) in cash compensation to slave-owners and their beneficiaries. (1) The loan was provided by the Rothschild syndicate, and the interest rate was set at a favourable rate for the lender. The bonds were likely sold onwards on securities markets soon afterwards, providing the Rothschild syndicate with financial profits. Freedom of Information Act requests show that, in February 2015, the UK government paid 11,098 accounts when it finally redeemed the Slavery Abolition Act loan. The loan was re-bundled with other government debt many times, and never cancelled or repudiated. In 2015, the total redemption value of the debt bundle that contained the Slavery Abolition Act loan reached [pounds sterling]218,338,715.22. Up until now, there has been no notice taken of the public debt legacy in the United Kingdom of 180 years of slavery, nor any reckoning with its social and ethical implications. The British government has remained conspicuously silent on the matter--hoping the public will overlook what is hidden in clear sight. This essay explores the history of the Slavery A bolition A ct loan, including its material and financial continuity into the present. Keywords: Slavery Abolition Act Loan, Compensated Emancipation, British Empire, Finance

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A644229069