"Everywhere in Chains": Wales and Slavery

Most societies have exploited slave labour at some stage in their history. This is also true of Wales.

The transatlantic slave trade flourished from the early sixteenth century (about 500 years ago) until two hundred years ago when, in 1807, the British parliament passed an Act to abolish trading slaves within the British Empire.

Campaigns to stop slavery had been started by black and white people more than thirty years before the Act was finally passed. Even after 1807 the slaves already living in British colonies were not actually set free until 1838.

Slavery remained legal in some other countries for more than another fifty years. Today illegal slavery still continues in many parts of the world — even in Wales.

Comments (7)

Edward Selwyn Roberts
31 October 2021, 06:04
My sister and I, Welsh by birth and descent, have a number of DNA matches with African-Americans who have ancestral links with either Jamacia or Barbados. As our ancestors were from Anglesey and Caernarfonshire, I can only assume that a male member of our family was employed by the Pennant's, who not only owned the slate quarries in and around Bethesda but also over 600 slaves who laboured in the Pennant sugar plantations of Jamacia.

I've been in touch with many of our newfound cousins, to exchange information, and I'm delighted to say that firm friendships have been formed. Though, the search for our common ancestor continues.
11 November 2020, 14:13
A CRIME IN TIME IS ALWAYS A CRIME. From Africans, American Indian's, African American, Australia Aborigines, Indian's, Chinese, Japanese, The Middle East if people of colour lived there they were in-Slaved. Estimated 7 billion Blacks killed & 60 billion IN-SLAVED Globally for the CROWN & European Government's, LETS NOT GET TWISTED, A Crime in Time is always a CRIME. If you think well England in-slaved it's people, that's a crime. As soon as you invade others Lands for profit at some point in time it will come back to bight you. Did you know that Winston Churchill told his white people to hide the bodies of black Soldiers & send the families their SCALPS. If for some reason think All Lives Matters, then you must be lost, without empathy, a total racist or you love yourself way to much. Remember this, white cops look after white people, black cops look after white people. Bob Marley = Buffalo Soldiers, Dr King = I Have A Dream, Malcolm X said by any means Necessary. How long will colours suffer without Compensation for 400 years of working for just enough food to survive that day & maybe they will see their children grow up, 90% of the time that child would be SOLD. AFRICANS NEVER IN-SLAVED THEMSELVES, The Arubas hunted Africans for slaves & sold them to Europeans. Look it up. Once Europeans had the gun we were destroyed globally. Banks paid for this, look it up. Victim Support by understanding. Peace and tranquillity maybe a reality one day. ⏰
Matthew S Carr
21 October 2020, 14:49
I wondered being part African part Welsh if my ancestors from Wales took part in the slave trade like other parts of Britain it’s very interesting and in some areas very hard to take in information of such vile treatment of my African ancestors and it was hard to take on that part of me may of been responsible for such acts which hurt me when I came to learn about it!!!
Annette Wyatt
10 October 2020, 05:49
Not all big landowners had plantations and used slaves. In GB children, as young as 6 yrs old went down pits with their Mother's until this was abolished, this act called the Mining and Collery act 1847. 40 yrs after slavery was abolished. This act stated a child had to be at least 10 years old before going down a pit!
Rashid Ahmed
9 August 2020, 05:24
Wales like everyone else involved in slavery should hang their heads in shame. The trading of humans has got to be an all time low in History.
24 April 2020, 23:44
I believe my great grandmother was a slave or descendant of slaves in Wales. Sarah Salisbury Munro Somerville. She married my great grandfather in 1888 in Yarmouth Elgin county Ontario Canada. She is listed on census in 1891 she is recorded as black
Laurence Daley
30 January 2016, 02:16
thank you

Did the actual John Brown (of the battle hymn "John Brown's body lies a rotting in the grave but we go marching on..") lecture there ?

A figure legend of my book in long preparation "Love and War in Cuba" which discussed the Roman invasion of Anglesey reads:

Figure XXX The sacred lake of Llyn Cerrig Bach, “… Perhaps one of the most important iron age sites in the country. A Sacred Lake, into which many votive goods were offered from the late Iron Age (2nd century BC), until just before the Conquest of Anglesey by the Romans. Eleven swords, eight spearheads, wheels of up to 22 different chariots, parts of a shield, and slave chains were found during peat extraction in the Second World War.” Image is from a google site photograph by Tim Prevett. The first discovery, that of the slave chains, was made first by the hard laboring Irish navvies working for Lord McAlpine in the years Dad was stationed there. Strangely similar slave chains were captured by putative maternal ancestor Sancho el Fuerte, from the slave-warriors of the Arab Chief Miramamolins, defeated in the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212.

The old shield of (now Spanish) Navarra can be found at Navarra (accessed 1-20-2016) in: Heráldica Española - Spanish Civic Heraldry http://www.ngw.nl/int/spa/prov/navarra.htm. Some of these chains are found in the little chapel of Sancho El Fuerte in Roncevalle, Spain. Somewhere in my reading, if memory serves, there is a note on the friendship between Richard the Lionheart and Sancho El Fuerte,
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