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The Georgian Period In The British Empire

1290 words - 6 pages

The Georgian period of the British Empire is defined by the rule of the Hanoverian kings who were all named George. The Late-Georgian era spans from 1763, with the reign of George III, George IV and William IV to the crowning of Queen Elizabeth in 1837. The Georgian era was a time of British expansion throughout the world. During this period mercantilism dominated British and Western European economic policies. British Imperial trade was governed by The Navigation Act of 1651, which restricted colonial trade for almost 200 years. But it was in 1763, with the end of the Seven Years War that the modern age of imperial colonialism had truly begun.
Mercantilism sparked the creation and expansion of colonies and caused wars between many of the large European countries. Mercantilism is a system were the mother country benefited by forbidding its colonies from trading with countries outside the mother country and its other colonies. Raw materials were worked domestically and finished goods were sold inside the mother countries’ colonies, excess goods were exported to supply more gold to the mother countries economy.
Great Britain employed mercantilism in the so-called triangle trade. Ships from Liverpool would take textiles, rum and finished goods to Africa. Then on the West African coast, these goods would be traded for men, women and children who had been captured by slave traders or bought from African chiefs, in exchange for finished goods. It often took a long time for a captain to fill his ship. The slavers would often spend three to four months sailing along the coast, looking for the fittest and cheapest slaves. There was often violent resistance by Africans against slave ships and their crews. They were attacks from the shore by free Africans or longboats and many times shipboard revolt by the enslaved. The enslaved Africans were densely packed onto ships that would carry them on the brutal ‘Middle Passage' to the British West Indies or Caribbean.

Once in the British West Indies the slaves were sold to the highest bidder at slave auctions. The slaves worked for nothing on plantations. They belonged to the plantation owner, like any other possession, and had no rights at all. The enslaved Africans were often punished very harshly. Enslaved Africans resisted against their enslavement in many ways, from revolution to silent, personal resistance. Two thirds of the enslaved Africans, taken to the Americas, ended up on sugar plantations. Sugar was also used to make molasses and rum. The American colonies then grew all the food for the West Indies planters so they could use all their land to grow sugar. With the money made from the sale of enslaved Africans, goods such as sugar, rum and tobacco were bought and carried back to Britain. The money earned in Britain would start the triangle over again.

The Seven Years War ended on February 10, 1763, when Britain, France, Spain and Portugal officially ratified the Treaty of Paris. While...

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