Biographies of key figures in the history of the transatlantic slave trade

There were many figures in Britain, West Africa and the Caribbean who played a key part in supporting and abolishing the transatlantic slave trade. Each biography is listed below.

Edward Long (1734 - 1813)
Edward Long was an author and historian, born in Cornwall, England. He became a barrister, and in 1757 emigrated to Jamaica, where he became Lieutenant Governor and was later appointed a judge of the vice-admiralty court. He was an influential and wealthy member of British society as well as an established Jamaican planter and slave trader. The Long family became part of Jamaica


William Murray, Lord Mansfield (1705 - 1793)Mansfield was called to the bar in 1730, elected to the House of Commons (of which he was later leader) and appointed solicitor general in 1742. He became the Lord Chief Justice in 1756, a post he held until 1788 when he was also Speaker of the House of Lords. In his role as Lord Chief Justice he presided over many cases involving the freedom of slaves, including the Somerset case in 1772, when he judged that a slave could not be forcibly removed from England. This effectively made slavery in England a legal impossibility.
Mansfield was deeply conservative and a wealthy investor and landowner. He has been described as the father of British commercial law and found the distinction between people and property uncomfortable to deal with. He tried to fuse the principles of law and equity. He experienced directly the consequences of slavery in his own household where Dido Elizabeth Lindsay, the illegitimate daughter of his naval officer nephew and a slave women, lived as one of the family. He formally freed her and financially supported her in his will.


Nanny (1700s - 1758/62)
Nanny was the spiritual, cultural and military leader of the Windward Maroons resistance fighters on the east side of Jamaica. Nanny was born an Asante or Akan (matrilineal tribe), in the Gold Coast (now Ghana), Africa, possibly as royalty and was probably brought to Jamaica as a slave. Biographical information on Queen Nanny is limited, with a mention only four times in written historical texts and then in derogatory terms by predominantly male British writers. The Ashanti tribe was one of the most powerful in West Africa, well trained in fighting battles and with great respect for women. Nanny and her five brothers - Cudjoe, the great Maroon leader, Accompong, Johnny, Cuffy and Quao - escaped from slavery. This family soon became leaders of the Maroons and of many other free Africans. A number of myths have evolved around her alleged supernatural powers.
Nanny continued to wage war against the British from 1728 to 1734, being unhappy with the deals made by the British government that meant Maroons turned in escaped enslaved Africans. She led over 800 free Africans for over 50 years. Nanny is known to the Maroons of today as


John Newton (1725 - 1807)
John Newton was born in London but captained two Liverpool slave ships during his twenties. Early in his travels Newton was discharged from a ship off the coast of Sierra Leone on condition he went into the owner, Clow