Newly released captives on board HMS London

This photograph shows a group of African people enslaved as part of the East African trade. This group were freed from slavery by the Royal Navy in 1882. HMS London was the Royal Navy’s depot ship at Zanzibar in the 1880s. At that time the Navy was active in trying to stop illegal trade in enslaved Africans in the British colonies, and tried to deter other countries from continuing the trade. The newly liberated Africans shown had probably been released from slaving ships operating between Zanzibar, the Arabian Peninsular and Asia. This trade continued until the late 19th century. Although the British had stopped trading in enslaved people earlier in the century, they still bought goods produced by them, particularly cotton from the United States until the end of the American Civil War in 1865.

© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

Accession reference: National Maritime Museum, ZBA261