History of Britain - Nations & Empire


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4.Atlantic Trade

A hunger for trade goods leads to the birth of the British Empire and the tragedy of the slave trade. (4.75 mins)

5.East India Company
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1784 next video 5/11next

iconChapter Breakdown

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1. Glasgow's "Merchant City" - built on the profits of 18th century trade.
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2. Trade goods in the late 18th century: tea, coffee, sugar, tobacco.
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3. The Act of Union opens English trading ports to Scottish merchants - and Glasgow cashes in.
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4. Slavery: the human cost of Atlantic Trade.

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The first half of the module was shot in Glasgow Merchant City - an exciting part of Glasgow boasting wide straight streets and squares, and classical villas developed by Glasgow's tobacco lords in the 18th century. It's now buzzing with independent shops and bars.


From there we moved to Greenock, on the Clyde, west of Glasgow, where sugar and tobacco arrived from America in the decades that followed the Act of Union of 1707.

Greenock was Scotland's major port on the west coast throughout the 18th and 19th century, and declined only recently.


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