[A Proclamation Regarding the Royal African Company’s Monopoly].


Novicoff 2
[A Proclamation Regarding the Royal African Company’s Monopoly].
This document is the royal charter for the Royal African Company. It set up the jurisdiction of the RAC as extremely broad from "South Barbary [on the North African Coast] to Cape de Bona Esperanza [the southern tip of Africa]." Not only was that their jurisdiction broad, but the RAC was given an official monopoly on Anglo-African trade. The English’s actual and regulated participation in African trade (especially slaves) was a big deal because of previous Iberian and Dutch dominance in that sphere. It also represents another shift in English policy—how close they should be to the actual enslavement of people. When the English had merely bought or stolen slaves from Iberians, they never considered themselves to be “making” slaves, only taking slaves. They weren’t guilty of enslaving anyone, technically, and their ownership would surely be preferable over the cruel Spanish papists, which is how the English viewed the Spaniards. Now though, the RAC would be on coasts paying money to actual slave raiders; were they not becoming more and more responsible for enslavement? But they had reasons not to care about ethics anymore—by 1674 (the date of this charter), the Barbadian economy was taking off and all the other colonies’ outputs were growing too. Cheap, “expendable” labor was needed and the issue could not wait for pirates to take slaves from Spanish ships.
Charles II of England
Date Created
Bill and Barker
Bibliographic Citation
Charles II of England. [A Proclamation Regarding the Royal African Company’s Monopoly]. London: Bill and Barker, 1674
Library Citation
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