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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Huge pay out to slave owners

The compensation for slave owners in 1833 was bigger than bank bailouts today

It's old news, and the amounts have to be adjusted to match modern currency, but it's still shocking

LONDON (AP) -- A new database launched Wednesday lets Britons curious about their family history uncover some potentially uncomfortable information — whether their ancestors owned slaves.
Researchers at University College London spent three years compiling a searchable listing of thousands of people who received compensation for loss of their "possessions" when slave ownership was outlawed by Britain in 1833.
About 46,000 people were paid a total of 20 million pounds — the equivalent of 40 percent of all annual government spending at the time — after the freeing of slaves in British colonies in the Caribbean, Mauritius and southern Africa.
"This is a huge bailout," said Keith McClelland, a research associate on the project. "Relatively speaking, it is bigger than the bailout of the bankers in recent years."
Compensation for slave-owners was opposed by some abolitionists, who argued it was immoral, but it was approved as the political price of getting the 1833 abolition bill passed.

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