Centre for the Study of International Slavery


Professor Robin Law (University of Stirling) ‘”There’s nothing grows in the West Indies but will grow here”: English and Dutch projects of plantation agriculture in West Africa, 1650s-1750s’

Tuesday 8 March 2011, 5.15pm

Room 401 in the Cypress Building, building 108 on the campus map.

All welcome


One of the puzzles about the trans-Atlantic slave trade is that most if not all of the crops which were grown by enslaved Africans in the Americas could also be grown in West Africa: why, then, were these slaves not employed in cultivation in West Africa, rather than being transported to the Americas? This is not merely a hypothetical question, since both the English and the Dutch did in fact experiment with the establishment of plantations in mainland West Africa, to produce crops such as indigo, cotton and sugar, from the 17th century onwards. This paper will survey these experiments, their motivation, and the reasons for their failure.