Slavery

The National Trust’s shameful manifesto

26 September 2020 9:00 am

The National Trust has brought out its ‘Interim Report’, with the clumsy title ‘Addressing our histories of colonialism and historic…

kamala harris reparations

Should Kamala Harris pay reparations?

11 August 2020 9:04 am

What do Stokely Carmichael, Harry Belafonte, Colin Powell, Sidney Poitier and Busta Rhymes have in common? And how are Beyoncé,…

Italy owes Wales reparations for the wrongs of the Roman Empire

18 July 2020 4:10 pm

There’s talk of reparations in the air. Lobbyists from around the world are demanding sin-payments from former colonial powers. Let…

Europe's eye-popping first glimpse of the Americas

16 May 2020 9:00 am

The earliest depictions of the Americas were eye-popping, and shaped European art, says Laura Gascoigne

Fear and loathing in Jamaica: Caribbean slaves turn the whip on their masters

11 January 2020 9:00 am

In the shadows of the British Enlightenment lurked the Caribbean sugar plantations. Masters routinely raped their slaves, punished minor wrongdoings…

Anglo-Saxons deserve reparations for the Norman Conquest

13 July 2019 9:00 am

Restorative justice for the victims of colonialism is an idea whose time has come. A few years ago, the Indian…

Spell-binding: Lupita Nyong’o as Adelaide in Us

Nyong’o is spellbinding but the plot is ultimately baffling: Us reviewed

23 March 2019 9:00 am

Us is a second feature from Jordan Peele after his marvellous debut Get Out, which was more brilliantly satirical than…

Whatever America is searching for, Trump isn’t providing it

20 October 2018 9:00 am

Donald J. Trump has sparked some soul- searching among US historians: has this happened before? Does it mean America has…

The burden of freedom: Washington Black, by Esi Edugyan, reviewed

15 September 2018 9:00 am

It’s 1830, and among the sugar cane of Faith Plantation in Barbados, suicide seems like the only way out. Decapitations…

Brazil: a country fizzing with excitement

11 August 2018 9:00 am

As the great Bossa Nova musician Tom Jobim liked to say, Brazil is not for beginners. This tends to be…

An agent from the Freedman’s Bureau separates freed slaves from an angry mob at the end of the American civil war. Credit Getty Images

A Shout in the Ruins, by Kevin Powers, reviewed

23 June 2018 9:00 am

We’re in Virginia, in the 1850s. A girl called Emily is tormenting her dog, Champion, and her father’s teenage slave,…

Brotherly love

30 September 2017 9:00 am

Jane Harris’s novels often focus on the disenfranchised: a maid in The Observations, a woman reduced by spinsterhood in the…

Benjamin Lay (American School, 18th century)

Raising Cain

16 September 2017 9:00 am

It is a pretty safe bet that for every 1,000 people who know of William Wilberforce, no more than the…

Must Colston fall?

22 July 2017 9:00 am

Edward Colston, mega-rich philanthropist around the year 1700, is the nearest thing Bristol has to a patron saint. The largest…

Stitches in time

15 July 2017 9:00 am

When Martha Ann Ricks was 76 she travelled from her home in Liberia to London to meet Queen Victoria. The…

Striking camp in Canada, March 1820

Annie Proulx is lost in the woods

4 June 2016 9:00 am

You can’t see the wood for the trees in Annie Proulx’s epic novel of logging and deforestation in North America, says Philip Hensher

HMS Agamemnon lays the first Atlantic telegraph cable between Trinity Bay and Valentia Island

The 1850s: a dizzying decade of boom and bust

26 March 2016 9:00 am

We can all identify decades in which the world moved forward. Wars are not entirely negative experiences: the social and…

The sophisticates are wrong about Cleveland, Ohio

29 October 2015 9:00 am

To Cleveland, Ohio, where middle America’s middle class begins its great Midwest sprawl. I’ve always wanted to visit Cleveland because…

Escape Antigua’s tourists (but be ready to confront some grim secrets)

22 August 2015 9:00 am

‘Tourism, tourism and tourism,’ said my Antiguan cab driver, when I asked what the country’s main industries were. Still, it’s…

‘The Discovery of the Large, Rich, Beautiful Empire called Guiana’, from ‘Newe Weld un Americanische Historien’, by Johann Ludwig Gottfried, 1631

The strange history of Willoughbyland, modern-day Suriname

8 August 2015 9:00 am

John Gimlette on the strange and superbly told story of Willoughbyland, England’s ‘lost’ colony

From ambrosia to zabaglione — now with added slavery

13 June 2015 9:00 am

This Oxford Companion ranges from the sweet to the decidedly salty, while being the most politically correct reference book you will ever consult, says Paul Levy

An idealised view of a cotton plantation beside the Mississippi, c. 1880

The turbulent reign of King Cotton: the dark history of one of the world’s most important commodities

10 January 2015 9:00 am

If not for cotton, we would still be wearing wool. To equal current cotton production, we would need seven billion…

Slaves planting cane cuttings in Antigua, 1823, by William Clark

Only tourists think of the Caribbean as a ‘paradise’

28 June 2014 9:00 am

A couple of years ago in Jamaica, I met Errol Flynn’s former wife, the screen actress Patrice Wymore. Reportedly a…

The starchy, conservative lawyer who freed every slave in England

14 June 2014 8:00 am

Slavery was ended in England not through blood and glory, but by the common law

How Plato and Aristotle would have tackled unemployment

24 May 2014 9:00 am

Labour is up in arms because many of the new jobs currently being created are among the self-employed. This seems…