Painting of Britannia - 'Britannia giving freedom to poor African slaves'

This print was used widely during the campaign to abolish slavery. It depicts slaves kneeling before a figure of Britannia. They have just arrived in the Caribbean from Africa. The print is called 'Britannia giving Freedom to Poor African Slaves'. Many of the images used in the Abolition campaign might be considered inappropriate today. This image represents eighteenth century attitudes to race, empire, morality, power and money.

  • What evidence can you find from this image that the campaign to abolish the slave trade appealed to people's sympathy?
  • What evidence can you find from this image that the campaign to abolish the slave trade appealed to people's sense of patriotism?
  • How does the image suggest that despite their cause, abolitionists didn't necessarily view Africans on equal terms as white Europeans?

Taken from: 'Britannia giving freedom to poor African slaves'
Copyright: By permission of Wilberforce House Museum, Hull