Exile and the Foundation of Sierra Leone

Ruma Chopra’s chapter examines three groups of black settlers in British Sierra Leone between 1787 and 1800. She explores the motivations of the migrants as well as imperial needs that drove the government to subsidize the transportation of ex-slaves into their infant colony. Chopra argues that blacks saw the migration as an opportunity to start anew whereas the empire hoped that a well-peopled Sierra Leone would set an example of an anti-slavery establishment, as well as provide a foothold in West Africa. The shortage of “respectable” white families willing to embark and settle in high-disease regions compelled the empire to look favorably on black settlers. In time, the exiles from London and Nova Scotia became trusted British settlers in Sierra Leone.

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