Banking and the slave trade

Banks made a fortune from slavery and the sugar trade

The Colonial Bank commenced business in 1836 in the West Indies when slavery was winding down. It was a popular bank for plantation owners to invest their compensation money (money paid by the British government to compensate slave owners for the end of slavery). By 1916, the Colonial Bank had expanded throughout the British Empire. Barclays Bank took it over in 1918.

Another slave bank was Arthur Heywood & Sons which started in 1773. Over time it became the Bank of Liverpool then Martins Bank and then Barclays Bank.

It’s no secret that slavery sits uncomfortably at the heart of British trading history. Companies made a fortune from it. Cities got rich. And individuals acquired titles, land and prominence that still serve their descendants well to this day. 

Barclays Bank denies any links to slavery.

Much of Britain's wealth is built on slavery. New Statesman 23 Apr 2014
Barclays admits possible link to slavery after reparation call.  The Guardian 1 Apr 2007
How African Slavery Civilized Britain. Global Researc 23 March 2016
The Great Abolition Sham: The True Story of the End of the British Slave Trade. History Press 28 Jul 2010