What was the Great Circuit?

Do you know what was the great circuit? this a great event of the history. Let’s discover what was the great circuit.

When Portugal began to trade with the native towns on the West African coast her captains sought gold, ivory and pepper. At the beginning of the thirteenth century, however, a new source of wealth in the form of slaves suddenly presented itself.

What was the great circuit?

Brazil was discovered by Portugal in 1500 and to provide additional labor, Africans began to be imparted to work on the vast sugar plantations. Thus the terrible slave trade began. England’s seamen soon realized the wealth that lay in this trade and they began to fill the holds of their ships with living-or barely living-cargo.

The first English captain to embark on the wicked trade of carrying slaves to the New World was John Hawkins, who came from Plymouth. King James of England Officially granted a charter to the ‘Company of Adventurers of London Trading into Parts of Africa’.

The trade grew, and by 1713 England had the monopoly for the supply of slaves to South America. Thus the ‘Great Circuit’ came into being (above). This was triangular course taken by the slave ships. They sailed form channel ports with cargoes of gaudy jewellery and bales of cheap cotton cloth for the coast of Africa.

What was the Great Circuit

What was the Great Circuit

The ‘cargoes’ were exchanged and, packed with Negroes, the ships headed westwards across the Atlantic to the West Indies and America. The slaves were then sold and sugar bought with the proceeds. Brought back on the third leg of the ‘Great Circuit’, the sugar was sold in Europe.

This trading played a great part in the growth of the Lancashire cotton mills which produced most of the goods for barter in Africa.

Where was the Roanoke colony?

One of the great Elizabethans was Sir Walter Raleigh who wanted to see a large English settlement established in the New World. In 1583 his half-brother, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, has unsuccessfully tried to set up a colony in New found land.

The following year Raleigh decided to try again further south. He sent out to ships which touched at Roanoke Island, off the coast of what is now North Carolina, and then returned to England with the news that the land was suitable for settlement.

In 1585, a further expedition was organized by Raleigh. It consisted of seven ships, under the command of Sir Richard Grenville, carrying settlers to Roanoke Island. The would-be colonists went ashore, the seamen from the fleet helped them build huts and a stockade and then, satisfied that the colony would flourish, Grenville sailed away.

Part of a very early map of the 'Virginia Coast', now the coast of North Carolina.

Part of a very early map of the ‘Virginia Coast’, now the coast of North Carolina.

But trouble began when the colonist antagonized the once friendly Indians, and before long they did not dare venture outside their stockades. The survivors were glad to abandon their settlement when Francis Drake called at the island, and to return to England with him.

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