Slave-owners’ Compensation: The Bahamas Colony




Slavery reparations, Slave trade, Bahamas - History,


This study uses descriptive statistics to provide an overview of the compensation received by former slave-owners who were compensated for the loss of their property in the Bahamas colony, that is, their slaves, after Emancipation. The data used for this study is from the University College London’s Legacies of British Slave-ownership Centre. This paper answers four questions: What was the amount of the compensation received by former slave-owners in the Bahamas colony in 1834? What was the distribution of the compensation? What is the 2017 price equivalent of the compensation paid? What would be the investment value of the compensation in 2017 using prevailing interest rates? It is shown that 1,057 awardees received £126,848.70 for 10,087 slaves in 1834. There were six different types of awardees based on the type of ownership. The 2017 equivalent of the total compensation using prices, equates to £11,588,494.36 and in terms of investment value, equates to £342,031,365.63.

Author Biography

Olivia C. Saunders, University of The Bahamas

Professor, School of Business Studies


Adi, H. (2012). Africa and the transatlantic slave trade.

Craton, M. (1986). History of the Bahamas. San Salvador Press.

Drescher, S. (1990). People and parliament: The rhetoric of the British slave trade. The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 20(4), 561-580.

Dumas, P. E. S. (2012). Defending the slave trade and slavery in Britain in the era of abolition, 1783-1833 9Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. University of Edinburgh.

Gerbner, K. R. (2013). Christian slavery: Protestant missions and slave conversion in the Atlantic world, 1660-1760 [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. Harvard University.

Goldin, C. D. (1973). The economics of emancipation. The Journal of Economic History, 33(1), 66-85.

Hall, D. (1962). Slaves and slavery in the British West Indies. Social and Economic Studies, 11(4), 305-318.

Johnson, H. (1991). The Bahamas in Slavery and Freedom. Ian Randle.

Latimer, J. (1964). The apprenticeship system in the British West Indies. The Journal of Negro Education, 33(1), 52-57.

Manning, S. (2013, February 24). Britain's colonial shame: Slave-owners given huge pay-outs after abolition. The Independent.

McWeeney, S. (2018). Breaching the gates: The Bahamian free coloured and the struggle for civil rights 1802-1834. S. l.: Author.

Officer, L. (2018). What was the interest rate then?

Saunders, G. (2006). The first 50 years of parliamentary government in the Bahamas 1729-1779. In G. Saunders, & P. Williams (Eds.), Conflict, controversy, and control: Constitutional and parliamentary issues in eighteenth century Bahamas (pp. 1-13).

Saunders, G. (2010). Historic Bahamas.

Saunders, O. C. (2007). Towards a new taxation system. In N. Karagiannis & B. J. Nottage (Eds.), New directions in Bahamian policy: Essays on endogenous development (pp. 113-133). Mona Digital & Offset.

Themistocleous, R. (2000). The merchant princes of Nassau, maintenance of hegemony in The Bahamas 1834-1948 [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. University of Kent at Canterbury.

Themistocleous, R. (2001). Coloured members of The Bahamian House of Assembly in the nineteenth century. College of The Bahamas Research Journal, 10, 10-22.

Thompson, A. (2008). An economic history of The Bahamas. Commercial Services Group.

University College London. (n.d.). Legacies of British slave-ownership.

Weingast, B. R. (2016). Persistent inefficiency: Adam Smith’s theory of slavery and its abolition in Western Europe.

Wiles, R. C. (1974). Mercantilism and the idea of progress. Eighteenth-Century Studies, 8, 56-74.

Williams, E. (1984). From Columbus to Castro: The history of the Caribbean 1492-1969. Vintage Books.

Williams, P. (1999). Chronological highlights in the history of The Bahamas. Bahamas Historical Society.

Williams, P. (2006a). Highlights in the history of the Bahamas House of Assembly 1780-1830. In G. Saunders, & P. Williams (Eds.), Conflict, controversy, and control: Constitutional and parliamentary issues in eighteenth century Bahamas (pp. 14-28).

Williams, P. (2006b). From punishment to cruelty: An analysis of the parliamentary legislation regarding the treatment of slaves in The Bahamas, 1723-1832. In G. Saunders, & P. Williams (Eds.), Conflict, controversy, and control: Constitutional and parliamentary issues in eighteenth century Bahamas (pp. 29-37).






Original Articles