Ending the African Slave Trade
John Broich
Price: £
  • Hardback
2 Nov 2017
  • History
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The true account of the British Royal Navy’s campaign to put an end to the African slave trade once and for all

Despite the British being early abolitionists, a significant slave trade remained down the east coast of Africa through the mid-1800s. What further undermined the British Empire was that many of the vessels involved in the trade were themselves British ships.

The Royal Navy’s response was to dispatch a squadron to patrol Africa’s coast. Following what began as a simple policing action, this is the story of the four Royal Naval officers who witnessed how rampant the slave trade remained and made it their personal mission to end it. When the disruption of the trade ships started to step on the toes of the wealthy merchant class, the campaign was cancelled. However, in the end a coalition of naval officers and abolitionists forced the British government’s hand into eradicating the slave trade entirely.

Squadron grew from historian John Broich’s passion to hunt down first-hand accounts of this untold story. Through research from archives throughout the UK, Broich tells a tale of defiance in the face of political corruption, while delivering thrills in the tradition of high-seas heroism. If it weren’t a true story, Squadron would be right at home alongside Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander series.


A true story, backed up by meticulous research… Squadron is an interesting book’ The Times

'A thoroughly researched and vividly chronicled description of life in Queen Victoria's navy' Commander Tim Ash, Captain HMS WARRIOR (1860), Portsmouth, UK

‘Brilliant… Captivating, insightful and concise… serves as a reminder that out there are true stories that have been swept aside and deserve to be told’ All About History

‘Seriously thought provoking [and] deeply interesting… one of those wonderful history books that uses a series of incidents to open a window on period, places and – most importantly – people’ Nudge Books


Praise for London: Water and the Making of the Modern City:

‘A concise, useful examination of a key aspect of London's modern development’ Choice

‘Its long-term contribution will be to add to our knowledge of how the nineteenth century created not only the idea of controlling private enterprise but the concept of public enterprise’ Environmental Values

‘A pleasure to read’ Raymond Smith, independent environmental historian

‘Much more than an account of the watering of a great metropolis, Broich's book reminds us that cities are infrastructural achievements’ Christopher Hamlin, University of Notre Dame

John Broich

About John Broich

John Broich is a historian who specialises in the British Empire and the award-winning author for London: Water and the Making of the Modern City.

He graduated from Stanford and Oxford and has written on race issues in the Empire, the Royal Navy and the Second World War for publications including Time, Guardian, The Conversation, and History News.