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Timeline
Use all the timelines to build up an even bigger picture of historical events.

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Black and Asian Londoners

1505
A Black trumpeter plays at the court of Henry VII and goes on to perform for Henry VIII - one of very few non-whites in England. About this time, early explorers bring three American Indians, probably kidnapped, to Henry VII's court. An account at the time describes them as acting "like to brute beasts".
1555
A London merchant, John Lok, starts trading with West Africans and briefly brings five African men from the coast of Ghana to England, aiming to teach them English and use them as interpreters.
London in 1560
London in 1560
1562

John Hawkins, English trader, sails to the New World and starts the slave trade between Guinea and the West Indies, selling 300 captured Africans to Spanish colonists on the island of Hispaniola.

1584

Sir Walter Raleigh returns from his first expedition to Carolina accompanied by two American Indians, who stay at his home for eight months and go with him on his next expedition. One of them, Manteo, becomes a valued interpreter and local expert for Raleigh , and visits England again with him the following year.

Sir Walter Raleigh
Sir Walter Raleigh
1596
Queen Elizabeth I issues a proclamation saying that 'all Negroes and blackamores' are to be arrested and expelled from the kingdom - although she herself has an African entertainer at court.
Queen Elizabeth I
Queen Elizabeth I
1600
English East India Company founded, originally to trade in spices from South-East Asia.

Old East India Company Building
Old East India Company Building
1619
First Negro slaves in North America arrive in Virginia
1621
William Bragge claims 6875 from the East India Company for assorted goods, including "thirteen negroes or Indian people" - the first written evidence of Black people being sold in this country.
1624/25
First English settlements in India (attached to the East India Company) and Barbados. In the Caribbean, slaves are used to work on sugar and tobacco plantations which make fortunes for their owners.
1660's
Consumption of sugar and rum - both produced by the slave system - starts to grow enormously in England between 1660 and 1675. The 'triangular trade' grows up: merchants take British manufactured goods to the African coast to be bartered for slaves, ship the slaves to the Caribbean and exchange them for sugar, rum and tobacco which are sold back in Britain. As slavery becomes more widespread, it becomes fashionable for wealthy families in England to have black servants.
1668
The East India Company gains control of Bombay. As the company grows, more employees go out to work there from Britain. The company has begun to employ local Indians, both as manual workers and servants to employees. They also take on 'sepoys' - Indian soldiers - as part of a standing army to protect the Company's interests.
1675
A description of "A Town Misse" in London says that that a rich, fashionable young woman will always have "two necessary Implements [= fashion accessories] about her, a Blackamore, and a little Dog".
A Town Miss and her Servant at The White House, Soho Square, C18th.
A Town Miss and her Servant at The White House, Soho Square, C18th.
1686
First English trading post set up in Gambia, Africa.
1689
East India Company, having taken more territory in India, formally announces that it now has powers of government.
1700's
From the beginning of the century advertisements start to appear offering African or Asian slaves for sale in this country. "Hue and cry" adverts for escaped slaves are also common.
1706
Lord Chief Justice John Holt pronounces that: "As soon as a Negro comes into England, he becomes free." This ruling is later contradicted by other judges and law-lords. Free black people and runaway Black servants in England continue to be kidnapped and sold as slaves.
A satirical letter taken from the Tatler, 1710.
A satirical letter taken from the Tatler, 1710.
1726
Attorney-General Sir Philip Yorke and Solicitor-General Lord Talbot, in answer to a petition by West Indian planters, give the ruling "that a slave, by coming [to Britain] from the West Indies, doth not become free . the master may legally compel him to return to the plantations."/span>
Mid
1700s
Successful planters from British colonies in the West Indies begin to return home with their black slaves. In Britain these are referred to as servants, but they are seldom paid. A smaller number of Indian servants - also usually unpaid - are brought back by returning East India Company employees. Historians estimate that there are around 10 000-15 000 black and Asian people in Britain at this time, over half of them in London.
1731
The Lord Mayor of London issues a proclamation forbidding Black people to become apprenticed to any trade.
1767
The Jonathan Strong case marks the start of the career of Granville Sharp as an anti-slavery campaigner.
1770
The first autobiography of a Black Briton is published: Narrative of the Most remarkable Particulars in the Life of . . . an African Prince, by Ukawsaw Gronniosaw.
1772
Lord Mansfield rules in the Somerset case that a slave cannot be forced to leave England to be sold. The decision leads many slaves in Britain to desert their masters and seek paid work. In America too, slaves are inspired by the news to run away.
1773
A collection of Poems on Various Subjects, religious and moral by the 19-year-old American slave Phillis Wheatley is published in London.
1773
The Regulation Act is passed, giving the British government direct control over the East India Company. A British Governor of Bengal is appointed.
A map of India in the Eighteenth Century
A map of India in the Eighteenth Century
1774
Edward Long, a plantation-owner, writes his History of Jamaica, which argues that black people are mentally and morally inferior to whites. Opposition to slavery is growing in Britain, and Long's arguments will be heavily used by slavers to justify their trade.
Pictures which showed Black people as less important than white people were common.
Pictures which showed Black people as less important than white people were common.
1775-83
Many slaves fight on the British side in the American Revolution (known in Britain as 'Black Loyalists'). Several hundred of the 'Black Loyalists' come to Britain after the American Revolution. They are not given pensions and live in poverty.
1782
The Letters of Ignatius Sancho, a freed slave who moved in literary and artistic circles, become a best-seller two years after his death.
Letter to Ignatius Sancho from Laurence Sterne, 1766
Letter to Ignatius Sancho from Laurence Sterne, 1766
Letter to Ignatius Sancho from Laurence Sterne, 1766
1784
Pitt's India Act gives the British government further political control of India. Indians can no longer form part of their country's government except at the lower levels.
1786
The Committee for the Relief of the Black Poor is set up by a group of London businessmen and philanthropists to provide food and medical care for Black beggars in London - many of them ex-soldiers or sailors who have been abandoned in London. Together with the Government, the Committee proposes setting up a colony in Sierra Leone on the West coast of Africa, to resettle poor Blacks who cannot find work in Britain.
A view of New Bridge Street . There are two Black people in this picture. One sits on a wheeled cart and the other is working as a crossing sweeper.
A view of New Bridge Street . There are two Black people in this picture. One sits on a wheeled cart and the other is working as a crossing sweeper.
1787
About 350 Black Londoners and 50 whites sail for Sierra Leone in Africa. Granville Sharp, Thomas Clarkson and ten others set up the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade.
1787
Ottobah Cugoano publishes the first attack on slavery written by an ex-slave: Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil and Wicked Traffic of the Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species.
1788
In a nationwide campaign, over 100 petitions are sent to sent to Parliament asking for the abolition of the slave trade. This is the first of many national campaigns, though individual petitions against slavery have already been sent by both Black and white groups.
Letter sent from St Christopher's in the West Indies in 1788, referring to the selling of slaves
Letter sent from St Christopher's in the West Indies in 1788, referring to the selling of slaves
1789
Olaudah Equiano, freed slave and campaigner against slavery, publishes his autobiography which is very influential in the anti-slavery movement.
1791
William Wilberforce makes his first attempt to bring in a bill to abolish the slave trade in Britain and its colonies.
Statue of William Wilberforce
Statue of William Wilberforce
1792-1815
Black soldiers and seamen fight for Britain in the Napoleonic wars. Some of these later settle in London.
Chelsea Pensioners, 1815
Chelsea Pensioners, 1815
1794
As a result of an uprising of slaves led by Toussaint L'Ouverture on the island of St. Domingo, the French government is forced to abolish slavery among its colonies. Although Napoleon Bonaparte imprisons Toussaint and re-establishes the slave trade in 1802, the colony has already declared its independence. It becomes a powerful symbol of freedom for Blacks fighting against slavery in other countries.
1803
Beethoven writes the 'Kreutzer' sonata for the black violinist George Polgreen Bridgtower, who gives the sonata's first performance.
1804
The colony of St Domingo formally declares its independence as the black-governed republic of Haiti.
1807
The British government outlaws slave trading in Britain and British colonies.
1814
After the defeat of Napoleon, 1,500,000 British people sign petitions protesting against proposals to allow French slavers to carry on with the slave-trade.
1814
A Society for the Protection of Asiatic Sailors is formed to look into the living and working conditions of lascars (Indian sailors).
1822
Sake Deen Mahomed, businessman and writer, publishes an account of cures achieved at his famous Vapour Baths and Shampooing Establishment in Brighton.  Ramo Samee, Indian conjurer and juggler, performs to packed houses at the Royal Coburg Theatre, London.
Ramo Samee, 1822
Ramo Samee, 1822
1823
The Anti-Slavery Society is set up. Whereas earlier societies campaigned to end the transporting and selling of slaves, this group campaigns for the abolition of slavery itself: ie to free people born into slavery.
1825
First London appearance of the famous Black actor, Ira Aldridge
Ira Aldridge
Ira Aldridge
1830's
Bills are passed in parliament to abolish slavery in British territories abroad
Mr Buxton supports the abolition of slavery, 1831
Mr Buxton supports the abolition of slavery, 1831
1834
Keeping slaves is made illegal throughout the British Empire.
Anti-slavery rally 1841
Anti-slavery rally 1841
1855
Mary Seacole opens a dispensary and hospital in the Crimea, where she nurses the war-wounded
Mary Seacole in the Crimea , 1857
Mary Seacole in the Crimea , 1857
1857
The "Strangers' Home"/strong> is opened: a lodging house for sailors from India and China stranded in London with no work or support.
The Stranger's Home, 1857
The Stranger's Home, 1857
1857
The Indian National Uprising (called at the time the "Indian Mutiny") breaks out when the sepoys try to overthrow British rule. The uprising is bloodily put down.
Sepoys in 1843
Sepoys in 1843
1858
India is brought under the direct rule of the British Crown
1865
The London India Society is set up by Dadabhai Naoroji as "a centre of action and communication in England for the promotion of native interests".
1865
Slavery is abolished in the United States
Anti-slavery meeting, 1863
Anti-slavery meeting, 1863
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