For thirty eight years Henry VIII reigned and in spite of the monies and properties he claimed ownership of from the Catholic Church, the BRF and the Kingdom of England suffered financial woes (debt) due primarily to Henry’s extravagances and the wars they fought. These debts forced him and later his daughter Queen Mary I, to sell land in order to pay down the debt.
Enter privateer and merchant John Hawkins. John Hawkins became the first Englishman to successfully kidnap, transport and trade African Slaves. The successful profits garnered from his first voyage (1562-1563) yielded him more support for his second voyage (1564-1565) from the Queen of the Kingdom of England, Elizabeth I.
When Elizabeth I inherited the Throne, she also inherited a national debt of more than £300,000 (£108 million in today’s currency). Elizabeth and the governing heads of England, after seeing the financial success of Hawkins’s first voyage, foresaw the tremendous financial opportunity in the business of Slave Trade to increase revenue. Elizabeth invested in Hawkins’s second voyage by leasing him her ship the Jesus of Lubeck; which he used to transport Slaves to the West Indies for Trade.
Predictably, the thought of profits trumped humanity and gave birth to one of the darkest barbaric periods in British History. Hawkins voyages pioneered the Kingdom of England’s (later United Kingdom’s) 245 years involvement in the Transatlantic Slave Trade.