David Cameron's ancestors had owned slaves: report
London: British Prime Minister David Cameron is among some of the famous Britons distantly related to people involved in the slave trade, according to a new database. A research conducted by University College London (UCL) documents all British slave-owners who were compensated after being forced to free slaves in 1833 when slavery was abolished in Britain's colonies.
Among some of the other prominent names who are linked with a slave-owning past include author George Orwell as well as novelist Graham Greene. The British government paid around 20 million pounds to compensate thousands of slave-owning families for the loss of their "property" when human ownership was abolished by the British Empire.
The sum, which includes a total of 46,000 individual claims, amounted to 40 per cent of the UK's annual spending budget and it would add up to around 1.8 billion pounds in terms of 21st century prices. "Our overall finding is that British colonial slave-ownership was of far greater significance in Britain than has previously been recognised," said Professor Catherine Hall, who led the UCL research project.
"What we have done is to establish the life-trajectories of some 3,000 absentee slave-owners in Britain, and analysis of this has allowed us to trace the legacies of slave-ownership in Victorian Britain," she said.