1833 - Britain abolishes slavery

An industry founded on slave labour

The chocolate supply around 1670 was often harvested and processed by slave labour. At that time, the governor of Jamaica and plantation owner Sir Thomas Modyford says the island should be populated as quickly as possible and that ship owners are prepared to transport slaves. "Males £12 to £15, females £10 to £12 ready money, with which they buy cocoa which nearly doubles at their return, so that many have been brought hither within these ten months."

By 1699 some 80 per cent of all people living in the Caribbean, where much of Britain's cocoa was grown, were African slaves.

Slavery was abolished in the British Empire in 1833, but cocoa plantations elsewhere continued the practice long afterwards. Even as late as 1908 London's Standard newspaper reported that Cadbury products were made partly with cocoa resulting from slave labour in Sao Thome plantations. The company argued that it had been trying to address this by continued involvement with the Portuguese over some years, and when these efforts failed it finally stopped using such cocoa in its products. Cadbury sued the Standard, and won its case, but was granted damages of just one farthing.

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