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Understanding transatlantic slavery, key stage 4

Key facts

  • Suitable for: Key Stage 4
  • Subjects: Citizenship, History
  • Session type: Museum led
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Class size (maximum): 30
  • Venue: International Slavery Museum
  • Free


This object handling session introduces students to Liverpool’s involvement in transatlantic slavery. It looks at fundamental aspects of transatlantic slavery and its impact on the lives of those involved.

Further details

Transatlantic slavery was responsible for the forced migration of between 12 to 15 million people from Africa to the Americas from the middle of the 15th century to the end of the 19th century. This session introduces students to Liverpool’s involvement in the trade, to fundamental aspects of transatlantic slavery, and its impact on the lives of those involved.

Students work in five small groups to look at different facets of transatlantic slavery:

  • traditional life in West Africa,
  • forced migration,
  • enslavement and life on the plantation,
  • ways that people resisted, as well as
  • abolition movements.

Each group uses different sets of artefacts, information cards and question prompts to aid and deepen their understanding of this complex and difficult history. 

This unique learning experience illustrates the massive impact of transatlantic slavery on the world and the ways it still impacts on many lives.  The approaches used in this session enable students to develop a deeper understanding of Fundamental British Values.

Curriculum Links:

Key Stage 4 History

OCR History A

Impact of Empire on Britain 1688-1730 Depth Study

  • The involvement of the British population in the slave trade including: the development of ‘slave ports’ – Bristol, Liverpool, London – growth of ideas of a racial hierarchy and impact of these ideas on settled minority communities; opposition to slavery and the slave trade

AQA History

Paper 2: Shaping the Nation

Britain: Power and the people: 1170 to the present day

  • Protest and change: campaigning groups and their methods and impact, including the Anti-Slavery movement

Britain: Migration, empires and the people: c790 to the present day

  • Sugar and the Caribbean: piracy and plunder; the development of the slave trade, including John Hawkins; settlements in Barbados and West Indies; the economic and social impact of the slave trade on Britain.

Citizenship and Fundamental British Values

Pupils will be explore:

  • human rights and international law
  • diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding