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Slavery defined the Atlantic world. African forced labour produced the primary materials that drove European mercantile economies. The plantation complex lay at the core of societies from Brazil and the West Indies to the American mainland and West Africa.
In a memorandum for the Committee of Imperial Defence dated 10 July 1920 Harold Nicolson, whose family connection with these matters dated back to the time when his father Lord Carnock entered the Foreign Office, namely 1870, wrote: