Series 1 A Precious Cargo
How the trans-Atlantic slave trade became the world's greatest wealth-generating machine.
Samuel L Jackson examines how, for over 400 years, the trans-Atlantic slave trade became the greatest wealth-generating machine the world had known and the engine that drove the global economy.
Samuel L Jackson - with journalists Afua Hirsch and Simcha Jacobovici - examines how, for over 400 years, the trans-Atlantic slave trade became the greatest wealth-generating machine the world had known and the engine that drove the global economy. Afua goes to Brazil, once the world’s greatest supplier of sugar, to discover how Europeans' insatiable appetite for this sweetener drove the explosion of the slave trade in the 17th century, leading to a constant demand for the supply of cheap trans-Atlantic labour to work the plantations. She then visits Bristol, revealing how the enormous profits generated by these enslaved Africans built much of the modern world we live in today.
Jackson reveals how slave owners came up with increasingly inventive ways to turn their losses into profits when trafficked Africans were lost at sea. As the economics of the slave trade began to unravel, one infamous British court case ultimately helped paved the way for abolition. Jackson teams up with DWP, Diving with a Purpose, a group of underwater investigators who view the ocean floor as a graveyard and a crime scene. They dive the Suriname river in South America in search of a Dutch shipwreck called the Leusden, scene of a horrific mass murder and a crime largely forgotten for 300 years.