The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from Wenceslaus Hollar’s maps:

Open location in Google Maps: 50.388565, -4.146605

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San Diego Sarah  •  Link

My Devonshire paper has an Opinion piece today on statues, history, slavery, and how many Devonians are ignorant of the fact that only a handful of ships from Plymouth initiated the first English slaving expeditions from Africa to the Americas.

It asks if people know that after the 1560s Devonians hardly engaged in slavery? Two dozen ships left Devon to enslave Africans out of the nearly 12,000 voyages conducted from other English ports.

Also in the 1500's some Africans lived in Plymouth and Barnstaple, probably because of privateering. Documents show these men and women were free servants, not slaves. [That didn't last - sj]

Upsetting to some is the fact that more white Devonians were taken hostage and enslaved in North Africa than Equatorial Africans were seized as slaves by Devonians. (That isn't true for many English counties; the Barbary pirates’ made a significant impact on Devon for centuries.)

On-going research will probably show substantial Devonian trade from the late 1500s to the early 1800s was in slave-produced goods (sugar, rum, tobacco, cotton). There was also direct investment in, or ownership of, slave plantations – but as of 2020 there is no evidence any Devon estate or country house was purchased with, or built from, such wealth.

It is impossible to disentangle the British Empire from any economic or cultural legacy in the United Kingdom. For centuries the economy was centered on adding to its colonies, and the exploitation of foreign commodities.

In 17th century Devon this meant the harvesting of Canadian fish and whales which made Dartmouth, Plymouth, Teignmouth, Bideford and Barnstaple wealthy at the expense of native Canadians. This fishing provided the economic foundation for those ports. Should we now view the quaint 17th century streets of Dartmouth with shame?

The 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower from Dartmouth and Plymouth will be celebrated in the United States in 2020 as a valiant fight for religious freedom. But the Pilgrims sought (1) freedom to practice their own Puritan form of worship, and (2) freedom to persecute anyone who dissented from it. They carried out their plans: Quakers were hanged for practicing their faith.

Today we would label the Pilgrims as extremists, bigots and/or fundamentalists -- certainly not humanitarians.
In addition, the Puritans’ New World was the result of taking land from its rightful owners.

As we know from studying Pepys, it is impossible for any figure from the past to meet modern expectations with respect for gender, race, disability, religion, sexuality, class, household violence and age.

Pictures of Raleigh and Dartmouth, and more Devonshire musings on uncomfortable subjects at…

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.