Through the end of the seventeenth and the whole of the eighteenth century, slave trading in Scotland was a major industry. Slaves, brought from Africa, were sold in the West Indies, and, with the growth of the cotton trade in the southern states, were often sold on from Jamaica and other parts of the Caribbean to Georgia. Though the trade centered around Bristol (in England), Glasgow and Greenock both played minor roles in the industry. From as early as the seventeenth century, slaves were imported to Virginia on vessels such as the George (Glasgow) and the Isabella (Greenock). There are no official records of Scottish families having black slaves, as was the case in Bristol and Greenock. During the famine in 1740, there were several cases of young men and boys being kidnapped off the road by gangs of traders and sold on to American plantation owners.

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