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The Slave Trade at Stranraer Museum

This exhibition, curated by Frances Wilkins, coincides with the publication of her book on Dumfries and Gallloway and the slave trade.

Both the exhibition and the book are the result of exhaustive research
which has revealed a much greater involvement in the slave trade by the region’s 18th century merchants and sea captains than has hitherto been understood.

The exhibition explores how the region was involved, for example through the
voyages from Dumfries and Kirkcudbright to Africa that delivered slaves to the
North American states of Virginia and Maryland. Local man, John Graham, helped establish the town of Dumfries in Virginia as the second largest port in North America, exporting tobacco grown on plantations worked by slaves. On this side of the Atlantic, Dumfries and Kirkcudbright were both ports through which tobacco was imported in the mid eighteenth century, and from where it was exported to Scandinavia, Holland or France.

Wigtownshire was also involved. Sir William Cathcart of Genoch near Stranraer ran a plantation in South Carolina and Wigtown-born Samuel McDowall owned a number of slaving ships which operated from Liverpool. Both men feature in the exhibition.

Frances Wilkins will give a talk on Dumfries and Galloway and the slave trade at 7.30 pm , Stranraer Library, on Friday 23 November. Admission is free.

The exhibition runs until 1 December.

The image shows beads, "used in barter in the slave trade on the west coast of Africa about 1780".