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Darwin Correspondence Project

Darwin and slavery

Key Stage: 
Art and design

Darwin believed that the enslavement of people was barbaric and, like the rest of his family, supported the abolition movement. Using his letters and journals we discover what he encountered and learn more about the background and impact of the transatlantic slave trade. 

Learning outcomes

By the end of the activities pupils will be able to:

  • Summarise Darwin’s experiences, feelings and beliefs in relation to the slave trade.
  • Analyse a key object from the abolition movement.
  • Describe geographic and economic factors of the slave trade and how the transatlantic slave trade triangle functioned.
  • Understand and express vocabulary connected to the slave trade.
  • Create fictional and factual writing based on first-hand accounts.
  • Describe the role and value of first-hand accounts, diaries and letters to the historian.

History/ Design and technology

Design an antislavery logo and motto.

Duration: 2 x 50 minutes


Define the language of slavery.

Duration: 2 x 50 minutes

History / English

Report on a slave auction.

Duration: 2 x 1 hour


Who was involved in the transatlantic slave trade?

Duration: 2 x 45 minutes