Degree Name





Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Defense Date


Publication Date


First Faculty Advisor

Christopher Jones

First Faculty Reader

Matthew Mason

Honors Coordinator

Daren Ray


Slavery, Captain, Ship, Sugar, Transatlantic, Britain


Numerous scholars have examined the transatlantic slave trade in an attempt to understand the brutal system. However, there has been little research on the “Middle Passage,” the part of the trade system when the enslaved would be boarded onto slaving vessels and forced to endure months of abuse till they landed in the Americas. This paper examines the logbook of Captain George Cannon of the slave ship Iris to understand the life of one of the slaving captains and how a seemingly regular British citizen could become such a key member of the system. It came down to political, economic, and social pressures. At the time of his sailing, the British Empire was about to abolish the slave trade which created a high demand for slaves. Furthermore, being a captain came with a potential for great economic increase, simultaneously, British society had completely morphed with the introduction of sugar which had created a massive demand for the good. Influences in his life were likely similar to those of other slave ship captains, creating a dynamic where critical members of the transatlantic slave trade were being affected by various pressures from all facets of life.