Row Over 'Misrepresentation' Of Slavery In UK Citizenship Test (Agence France Presse)Historians in the News
tags: slavery, colonialism, British history, British Empire
The open letter's signatories argued the handbook painted a questionable picture of historical slavery in Britain, for example by suggesting it had ended in the 18th century.
The guidance also downplayed the country's role in the international trade in people, failing to note the vast numbers of British ships used to transport slaves and that huge numbers who died, they alleged.
The letter objected to impression left that the end of the colonialism in the middle of the last century was an "orderly transition from empire to commonwealth".
That ignored the numerous violent rebellions to ongoing British rule, it pointed out.
"People in the colonies and people of colour in the UK are nowhere actors in this official history," said the letter.
"The handbook promotes the misleading view that the Empire came to an end simply because the British decided it was the right thing to do."
The call for "an immediate official review" of the history chapter comes as the growing Black Lives Matter movement has refocussed attention on Britain's colonial past.
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