A 17th-century English shipwreck, the world’s earliest vessel linked to the transatlantic slave trade, is facing complete destruction by 21st-century fishing trawlers.

The 1680s Royal African Company trader – seen as a burial ground of slaves who perished on its final voyage – lies on the seabed about 40 miles south of Land’s End. It is being “pounded into oblivion” by “bulldozers of the deep”, claimed a leading British marine archaeologist.

This was a trade that saw more than 12 million Africans taken across the Atlantic in 45,000 voyages over 400 years. Many did not…

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