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Things like the World War I and World War II have changed the world significantly. More than these, however, the story of African slavery or better still slave trade has changed the world even greater, and forever.

History of slavery can hardly be properly traced as in the different culture of the world slaves existed. As wars were fought, towns, cities, and kingdoms were conquered and free men and women were captured and made slaves.

African slavery or slavery in Africa existed long before the transatlantic slave trade, however, the transatlantic slave trade was different from anything that has ever been seen.

The transatlantic slave trade has had between 11 and 20 million Africans shipped to various parts of the world from the 15th to the 19th century as slaves.

Atlantic/ African Slavery Timeline

1441: Portugal begins slave trading when Portuguese explorers Antão Gonçalves and Nuno Tristão captured and shipped 12 Mauritanians to Portugal as slaves.

1444: Lançarote de Freitas carries out the first slave raid and captures over 200 Berber natives at the Arguin Bay.

1452: Slave sugar plantations begin in Portugal.

1452: Portugal gains monopoly of trade with Africa by Pope Nicholas V, however, Spain joins the slave business.

1476: 400 slaves are moved from Africa to Spain by Carlos de Valera.

1481: One of the most known slave trading forts is built in modern day Ghana by Diogo da Azambuja.

1493:  Christopher Columbus returns with close to 30 Native American slaves.

1516: First slave rebellion. A group of slaves rebels and kill a Spanish crew.

1518: permission is given by Charles V to import 4000 African slaves into New Spain.

1528:  Esteban becomes African first slave in America.

1556: Italy’s Genoa attempts to stop slave trading as a result of increasing number of blacks in the city.

1562: John Hawkins of Plymouth becomes the first English sailor known to obtained African slaves and join the African slavery.

1644:  11 slaves in modern-day New York successfully petition the government

1673: Richard Baxter publishes antislavery material

1789: William Wilberforce gives first major speech on slave abolition before the House of Commons

1807: British Parliament votes for abolition

1862:  Abraham Lincoln issues Emancipation Proclamation

1888: Brazil abolishes slavery.

Quick and Intriguing Facts about Slavery

  • Slavery has been since the earliest times and it has been practiced in various forms. While in some places being brutish shows power, in other places, being kind is ideal.
  • Most black slaves during the transatlantic slave trade in Africa were kidnapped by traditional rulers who sell them to Europeans. In some places, such slaves were sold for material benefits including gin and mirror.
  • Slave punishment varied to include flogging, starving, abuse and even rape. These have led to the death of so many slaves. Some slavery pictures showing scars from various punishments were used by abolitionists to promote their case.
  • Harriet Turban, nicknamed Moses, escaped as a slave and later embarked on various missions that saw her “leading” others from slavery. Harriet armed herself in her missions and was said never to have lost any slave. It has been reported by the US Treasury Department that she would soon appear on $20 bills.
  • The 9th vice president of America, Richard Mentor Johnson had an open relationship with a slave woman who was of mixed race. Johnson went as far as recognizing their two daughters, thereby giving them his name.
  • Slaves have had hands in the building of the White house.
  • In what is called triangular slave trade, ships from British ports carried goods such as gin, guns, and clothes to west Africa, and trade them for slaves, whom they take to the west indies where they were sold to the highest bidder. The completion of the triangle was the movement back to Britain with tobacco, sugar, and coffee bought from this point.
  • Although the British Empire used the empire’s wealth of £20 million to buy freedom for slaves as far back as the late 1830’s it was only in 2009 that it enacted an act of parliament abolishing slavery. Slavery, however, was abolished in the empire since the 19th century
  • What year did Slavery End? Slavery still exists in the world today, with India among one of the places where it is mostly practiced. However, the abolishment of slavery was in 1833 in all British territories, while France ended it in 1848. The US ended slavery in 1865 when it adopted the 13th Amendment and Brazil saw slavery abolished in 1888, which serves as the end of the slave trade.

Modern Day slavery

Slavery still exists today in various parts of the world. While this may not be as obvious as African slavery, it is very serious.

Dubbed modern slavery, the practice has as large as between 20 million to 30 million caught in the web worldwide. Going by slavery facts, countries such as India, China, Pakistan, North Korea, and Bangladesh have so many people in slavery.

Unlike the African slavery where people were chained to work in farms, modern slavery is broad to include bonded slaves, forced migrant labor, Islamist slavery, sex slavery, child labor, and forced marriage or even early marriage.

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