The history of Slavery and the transatlantic slave trade

Slave_Auction_AdFor more than 2,000 years people in many different parts of the world have forced their fellow humans into slavery. Between about 1500 and 1900, Europeans forcibly uprooted millions of people from throughout West Africa and West Central Africa and shipped them across the Atlantic in conditions of great cruelty. To refer to the Africans who were enslaved only as ‘slaves’ strips them of their identity. They were, for instance, farmers, merchants, priests, soldiers, goldsmiths and musicians. They were husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters. They could be Yoruba, Igbo, Akan or Kongolese.

European slavers dispersed them across the Americas to lead lives of degradation and brutality, without thought for their personal lives. Millions died in the process. As a result, people of African descent are spread throughout the Americas and Western Europe. This is called the African Diaspora. Visit National Museums Liverpool

Slavery and the slave trade

Follow these links to find out more about slavery and the slave trade:

  •     The trade triangle
  •     Africa before European slavery
  •     European traders
  •     The Middle Passage across the Atlantic
  •     Arrival in the Americas

Source:  Liverpool Museums

Resource Centre

Slavery payouts fuel reparations debate
The Legacies of British slave-ownership project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), breaks down a £20million sum of taxpayer money paid to slave-owners in compensation for the loss of their ‘property’, when slavery was made illegal in 1834. The sum represented 40 per cent of the Government’s annual spend and would be worth £ by today’s standards. Slavery payouts fuel reparations debate

Legacies of British Slave-ownership Project
In 1833 Parliament finally abolished slavery in the British Caribbean, Mauritius and the Cape. The slave trade had been abolished in 1807, but it had taken another 26 years to effect the emancipation of the enslaved. However, in place of slavery the negotiated settlement established a system of apprenticeship, tying the newly freed men and women into another form of unfree labour for fixed terms. It also granted £20 million in compensation, to be paid by British taxpayers to the former slave-owners. – The database is available online

What’s Reparation Law?
The various forms of reparation law and their scope and content, covering both monetary and non-monetary reparations, may be summarized in its five forms consists restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition. Reparation shall render justice by removing or redressing the consequences of the wrongful acts and by preventing and deterring violations…Reparation Law

British transatlantic slave trade
The transatlantic slave trade was essentially a triangular route from Europe to Africa, to the Americas and back to Europe. On the first leg, merchants exported goods to Africa in return for enslaved Africans, gold, ivory and spices. The ships then travelled across the Atlantic to the American colonies where the Africans were sold for sugar, tobacco, cotton and other produce. The Africans were sold as slaves to work on plantations and as domestics. The goods were then transported to Europe. Britain and Portugal, the two countries accounted for about 70% of all Africans transported to the Americas. Britain was the most dominant between 1640 and 1807 and it is estimated that Britain transported 3.1 million Africans (of whom 2.7 million arrived) to the British colonies in the Caribbean, North and South America and to other countries. National Archives

East India Company at Home
The EIAH project examines the British country house in an imperial and global context.
East India Company at Home, 1757-1857

Amistad (1997)
Amistad is a 1997 historical drama film directed by Steven Spielberg based on the true story of an uprising in 1839 by newly captured African slaves that took place aboard the ship La Amistad a slave ship that is traveling towards the northeastern coast of America. Much of the story involves a court-room drama about the free man who led the revolt…Amistad(1997)

Amistad Trailer
After a group of Africans takes control of their slave ship, they are captured in American waters and charged with murder after reaching dry land. In a case that challenges the American legal system, Cinque (Djimon Hounsou), the man that lead the revolt, lawyer Roger Baldwin (Matthew McConaughey), abolitionist Theodore Joadson (Morgan Freeman) and ex-president John Quincy Adams (Anthony Hopkins) argue for the freedom and civil rights of the captive Africans. Directed by Steven Spielberg. With Nigel Hawthorne and Stellan Skarsgård. Categories: Drama, History, Mystery. Year: 1997. Trailer – Amistad


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