first public sale of African slaves takes place in Lagos, Portugal.
Portuguese start building the first permanent slave trading post at
Elmina on the Gold Coast (now Ghana). The fort eventually passes through
Dutch and English hands and by the eighteenth century was handling
30,000 slaves each year.
first slaves arrive in the Spanish colonies of South America, having
travelled via Spain.
first direct shipment of slaves from Africa to the Americas takes
Hawkins becomes the first English man to trade in slaves. He is a
cousin on Sir Francis Drake.
leads a second slaving expedition. This is partly sponsored by Elizabeth
I who allows Hawkins to make use of a royal ship, the Jesus of
Lubeck. The expedition is a success.
slaving expedition is mounted by Hawkins. Although this starts well,
bad weather forces them to take shelter in Mexico where their ships
(including two royal vessels) are captured by the Spanish. No further
expeditions are made for some years.
traders start to convey slaves from Africa to America.
interest in the slave trade grows as plantations are established in
the Americas. A number of companies are set up to deal with the trade.
Dutch establish a colony at the Cape of Good Hope. Their position
now makes them the dominant slaving nation.
Royal Adventurers into Africa, a British company, is set up to trade
in slaves and other commodities from Africa. By 1665 it was able to
earn £100,000 but competition from private traders forced the
company to cease trading in 1672.
Royal African Company is established with James, Duke of York, as
its governor. Between 1672 and 1689 it is responsible for transporting
nearly 90,000 slaves. It suffers competition from private traders
but survives and prospers.
becomes the dominant slave-trading nation.
wins the right to carry slaves to the Spanish Americas under the Terms
of the Treaty of Utrecht (drawn up at the end of the War of the Spanish
Succession). They sell the rights to the South Sea Company for £7.5m.
Despite difficulties the Company survives and prospers.
slave trade reaches its peak. It is estimated that one slave ship
leaves Britain every other day. The toll on human life is considerable.
The Privy Council estimate that half of the slaves are dying either
in transit or in the initial period after their arrival (called 'the
Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade founded by Granville
Sharp and Thomas Clarkson.
Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade organises its first petition
campaign. Over 100 petitions complaining about slavery are presented
Equiano, a freed slave, publishes his autobiography, The Interesting
Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavas Vassa, The African. The
book is a best seller.
Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade organises its second
petition campaign. This time 519 petitions are presented to Parliament.
passes the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act which outlaws the British
Atlantic slave trade.
Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade is superseded by the
African Institution which campaigns for other countries to ban the
States passes legislation banning the slave trade.
is abolished in Spain and the Spanish colonies. Cuba, however, refuses
to accept the ban and continues to deal in slaves.
trading is banned by Sweden.
trading is banned by The Netherlands.
trading is abolished by France although it is not made effective
Britain and Spain sign a treaty prohibiting the slave trade.
abolishes the slave trade north of the equator.
places a naval squadron off the West African coast to enforce the
ban on slave trading.
Anti-Slavery Society formed. Members include Thomas Clarkson, William
Wilberforce and Henry Brougham. The Society campaigns for better conditions
for slaves in the West Indies and for the gradual abolition of slavery.
anti-slavery groups are formed, many of which argue for the immediate
abolition of slavery.
is presented with over 5000 petitions calling for the abolition of
Abolition of Slavery Act is passed. It brings into effect the gradual
abolition of slavery in all British colonies. Plantation owners in
the West Indies receive £20 million in compensation.
British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society is formed to campaign for
the global abolition of slavery.
aboard the slave-ship, Amistad, takes place. The rebelling
slaves are eventually allowed by an American court to return to
is abolished by France.
trading is abolished by Brazil.
is abolished in Portuguese colonies although all slaves are subject
to a 20 year apprenticeship.
is abolished in the Dutch colonies of the Caribbean.
is abolished in the United States following the Civil War.
is abolished in Cuba.
is abolished in Brazil.