In 1787, approximately three quarters of the people on Earth lived under some form of enslavement, serfdom, debt bondage or indentured servitude. This was the year the popular movement against the British slave trade suddenly ignited. There were no slaves in Britain itself, but the vast majority of its people accepted slavery in the British West Indies as perfectly normal.
It took an unusual streak of independence to challenge this assumption. Who were the abolitionists and where did they get the revolutionary idea that slavery was wrong? Prominent campaigners like William Wilberforce and Olaudah Equiano are well documented. This gallery is an introduction to some of the other people who played important roles in this pioneering movement for human rights.