The 23rd August marks the date of the first successful slave uprising, which took place in Haiti in 1791 and led to the declaration of Haitiís independence.
This was the one of the first steps in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.
Unesco designated 23rd August the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.
The transatlantic slave trade took place between the 16th and 19th Centuries and brought great economic wealth to Europe, in particular England, and the Americas.
The first side of the triangle consisted of exporting goods from Europe to Africa. These goods included guns and factory made materials, like knives, brass pots and pans and alcohol.
The second part (sometimes called the middle passage) was the export of slaves from Africa to the Americas, including Brazil, the Caribbean islands and the USA. The slaves worked on vast plantations and produced things such as sugar, rum, cotton, tobacco and coffee.
The final part of the triangle was the export of these agricultural goods back to Europe to sell. For example sugar was extremely expensive at the time (only very wealthy people could eat it everyday).
British companies selling these goods in Britain and the rest of Europe made a lot of money. Because of these profits, Britain became very rich and was in a good position to start the industrial revolution.
Slavery has always existed. It is believed that slaves helped to build the pyramids in Ancient Egypt and were an important part of the Ancient Greek and Roman civilisations. The transatlantic slave trade was different to earlier slavery because the slaves were taken away from their homelands and they or their children had no opportunity to become free. Another characteristic of the African slave trade was the inherent racism. This is the belief that one race is inferior to another. All the slaves were of black African origin.
When did the transatlantic slave trade end?
Trading of slaves was banned by Britain in 1807, but continued illegally until 1860. Slavery in the US was abolished in 1865 at the end of the American Civil War.
Why were slaves brought from Africa to the Americas? Why werenít the native American Indian people used to farm the land?
The native American Indian people had never been in contact with European people before and were not immune from their diseases. Flu, measles and small pox decimated whole populations and many tribes became extinct within a hundred years of meeting Europeans for the first time. Also a form of the African slave trade already existed in Africa - warring African tribes sold their captors as slaves, so the British did not have to capture the slaves, they bought them from African slave traders.
What legacy has the transatlantic slave trade left on dance and music?
There are many and this is just one example:
Traditionally slaves were not allowed to practise any martial arts, so in Brazil the dance called Capoeira was born. Many African fighting styles are hidden inside the dance (see More Links).