History of Slavery (05:06)
For thousands of years, slavery was used as a punishment for crimes or for prisoners of war. It reached a level of global acceptance. In 1441, Portuguese prince Henry the Navigator enslaved 12 Africans, marking the start of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
African Cultures (06:31)
African cultures were advanced and diverse with their own achievements and governing systems. In the 1400s, European Christians decided the continent needed to be civilized, leading to the slave trade. Some African cultures worked with slavers as a method of survival, while others fought back.
Slave Trade (05:11)
Traders marched kidnapped Africans, sometimes 500 miles, to the west coast in chains. The slaves were held in castle dungeons owned by slave companies before being loaded onto ships.
Middle Passage (07:25)
Slavers used fear, intimidation, and superior weaponry to keep the slaves in line. Experts estimate 15 million Africans began the journey across the Middle Passage, but 20% died on board. Ships were redesigned for human cargo.
Slave Deaths (04:57)
Deadly diseases, like smallpox, and suicide was common on slave ships. So many dead slaves were thrown overboard that shark migration patterns changed. A new insurance industry began to insure slave ships and their human cargo.
Slave Resistance (07:16)
Resistance that began in Africa continued on the Middle Passage. More than 300 slave ships revolted against their enslavers. Slaves took control of Spanish ship La Amistad and eventually returned home.
Slave Markets (03:44)
Traders took the slaves to slave markets or auctions, where they were inspected and sold. Slave buying was treated the same as other retail markets.
Slavery in the New World (05:41)
Slaves brought farming and irrigation techniques that greatly benefited their white captors. The slave trade was outlawed in 1808, but illegal slavery continued until 1862.
Credits: The Middle Passage (01:09)
Credits: The Middle Passage
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