The trans-Atlantic slave trade was the most extensive and brutal example of enslavement in the history of mankind. It involved the kidnap and sale of 10 to 12 million African people to European traders along the West Coast of Africa. The enslaved Africans were then transported in ships to the Caribbean Islands and North and South America where they were forced to work, usually on plantations growing crops such as sugar cane, cotton and rice. This vicious trade started in the 1400s, and by the 1790s British people were playing a leading role in it.
25 March 2007 marked the 200th anniversary of the British Parliamentary Act which stopped ships carrying enslaved Africans to British owned colonies in the Caribbean and the Americas. This Act of Parliament did not, however, grant the people enslaved in the British Empire their freedom. It was the start of a long journey to 1838 when most enslaved people in the British Empire were granted their freedom.
It took a further 50 years of resistance before slavery was abolished in the Americas. Since the end of the trans-Atlantic slave trade new forms of slavery have emerged across the world.