Do you know where were African slaves taken to sell, when and why?
Many cultures have enslaved people whom they’ve beaten in war. But the slave trade that sent millions of Africans to the Americas was different.
It involved kidnapping and selling people to make money for American and European businessmen.
Starting in 1510, European sailing ships arrived on the west coast of Africa from Europe full of money, guns, alcohol and other goods to trade for slaves.
Africans were crammed onto the ships for a miserable voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas. It was so bad that some jumped overboard knowing they would drown.
The Africans who survived the journey arrived in Brazil, the Caribbean or the United States. There, they were put on display like animals for plantation owners to bid on them.
Parents and children were separated. Most slaves worked long hours in the cotton and tobacco fields, while others cooked and cleaned in their owners’ homes.
As many as 12 million Africans were enslaved. Slave traders preferred male slaves since they were often stronger and could work harder than most women.
That meant that back in Africa, there were many fewer men for the women to marry and have families with.
Experts estimate that the population in Africa in 1850 was only half of what it would have been without the slave trade.
In the late 1700s, people in the United States and Europe began to realize slavery was wrong. In the northern United States, people tended to be against the slave trade.
However, in the south, with its large plantations, people argued that they needed the cheap labor.
Slavery was one of the major causes of the American Civil War, which began in 1861.
It was finally outlawed in the United States in 1865 when the war ended.
The unpaid labor of the slaves fueled European industry, especially in England.
That meant there was money to explore the world and establish colonies, which is why England still has a large commonwealth.
When the slaves were freed after the Civil War, many Americans looked down on them because of their color and background.
These attitudes led to decades of discrimination and erupted in racial conflicts, especially in the 1960s.
Activists such as Martin Luther King Jr. and organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People pushed for Black rights.
Religion, language and especially music were all changed by African traditions the slaves had brought with them. Jazz, gospel, and other music styles can all be traced back to African influences.
Although African-American Barack Obama is not the descendant of a slave (his wife, Michelle, is), his election as president of the United States in 2008 signaled a new era in relations between Blacks and Whites in America.