DW Documentary – Apr 4, 2020
Twenty million Africans were enslaved by European colonial powers. It was only in the 18th century that opposition to the slave trade formed in Europe. The final installment of this four-part series examines how slave revolts influenced public opinion. Africa was long at the center of the slave trade. In the 18th century, the abolitionist movement began gathering momentum in London, Paris and Washington. After the slave rebellion in the French colony of Saint Domingue (modern-day Haiti), and in the face of growing public outrage, Europe’s major powers abolished the trans-Atlantic slave trade in 1807. But Europe was in the midst of the Industrial Revolution, and couldn’t afford to give up its slave workforce. To satisfy its need for raw materials, it relocated the frontiers of slavery and turned a blind eye to new forms of human exploitation in Brazil, the United States and Africa. When the slave trade was abolished in 1807, there were more Africans in captivity than ever before. Within 50 years, nearly 2.5 million men, women and children were deported. The ban was far from the end of slavery.