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The Slave Trade

The roots of slavery date back some 11,000 years, with the earliest known civilizations maintaining prowess from the use of slaves. Records show that the ancient Chinese, Egyptian, Mongolia, Islamic, Greek, Roman, Celtic and Viking civilizations all used slaves.

The use of African slaves in Europe started in the 16th century with Venice and Genoa holding two of the largest slave markets, although the first to be established was in Lagos, Portugal.

The first African slaves were imported into the the New World by the Spanish in 1502, but it was not until the Dutch introduced them to the mainland, 18 years later, in Jamestown, Virginia that the institution was established on American soil.

At the start of the 18th Century the French settlers in Louisiana captured many of the local native Indians, forcing them to work on the land. These tribes proved too problematic to maintain as they would easily escape and were familiar with the surrounding territory. This caused the French to look further afield, to Africa. Within a few years, the first African slaves arrived in Louisiana.

The use of slavery expanded rapidly throughout the first decades of the 1700s with Africans and indigenous people forced to work with one another as captives. This would eventually lead to a bonding between local native tribes and black slaves.

Each state had its own laws regarding the rights of slaves and their owners. Once the importation was banned in 1807, opinions changed and the movement gained ground.

The Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves of 1807 prevented any further slaves being imported into Louisiana , however, this offered new opportunities to pirates such as Jean Lafitte and the practice would continue subversively for several decades.

The abolitionists gained a firm hold of the northern states, new legislation spread from state to state, outlawing the ownership of slaves. By 1861, the rift between the states developed into the Civil War with California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin, Nevada, West Virginia , Colorado, Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Washington fighting on the side of the Union, while Mississippi, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas fought for the rights of the South.

At the end of the Civil War, Lincoln's 13th Amendment in 1865 sealed the fate of slavery forever, although slaves were replaced by a diluted version, sharecroppers.


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