Britain marks 200 years on March 25
since it enacted a law banning the transatlantic slave trade,
although full abolition of slavery did not follow for another
Following are some key dates in the transatlantic trade in
slaves from Africa and its abolition.
1444 - First public sale of African slaves in Lagos, Portugal
1482 - Portuguese start building first permanent slave trading
post at Elmina, Gold Coast, now Ghana
1510 - First slaves arrive in the Spanish colonies of South
America, having travelled via Spain
1518 - First direct shipment of slaves from Africa to the
1777 - State of Vermont, an independent Republic after the
American Revolution, becomes first sovereign state to abolish
1780s - Trans-Atlantic slave trade reaches peak
1787 - The Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade founded
in Britain by Granville Sharp and Thomas Clarkson
1792 - Denmark bans import of slaves to its West Indies
colonies, although the law only took effect from 1803.
1807 - Britain passes Abolition of the Slave Trade Act,
outlawing British Atlantic slave trade.
- United States passes legislation banning the slave trade,
effective from start of 1808.
1811 - Spain abolishes slavery, including in its colonies,
though Cuba rejects ban and continues to deal in slaves.
1813 - Sweden bans slave trading
1814 - Netherlands bans slave trading
1817 - France bans slave trading, but ban not effective until
1833 - Britain passes Abolition of Slavery Act, ordering
gradual abolition of slavery in all British colonies. Plantation
owners in the West Indies receive 20 million pounds in
- Great Britain and Spain sign a treaty prohibiting the
1819 - Portugal abolishes slave trade north of the equator
- Britain places a naval squadron off the West African coast
to enforce the ban on slave trading
1823 - Britain's Anti-Slavery Society formed. Members include
1846 - Danish governor proclaims emancipation of slaves in
Danish West Indies, abolishing slavery
1848 - France abolishes slavery
1851 - Brazil abolishes slave trading
1858 - Portugal abolishes slavery in its colonies, although all
slaves are subject to a 20-year apprenticeship
1861 - Netherlands abolishes slavery in Dutch Caribbean
1862 - U.S. President Abraham Lincoln proclaims emancipation of
slaves with effect from January 1, 1863; 13th Amendment of U.S.
Constitution follows in 1865 banning slavery
1886 - Slavery is abolished in Cuba
1888 - Brazil abolishes slavery
1926 - League of Nations adopts Slavery Convention abolishing
1948 - United Nations General Assembly adopts Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, including article stating "No one
shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave
trade shall be prohibited in all their forms."
(Sources: Durham University:
here; Office of the United
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights: