The Benin Empire and Slave Trade – A History Lesson in 5 Minutes (Compiled by Bolaji Aluko)

No Comments » August 29th, 2009 posted by // Categories: Nigeriawatch



 

August 28, 2009

Compiled by Bolaji Aluko

 

The Benin Empire and Slave Trade – A History Lesson in 5 Minutes

 

 

Source of map:

http://deposit.ddb.de/cgi-bin/dokserv?idn=964084686&dok_var=d1&dok_ext=pdf&filename=964084686.pdf

The military system of Benin Kingdom 1440-1897 (O.B. Osadolor; PhD Thesis, Hamburg, July 2001)

 

 

http://www.xtimeline.com/timeline/Benin-Empire

Benin Empire,  A House Divided: 1100 – 1299

The first kingdom of Benin is believed to have developed in the 12th or 13th century. It was located in present-day southern Nigeria, east of the Yoruba land and west of the Niger River. The inhabitants of Benin spoke a group of closely related languages known as Edo. In fact, the Benin Empire may also be referred to as the Edo Empire. During this early time, historians believe that the forested area around Benin City housed as many as several dozen small, quarrelsome chiefdoms.

Benin Unites: 1300 – 1350

Around 1300 [SOME PUT IT 100 YEARS EARLIER], the chiefdoms around Benin City united. Benin tradition tells us that when the chiefs agreed to unite, they invited Oranyan (also known as Oranmiyan) from nearby Ife to come and be their leader. Oranyan married a Benin woman, and their son, Eweka, is considered the first king, or oba, of Benin. However, some historians argue that the story of Oranyan being “invited” to rule Benin and marrying the daughter of a Benin chief was invented to cover up the fact that Benin was at that time occupied by invaders. It was during this time period (and possibly as a result of Oranyan coming to Benin) that Benin people supposedly learned from Ife people how to cast brass and bronze.

Oba Ewuare Makes Reforms: 1400 – 1486

During the 15th century, Oba Ewuare of Benin made many important reforms. One of his primary aims was to lessen the influence of the uzama, a body of hereditary chiefs who participated in the selection of the oba. He did this in part by implementing primogeniture, the rule that a father should be succeeded by his son. He also created new types of chiefs – “palace chiefs” and “town chiefs” – to compete with the uzama. The palace chiefs and town chiefs were appointed by the oba and were responsible for collecting the tribute that the villages and districts offered to the court twice each year. Through these reforms, Ewuare established a system of checks and balances in which “palace” and “town” chiefs competed with the uzama for influence. Also, free male commoners were able to improve their station in society by competing for the chiefly titles awarded by the oba. Benin tradition credits Ewuare with constructing a huge system of walls and moats around the capital, Benin city. Ewuare also greatly increased the domain of the Benin Empire. He and his son, Ozolua, expanded the territory under Benin rule from the Niger River in the east to the eastern portions of Yoruba land in the west.

Enter the Europeans (and Esigie):  1486 – 1550

In 1486, Portuguese sailors became the first Europeans to reach the area of West Africa in which the Benin Empire was located. Unlike the Chinese at that time, the obas of Benin saw the benefits of trading with Europeans. Ozolua’s son, Esigie, who reigned from around 1504 until 1550, forged close contacts with the Portuguese. Some accounts say that he even learned to speak and read Portuguese. Four of Benin’s primary exports were pepper, ivory, palm oil, and cloth. The obas controlled trade in pepper and ivory through a government monopoly.

Arts also flourished during Esigie’s time. Esigie’s grandfather, Ewuare, had divided Benin City into two wards – one for the palace and one for artists and craftsworkers. Trade with Europe during Esigie’s reign brought copper and brass into Benin, allowing Benin’s artists to refine techniques of bronze and brass casting that had been known to them for centuries. Artists produced an amazing array of brass plaques and sculptures and bronze bas-reliefs that adorned the walls of the oba’s palace.

The Slave Trade: 1486 – 1807

Throughout much of Benin’s history, the slave trade played a role – sometimes large, sometimes smaller – in Benin’s economy. There are a couple of possible conflicts among sources regarding the slave trade. According to

http://www.uiowa.edu/~africart/toc/history/giblinstate.html#benin

 ”Benin prevented the depletion of its own population by prohibiting the export of male slaves during the 16th and 17th centuries, although it did import slaves purchased by Europeans elsewhere in West Africa, and resold some of them to the region which is now Ghana.” On the other hand,

http://concise.britannica.com/ebc/article-9357021/kingdom-of-Benin

states that “The Portuguese first visited Benin in the late 15th century, and, for a time, Benin traded…slaves with Portuguese and Dutch traders.” The latter source makes no mention of restrictions regarding the trading of male slaves. Also,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benin_Empire

says that “Benin grew increasingly rich during the 16th and 17th centuries on the slave trade with Europe; slaves from enemy states of the interior were sold, and carried to the Americas in Dutch and Portuguese ships.”

There is also a possible conflict between the same three sources regarding Benin’s policy on the slave trade during the 18th century. The view of

http://www.uiowa.edu/~africart/toc/history/giblinstate.html#benin

 is that “Historians of Benin know relatively little about the kingdom’s history during the 18th century, although they recognize that slaves supplanted cloth as Benin’s major export after it abolished the prohibition on slave exports.” However,

http://concise.britannica.com/ebc/article-9357021/kingdom-of-Benin

 asserts that “Benin stopped trading slaves with Europeans in the 18th century and focused attention on dependent regions around it.” These statements, while seemingly contradictory, are not mutually exclusive. It is possible that Benin did lift the ban on exporting male slaves during the 18th century, but that they decided to export slaves to nearby regions rather than Europe. However, this theory is contradicted by

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slave_Coast

which says that “It [the Slave Coast] became one of the most important export centers for the Atlantic slave trade from the early 16th century to the 19th century.”

Benin Declines: 1807 – 1897

In 1486, Portuguese sailors became the first Europeans to reach the area of West Africa in which the Benin Empire was located. Unlike the Chinese at that time, the obas of Benin saw the benefits of trading with Europeans. Ozolua’s son, Esigie, who reigned from around 1504 until 1550, forged close contacts with the Portuguese. Some accounts say that he even learned to speak and read Portuguese. Four of Benin’s primary exports were pepper, ivory, palm oil, and cloth. The obas controlled trade in pepper and ivory through a government monopoly.

Arts also flourished during Esigie’s time. Esigie’s grandfather, Ewuare, had divided Benin City into two wards – one for the palace and one for artists and craftsworkers. Trade with Europe during Esigie’s reign brought copper and brass into Benin, allowing Benin’s artists to refine techniques of bronze and brass casting that had been known to them for centuries. Artists produced an amazing array of brass plaques and sculptures and bronze bas-reliefs that adorned the walls of the oba’s palace.

 

 

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/60871/Benin

Tradition asserts that the Edo people became dissatisfied with the rule of a dynasty of semimythical kings, the ogisos, and in the 13th century they invited Prince Oranmiyan of Ife to rule them. His son Eweka is regarded as the first oba, or king, of Benin, though authority would remain for many years with a hereditary order of local chiefs. Late in the 13th century, royal power began to assert itself under the oba Ewedo and was firmly established under the most famous oba, Ewuare the Great (reigned c. 1440–80), who was described as a great warrior and magician. He established a hereditary succession to the throne and vastly expanded the territory of the Benin kingdom, which by the mid-16th century extended from the Niger River delta in the east to what is now Lagos in the west. (Lagos was in fact founded by a Benin army and continued to pay tribute to the oba of Benin until the end of the 19th century.) Ewuare also rebuilt the capital (present-day Benin City), endowing it with great walls and moats. The oba became the supreme political, judicial, economic, and spiritual leader of his people, and he and his ancestors eventually became the object of state cults that utilized human sacrifice in their religious observances.

Ewuare was succeeded by a line of strong obas, chief of whom were Ozolua the Conqueror (c. 1481–c. 1504; the son of Ewuare) and Esigie (early to mid-16th century; the son of Ozolua), who enjoyed good relations with the Portuguese and sent ambassadors to their king. Under these obas Benin became a highly organized state. Its numerous craftsmen were organized into guilds, and the kingdom became famous for its ivory and wood carvers. Its brass smiths and bronze casters excelled at making naturalistic heads, bas-reliefs, and other sculptures. From the 15th through the 18th century Benin carried on an active trade in ivory, palm oil, and pepper with Portuguese and Dutch traders, for whom it served as a link with tribes in the interior of western Africa. It also profited greatly from the slave trade. But during the 18th and early 19th centuries the kingdom was weakened by violent succession struggles between members of the royal dynasty, some of which erupted into civil wars. The weaker obas sequestered themselves in their palaces and took refuge in the rituals of divine kingship while indiscriminately granting aristocratic titles to an expanding class of nonproductive nobles. The kingdom’s prosperity declined with the suppression of the slave trade, and, as its territorial extent shrank, Benin’s leaders increasingly relied on supernatural rituals and large-scale human sacrifices to protect the state from further territorial encroachment. The practice of human sacrifice was stamped out only after the burning of Benin City in 1897 by the British, after which the depopulated and debilitated kingdom was incorporated into British Nigeria. The descendants of Benin’s ruling dynasty still occupy the throne in Benin City (although the present-day oba has only an advisory role in government).

END

 

 

 

http://www.edofolks.com/html/osahon_ogiso_dynasty.htm

The Ogiso Dynasty (Before the Obas of Benin) By: Naiwu Osahon

 

http://www.dawodu.net/edodyn.htm

Edo Dynasties

 

S/N

Kings of Benin

 

Ogisos follow:

 

1.  Ogiso Igodo (40 BC – 16 AD) 

2.  Ogiso Ere (16 – 66 AD)

3.  Ogiso Orire (66 – 100 AD) 

[285-year break]

4.  Ogiso Odia (385 – 400 AD)

5.  Ogiso Ighido (400 CE – 414 AD)

6.  Ogiso Evbuobo (414 -432 AD) 

7.  Ogiso Ogbeide (432 – 447 AD)

8.  Ogiso Emehe (447 – 466 AD) 

9.  Ogiso Ekpigho (466 – 482 AD)

10. Ogiso Akhuankhuan (482 – 494 AD) 

11. Ogiso Efeseke (494– 508 AD)

12. Ogiso Irudia (508– 522 AD) 

13. Ogiso Orria (522– 537 AD) 

14. Ogiso Imarhan (537– 548 AD)  

15. Ogiso Etebowe (548– 567 AD)  

16. Ogiso Odion (567– 584 AD) 

17. Ogiso Emose (584– 600 AD) 

18. Ogiso Ororo (600– 618 AD)

19. Ogiso Erebo (618– 632 AD) 

20. Ogiso Ogbomo (632 –647 AD) 

21. Ogiso Agbonzeke (647–665 AD)     

22. Ogiso Ediae (665– 685 AD)

23. Ogiso Orriagba (685– 712 AD)

24. Ogiso Odoligie (712– 767 AD) 

25. Ogiso Uwa (767– 821 AD)  

26. Ogiso Eheneden (821–871 AD) 

27. Ogiso Ohuede (871– 917 AD)   

28. Ogiso Oduwa (917– 967 AD)

29. Ogiso Obioye (967– 1012 AD)

30. Ogiso Arigho (1012– 1059 AD)

31. Ogiso Owodo (1059-1100 AD)

 

 

[About 100-year break]

 

Evian

 

Ogiamien

 

Obas follow:

1

Eweka I (about 1200 A.D.)

2

Uwakhuahen

3

Ehenmihen

4

Ewedo (about 1255 A.D.)

5

Oguola (about 1280 A.D.)

6

Edoni (about 1295 A.D.)

7

Udagbedo (about 1299 A.D.)

8

Ohen (about 1334 A.D.)

9

Ogbeka (about 1370 A.D.)

10

Orobiru (about 1400 A.D.)

11

Uwaifiokun (about l432 A.D.)

12

Ewuare, the Great (about 1440)

13

Ezoti (about 1473 A.D.)

14

Olua (about 1473 A.D.)

15

Ozolua the Conqueror. (about 1481 A.D.)

16

Esigie (about 1504 A.D.)

17

Orhogbua (about I550 A.D.)

18

Ehengbuda (about 1578 A.D.) 

19

Ohuan (about 1606 A.D.)

 20

Ahenzae (about 1641 A.D.)

21

Akenzae (about I661 A.D.)

 22

Akengboi (about 1669 A.D.)

23

Akenkpaye (about 1675 A.D.)

24

Akengbedo (about 1684 A.D.)

25

Oreoghene (about 1689 A.D.)

26

Ewuakpe (about 1700 A.D.)

 27

Ozuere (about 1712 A.D.)

28

Akenzua I (about 1713)

29

Eresoyen (about 1735 A.D.)

 30

Akengbuda (1750 A.D.)

31

Obanosa (about 1804 A.D.)

32

Ogbebo (about 1816 A.D.)

 33

Osemwede (1816-1847)

34

Adolo (1848-1888)

35

Ovonramwen (1888-1914)

 36

Eweka II (1914-1933) 

37

Akenzua II (1933-1978) 

38

Oba Erediauwa, Uku Akpolo Kpolo, the Omo N’Oba N’Edo (1979  – present).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slave Ports in West Africa in 1750 (Slavery in America, an educator’s site made possible by New York Life)

[http://www.slaverysite.com/Body/maps.htm]

Slave ports in West Africa in 1750 are shown, identifying those held by the British, French, Dutch, Portuguese, and Danish. Gorée Island, the slave trading port opposite Dakar, Senegal, is only three kilometers from the coast and cannot be seen on this map. In addition to these ports were slave trading locations on the east side of Africa, at Mozambique, Zanzibar, and Madagascar.

Slave Trade From Africa to the Americas (Slavery in America, an educator’s site made possible by New York Life)

Slave trade routes from Africa to the Americas during the period 1650-1860 are shown. There were additional routes to the New World from  Mozambique, Zanzibar and Madagascar on the east side of Africa. Most of the slaves from the east side were brought to Portuguese controlled Salvador in the state of Bahia, Brazil, along with many other slaves from Angola. Brazil received more slaves from Africa than any other country in the New World. The 500,000 African slaves sent to America represents 10% of the number sent to Brazil, and 11% of the number sent to the West Indies. According to the estimates of Hugh Thomas (12), a total of 11,128,000 African slaves were delivered live to the New World, including 500,000 to British North America; therefore, only 4.5% of the total African slaves delivered to the New World were delivered to British North America. Also from Hugh Thomas, the major sources of the 13 million slaves departing from Africa (see slave ports map, above) were Congo/Angola (3 million), Gold Coast (1.5 million), Slave Coast (2 million), Benin to Calabar* (2 million), and Mozambique/Madagascar on the east coast of Africa (1 million).

 *Benin refers to the historic Kingdom of Benin (not to be confused with today’s country of Benin), in Nigeria just below the Slave Coast. Calabar is farther down the coast of Nigeria, close to the border with Cameroon, on the Bight of Biafra in the Gulf of Guinea.

Slavery Timeline

http://www.royalnavalmuseum.org/visit_see_victory_cfexhibition_timepost1807.htm

1450-1650:  Slavery along the Senegambia, Sierra Leone coasts to Europe and trans-Atlantic

1650 onwards: Slavery in West Africa / Central Africa Coast in Trans-Atlantic trade

1700 – 1800: Height (or depth) of Transatlantic slave trade

1807: Great Britain passes the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act abolishing the Transatlantic slave trade and levying fines on British captains importing slaves of up to £100 per slave. United States entirely abolishes Slave Trade. British minister in Lisbon instructed to lobby for Treaty to abolish Portuguese slave trade

1808: British West Africa Squadron is established at Sierra Leone to suppress the British slave trade.  British Minister in Madrid instructed to lobby for Treaty to abolish Spanish slave trade.

1810:Portugal signs Treaty with Great Britain to abolish slave trade gradually, and in the mean time to prohibit it in places where it was discontinued by other powers.

1818:`Felony Act’ makes Slave Trade a felony. British subjects engaged in it will be punished with transportation or five years imprisonment.

1814:Denmark signs treaty with Great Britain, to prohibit slave trade. Holland decrees to forbid Dutch slave trade on Coast of Africa. Austria, Russia, Prussia and France engage at Congress to assist Great Britain in abolishing the slave trade. Spain signs treaty with Great Britain to permit slave trade solely for the supply of her own possessions.

1815: Great Britain, Austria, France, Portugal, Prussia, Spain and Sweden sign a Declaration denouncing the slave trade at the Congess of Vienna. Portugal signs treaty with Great Britain declaring Portugal slave trade north of the equator illegal, fixing a period for its entire abolition, and permitting the Trade only for its Transatlantic possessions. Napoleon issues a decree abolishing all French slave trade

1817: Louis XVIII issues a decree abolishing French slave trade. Portugal signs treaty with Great Britain conceding the Right of Search (allowing the Royal Navy to search vessels suspected of trading slaves), establishing Mixed Commissions, and regulating Portuguese slave trade south of the equator. Spain signs treaty with Great Britain abolishing the slave trade north of the equator, conceding Right of Search, establishing Mixed Commissions and commit to abolish the slave trade entirely after 30 May 1820.

1818: Netherlands sign treaty with Great Britain to suppress their slave trade, conceding Right of Search and establishing Mixed Commissions

1820: United States pass law declaring the American slave trade an act of piracy punishable by death.

1822: Spain add an article to the 1817 Treaty, authorising the condemnation of vessels proved to have had slaves on board on the voyage in which they were taken.  Netherlands add an article to the 1818 Treaty for the same purpose.

1823: Netherlands add an article to the 1818 Treaty authorising vessels engaged in the slave trade be condemned for slave trade equipment and broken up. Portugal add an article to the 1817 Treaty authorising the condemnation of vessels proved to have had slaves on board on the voyage in which they were taken.  Anti-Slavery Committee is formed to campaign for the total abolition of slavery. Members include Thomas Clarkson, Henry Brougham, William Wilberforce and Thomas Fowell Buxton.

1824: Act of Parliament declares the slave trade an act of piracy, punishable by death. Sweden signs treaty with Great Britain to suppress their slave trade, conceding Right of Search, establishing Mixed Commissions and authorising the condemnation of vessels equipped for the slave trade. Buenos Aires pass law declaring the American slave trade an act of piracy

1825: Buenos Aires and Columbia sign Treaty with Great Britain committing to the total abolition of the slave trade and forbidding it in its own dominions.

1826 Brazil signs treaty with Great Britain to abolish its slave trade in three years,  and in the interim, to adopt the 1817 Treaty between Portugal and Great Britain. Mexico signs Treaty with Great Britain committing to the total abolition of the slave trade and forbidding it in its own dominions.

1827: France passes law to punish those engaged in the slave trade by fine, imprisonment and banishment.

1831: France signs treaty with Great Britain conceding a limited right of search. Brazil passes decree to punish those engaged in the slave trade by fines and corporal punishment, and declaring that slave vessels arriving in Brazil will be confiscated. Freed slave Mary Prince publishes The History of Mary Prince, an account of her experiences as a slave.  The book becomes a powerful instrument in the campaign against slavery.

1832: Brazil orders for ships to be searched on their arrival at Rio to enforce the 1831 Decree.

1833: France signs treaty with Great Britain authorising the condemnation of slave vessels equipped for the slave trade. The Abolition of Slave Act abolishes slavery in all of Great Britain’s colonies.  Twenty million pounds is granted in compensation to slave holders.  The Act declares free all slaves under the age of 6 years.  Former slaves must serve as apprentices for 4 years before being freed. William Wilberforce dies three days after the Bill is passed by Parliament

1834: Denmark and Sardinia sign treaty with Great Britain and France, agreeing to the terms of the previous treaties between the two nations in 1831 and 1833.

1835: Spain signs treaty with Great Britain entirely abolishing the slave trade, granting the Right of Search, establishing Mixed Commissions, authorising that vessels equipped for the slave trade be condemned and broken up, and declaring that slaves liberated by the Mixed Commission should be delivered to the government whose cruiser made the capture Sweden and Norway add an article to 1824 Treaty, stipulating that vessels condemned for the slave trade should be broken up before sale. Russia issues a circular withdrawing her protection from slave vessels making use of her flag.

1836: Portugal issues a decree abolishing the slave trade, limiting the number of slaves to be transported by colonists, committing to punish Portuguese slave traders and authorising the condemnation of vessels equipped for the slave trade.

1837: Netherlands add an article declaring that vessels condemned for the slave trade should be broken up before sale. Bolivia signs treaty with Great Britain to co-operate in the total abolition of the slave trade and prohibiting its subjects engaging in the trade. Tuscany signs treaty with Great Britain and France agreeing to the terms of the previous treaties between the two nations in 1831 and 1833.

1838: Naples signs treaty with Great Britain and France agreeing to the terms of the previous treaties between the two nations in 1831 and 1833.  Great Britain pass an Act of Parliament reducing the punishment for the slave trade from that of death to transportation, or imprisonment for three years.  Enslaved people are emancipated in British colonies when the apprenticeship scheme fails.

1839: Chile and Venezuela sign treaty with Great Britain, conceding the Right of Search, the establishment of Mixed Commissions, authorising the condemnation of vessels equipped for the slave trade, and declaring that liberated slaves are to be given over to the government whose cruisers made the capture.  Argentine Confederation and Uruguay sign treaty with Great Britain on the same terms as the 1835 Treaty with Spain.  Act of Parliament passed authorising British cruisers to detain Portuguese slave vessels and British Vice-Admiralty courts to condemn them. Haiti signs treaty with Great Britain and France agreeing to the terms of the previous treaties between the two nations in 1831 and 1833.  Slaves revolt on board the slave ship Amistad off the coast of Cuba, resulting in the arrest of the Africans on arrival in the United States.  American abolitionists rally to their cause. Pope Gregory XVI issues a Bull against the slave trade.

1840: Greece issues a decree against the slave trade.   Bolivia signs treaty with Great Britain on the same terms as the 1835 Treaty with Spain.

1841: Mexico signs treaty with Great Britain declaring slave trade an act of piracy, conceding a Right of Search, authorising that vessels equipped for the slave trade should be condemned and broken up before sale, and declaring that liberated slaves are to be given over to the government whose cruisers made the capture.  Tunis forbids the export of slaves from her possessions and commits to suppress the slave trade.  Austria, France, Prussia and Russia sign treaty with Great Britain for the more effectual suppression of the slave trade, extending the Right of Search, authorising the condemnation of vessels equipped for slave trade. Austria, Prussia and Russia declare the slave trade to be an act of piracy.

1842: Portugal signs a treaty with Great Britain giving British cruisers Right of Search, authorising the condemnation of vessels equipped for slave trade, establishing Mixed Commissions, declaring the slave trade to be an act of piracy, regulating the number of slaves to be carried by Portuguese subjects, declaring that liberated slaves are to be given over to the government whose cruisers made the capture.  United States signs Treaty with Great Britain agreeing to keep a fleet of guns on the Coast of Africa for the suppression of the slave trade. Chile passes a law declaring the slave trade to be an act of piracy. Tunisia abolishes the slave trade and any children born to slaves are declared free

1843: Acts of Parliament 6 & 7 Vict, c.98 passed for the more effective suppression of the slave trade.

1845: Brazil announce that Convention of 1817 to cease, signifying the end of the Right to Search, and issues powers for negotiation of a new treaty.  Bolivia passes a law in Congress making the slave trade an act of piracy. Venezuela issues a law entirely prohibiting the import of slaves and declaring them free on reaching Venezuelan territories. Germany passes Resolution to prohibit the slave trade and to punish it as piracy or kidnapping. Austria, Great Britain, Prussia and Russia authorise the detention of vessels having a larger quantity of water in casks than required for the use of the crew Turkey abolishes its slave markets at Constantinople and the Sultan prohibits the import of slaves to ports in the Persian Gulf, and orders a squadron for that purpose

1847: Borneo signs a treaty with Great Britain for the suppression of the slave trade.  The independent chiefs of the Persian Gulf make treaties with Great Britain for the suppression of the slave trade.  New Grenada passes law prohibiting import and export of slaves.

1848: Persian prohibits import of slaves by sea. Portugal appoints a Commission for inquiring into means of abolishing slave trade in Portuguese colonies. Venezuela prohibits import of slaves. France emancipates their slaves.

1849: Belgium signs to Treaty of 1841 between Great Britain, Austria, France, Prussia and Russia for suppression of African slave trade.

1851: Brazil closes its slave depots south of Rio.New Grenada signs treaty with Great Britain for the suppression of the slave trade and passes law for the total abolition of slavery in New Grenada. Mexico passes law declaring slave trade to be an act of piracy.Peru and Brazil add articles to treaties forbidding the introduction of negroes by land. Sardinian government declare conviction of slave trading will be punished by fifteen years’ hard labour and fine of 24 000 lire.

1853: Brazil issues a decree for emancipation of slaves after 14 years’ service. Uruguay declare the slave trade to be an act of piracy

1853 – 1856 Crimean War breaks out and the Royal Navy’s strongest ships are withdrawn from both sides of the Atlantic, leading to an increase in the slave trade.

1854: Venezuela passes law entirely abolishing the slave trade.

1855: Brazil issues a decree declaring that Captains and Masters conveying slaves from one province to another without passports, to be punished by fine and imprisonment. Egypt prohibits the import of slaves from Abyssinia.  Portugal passes laws for eventual abolition of slave trade in Ambriz, Cabenda and Molembo on the west coast of Africa and Macao dependencies, and granting freedom to all slaves arriving in Portugal or its colonies.

1857: Turkey sanctions the abolition of Negro slavery. Portugal abolishes slave trade at St Vincent.

1858 : Portugal issues decree abolishing slavery in Portuguese transmarine provinces in 20 years and prohibits the transfer of slaves to San Antao and San Nicolau, Cape Verde.

1859: United States introduce a Bill for the more effective suppression of the slave trade by the U S government. Spain issues orders against the slave trade at Fernando Po.

1861: Comoro Islands make agreement with Great Britain on the abolition of the slave trade.  American Civil War begins, prompted by the north-south divide over slavery.

1862: United States signs treaty with Great Britain for the suppression of the slave trade.

1863: United States adds article to treaty extending the right of search to the coast of Madagascar.

1865: United States abolishes the slavery at the end of the American Civil War, with the introduction of the 13th Amendment.

1869: Portugal is the last European country to abolish the slave trade.

1886: Cuba abolishes slavery.

1888: Brazil abolishes slavery.

Sources:

Denman, J – Instructions for the Suppression of the Slave Trade: Chronology of treaties 1865

Lloyd, C – The Navy and the Slave Trade London: Longmans Green, 1949

Timeline on National Maritime Museum website: http://www.nmm.ac.uk/freedom/viewTheme.cfm/theme/timeline

`Royal African Company Established’, Africans in America website, PBS. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part1/1p269.html

Slavery author Brycchan Charey’s timeline on slavery and abolition. http://www.brycchancarey.com/slavery/chrono1.htm

New Internationalist, `History of Slavery’ http://www.newint.org/issue337/history.htm

Encyclopaedia of Slavery: http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAslavery.htm

Understanding Slavery website: http://www.understandingslavery.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opt In Image
Send Me Free Email Updates

(enter your email address below)

Leave a Reply

Home | About | Contact | Login