CHRONOLOGY – Who banned slavery when?

Reuters Staff

Following are some key dates in the trans-atlantic 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 Americas

1777 – State of Vermont, an independent Republic after the American Revolution, becomes first sovereign state to abolish slavery

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 1826

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 William Wilberforce

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 compensation

– Great Britain and Spain sign a treaty prohibiting the slave trade

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 colonies

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 slavery

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.”


Montana Man
aka Rob Schwarz
LtCol USMC (ret)









On a tough day for the Department of the Navy we talk about collisions at sea and what to do with Confederate Monuments and the names of US Army bases named for Confederate Generals with two retired Marine Officers:  Col Phil Smith, USMC (ret) and LtCol Rob Schwarz, LtCol USMC (ret).