LOGO History


The Treaty of the Negroes from Africa to Europe has been practiced since 1441 by the Portuguese who were the first to cross the Cape of Boujdour, on the Coast of West Africa. In 1454, Pope Nicolas V authorized King Alfonso V to organize trafficking. Slaves were then assigned to plantations of sugarcane of the Azores and Madeira. Then the Portuguese and Spaniards began to practice the Treaty to their American Colonies (Christopher Colombus had already loaded black on his second voyage to the Americas in 1492).

The signed Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494 shared the new world between the Spain and the Portugal: discoveries and remaining lands to discover in America back to Spain, while the Portugal holds the lands of Africa and the Eastern tip of the South American Continent which became the (Brazil). In the 16th century, Portuguese and Spanish are at the Head of a vast Colonial Empire. The native Americans present on the Islands to their arrival, have opposed them strong resistance. Many were massacred, and their number has significantly decreased. In 1537, Pope Paul III condemns writing the eslavage of American Indians.

In 1550, Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda and Bartolomé de Las Casas Spanish theologians objected about the fate of the Native Americans: who are? The first think that they are inferior, while the second says they have a soul. This debate, called the Controversy of Valladolid, takes place in the presence of the papal legate who favors the theory of Las Casas.

The Monopoly of the New World by the Spain and the Portugal is increasingly challenged by other colonial powers which also turned to a policy of mercantilism: England, France and Holland are engaged in the 17th century in the Treaty. Holland, which has a monopoly of the Asiento (see opposite), specializes in the Treaty. She has great and powerful maritime fleet, purchased slaves in Africa that it sells to the French and the English. But quickly the France and England are also practicing the Treaty. A trading system is implemented to maximize the shipments.

It is the beginning of the Triangular Trade. The companies were created especially for the Triangular Trade, as the Royal African Company created by England in 1672, or the company of Senegal (1673) and the company of Guinea (1684) created by French. The great European powers are forged on the Triangular Trade that allowed them to exploit their colonies at a lower cost. French, which holds with Saint-Dominguez the most productive sugar island in the 18th century, greatly enriched by selling its sugar surpluses in the countries of Northern Europe. After the Portugal and Great Britain, she holds the rank of 3rd Great Slave power.

Until the arrival of the currents of humanist thought at the end of the 18th century, the slave will be practiced by all the European powers in good conscience and with the support of the authorities. Treaty centers have provided until the end of the 19th century between 12 and 15 million of slaves in the colonies, so that Europeans can consume sugar.


The triangular traffic system shipments last for an average 18 months.European afferent of slave ships filled with products of Exchange (fabrics, glass jewelry, weapons...) in transmitting their instructions to the captain on the number of slaves to buy and traders to negotiate rates. Treaty centers are located on the West coast of Africa: Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo and Angola.

The captives are brought by intermediaries (which may be Moorish merchants or mercenaries Europeans). Arrived on the trading posts are exposed, and the Slave Traders exchange products from Europe against lots of slaves. They provide in several centers and need them sometimes several months to fill the ship, during which the captain feared possible revolts. In ships, slaves piled naked in blocks of 1 m 50 maximum in height. The number far exceeds the capacity of the vessel.

Then begins the long journey (up to two months) to the Americas, during which 15% of the slaves die. Sometimes the slaves attempt to revolt, but if the revolt fails, the leaders are killed, and if she succeeds (which is rare), slaves are condemned to die in a ship that they do not know to lead.Once the crossing is completed, slaves exhausted and malnourished are restored before being exposed on the markets with the slaves to the Americas batch called "Parts of India". The planters, after having carefully examined them, negotiate the price. Then the slaves are marked hot iron from the initials of their new master who leads to the housing in order to monetize its acquisition.


Large homes include land cultivated for crops (sugar cane, coffee, cotton...), production workshops, the master's House, dependencies, the boxes of slaves... These are assigned depending on their age and gender in different work: plantations and production workshops (the most difficult and where to work the majority of slaves), but also to domestic work and more trades such as Carpenters, Blacksmiths...

The colonies of the West Indies have experienced booming through the intensive use of slaves in the sugar mills, organized rigorously.The master has under its orders a thrifty who manages finance, and a Manager to oversee the farm. These direct one or several Commanders, often black or mulatto, who manage labor in plantations, and must ensure that the objectives are met. They roam the plantations on horseback. Slaves work early in the morning under the supervision of the Commander armed with his whip. He has under his command the grubbers, the cane cutters, the Amar reuses (women who must bind the canes cut into packages). The cane is transported in the production workshops at rear of Mule, led by Mule or on a cabriolet led Cabrouettier... These are just a few examples, the manufacture of sugar or rum (called at the time "Guilder") involving difficult tasks and extremely dangerous in the grinding mills and boilers.The days of rest are rare, they do in principle what a Saturday every 15 days, which can be removed if necessary. They are malnourished and to improve their daily lives and that of their family they still after their work day grow the "Garden to Negro" that was awarded to them.

Many slaves die very young, worn by a difficult and dangerous job, corporal punishment and diseases.

Women are raped by the masters or the directors, giving rise to "mulattoes" who are born slaves and belong to the master.


It is organized as early as the 16th century, sometimes. First in the refusal to integrate European culture that we try to impose on them: they continue to practice their religious rites and the first resistance is in the songs, dance and oral traditions. They also resist by suicide, or women's abortion. Then comes the matronage: they flee plantations to seek refuge in the heights of the colonies. The "Maroons" (or "maroons" in French) gather in camps where some remain for several years. The colonists organize patrols armed with dogs trained to find them, and those who are caught are tortured, mutilated or killed depending on the length of the maroon. Official texts are provided in this sense, as the black code (see opposite).

Northwest of Jamaica in the region imagines of "Cockpit Country", as well as to the East in the area of the "blue mountains", are of important camps of chestnuts. Among their leader Grandy Nanny is considered the "mother of the Maroons' and is today figure of national hero in Jamaica.

The Maroons of Cockpit Country organize a guerrilla in order to obtain their autonomy. In 1738, they sign a peace treaty with the British authorities, in return of which they undertake to deliver brand new fugitive slave and to help quell the revolts.

Another form of resistance, haunt growers, is indeed the revolt of slaves. They took place at the beginning of the 16th century in all the American colonies.

Among the rebellions of slaves, some are demarcated by their magnitude and their consequences.

In May 1760, under the orders of Tacky, Chief of Tribe of Guinea, hundreds of Jamaican slaves attacked several houses killing settlers. Revolt taking of the magnitude, the British authorities asks the help of the maroons under the Treaty of 1738. Tacky is killed, and hundreds of slaves prefer to commit suicide rather than joining the housing.

Well before that Abolitionist ideas emerge among Europeans, blacks fought at the cost of their life for their freedom.


The first Abolitionist movements have emerged at the end of the 18th century: among the English colonies in North America, that of Pennsylvania is mainly represented by the Protestant community of Quakers, which denounces slavery. In 1776, while to start the war of independence, they begin by prohibit slavery within their community. Then they seek to extend their action to the other American Colonies. The Northern States abolished slavery in 1787. The battle of Quaker broadcasts in Britain and new movements appear, such as the British society for the Abolition of the founded in 1787. Among the English MP is William Wilberforce, Ardent Abolitionist. The British Parliament is forced to consider the fate of the slaves.

Britain will be one of the first countries in Europe to abolish the Treaty, and will press to ensure that others do the same.


He was born around 1745 in a wealthy and titled the Nigerian family. Removed at the age of 11 with her little sister, it is sold as a slave on a plantation in Virginia and then bought by a British Naval Officer. It takes him to London, append it the occupation of soldier during the war of 7 years (1756-1763), the baptized and taught him to read and write. Then it is sold at the end of the war to a trader from Montserrat, and it is same charge to sell slaves. After having been able to buy his freedom, he tried his luck as a Hairdresser, marine, and same planter... before returning to London at the end of the 1770s. It is at this time that begins his abolitionist struggle with petitions, letters to the Crown, the publication of articles and his memoirs in 1789. It is between another States of the mistreatment of slaves. He will continue his fight to the sides of the Quakers and other Abolitionists, until his death in 1797. His work will be the influence on the abolition, that there be no time to know.


In France, the enevements of the French revolution are closely linked to the history of the colonies. Among the opponents of the monarchy is the society of the friends of the blacks founded in 1788 on the British model, and which will be later chaired by AbbéGrégoire. After the storming of the Bastille feudal rights were abolished and the declaration of the rights of man and of the citizen is adopted. In the colonies more than never the slave aspires to freedom and free people of color to equality. The revolts were organized. In 1791 the revolt of the slaves of Saint-Dominque began, led by Toussaint Louverture. At the foot of the wall, the Commissioners of the Republic sent to restore order free slaves in 1793. The convention submits to this decision and abolished slavery in all French colonies in 1794. Martinique, which has to be taken by the English, does not apply the Decree. In Guadeloupe it is applied, but forced labor replaces slavery. The meeting and the ile de France (Mauritius) refuse to order...

The Spain is still far from thinking about the abolition. The revolution in Saint-Dominque took to Cuba, which is fast becoming the world's leading producer of sugar through the massive introduction of slaves. Maroon camps develop and in 1796, the colonial authorities put in place a regulation to combat the Marronage.

In the French Colonies, slavery was re-established by Napoleon Bonaparte became consul in 1802. Civil Commissioners are responsible for visiting the colonies to enforce this Decree.

In Guadeloupe, the Métis Louis Delgrès organized the resistance (see opposite).

At Saint-Dominque, Toussaint Louverture was captured, and the combat is taken over by Jean-Jacques Dessalines. After the defeat of Napoleon's army, the colony became the first black Republic in 1804.


Denmark abolished the Slave Trade in 1803.Under pressure from abolitionists, England and the United States abolished the Treaty in 1807.

In 1813, the Sweden did the same, followed the next year by the Netherlands.

The France abolished the Treaty in 1815, after the fall of Napoleon. The monarchy is restored, giving growers hope for a return to the old regime.It is still far from the abolition of slavery. And in an economic context made difficult by competition from Cuban sugar and beet sugar which begins to develop, the living conditions of the slaves are far from improving. In addition, despite the abolition the Treaty continues clandestine way.


The Abolitionist Movement develop, whether it's on the side of the Blacks with the revolts and the marronage, or on the side of "free people of color" and anti-slavery whites with petitions, the publication of books...

In 1822, a revolt broke out in the Carbet in Martinique. Dozens of armed slaves kill and injure several settlers before fleeing. Among the 60 slaves found by the authorities, 20 will be sliced head.

Some revolts are transformed into real wars, such as the "Baptist war" in Jamaica in 1831, where the 300,0000 60,000 slaves rise up 10 days before be tamed by the British forces.

In Martinique, the free color CyrilleBissette circulates in 1823 a pamphlet denouncing the inequities of free people of color and whites. Arrested, the Royal Court does mark seared and condemned to the galleys for life. After obtaining a reduction of his sentence, he founded in 1834 the Journal of Colonies and launches into the fight against slavery.