Today marks Juneteenth, a celebration of the end of state-sanctioned slavery in the United States 155 years ago. The date has been an occasion for celebration but also for introspection and education about the horrid realities of slavery that seem far removed from the present day, but still influence societies in different parts of the world gravely.
According to the database project Slavevoyages.com, almost 11 million Africans were enslaved during the trans-Atlantic slave trade between 1514 and 1866. While only 300,000 arrived in the U.S. directly, more came to the present-day U.S. via the intra-American slave trade. It is estimated that 4.5 million enslaved Africans arrived in the Caribbean while another 3.2 million disembarked in present-day Brazil. In total, 20 million Africans were forced to leave their continent during the times of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the trans-Saharan, the red sea and the Indian slave trade.
The most active European nation in the trans-Atlantic slave trade was Portugal, which used the forced labor of Africans in their Latin American colonies in present-day Brazil. Almost 3.9 million enslaved Africans were forced to embark on Portuguese ships. Present-day Brazil received around 3.2 of them, making it the country in the Americas where most enslaved people arrived during the period. British ships also carried upwards of 3 million Africans forcefully removed from the continent, mostly to the Caribbean, the United States and the Guyanas. French ships carried 1.3 million enslaved Africans.