International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade
March 25th, 2021
Every year on March 25th International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and Transatlantic Slave Trade offers the opportunity to honor and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system. It is also a time to raise awareness about the dangers of racism, prejudice, and slavery that happen and have happened all over the world. About 15-20 million people were transported against their will from Africa to South, Central and North America and Europe during the 16th century and all the way up until the 19th century. The transatlantic slave trade was a triangular trade between Europe, West Africa, and the Americas and was a highly profitable system upon which much of Britain’s wealth was founded. Men, women, and children were sold as slaves in the different slave trading systems. Up to 2.4 million slaves died during voyages and millions more died soon after their arrival in the New World.
Despite the fact that the slaves were normal human beings, shipowners treated them like cargo. The slaves were shipped as quickly and cheaply as possible. The slaves were then sold to work on plantations, rice fields, mines, and as domestic servants. In 1807, Britain passed the first legislation banning slave trading and by 1815, the British pressured the Netherlands, France, Spain, and Portugal to do the same. Nearly 5 years later in 1820, the United States made slave trading punishable by the death penalty and to this day, selling, transporting, and owning slaves is considered one of the worst violations of human rights the world has ever experienced. The United States officially abolished slavery in 1865.
In order to permanently honor the victims of this trying time, a memorial was created at the United Nations Headquarters in New York and many hold memorial services and vigils for those who died in slavery, as a result of the slave trade, or from campaigning to end of slavery. It is important to discuss this topic and educate family, friends, and the community to bring awareness to the troubles many faced during this period and to never forget what these individuals went through.