History Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for historians and history buffs. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

The question is pretty much in the title, but I am really seeking countries which kept slaves around the same time the US did, and where it was just as prominent in said country as it was in the US.

share|improve this question
Answering "pretty much every colonial power" is too obvious? – o0'. Dec 22 '11 at 12:21
WIkipedia has perhaps too much information on this topic. The slave trade act of 1807 and associated legislative history will provide comprehensive discussion about the British empire, and lead you to resources on other powers. The Black Count has a decent discussion of slavery in France. Please do the preliminary research and then come back with a more precise question. – Mark C. Wallace Oct 12 '15 at 17:19
@markcwallace: thanks for the unsolicited advice. Four years later, though, with an accepted answer, I think there are better things to spend your time on! – Steve D Oct 12 '15 at 17:22
up vote 12 down vote accepted

Most African slaves were sent to the Americas — basically a new world with large industrial-scale labor-intensive agriculture. There isn't much point in taking slaves to Europe to replace serfs or cheap farm laborers on small farms.

Destinations of slaves Africa→Americas

Portuguese America (modern Brazil)      38.5%            
British America (minus North America)   18.4%       
Spanish Empire                          17.5%            
French Americas                         13.6%            
British North America                    6.45%            
English Americas                         3.25%            
Dutch West Indies                        2.0%            
Danish West Indies                       0.3%            

Integrated over 10,000 years of history there were probably far more slaves in Africa from Africa, but the numbers are harder to come by.

share|improve this answer
That would make sense. In Europe proper, you'd have guilds and tradesmans associations (unions) that would not have wanted the competition. In the colonies, you had an unskilled workforce and a desperate need for sheer numbers of laborers. – Affable Geek Dec 22 '11 at 15:32
What about non-Americas? E.g. Middle East/Arab countries? – DVK Dec 22 '11 at 18:47
There was a large east african slave trade going north up the coast to Arabia/Middle East. Several large towns there (e.g. Zanzibar in modern Tanzania) were big slaving ports. – Rory Dec 22 '11 at 21:09
What are we to make of the entries in the table labeled "British America (minus North America)" versus "English Americas"? – mgkrebbs Dec 23 '11 at 4:28
Slavery was in fact illegal in many European countries at this time. Which didn't stop them from participating in the trade or having slaves in their colonies. – Lennart Regebro Dec 23 '11 at 17:26

Various Middle Eastern countries (e.g. Omani Empire which had the eastern coast of Africa) participated in the East African Slave Trade (a.k.a. Arab Slave Trade).

share|improve this answer

The UK?

Various parts of the USA (i.e. the South) were very late in abolishing slavery, but some parts of the USA abolished slavery around the same time as the UK (and other countries).

share|improve this answer
Slavery wasn't practiced in the UK - one of the reasons it wasn't made illegal until the human rights act of 1998. They did of course buy/sell and transport them – none Dec 22 '11 at 14:03
But the UK used slaves in the colonies didn't they? – MichaelF Dec 22 '11 at 14:48
Sure there was slavery in the UK, for thousands of years. The Romans had slaves. The Domesday Book of 1080s showed about 10% of the population of England were slaves. In the 1720s, slavery of Africans in England was ruled as legal ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yorke%E2%80%93Talbot_slavery_opinion ). – Rory Dec 22 '11 at 17:48
Slavery was made illegal in the UK in 1833 not 1998. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_Abolition_Act_1833 – Rory Dec 22 '11 at 17:50
It may not have been practiced on the same scale as in the Americas, but that's not what the OP asked. Rory's correct that the British could and did own African slaves. – Rose Ames Feb 4 '12 at 7:27

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.