US – Slavery Abolished Today By Congress March 2nd 1807 !

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Congress abolishes the African slave trade

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The U.S. Congress passes an act to “prohibit the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States…from any foreign kingdom, place, or country.”

The first shipload of African captives to the British colonies in North America arrived at Jamestown, Virginia, in August 1619, but for most of the 17th century, European indentured servants were far more numerous in the North American British colonies than were enslaved Africans. However, after 1680, the flow of indentured servants sharply declined, leading to an explosion in the African slave trade. By the middle of the 18th century, slavery could be found in all 13 colonies and was at the core of the Southern colonies’ agricultural economy. By the time of the American Revolution, the English importers alone had brought some three million captive Africans to the Americas.

After the war, as enslaved labor was not a crucial element of the Northern economy, most Northern states passed legislation to abolish slavery. However, in the South, the invention of the cotton gin in 1793 made cotton a major industry and sharply increased the need for enslaved labor. Tension arose between the North and the South as the slave or free status of new states was debated. In January 1807, with a self-sustaining population of over four million enslaved people in the South, some Southern congressmen joined with the North in voting to abolish the African slave trade, an act that became effective January 1, 1808. The widespread trade of enslaved people within the South was not prohibited, however, and children of enslaved people automatically became enslaved themselves, thus ensuring a self-sustaining population in the South.

Great Britain also banned the African slave trade in 1807, but the trade of African captives to Brazil and Cuba continued until the 1860s. By 1865, some 12 million Africans had been shipped across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas, and more than one million of these individuals had died from mistreatment during the voyage. In addition, an unknown number of Africans died in wars and forced marches directly resulting from the Western Hemisphere’s demand for enslaved people.

Historical Events Today

1791 Long-distance communication speeds up with the unveiling of a semaphore machine in Paris

1796 Napoléon Bonaparte is appointed Commander-in-Chief of the French Army in Italy

1807 US Congress bans the slave trade within the US, effective January 1, 1808

1888 The Convention of Constantinople signed, guaranteeing free maritime passage through the Suez Canal during war and peace

1946 Ho Chi Minh elected President of North Vietnam

1956 Morocco tears up the Treaty of Fez, declaring independence from France

1970 White government of Rhodesia declares itself a republic

2002 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan: US conventional forces first deployed as part of Operation Anaconda

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