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An Era of Forced Migration

Between the early 1500s and 1867, at least 12.5 million men, women and children were deported from Africa to be enslaved in the Americas. While close to two million died during the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, 10.7 million reached destinations that included most Caribbean islands, every country in South and Central America, Mexico, and the United States. Between 1492 and 1820, out of every five persons who reached the New World, four were African; only one out of five was European.

Captive Africans Taken to a Slave Ship

The brutal deportation of millions of Africans was a terrible demographic, social, political, economic and cultural loss for the continent of Africa. In fact, this massive loss contributed to the continent's weakening. For the victimized individuals, families and communities, it was a horrific experience. In contrast, three centuries of African enslavement brought immense benefit to the economic development of the Americas and Western Europe. This massive influx of free labor laid the foundations for the modern capitalist world.