On August 23, 1998, the United Nations recognized the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. The date commemorates the economic and social roots of the transatlantic African slave trade, the largest deportation in history. 
 
The transatlantic slave trade was a classic example of “triangle trade.” In the first leg of the deadly triangle, wealthy nations and empires of western Europe (primarily Spain, Portugal, and France) sent ships to Africa to supply local ports and collect slaves. Most people who were enslaved came from central and western Africa, and were forced into slavery by local dealers employed by European agents. 
 
The second leg of the triangle was the harrowingMiddle Passage” across the Atlantic Ocean. Slave ships departed from ports on Africa’s west coast, such as Luanda, Angola; and Badagry, Nigeria. About one out of every eight slaves died on board cramped ships on the Middle Passage.
 
Slaves were sold at markets throughout the Americas. The sugar plantations and gold mines of Brazil were the leading destination for slaves. Other slaves worked on sugar plantations and rum factories in the Caribbean. 
 
The final leg of the triangle trade was completed by ships carrying goods produced by slave labor back to Europe and urban areas in North America. Goods included sugar and its products, such as rum and syrup; coffee; tobacco; and precious metals such as gold and silver. 
 
The date of the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition recognizes the slave uprising that started in the French colony of Saint-Domingue, in what is today Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The large and well-organized uprising—better known as the Haitian Revolution—lasted 13 years and ended with the independent nation of Haiti. In 1888, nearly 85 years later, Brazil became the last nation in the Americas to abolish slavery. 
abolish
Verb

to wipe out or get rid of.

African slave trade
Noun

(1500-1888) exchange of goods and services from Europe and the Americas in exchange for human beings from Africa. Also called the Atlantic slave trade.

agent
Noun

person authorized or employed to act on another's behalf.

Noun

edge of land along the sea or other large body of water.

colony
Noun

people and land separated by distance or culture from the government that controls them.

commemorate
Verb

to honor an event on a specific date.

cramped
Adjective

crowded or having very little space.

depart
Verb

to leave.

deport
Verb

to send away from a country or region.

destination
Noun

place where a person or thing is going.

economic
Adjective

having to do with money.

empire
Noun

group of nations, territories or other groups of people controlled by a single, more powerful authority.

employ
Verb

to hire or use.

enslave
Verb

to totally control.

factory
Noun

one or more buildings used for the manufacture of a product.

harrowing
Adjective

extremely disturbing or scary.

independent
Adjective

free from influence, threat, or support.

labor
Noun

work or employment.

market
Noun

central place for the sale of goods.

Middle Passage
Noun

route traveled by slave ships between West Africa and the Caribbean or eastern North America.

mine
Noun

place dug in the earth where ores are extracted.

Noun

political unit made of people who share a common territory.

plantation
Noun

large estate or farm involving large landholdings and many workers.

Noun

place on a body of water where ships can tie up or dock and load and unload cargo.

precious metal
Noun

valuable metal, such as gold, silver, or platinum.

recognize
Verb

to identify or acknowledge.

slave
Noun

person who is owned by another person or group of people.

social
Adjective

having to do with a community or other group of organized people.

supply
Verb

to provide a good or service.

transatlantic
Adjective

across the Atlantic Ocean.

triangle trade
Noun

historically, the exchange of goods and services between Europe, Africa, and the Americas.

United Nations
Noun

international organization that works for peace, security and cooperation.

uprising
Noun

revolt or rebellion.

Noun

developed, densely populated area where most inhabitants have nonagricultural jobs.

wealthy
Adjective

very rich.

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