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The slave trade: what your history books didn’t teach you [video]

Next time you’re at a used book store, take a look around for a middle school or high school history book. U.S. History or World History, it doesn’t matter. Then turn to the section on slavery. After watching this video, those sections will seem truly pathetic.

Full story at TED-Ed.

More about history.

Photo credit: Canva

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  • Carl Patterson

    Kudos narrator this lesson you teach is true, but lacking in a couple of points, The real slave trade started with the arab muslim in east Africa to Arabia in the Koran Muhammads slave was Bilal he was a lawyer from Somalia, and also the Christians used the bible story of Noah’s curse on Cannan through Ham to jusify their slavery upon the Black African. the superiority of the White race over Black race came a little later, again thank you for this video you hit a bullseye with it, everyone in America should watch this.

  • shellie

    carl, the type of slavery practiced by arab muslims was domestic servitude this is very different from slavery practiced to establish and grow the national economy. BIG DIFFERENCE.

    slavery in africa and the arab peninsula were of the same terms. in fact, they traded slaves. there were also arab, african and persian slaves between these two.

    bilal was the slave of an arab elite and muhammad bought bilal’s freedom.

  • You failed to mention the white slaves who were captured in Europe by muslims. The so called harems were made up of white slave woman.

  • Earl Jones

    —————And look at who wrote the history books!!!!

  • Donut Hole

    It is borderline lies portrayed as truth that cause racial tensions. Slavery was probably the best thing to happen to Africans brought to other Countries. If not, then their offspring would still be in Africa, killing and eating each other.

  • john smith

    I’d like to see something like this about the Eastern Slave trade which dwarfed the Atlantic slave trade in volume and duration. In addition, we should talk about ongoing slavery in Africa and the middle east.

  • InSight

    The video completely over looked that the Arabs/Muslims created the slave trade that was later piggybacked on by the European.

  • Slavery is an African Tradition as old as the continent itself. This simple fabrication of details seems to blame others for taking advantage of a tradition that goes on today.

  • Slavery was a world wide phenomenon and it took place over centuries. It exists even today in Africa with families selling off children to pay off debts. American slavery was bad because whites listened to those Europeans and Arabic individuals who made slaves subservient to whites. Also, poor southern whites needed to justify their actions in order to make themselves more important than blacks. It’s interesting that technology is the real reason for slavery in America, just like today with its economic impact on low wage jobs, when the invention to clean seeds from the cotton made cotton more economically viable. Cotton is labor intensive and brought big money to Southern plantation owners. Racism kept slavery alive even after the law mad it illegal; we merely moved from legal to economic to keep it alive.

  • Forrest Manning in Vermont

    Peoples of ancient Rome and earlier cultures had slaves. I believe that the native Americans had such peoples, too. Slavery has been in existence for thousands of years. It should be ended!

  • jipsee

    Hebrews!!!africans didnt sell their own

  • Snooky Barnes

    The “BIG BOYS” behind the slave trade in America were JEWS. They owned all the boats that brought Blacks over here, they owned all the diamond mines in Africa, so were in good position to lord it over poor Blacks in Africa. 97% of Whites in the USA were not slave owners, but dirt-poor farmers. Blacks had it better here as slaves than in Africa starving as slaves there.

  • Daniel Cunningham

    Having read some of the comments I am aware that some people disagree radically with this article. Having been born and raised and schooled in Canada I was aware of the history of slavery in the Southern United States and presumably in every country South of the U.S. in the Western hemisphere. The history books taught me pretty much the same basic facts as this article, and I have learned some other things, having lived in West Africa and in Thailand, where slavery has indeed existed for – ever – and certainly still exists today,

    What the authors did not know – not having been raised in Canada – is that the Slave Trade did not involve Canada. The maps and the dialogue imply that this Trade did include Canada and this is not true. Other than the slavery that existed among the Native Indian cultures in Canada, as in the States, and the Indentured Servants brought from the British Isles to North America, as some commentators pointed out – restricting this discussion to the Trade in Africans taken to the Americas – there was no Slave Trade in Canada. I wish you would take the trouble to get these basic facts straight. Canada was not a destination for Africans brought to the Americas to work on plantations – it was in fact a sanctuary for runaway slaves, being the final terminus of the Underground Railroad from the Southern plantations to the North.

    Sure, you could point out that some of the “Tories” in the 13 Colonies, who left around the time of the American Revolution, going to British North America and British colonies in the Caribbean, took slaves with them. (I have no idea how many African slaves were involved: some 40,000 or more United Empire Loyalists, some of whom were plantation owners, some of whom owned slaves). Then you would have to mention the fact that these slaves were freed in 1807.

    You did mention the date 1807, as the end of the African Slave Trade. In fact it ended because the British parliament outlawed it. As a matter of fact the British parliament free all the slaves – paid cash to buy their freedom – in the entire British empire, in 1833. As a matter of further fact: if the American colonies had not revolted against the British – to establish a country where all men could be free to enjoy god-given inalienable rights – then all the Blacks in the U,S, would have been subject to this act and freed in 1833. Just sayin’.

  • AlwaysBlack

    Do I need to view this video to justify my disdain for Mayonnaise Monkeys? Just asking. *tee-hee*

  • Old Tom Payne

    Many people lack an understanding that African Slaves were sold into Slavery by Africans. They want to blame Europeans for the slave trade…and all the evils during and after. However, Europeans did not invent slavery, nor did they introduce it to Africa, where it was common practice and *still is* – Nigeria was one of the greatest Slave trading regions, and still is to this day. Afrocentric rhetoric never wants to really examine the whole picture, though, preferring to portray all Black people as victims of the evil white devils. Africans practiced great cruelty on each other long before the Europeans showed up, and they still do.

    Just check out the story of Rwanda and the various eternal civil wars going on, and chopping off people’s hands.

    However, the American South could not have created its vast wealth without Slavery, the entire country benefited after Reconstruction by keeping Blacks subservient and victims of economic inequality.

  • Nafi Abdus Salaam

    John Hawkins was the greatest slave trader of all times him and queen Elizabeth. There is a wide gulf between lies , falsehood ,conjecture and the truth. The white man is a known liar. How can you believe anything that comes out of his mouth.

  • Nafi Abdus Salaam

    The original people of the earth (Black people) was in paradise until the serpent the Devil came along and started mischief making. You the devil the evil one you know who you is.

  • Nafi Abdus Salaam

    From reading and studying history, I haven’t read any thing about any people who has done more evil than the European man to the original darker people of the Earth. In my opinion if any people is justifiable in being called Devils it has to be the so call mutated, albino so call White man.

  • Educated

    Thanks Nafi Abdus Salaam! Lets add to that: Obliteration of many indigenous people such as the Indian, Hawaiian, Maori, Samoan, etc…some of which they call “Native American.” What the hell is Native American? There is nothing native about Americans! They are transplanted Europeans. That’s it! Be wary of these devils and their forked tongues.

  • Everyone is to blame… everyone carries shame. We are entering a period in history when we can make new choices about how we move forward as one human race. All this quibbling over history clouds the present and puts the fututere on unsound footing. I’m a brown man – realizing all of these ugly truths and evern uglier lies… then moving into a better place. But before I go I’ll leave you with this…

    We are all African. Our differences are not racial but cultural. That makes us stupid for not knowing that culture comes fro location and life experience. If we just understand that, then there is no issue at all. The rest is nonsense promulgated and highlighted to confuse us. The real evil behind slavery, white “supremacy” and the problems plaguing us is MONEY. The LOVE of money – the root of all evil.

    The difference between traditional and modern slavery is basically founded in the transformation from socially acceptable (read: globally practiced) way to facilitate a constant flow of household help, new gene pool introductions, bragging rights, and the odd Nubian pyramid raising, into a for-profit business (yes, place the European Jews here, but they would not be the only players by a long shot). Let’s all get over this mess, get real and move on.