16th Century

  • 1510

    King Ferdinand of Spain orders (mainly) Africans to be imported as slaves to Santo Domingo in the Caribbean

  • 1535

    Frey Bartolomé de las Casas, appalled at the genocide of Caribbean peoples by forced labour, advises that Africans would be better suited to work the plantations. (He later regrets this and writes a work against the enslavement of Africans which is not published for 350 years)

  • 1550

    Some 10,000 African slaves are resident in Lisbon, Portugal, out of a total population of 100,000

  • 1552

    Slave rebellion in Hispaniola. This is the first of over 100 recorded revolts which occurred throughout the Caribbean and the Americas up until the late 19th century

  • 1552

    Bristol Society of Merchant Venturers founded it had links with the Spanish and Portuguese trade. 'Guines Merchant' members were trading to Africa for gold and ivory at first

  • 1555

    Portuguese Captain Fernao de Oliveira criticises the slave trade in his Act of War at Sea

  • 1562

    James Hawkins becomes the first Englishman to go on a slave-trading voyage to Sierra Leone and the Caribbean, burning African villages and towns to get slaves

  • 1565

    Seville, Spain has 5,000 African residents, mainly slaves, but some free, including a judge