Guide to Brazil

The forced immigration of the slave trade in Brazil

Brazil took in more African slaves than any other country during the Atlantic slave trade, and the effects of this brutal period can still be felt today

The Valongo Wharf was an active slave port for 20 years, during which up to 1 million African slaves landed in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Halley Pacheco de Oliveira/WikiCommons
The Valongo Wharf was an active slave port for 20 years, during which up to 1 million African slaves landed in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Halley Pacheco de Oliveira/WikiCommons

This Thursday marked the 133rd anniversary of the so-called “Golden Law,” which abolished slavery in Brazil. While widely discussed in the country’s schools, Brazil has yet to properly reckon with its long and bloody history of forced labor — the effects of which can still be seen today.

It is a little-known fact that Brazil took in more African slaves than any other country during the Atlantic slave trade. Some 4.9 million people were forcefully brought from West-Central Africa to Brazil and put to work on sugar plantations and mining operations — 40 percent of the total number...

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