By the 1600s, many people were forced to leave their homes in places like Africa and made to work in other countries.
Some became slaves on sugar, tobacco and cotton plantations in the US.
Others worked in houses of rich British families.
They had no rights and lived and worked in very bad conditions.
By the end of the 1700s, there were about 20,000 black people living in London.
After a long struggle, Parliament finally banned slavery in the British Empire in 1833.