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Last Updated: Friday February 16 2007 13:48 GMT

Key dates in the slave trade

Anti-slave protest at Exeter Hall, Exeter

Find out more about the slave trade - and how it ended - in our timeline.

1562 The slave trade unofficially begins.

Trade and naval commander Captain John Hawkins was on his way to West Africa. He captured quite a few people and sold them in the Caribbean as slaves.

1619 Slave trade officially begins.

First ship full of Africans bought as slaves arrives in Virginia.

1672 Britain leads the way. Britain becomes one of the leading slave trade nations.

1699 Eight in every 10 people living in the Caribbean are African slaves.

1730 Britain is the biggest slave trading country. From 1690 to 1807, 2.8 million slaves were moved.

1737 Bristol is the biggest slave port in England. There are 37 journeys made every year.

1759 Slave trade campaigner William Wilberforce is born in Hull.

1760 First and biggest protest against the slave trade.

A slave called Tacky led a protest against the treatment of slaves on sugar plantations. Hundreds of slaves attacked the plantations setting crops and sugar alight. In the end Tacky was captured and beheaded.

1772 Slave case goes to court.

Slave James Somerset escaped from his owner in London. He was caught, but with the help of campaigner Granville Sharp the case went to court and he was freed. Many people thought this meant slavery was outlawed in Britain. Of course, they were mistaken.

1787 Group called Abolition of the Slave trade formed

This group did all it could to try and put an end to the slave trade. Two key members were Granville Sharp and John Clarkson.

1788 A law comes into place restricting the number of slaves on a ship. The Slave Abolition Society also organises the first petition campaign and there's the first investigation into the slave trade.

1792 The British Government agrees in principle that slave trade should end.

1807 The end of the slave trade. Anyone found transporting slaves was fined 100 - a lot of money at the time - for every slave.

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