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Emancipation from slavery, modern era

Migration A–Z


  1. Enrico Dal Lago

Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444351071.wbeghm195

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

How to Cite

Lago, E. D. 2013. Emancipation from slavery, modern era. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 FEB 2013


At the mid-eighteenth century, slavery was well entrenched in the Atlantic World, being widespread in most of the New World colonies of the European empires, and in substantial areas of Africa. Having steadily progressed in terms of profitability since the 17th century, the colonial slave system of the Americas had reached by then its maturity, yielding immense wealth to the planter elites in the form of cash crops such as, especially, sugar, tobacco, and rice. Yet, in the second half of the 18th century, a combination of factors – chief among them the spread of Enlightenment doctrines of human rights, the beginning of classical political economy based on wage labor, and the upheavals caused by the Age of Revolutions (1776–1825) – led to a sudden end of the colonial slave system, as a number of new countries freed themselves from the European colonial yoke, first and foremost the United States and, more importantly, Haiti – the only example of successful slave rebellion in history; shortly afterwards, also the British and the American Atlantic slave trades met with an equally sudden end (Davis 1984).


  • slavery;
  • African American;
  • Atlantic world;
  • labor supply;
  • poverty;
  • violence