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400 years ago, in August 1619, the first ship with slaves destined for the United States arrived in what was then the colony of Virginia. But the cruel history of the trans-Atlantic slave trade begins much earlier and goes on much longer — an astonishing 350 years.

In fact, many slaves lived in the English colonies in North America before that date. They came to the present-day U.S. via Spanish and Portuguese colonies, where slaves arrived as early as 1501, or were transferred as bounty from Spanish or Portuguese ships.