visitor by museum display of colourful costumes on mannequins

Display of carnival costumes in the museum's Legacies gallery

Transatlantic slavery changed the history of Europe and its legacy is with us today. Inevitably there is considerable disagreement about the impact of that legacy.

The most obvious result is the presence of millions of people of African descent in Western Europe. Although many have come as a result of migration since 1945, their ancestors were originally transported in the slave trade. Despite individual exceptions, Black people continue to suffer discrimination and to be at a disadvantage in terms of their political, social and economic position. This situation is largely the result of racism developed to justify and sustain transatlantic slavery.

Black people have enriched the cultures of Europe by introducing traditions and features from their African heritage. Literature, art, music, cooking and language are just some of the areas that have been significantly influenced by people of African descent.

There are obvious examples - the blues, jazz and reggae, some of the most important types of music developed since 1900, were invented by Black people using rhythms and forms of African music. The stories of Brer Rabbit come originally from African folk tales.

Carnival, a major expression of cultural celebration, was developed by Black people in the plantations. It has evolved and grown in popularity and is now a major festival in many cities.

The final gallery of the International Slavery Museum is devoted to the legacies of slavery.