The harrowing reality of how 12 million Africans were captured, enslaved and trafficked across the Atlantic, with two million of them never even making it and perishing at sea, is investigated in a new four-part BBC Two documentary coming soon to UK television screens.

enslaved
Samuel L. Jackson and Afua Hirsch and Simcha Jacobovici
Image credit: Fremantle

Hosted by Hollywood icon Samuel L. Jackson, author and broadcaster Afua Hirsch and investigative journalist Simcha Jacobovici, Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade charts how our ancestors were kidnapped, sold into slavery and how a staggering two million of them perished during the journey.

For the first time, we will see an entirely new perspective on the history of the transatlantic slave trade through using new diving technology – such as advanced 3D mapping and ground-penetrating radar – to locate and examine sunken slave ships on three continents.

The series takes in dive sites in the UK, the Caribbean and Florida, and follows an experienced team of deep-sea divers as they search for and locate ships that sank drowning the enslaved humans aboard. Meanwhile on land, experts investigate the stories behind related locations, in Ghana, England and the Americas.

Each episode follows separate story lines: the location and investigation of sunken slave ships, and a historical analysis of the transatlantic slave trade.

enslaved
Samuel L. Jackson and Afua Hirsch
Image credit: Fremantle

This series will offer a fresh and authentic perspective of the transatlantic slave trade – one that demonstrates to today’s audiences that this is a truly global story. It celebrates the cultures that millions of enslaved people left behind, and the impact those who survived had on world culture today.

“The series tracks our efforts to search for and locate six slave ships that went down with their human cargo. We examine the ideology, economics and politics of slavery.”

Speaking about her involvement in this moving series via her Instagram page, Afua Hirsch said: “We journeyed to the bottom of the ocean and across continents to tell the true story of the over 12 million Africans – men, women and children – were kidnapped and sold into slavery.

“At least two million people died en-route, and the Atlantic is now a site of profound Black trauma and deeply buried truths. It’s also witness to a story of resistance, accomplishment and hope.

“The series tracks our efforts to search for and locate six slave ships that went down with their human cargo. We examine the ideology, economics and politics of slavery. And the powerful culture that, in many ways, was born in the bowels of those slave ships. Proud to present this giant of a series.”


The series has already premiered in the US. A UK release date will soon be announced.

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