Thursday, April 18

The first series that “breaks the silence” in the history of slavery in Spain


Still from the series in which the slave trade is recreated. / CR

Canal Historia premieres its new original production, ‘Encadenados’, which analyzes the slave trade over four centuries

For four centuries, Spain was one of the main slave powers in the world and the last country to abolish slavery throughout its territory. In this journey through the configuration of a modern and contemporary country that was taking shape, Canal Historia premieres ‘Encadenados’ tonight (10:00 p.m.), a four-episode miniseries that analyzes the capital importance of the slave trade throughout over 400 years, from the colonization of America to the start of the industrial revolution and how, according to its creators, human trafficking was the basis of the Spanish economy.

«It is the first series that breaks the silence of the history of slavery in Spain. Without prejudice or accusatory spirit”, defends the vice president of Documentary and Factual Programming of AMC Networks International Southern Europe, Sergio Ramos, who explains that it “is about lifting the veil on an unknown historical reality” from the “rigor” that characterizes the theme string. “With the help of the most recognized experts in the field and at a time of great global awareness, the series highlights fundamental facts to discover little-known aspects of our past and those traces that are visible today,” he adds.

Produced in collaboration with Lavinia Audiovisual, ‘Encadenados’ highlights slavery in the world economy and takes as its starting point the colonization of the Americas, where Spain, both in the metropolis and in its colonies, played an essential role. The series focuses on the ports of Seville, Cádiz or Barcelona, ​​”keys in the international system of the slave trade”.

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“It was customary to own slaves. Nobles and ecclesiastics had them, but also merchants, artisans and even peasants, ”they explain from the chain. The miniseries also delves into the traces of the great fortunes that, as they point out, were “achieved with the use of slave labor, an essential activity for the industrialization of Spain and for the urban development of cities such as Madrid or Barcelona.” It is estimated that in some cities such as Cádiz or Seville, the percentage of the slave population reached up to 15%.

The idea for ‘Encadenados’ arose during a preliminary investigation into the heritage of the Indianos in Spain, those who left for America between the 18th and 19th centuries and returned rich to our country. “We realized that wealth was due to the accumulation of capital that had a lot or a little to do with trafficking or slave labor,” says production director Jordi Ferrerons.

financial balances

In this documentation phase, and with the help of José Antonio Piqueras, professor of Contemporary History at the Jaime I University of Castellón, they realized that the importance of sugar for Spain was one of the main causes of the delay in the abolition of slavery in Spain until 1886, when the last 25,000 slaves in Cuba were freed. «It was a material that was of capital importance for the financial balances of our country. The great fortunes were achieved through sugar”, says Jordi.

Because, according to Piqueras, Spain should have that “historical responsibility” with slavery and admit “the facts”, in addition to “facilitating its dissemination.” “Remedial measures are hard to pin down, but we have to come to terms with the past,” he says. “We cannot turn the past into a family secret,” adds the expert. For Ferrerons, on the other hand, the slave-owning past does not exist in the “Spanish imaginary”. «It happened in Spain neither more nor less than in other countries, which have carried out a recognition exercise. We don’t », he regrets.

‘Encadenados’ was recorded in different locations throughout Spain where most of the events described take place, such as Madrid, Catalonia, Cantabria or the Basque Country.

The first chapter of the series tells how 2.1 million slaves from Africa arrived in the Spanish overseas territories over three centuries, most of them transported by Spanish ships. For a century and a half, the slave trade in Spain was a royal monopoly.


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