As we discuss the fate of New Orleans’ Confederate-related monuments, please consider the following historical facts.

Slavery existed in Africa for thousands of years before the start of the European slave trade to the Americas.

Many of the “Great Kings and Queens of Africa” enslaved their enemies and forced them to build huge monuments.

St. Augustine, an African bishop and the namesake of St. Augustine High School, taught that the prime cause of slavery was sin.

St. Ignatius of Loyola, namesake of Loyola University and founder of the religious order “the Jesuits,” saw slavery as a means of protecting and serving the poor. The Jesuits owned slaves in colonial Louisiana.

In Exodus 21, God gave Moses a slave code (right after he gave Moses the Ten Commandments) and instructed him to set these laws before the people.

Many Africans were sold to Europeans out of the supply of enslaved Africans that African slave owners already owned.

Other Africans were captured by African slave traders who forced them to march to the west coast of Africa for shipment to the Americas.

Of the Africans forced to march to the coast, 50 percent died before they reached the coast (twice the percentage that died in the Middle Passage).

In 1729, Bienville, colonial governor of Louisiana, formed an army of enslaved black people to massacre the Chaouacha Native American tribe.

Claude Treme, for whom the Faubourg Treme was named, was both a slave owner and a slave murderer.

In 1811, colored militia helped put down a massive slave revolt that had erupted near New Orleans.

In antebellum New Orleans, about one-third of free black people owned slaves.

When the Civil War broke out, 1,500 free persons of color volunteered to fight for the Confederacy — they called themselves “the Louisiana Native Guard.”

A year into the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln wrote: “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.”

The Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole owned African slaves, and during the Civil War, many Native Americans fought for the Confederacy.

In 1981, the African nation of Mauritania became the last country in the world to abolish slavery. It is estimated that there are still several hundred thousand enslaved people living in Mauritania.

Between the years 1530 and 1780, over 1 million white Europeans were enslaved by the Muslims of Africa’s Barbary Coast.

David Naccari

certified history teacher

New Orleans