Europe served as a nexus for slavery all throughout world history. From the Classical era until its end in the 19th century, slavery played a major role in the story of Europe. During the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, many European monarchs and political leaders dealt with the proliferation of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and can be easily linked to its heritage all over the world. Many European political and state leaders directly benefited from the slave trade but others used their position to end the trade and the institution itself.