Emperor Charles V

Spaniards were the first to bring slaves to the New World. The first slaves arrived on the Spanish islands of Cuba and Hispaniola in 1501. Slavery in the New World would continue well into the future as Spanish involvement in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade picked up. By the mid-1800s, over 400,000 slaves had arrived in Cuba. Many of them worked as agricultural laborers and were submitted to harsh conditions.

Slavery on the Iberian Peninsula was outlawed by Charles V's Leyes Nuevas, or New Lawsin 1542. These laws were rooted in Spanish theological thought and made Spain one of the first European nations to attempt to ban the institution. However, slavery and the slave trade would continue in Spanish colonies well into the 19th century.