How the end of Atlantic slavery paved a path to colonialism. As COVID-19 unravels many aspects of our societies, it is important to understand how our everyday interactions beyond the screen will shape ourselves and our communities. As an example, we can turn to the abolition era in West Africa. The process of globalisation created a historical consciousness that rewrote history in the region. Toby Green — a professor of precolonial and lusophone African history — analyses how the end of the Atlantic slave trade brought longed-for freedoms, but also political turmoil, economic collapse and rising enslavement.