Reports that African Americans have died disproportionately from Covid-19 have correctly attributed this phenomenon to structural socioeconomic inequalities, but failed to provide a proper historical account of their root causes.

The trans-Atlantic slave trade from Africa to the Americas was undoubtedly Europe’s “original sin”. European locusts — explorers, slavers, merchants, missionaries, and imperialists — arrived in Africa in the 15th century, and for the next five centuries ravaged the continent and its diaspora. They spread plague and pestilence. Africa’s agricultural sector was destroyed, famines proliferated, and 12-million to 15-million slaves were transported to the Americas, with their countries colonised...

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