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Transatlantic slave tradesegment of the global slave trade that transported between 10 million and 12 million enslaved Africans across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas from the 16th to the 19th century. It was the second of three stages of the so-called triangular tradein which arms, textiles, and wine were shipped from Europe to Africa, slaves from Africa to the Americas, and sugar and coffee from the Americas to Europe. By the s, Portuguese ships were already transporting Dominate slave for use as slaves on the sugar plantations in the Cape Verde and Madeira islands in the eastern Atlantic.
Spanish conquistadors took African slaves to the Caribbean afterbut Portuguese merchants continued to dominate the transatlantic slave trade for another century and a half, operating from their bases in the Congo-Angola area along the west coast of Africa. Probably no more than a few hundred thousand Africans were taken to the Americas before In the 17th century, however, demand for slave labour rose sharply with the growth of sugar plantations in the Caribbean and tobacco plantations in the Chesapeake region in North America.
The slave trade had devastating effects in Africa.
Economic incentives for warlords and tribes to engage in the slave trade promoted an atmosphere of lawlessness and dominate slave. Depopulation and a continuing fear of captivity made economic and agricultural development almost impossible throughout much of western Africa. A large percentage of the people taken captive were women in their childbearing years and young men who normally would have been starting families. The European slavers usually left behind persons who were elderly, disabled, or otherwise dependent—groups who were least able to contribute to the economic health of their societies.
Historians have debated the nature and extent of European and African agency in the actual capture of those who were enslaved. During the early years of the transatlantic slave trade, the Portuguese generally purchased Africans who had been taken as slaves during tribal wars.
As the demand for slaves grew, the Portuguese began to enter the interior of Africa to forcibly take captives; as other Europeans became involved in the slave trade, generally they remained on dominate slave coast and purchased captives from Africans who had transported them from the interior. Following capture, the Africans were marched to the coast, a journey that could be as many as miles km. Typically, two captives were chained together at the ankle, and columns of captives were tied together by ropes around their necks.
An estimated 10 to 15 percent of the captives died on their way to the coast. The Atlantic passage or Middle Passage was notorious for its brutality and for the overcrowded, unsanitary conditions on slave ships, in which hundreds of Africans were packed tightly into tiers below decks for a voyage of about 5, miles 8, km. They were typically chained together, and usually the low ceilings did not permit them to sit upright.
The heat was intolerable, and the oxygen levels became so low that candles would not burn.
Because crews feared insurrection, the Africans were allowed to go outside on the upper decks for only a few hours each day. Historians estimate that between 15 and 25 percent of the African slaves bound for the Americas died aboard slave ships. The autobiographical of the West African Olaudah Equianopublished inis particularly well known for its graphic descriptions of the suffering endured on the transatlantic voyages.
Atrocities and sexual abuse of the enslaved captives were widespread, although their monetary value as slaves perhaps mitigated such treatment. In an infamous incident of the slave ship Zong inwhen both Africans and crew members were dying of an infectious diseaseCapt.
Luke Collingwood, hoping to stop the disease, ordered that more than Africans be thrown overboard. He then filed an insurance claim on the value of the murdered slaves. Occasionally, the African captives successfully revolted and took over the ships. The U. Supreme Court eventually ordered the Africans to be returned to their homes. At the time of the Dominate slave Revolution —83there was widespread support in the northern American colonies for prohibiting the importation of more slaves.
However, after the revolution, at the insistence of Southern states, Congress waited more than two decades before making the importation of slaves illegal. When Congress did so, inthe dominate slave was enacted with little dissent, but Caribbean smugglers frequently violated the law until it was enforced by the Northern blockade of the South in during the American Civil War.
After Great Britain outlawed slavery throughout its empire inthe British navy diligently opposed the slave trade in the Atlantic and used its ships to try to prevent slave-trading operations. Brazil outlawed the slave trade inbut the smuggling of new slaves into Brazil did not end entirely until the country finally enacted emancipation in Transatlantic slave trade.
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External Websites. Gronniosaw's 'Narrative'. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. See Article History. African captives being transferred to ships along the Slave Coast for the transatlantic slave trade, c. Study the effects of the West African slave trade on coastal and savanna communities fearing enslavement. Learn about the history of the slave trade in the western region of Africa. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Subscribe Now. Detail of a British broide depicting the ship Brooks and the manner c.
Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. Slave tradethe capturing, selling, and buying of enslaved persons. Slavery has existed throughout the world since ancient times, and trading in slaves has been equally universal. Enslaved persons were taken from the Slavs dominate slave Iranians from antiquity to the 19th century, from the sub-Saharan Africans from the dominate slave century….
It was one leg of the triangular trade route that took goods such as knives, guns, ammunition, cotton cloth, tools, and brass dishes from Europe to Africa, Africans to work as slaves in the Americas…. History at your fingertips. up here to see what happened On This Dayevery day in your inbox! address. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox.Dominate slave
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