Overview of the Slave Trade
The main source of slaves were concentrated from Africa.

Beginning of the Slave Trade
Slavery has been around for longer than most know. Many have the false belief that slaves had always come from Africa, but different forms of slavery have always existed. Times of the beginning of the Slave trade date back to the times of the Roman Empire (200 B.C.), where many slave auctions occured. However, the Slave Trade dramatically increased when the colonization of the New World by the spaniards began. The first African slaves to have been brought to the New World came by ship in 1501. They arrived in Hispaniola and used them for labor and any other help they sought.

About the Slave trade
Slaves working in the fields.

The life of a slave was most always a life of misery and suffering. Native people were the first to be considered slaves in the New World, until most of them were killed by Old World diseases. As a result, many landowners had labour shortages in the New World. From there, landowners had to find another way to get a source of labor. This erupted the kidnapping of African's from the West and Central coast of Africa. Besides the fact that slaves had to survive their masters, they often had to compete with other slaves from different tribes. People's cultures were destroyed, and completely different tribes were forced to cooperate with one another in order to survive.

Slave Trade Triangle

The Transatlantic trade consisted of three seperate routes around Atlantic Ocean. Crops could not be grown in Europe due to poor landscaping. This caused a steady route of slave owners to set sail over to America in order to make a decent living growing crops. The first route was an outward passage from Europe to Africa carrying manufactured goods.The next route went from Africa to the Americas carrying African captives and other commodities. The final route was the one back to Europe, which brought back sugar, rum, rice, cotton and other goods from the Americas. The Middle Passage (from Africa to America) was the worst of the 3 ways of the triangle. Enslaved Africans were packed tightly into small spaces and given hardly enough food and water to stay alive. As a result, 10% of the people on the voyage died from starvation, illness, and other forms of bad treatment.

Shipping the Disease
Many of the diseases that later killed of many of the native inhabitants, were spread on the slave ships on the way over to the New World. One example of a disease that was spread on the ships would be Small pox. Around 20 million slaves were traded with slave ships, in terrible conditions. Not only was the weather terrible on many of these voyages, but the space was extremely limited. Some cargo ships were packed with over 500 slaves, this caused for the diseases to spread extremely quickly. Another condition that helped to spread diseases among slave ships was the food quality, and the way the food was handed out. In most cases the food would be thrown infront of the slaves, as they fought for a nibble, with their bound hands. The slaves that survived the horrors on the slave ships, then went on the be sold, and most of the time spread many uncommon diseases through the New World.
This ship sailed in 1784 and carried over 500 slaves. In this picture one can see just how tightly the ships ver packed.

Diseases in the Colonies
Indigenous people in the colonies were not adapted to the diseases spread in the Old World. Smallpox, Measles, Influenza, and typhus were among the big diseases that killed 95% of the native people to the Americas. This resulted in massive cutbacks to natives in terms of population growth, from which the Old World Settlers were able to easily bypass any of the remaining tribes from the land.

Ethnic Groups involved:
  • The BaKongo of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • The Yoruba of Nigeria
  • The Chamba of Cameroon
  • The Makua of Mozambique
  • The Gbe speakers of Togo, Ghana, and Benin
  • The Akan of the Congo

Human Toll
The Transatlantic slave trade resulted in a huge and unknown amount of death for African Slaves all around the triangle. Predictions are that around 8 million slaves were killed during storage. There are also estimates of undeclared slave trading around the world, which would total the number of deaths to be around 15 million, but not estimates are completely sure due to the vastness of the slave trade. Places called seasoning camps with set up all throughout the Caribbean. The purpose of seasoning camps was to break their spirit emotionally and condition them so that they would be ready for the new life they now awaited. They were often tortured, and sometimes killed to leave a message to the other slaves observing.

African Conflicts
Conflicts for slaves in Africa

Half of all the African deaths occured in Africa during the conflicts between tribes. Wars would erupt between native tribes and the winner would capture and sell the losing tribe into slavery. Slavery already existed in Africa for sometime before Europeans began trading goods with the natives for slaves. Many tribes relied on slavery for their source of money with other tribes. Wars would often start between tribes so that the winning tribe could get a profit off of the slaves they traded from the losing tribe. Huge profits would result from this, considering there was more wealth for fewer people in Africa.

End of the Atlantic Slave Trade
Anti-Slave trade Slogan

In some countries in Europe, slavery was beginning to become opposed. Protests started to be held in the mid 18th century in Britain. in 1803, Denmark was the first country to ban the slave trade and consider it illegal. Britain, was next which to ban slavery, made laws to ban the slave trade in 1807. Despite the trade being banned in Britain, slavery in general was not. After Britain ended their own slave trade, they felt the need to end slave trade occuring in other countries. Britain sailed down the West African Coast and seized over 150,000 Africans by the year 1860. Treaties were later signed between the British and African tribe leaders to end the slave trade. The last country to ban the slave trade was Brazil in 1831. As a result, a lot of conflict occured between those who wanted and opposed slavery. The largest conflict involving acts of Anti-Slavery was the Civil war in the United States. From around the 1860's on, the Atlantic slave trade had ended.