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The Atlantic Slave Trade


The Atlantic Slave Trade Chapter Two – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Atlantic Slave Trade

The Atlantic Slave Trade
  • Chapter Two

Students should know that..
  • Slavery in Africa has a long history.
  • The Triangular Trade linked three continents.
  • Africans suffered through the middle passage.
  • The slave trade had a lasting effect.

Slavery Has A Long History
  • Slavery has been around since ancient times.
  • In Africa, slavery was known well before the
    Atlantic Slave Trade.
  • For example, beginning in the 8th C - millions
    of Africans exported as slaves by Arabs -
    trans-Saharan trade route

The Atlantic Slave Trade
  • 1441 - Portuguese sailor seized ten Africans near
    the Western Sahara - often referred to as the
    beginning of the Atlantic slave trade.
  • At first African slaves were sent to Portugal,
    Spain and Italy.
  • Portuguese used slaves as domestics and butlers,
    and as workers on sugar plantations.
  • Plantation system comes to America with
    colonization - the Portuguese called on European
    traders to supply slaves
  • This led to the establishment of the direct slave
    trade across the Atlantic.

Europeans Sought wealth In America
  • European nations such as Spain sought to exploit
    the wealth in the Americas.
  • Native Americans were one source
  • Indentured servants were another source of
  • The need for more labour led them to look to

The Asiento System
  • Portugal had African trading posts
  • Spain imported their slaves through the
  • 1518 Asiento - a license to import slaves into
    the colonies.
  • Slaves were priced according to their labour

  • Valued in terms of a unit known as a peca de
    India or an Indian piece.
  • Each healthy person between the ages of 15 and
    25, who passed inspection, was worth one peca de
  • Between the ages of 8 to 15, and 25 and 35, three
    were valued at two peca de India.

Captain John Hawkins Coat of Arms
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Triangular Trade Route
  • Between Africa, Europe and The Americas.
  • Three main Stages
  • 1. Goods were shipped from Europe to Africa.
  • 2. Slaves were taken to the Americas.
  • 3. Produce, cash and promissory notes were
    transported back to Europe.

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Preparing to Export Slaves
  • Slave ships had to be acquired.
  • A ships captain was needed - direct the voyage
    and be able to deal with slave traders in Africa.
  • Goods to exchange for slaves.
  • A crew had to be put together for the voyage.
  • Had to go at the right time of year.
  • Slave markets of Senegal and Angola were most
    often visited. The Bight of Benin exported so
    many slaves it became known as The Slave Coast.

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Sources of Slaves
  • Wars basically slave raids. Europeans would
    sell gunpowder and guns, then they would be used
    to acquire more slaves.
  • Kidnapping Especially women and children, found
    them in an isolated area
  • Debts people who couldnt repay debt were
    sometimes sold into slavery.
  • Tribute some states gave slaves as tribute to
    avoid further warfare.
  • Judicial process individuals could be condemned
    to slavery for alleged crimes.

Africans and The Slave Trade
  • Africans themselves were drawn into the slave
    trade - received goods, including firearms, in
    return for securing slaves.
  • Some kings tried to resist but were defeated.
  • Some African leaders tried to resist but
    participated in order to get firearms for

Other Goods of the Trade
  • African traders received textiles, guns,
    gunpowder, alcoholic beverages, mirrors, jewelry
    and iron bars in return for slaves.
  • Household goods such as pots, pans, knives,
    clocks and locks were also traded.
  • Once these goods were exchanged the slaves were
    examined head to toe for blemishes or defects.

Olaudah Equiano
  • A slave who survived, bought his freedom and
    wrote about his life.

The Middle Passage
  • The long voyage from Africa to America was called
    the Middle Passage.
  • Millions died on the trip.
  • Those who survived were later maimed through the
    course of their slave labor.
  • Very few were fortunate, like Olaudah Equiano, to
    escape slavery or live to tell and write about

Africans Suffered During The Middle Passage
  • Some thought they were being taken away to be
  • Slaves were chained together in very cramped
  • Diseases such as fevers, small pox and dysentery.
    (ship captains tried to have a doctor on board.)
  • Seasickness and oppressive heat.

  • Those who died were thrown into the ocean.
  • Every morning the slaves were given water to wash
    themselves and then they were checked for sores
    and disease.
  • Two meals a day.
  • Slaves trying to starve themselves were whipped.

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Precautions Against Revolts
  • Revolts were common, given the terrible
  • Slaves often tried to kill European traders.
  • Rebellious slaves were severally punished.
  • Slavers checked the holds every day, looking for
    pieces of iron, wood or knives gathered by the

Many Died
  • Rebellions, disease and lack of food made the
    Middle Passage difficult.
  • The length of the voyage and the time it took
    disease to take hold determined how many died.
  • 3 to 5 died before they ever even got to the
  • 18 died on the passage. This was brought down to
    6 through efforts to improve living conditions.
  • The crews of these ships faced some of the same
    dangers and many of them died as well.

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The Americas
  • Slaves were taken to the European colonies in the
  • How many? Unknown 12 million? 100 million?
  • Brazil imported the most , followed by the
    British Caribbean, the French Caribbean, Spanish
    America, North America and Dutch and Danish
  • They were used on sugar, coffee, tobacco and
    cotton plantations.
  • They worked 16 hour days, with a life expectancy
    of 8 to 10 years. Gold mining in Brazil also
    killed a lot of slaves.

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  • Demand for slaves reached its peak in the early
  • The movement to end slavery was known as the
    abolition movement. It had two stages
  • 1. By 1820, Britain, Sweden, France, Holland and
    Spain had abolished the slave trade.
  • 2. Britain abolished slavery outright in 1833,
    followed by the United States in 1865 and Brazil
    in 1888.

Lasting Effect of The Slave Trade
  • Sacrificed millions of Africans for the commerce
    of Europe and the Americas.
  • Caused immense cultural and economic changes.
  • Consequences are still being felt today.

The Slave trade greatly affected Africa
  • 1. Depopulation Millions of Africans, most
    between the ages of 15 and 25, were transported
    from their homelands.
  • They were the healthiest and strongest members of
    African communities.
  • This robbed Africa of a creative, inventive and
    productive part of its population.
  • The wars and raiding associated with slavery also
    caused depopulation.
  • Slavery divided Africans, leading them to fight
    and enslave each other.

  • 2. Economic problems Wars, violence and raiding
    hurt the development of African business and
  • Hard to plan for an uncertain future
  • Talents and skills of slaves were lost to Africa.
  • The guns, alcohol and luxury goods received for
    slaves did nothing to help Africa develop

  • 3. Racism Africans were perceived as an
    inferior race.
  • Lumped together with gold and ivory, just another
  • To justify enslavement, Europeans claimed they
    were taking Africans to a better place.
  • The image of exhausted Africans being unloaded
    from slave ships became the overriding image most
    whites had of Africans.

Sierra Leone and Liberia
  • The slave trade is responsible for the founding
    of the countries Sierra Leone and Liberia.
  • The British establish Sierra Leone as a
    settlement for ex-slaves who tried to settle in
  • Their settlement was called Freetown and is the
    capital city today.
  • Liberia was founded as a colony for freed slaves
    from the southern United States.

Slave Trade Affected Europe
  • The slave trade brought great economic benefits
    to Europe.
  • 1. Plantations in the Americas brought huge
    profits to their European owners.
  • 2. Major ports such as Liverpool in England and
    Nantes in France grew because of the slave trade.
  • 3. Shipping industry grew as it provided the
    ships for the trade.
  • 4. Money from the trade was reinvested into
    European industry. Many believe the slave trade
    was a major factor in the industrial revolution.

Affect On The Americas
  • Africans brought their ideas, music, foods,
    folklore, views of government, art and
    creativity, making a huge cultural contribution
    to the Americas.
  • Foundation of the Agricultural industry.
  • Worked as carpenters, masons and mechanics.
  • Former slaves even invented new machines.
  • Influence on religion.

Look At The Past
  • Some believe that the American government should
    compensate the descendants of slaves.
  • Some African Americans returned to Africa to find
    their roots. One such place is the old slave
    castle at Elmina in Ghana.

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