2. Western Africa in the Era of the Transatlantic Slave Trade


I. What are the Origins of the Transatlantic Slave Trade?

    A. The Portuguese established the pattern for European

         involvement in Africa, they:

          - created trading posts

          - inserted themselves into existing trade networks


    B. The Early Atlantic Slave Trade

          1. The Portuguese

                - From 1441 the Portuguese began

                        importing a small number of African

                        slaves into Portugal

                - Later African slaves were sent to work the

                        Portuguese sugar plantations on the eastern

                        Atlantic islands (Canaries, Madiera, Sao Tomė)

                - After 1500 the Portuguese began importing

                        African slaves into the Spanish American

                        colonies in the Caribbean and on the


                - By 1570 African Slaves were in high demand to

                        work the sugar plantations of Brazil


            2. Northern Europeans

                 - In the 17th century Dutch, English, French and

                        Danish traders entered into the trade


   C. How African Slaves Were Acquired

          1. Initially the Portuguese raided the west coast of

                  Africa for slaves, but quickly found it more

                  profitable to purchase slaves from African traders


          2. Portuguese made alliances with local rulers, for

                 example the Kingdom of Kongo and the

                 Imbangala and Ndongo of Angola


II. What Was the Middle Passage?

    A. The Sea Journey from the West Coast of Africa to the Americas


    B. High Mortality Rate

          - between 10 and 20% of the African Slaves did not

                  survive the voyage


    C. Number of African Slaves that Survived the

          Middle Passage

          - about 10 to 12 million (vs. w million Europeans who

                  arrived in the Americas between 1492 and 1808)


III. What Impact Did the Transatlantic Slave Trade

        Have on the Development of Africa?

    A. Increased Political Instability and Violence

          - African states traded slaves for firearms and

                  horses that encouraged wars of expansion as well

                  as raids to acquire slaves


    B. Increased Social Stratification

          - Profits of the slave trade usually went to the elite

                  royal and warrior classes leading to increased

                  power of the rulers and warriors


    C. Economic Disruption

          1. Weakening of local industries

                  - loss of skilled craftsmen and laborers

                  - diversion of productive labor to the acquisition

                          and transport of slaves

                 - growing dependence on European goods and

                         discouragement of economic development


          2. Destruction of traditional trade routes and a shift

                  in trade routes towards the west coast


    D. Demographic Changes

          1. Gender imbalance > 35% of those taken were

                  girls and young women

                  - the shortage of men encouraged them to take

                        many wives

                  - Womenís work increased

                  - decline in womenís status


          2. Relatively slow population growth


    E. Changes in the practice of slavery in Africa

          1. From various practices of slavery to considering

                  slaves as property


          2. Expansion of slavery in Africa > by the early

                  1800ís 1/2  to 2/3 of the people in some

                  African states were slaves


IV. How Did the Transatlantic Slave Trade Come to an


    A.  Public Pressure contributed to the passage of laws

          outlawing the Transatlantic Slave Trade:

          - Denmark 1803

          - Great Britain 1807

          - United States 1808

          - France 1814

          - Netherlands 1817

          - Spain 1845


    B. Enforcing the Law


    C. Abolition of slavery:

          - British colonies 1833

          - French colonies 1848

          - U. S. 1865

          - Cuba 1886

          - Brazil 1888

          - Saudi Arabia and Angola in the late 1960ís


    D. Slavery Today



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