The Transatlantic Slave Trade
Overview
The Development of the Trade
Capture and Enslavement
Traders and Trade
The Middle Passage
Africans in America
Ethnicities in the United States
The Suppression of the Slave Trade
Impact of the Slave Trade on Africa
Legacies in America
References
Links

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The Development of the Trade >

Over the course of more than three and a half centuries, the forcible transportation in bondage of at least twelve million men, women, and children from their African homelands to the Americas changed forever the face and character of the modern world. The slave trade was brutal and horrific, and the enslavement of Africans was cruel, exploitative, and dehumanizing. Together, they represent one of the longest and most sustained assaults on the very life, integrity, and dignity of human beings in history.

In the Americas, besides the considerable riches their free labor created for others, the importation and subsequent enslavement of the Africans would be the major factor in the resettlement of the continents following the disastrous decline in their indigenous population. Between 1492 and 1776, an estimated 6.5 million people migrated to and settled in the Western Hemisphere. More than five out of six were Africans. Although victimized and exploited, they created a new, largely African, Creole society and their forced migration resulted in the emergence of the so-called Black Atlantic.

The transatlantic slave trade laid the foundation for modern capitalism, generating immense wealth for business enterprises in America and Europe. The trade contributed to the industrialization of northwestern Europe and created a single Atlantic world that included western Europe, western Africa, the Caribbean islands, and the mainlands of North and South America.

On the other hand, the overwhelming impact on Africa of its involvement in the creation of this modern world was negative. The continent experienced the loss of a significant part of its able-bodied population, which played a part in the social and political weakening of its societies that left them open, in the nineteenth century, to colonial domination and exploitation.

International Slave Trade: Causes and ConsequencesInternational Slave Trade: Causes and Consequences by Paul E. Lovejoy, York University

The Development of the Trade >