Trans atlantic slave trade
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Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. African Slavery Introduction. European (and American) slavery of Africans began in the 15 th century and continued until the 19 th century Direct result of Portuguese exploration by sea

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Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

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Trans atlantic slave trade

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

African slavery introduction

African Slavery Introduction

  • European (and American) slavery of Africans began in the 15th century and continued until the 19th century

    • Direct result of Portuguese exploration by sea

  • Slavery was the solution to the labor shortages occurring in the Americas and in Europe

  • The Spanish brought the first captives to the Americas in 1503 and by 1518 the first captives were shipped directly from Africa to America

  • Majority of captives were taken from West Africa



  • Estimated 11 million people were forcibly transported across the Atlantic during this 4 century period

  • Of those 11 million less than 9.6 million survived the journey

  • Slavery from the east coast into the Arab world is estimated at 9.4-14 million people.

  • The entire continent of Africa saw about 25 million forcibly removed

  • Africa is the only continent to see such dramatic population losses from and be affected in this way

Before european intervention

Before European Intervention

  • Gold from the great empires of West Africa, Ghana, Mali and Songhai that provided the means for the economic take-off of Europe in the 13th and 14th centuries

  • the West African empire of Mali was larger than Western Europe and reputed to be one of the richest and most powerful states in the world.

  • 1324 Mansa Musa, the emperor of Mali visited Cairo

    • Had so much gold with him that its price fell dramatically and had not recovered its value even 12 years later.

History of slavery

History of Slavery

  • Why did African kingdoms and merchants enter into a trade that was so disadvantageous to Africa and its inhabitants?

  • Africans could become slaves as punishment for a crime, as payment for a family debt, or most commonly of all, by being captured as prisoners of war

  • With the arrival of European and American ships offering trading goods in exchange for people, Africans had an added incentive to enslave each other, often by kidnapping.

  • On the African side, the slave trade was generally the business of rulers or wealthy and powerful merchants, concerned with their own selfish or narrow interests, rather than those of the continent.

  • Societies preyed on one another to gain firearms from Europeans. These firearms helped prevent them from being sold into slavery themselves.

Trans atlantic slave trade1

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

  • Worked like a triangle between Africa, Europe and the Americas

    • Trade goods, such as guns and textiles were sent out of Europe and traded in Africa for slaves.

    • The slaves were crammed into ships that crossed the Atlantic in order to provide labor for large plantations in North and South America, which were growing cotton, sugar cane, and tobacco

    • Regions of North and South America were European colonies for much of the Atlantic Slave trade and served to provide raw materials to Europe for manufacturing

Middle passage

Middle Passage

  • Slaves were kept living in abominable conditions in dungeon fortresses along the coast of western Africa until the time that they were sent out to the Americas

  • Both the slave forts and slave ships kept people in dark, dirty rooms with little to eat or drink and no room to move.

  • They were kept in chains and left to lie on their backs on slave ships while crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

  • Historians estimate that as many as 20% died while crossing the ocean, not to mention those who died in the slave forts while still in Africa.

Olaudah equiano



The end of slavery

The End of Slavery

  • Under the leadership of Toussaint Louverture, an ex-slave, in 1804, Haiti became the first black republic in the world and the first country in the Western Hemisphere to abolish slavery.

  • By the 19th century continued industrial expansion was dependent on a flexible and mobile labor force, not slaves

    • In 1807, Britain became the first European nation to ban the slave trade. France, Holland, and the United States soon thereafter passed legislation banning the slave trade.

  • In Spain and Portugal African slaves continued to be sent to countries in South America until near the end of the 19th century.

  • Tthe Atlantic Slave Trade changed the face of the earth in many ways and presented a huge challenge to Africa in trying to recover from this brutal period of her history.

Use the primary sources

Use the Primary Sources

  • Why was this called the triangular trade?

  • Why was it said that a profit was made on each leg of

    the triangle? And who was involved in the trade at each point?

  • Why do you think the 'human cargo' was so squashed during the middle passage?

  • What happened to the slaves when they arrived in the Caribbean? Why was this, for some, one of the worst parts of the trade?




  • On your own, research Thomas Clarkson

  • Make sure you know:

    • Who he was

    • What he did

    • How he got his start

    • What he accomplished

  • Look for connections to other people whose opinions we have read

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