The Transatlantic Slave Trade

Unlike most twentieth-century cases of premeditated mass killing, the African slave trade was not undertaken by a single political force or military entity during the course of a few months or years. The transatlantic slave trade lasted for 400 years, from the 1450s to the 1860s, as a series of exchanges of captives reaching from the interior of sub-Saharan Africa to final purchasers in the Americas. It has been estimated that in the Atlantic slave trade, up to 12 million Africans were loaded and transported across the ocean under dreadful conditions. About 2 million victims died on the Atlantic voyage (the dreaded “Middle Passage”) and in the first year in the Americas.

Picture: The slave ship “Brookes” built for 421 slaves; packed with 700.