African Slave Trade

Ending 1750-1850

The slave trade or the "Maafa," a Swahili term used by African and African-American scholars meaning "holocaust" or "great disaster" had a huge amount of negative effects on the continent of Africa. The more populated the continent became, the more slaves there were. Most enslaved people were shipped from West Africa to Central Africa and taken to North and South America. Their jobs there were working with coffee, cocoa, and cotton plantation, as well as working in gold and silver mines, rice fields, and even just working as servants in houses. By 1750 the slave population in America was about 236,400. Some historians estimate that about 15 million Africans were forced to leave Africa to cross the Atlantic to be sold into slavery. The movement to abolish slavery didn't take off till about the late 1770's. In 1807 Britain became the first European nation to ban the slave trade. Soon after Britain abolished the slave trade, the United States, France, and Holland followed them. Although these countries had banned the slave trade, Spain and Portugal did not do the same, which meant African slaves continued to be sent to countries in South America until near the end of the 19th century. The slave trade left many parts of Africa suffering from an increase of violence, decrease in people, and an economy relying on slavery.

Massive amount of slaves working at a plantation

Olaudah Equiano was an important person in bringing the slave trade to an end. He was born in present day Nigeria and was taken to America as a slave. He was eventually able to buy his freedom, which  is a very very rare occurrence. He soon after wrote about his experiencesbeing captured and sold into slavery.

African Slave Trade map