European Slave Trader
By: Kinsey Terragno

Slave trading took off in the late 1400s and early 1500s, after European settlers first came over to the Americas. They viewed this new land as a vast, lush, and open piece of land that they could build off of. In 1608, Samuel de Champlain built the first permanent French settlement in Quebec. Soon after this, they started to establish the 13 English Colonies. In the beginning, these colonies were filled with disease and starvation. Since there was so much starvation and disease, many of the new settlers died. With the help of friendly Native Americas the European settlers could survive with their survival skills. Then in the 1600s and the 1700s, the English established 13 colonies. Some colonies were set up as commercial ventures and organized for profit while some others were set up as havens for persecuted religious groups.

Down below is a picture of European Settlers interacting with the Native Americans.

At this time there was many Native Americans settled into this land. Missionaries hoped to spread Christianity to these Native Americans and the arrival of European settlers in North America had a profound impact on Native Americans. Some of them traded or formed alliances with the newcomers and others chose not to. However, there was frequent clashes that erupted between the two. European settlers kept moving on wanting to claim more land but Native Americans resisted their advance. With multiple different disagreements and fights, European settlers took control of lots of the land.

Soon the European Settlers realized that they would not be able to maintain all the new land by themselves. Way before the 1400s, Europeans had done simple trading with Africa for raw goods but now it was mainly for slaves. Africa was a very diverse place with many different religions throughout it. Although slowly as European settlers arrived, they would put their own influence on Africa.

In the 1500s, Europeans began to view slaves as the most important item of African trade. Also, other powerful nations would enslave their defeated foes. They needed slaves to fill the need for labor in Spain's American empire. Within the next 300 years, it grew into a huge and profitable business.

Above is a picture of the many different trade routes that African slaves followed from their homelands to new, mysterious land. In this map the trans-Atlantic is shown. The movement of these captives in comparative perspective for the centuries since 1500 only. In the pictures, the thicker lines were routes that carried over more slaves mostly to South America and parts of North America. The lines that are less thicker are routes that carried over a smaller amount of slaves to parts of Europe and Asia. Since the europeans discovered this new land they realized they would need lots of people to maintain the work on the land. In this case, they brought over thousands of slaves to do the work. About 90% of the slaves were taken over to South America to work on big plantations or in mines.

Above is a picture showing how crowded these slave ships were. They were packed below deck on this ships. Hundreds of them would end up being crammed into a single vessel. Space was so limited that they ended up sitting between each others legs and there was no possibility of lying down or moving. Soon, these ships became known as "floating coffins." They got this name because up to half the slaves on board died from disease or brutal treatment. The death rate was 50% but Merchants could still make a huge profit from the trade.

Multiple African Americans were affected by the slave trade. In the 1500s, it is estimated that about 2,000 enslaved Africans were sent to the Americas each year. Later on in the 1780s, the number reached to about 80,000 a year. Then by the mid-1800s, an estimated 11 million enslaved africans had reached the Americas. Also, about 2 million Africans died under the brutal conditions of the two month or more voyages.


<i>World History: Connections to Today.</i> Teacher's ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005.

Eltis, David, and David Richardson. "Introductory Maps." The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database Voyages. 1 Jan. 2010. Web. 21 Nov. 2014. <>.

"Europeans Come to Western Africa." Pbs. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <>.

"Aboard a Slave Ship, 1829." 1 Jan. 2000. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <>.

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