Summary Objective 2

Students will be able to describe the slave trade from Africa to the Americas. Maps to Key Concepts 1, 2, 4, 6, 8 & 10


What else should my students know? 

2.A In the 1400s, Portugal was the earliest participant in the transaltantic slave trade. It was followed by other European nations.

2.B Western Hemispheric destinations of captive Africans included South America, the Caribbean and North America.

2.C European slave traders participated in and fundamentally changed the existing slave trade in Africa. The demand for enslaved people in the European colonies of the Western Hemisphere greatly expanded the African slave trade beyond its traditional wartime context.

2.D Europeans believed that dark skin color (which they hyperbolically described as “black”), lack of Christianity and different styles of dress were evidence that Africans were less civilized.

2.E The Middle Passage was the voyage of enslaved people from the west coast of Africa to the Americas. Enslaved people endured traumatic conditions on slavers' ships, including cramped quarters, meager rations and physical and sexual assault. 


How can I teach this?

  • The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database maps the destinations of ships of the Middle Passage and allows users to search slave trade voyages based on data including (but not limited to) origin, destination or date.
  • Stowage on the Slave Ship Brookes, 1788” represents 18th-century guidelines for transporting enslaved people during the Middle Passage. Abolitionists used this image to convey the horrifying conditions enslaved people suffered while being forcibly transported from Africa to the Americas. 
  • Portuguese chronicler Gomes Eannes de Azurara compiled accounts of the slave trade circa 1450. His description of the division of captives demonstrates the prejudices of the Europeans and the horrors of the slave trade.
  • Excerpts from slaver John Newton’s journal describe the terrors of the Middle Passage, including disease, suicide attempts and sexual assault. He also discusses the ways enslaved people resisted their captors, including plans for violent rebellion.

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