Atlantic slave trade

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The Atlantic slave trade, also known as the transatlantic slave trade, was the enslavement and transportation, primarily of African people, to the colonies of the New World that occurred in and around the Atlantic Ocean. It lasted from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Most enslaved people were shipped from West Africa and Central Africa and taken to North and South America[1] to labor on coffee, cocoa and cotton plantations, in gold and silver mines, in rice fields, the construction industry, timber, and shipping[2] or in houses to work as servants. The shippers were, in order of scale, the Portuguese, the British, the French, the Spanish, the Dutch, and North Americans.[1] European- and American-owned fortresses and ships obtained enslaved people from African slave-traders, though some were captured by European slave-traders through raids and kidnapping.[3][4] Most contemporary historians estimate that between 9.4 and 12 million[5][6] Africans arrived in the New World,[7][8] although the actual number of people taken from their homes is considerably higher.[9][10][11]

The slave trade is sometimes called the Maafa by African and African-American scholars, meaning "holocaust" or "great disaster" in Swahili. Some scholars, such as Marimba Ani and Maulana Karenga use the terms African Holocaust or Holocaust of Enslavement. Slavery was one element of a three-part economic cycle — the triangular trade and its Middle Passage — which ultimately involved four continents, four centuries and millions of people.[12]


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