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Explain the triangular slave trade carried on during the 18th century.

Last updated date: 21st Jul 2024
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Hint: Slavery has occurred over history in various parts of the world, and slave trade has been similarly widespread. Slave trade includes the capture, sale, and purchase of enslaved people. Around the 16th and early 19th centuries, the triangular slave trade, often regarded as the transatlantic slave trade, had occurred.

Complete answer:
The triangular trade was a common term for trading activities carried out between three different ports or areas. When a region has export goods that are not necessary for the region from which it has imported goods from, then another region must be involved to complete the trade, this is when triangular trade typically develops.

The triangular slave trade occurred as European colonial forces purchased or seized Africans as slaves, who were then sold to Caribbean and American territories to cultivate cash crops for the colonial powers. Indigo, tobacco, coffee, and sugar were all essential goods supplied by Caribbean colonists. Since Europeans were unwilling to travel to distant lands for commerce, there was a lack of workers on plantations, which led to the establishment of the triangular slave trade between Africa, Europe, and America.

The emergence of Europeans in American territories resulted in significant shifts in the societal, political, environmental aspects. Sugar could now be grown and exported on a wide scale owing to the transition to plantation agriculture in Brazil and the Caribbean.

Spaniards and Portuguese did not want to serve in the fields; instead, they desired to buy them. As a result, there was a high demand for labourers but paid labourers were too costly, and indigenous peoples had been nearly wiped out by sickness and war, so colonists looked to Africa for inexpensive labour as a result slaves were captured. Undoubtedly, at the peak of the slave trade and in the decades that followed, Europeans used the concept of ethnic inferiority to explain the oppression of millions of Africans.

But later on, elite Africans evolved who also participated in enslaving other African population and carried out slave trade with the European regions. The American participation in the trade between the Caribbean and America, Europe and Africa concentrated on the production of raw materials and cash crops for export to European markets and factories. The capital was used to stimulate the English economy.

Note: The slave trade was successful in making many people extremely wealthy, but this form of injustice significantly destroyed the lives of those who were enslaved and sold into slavery. As opposition rose and benefit diminished, the trade was eventually prohibited.