Triangular Slave Trade

Categories: Trade And Commerce
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Triangular trade, or triangle trade, is a historical term indicating trade among three ports or regions. Triangular trade usually evolves when a region has export commodities that are not required in the region from which its major imports come. Triangular trade thus provides a method for rectifying trade imbalances between these regions. Atlantic triangular slave trade illustrating the stowage of African slaves on a British slave ship. Depiction of the Triangular Trade of slaves, sugar, and rum with New England instead of Europe as the third corner.

The best-known triangular trading system is the transatlantic slave trade, that operated during the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries, carrying slaves, cash crops, and manufactured goods between West Africa, Caribbean or American colonies and the European colonial powers, with the northern colonies of British North America, especially New England, sometimes taking over the role of Europe. The use of African slaves was fundamental to growing colonial cash crops, which were exported to Europe.

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European goods, in turn, were used to purchase African slaves, which were then brought on the sea lane west from Africa to the Americas, the so called middle passage. A classic example would be the trade of sugar (often in its liquid form, molasses) from the Caribbean to Europe or New England, where it was distilled into rum. The profits from the sale of sugar were used to purchase manufactured goods, which were then shipped to West Africa, where they were bartered for slaves.

The slaves were then brought back to the Caribbean to be sold to sugar planters.

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The profits from the sale of the slaves were then used to buy more sugar, which was shipped to Europe, etc. The first leg of the triangle was from a European port to Africa, in which ships carried supplies for sale and trade, such as copper, cloth, trinkets, slave beads, guns and ammunition. When the ship arrived, its cargo would be sold or bartered for slaves. On the second leg, ships made the journey of the Middle Passage from Africa to the New World.

Many slaves died of disease in the crowded holds of the slave ships. Once the ship reached the New World, enslaved survivors were sold in the Caribbean or the American colonies. The ships were then prepared to get them thoroughly cleaned, drained, and loaded with export goods for a return voyage, the third leg, to their home port. From the West Indies the main export cargoes were sugar, rum, and molasses; from Virginia, tobacco and hemp. The ship then returned to Europe to complete the triangle.

However, because of several disadvantages that slave ships faced compared to other trade ships, they often returned to their home port carrying whatever goods were readily available in the Americas and filled up a large part or all of their capacity with ballast. Other disadvantages include the different form of the ships (to carry as many humans as possible, but not ideal to carry a maximum amount of produce) and the variations in the duration of a slave voyage, making it practically impossible to pre-schedule appointments in the Americas, which meant that slave ships often arrived in the Americas out-of-season.

Instead, the cash crops were transported mainly by a separate fleet which only sailed from Europe to the Americas and back. The Triangular trade is a trade model, not an exact description of the ship’s route. New England New England also benefited from the trade, as many merchants were from New England, especially Rhode Island, replacing the role of Europe in the triangle. New England also made rum from the Caribbean sugar and molasses, which it shipped to Africa as well as within the New World. Yet, the “triangle trade” as considered in relation to New England was a piecemeal operation.

No New England traders are known to have completed a full sequential circuit of the triangle, which took a calendar year on average, according to historian Clifford Shipton who, after years of sifting through New England shipping records, could not find a single instance of a ship completing the full triangle as described. The concept of the New England Triangular trade was first suggested, inconclusively, in an 1866 book by George H. Moore, was picked up in 1872 by historian George C. Mason, and reached full consideration from a lecture in 1887 by American businessman and historian William B. Weeden.

The song “Molasses to Rum” from the musical 1776 vividly describes this form of the triangular trade. Other triangular trades The term “triangular trade” also refers to a variety of other trades. A trade pattern which evolved before the American Revolutionary War between Great Britain, the colonies of British North America, and British colonies in the Caribbean. This typically involved exporting raw resources such as fish especially salt cod) or agricultural produce from British North American colonies to feed slaves and planters in the West Indies (also lumber); sugar and molasses from the Caribbean; and various manufactured commodities from Great Britain.

The shipment of Newfoundland salt cod and corn from Boston, Massachusetts in British vessels to southern Europe. This also included the shipment of wine and olive oil to Britain. The “sugar triangle” whereby American ships took local produce to Cuba, then brought sugar or coffee from Cuba to Saint Petersburg, then bar iron and hemp back to New England.

The Triangular Trade is a route to recieve slaves. It got it’s namefrom the three routes that formed a triangle. The first route carried fish, lumber, and other goods from New England to the West Indies. In the West Indies they picked up sugar and molasses which is a dark brown syrup product made from sugar cane. This was used to makes rum. From the West Indies merchants carried the rum, along with guns, gunpowder, and tools to West Africa. Here, they traded these items for slaves, they carried the slaves to the West Indies where they were sold.

Traders would take the profits and buy more molasses. The slaves were treated so harshly that some of them didn’t make it to the West Indies. Traders were so greedy that they wanted to bring as many slaves as possible. The slaves were chained and crammed together below the deck. There was hardly any sitting room or standing room. The slaves even have fresh air. The air was so stifling that some suffocated to death. Others tried to starve themselves to death or jump over board. Most died from diseases. When the slaves reached the Americas they were auctioned off.

Many families were broken up and never seen again. I hope you have a better understanding of the Triangular Trade The early days of the American economy were filled with trade routes stretching across the Atlantic in seemingly all directions. As with trade between European countries, the goods coming into and out of America tended to be part of a pattern. The money paid for one set of goods would be used to pay for another set of goods, and so on. Also at this time, goods were traded for each other, in a barter system. In early American settlement, goods came from two main sources: England and Africa.

This came to be known as Triangular Trade. A typical shipment of goods from Great Britain would consist of any or all of beads, cloth, hardware, rum, salt, or weapons. The shipment would go to Africa, where the goods would be traded for people who were enslaved. A ship leaving Africa for America would contain hundreds of enslaved people, tightly packed in horrific conditions for the journey to their new “home. ” Once in America, the ship would unload the slaves and take on any or all of molasses, rum, sugar, or tobacco and then head to Great Britain, completing the Triangle. It should be said here that not all ships made this giant triangular trip.

Many ships did no more than sail back and forth from America to Africa and vice versa or from England to Afria and vice versa. The description of the Triangluar Trade deals more with the goods as a whole. ) Some of the ships coming to America sailed straight to ports along the Eastern Seaboard, although some stopped in the Caribbean or Brazil, where large slave plantations were. The number of Africans shipped as slaves to America has been conservatively estimated at 10 million.

That number doesn’t include the thousands who died along the way. Some estimates have concluded that 15 to 25 of every 100 Africans died on those voyages. The practice of slavery had a history of hundreds of years. It was made illegal in America in 1807, although it continued in small part for many years after that. What was triangular trade? Triangular trade refers to three-way navigation routes that emerged during the seventeenth century. Ships carried people and cargoes of raw materials, finished goods, and livestock.

One common route began on the western coast of Africa, where ships picked up African slaves. Arriving in the Caribbean islands (British and French West Indies), ship captains sold the slaves and purchased sugar, molasses, tobacco, and coffee. The ships then sailed to New England, where traders sold the cargo and bought liquor to take to Africa, where the process started again. Other routes involved delivering finished goods to the American colonies, returning to southern Europe with lumber, cotton, and meat, and then delivering wine and fruit from southern Europe to England.

Olaudah Equiano (c. 1745 – 31 March 1797), also known as Gustavus Vassa, was one of the most prominent Africans involved in the British movement of the abolition for the slave trade. His autobiography depicted the horrors of slavery and helped influence British lawmakers to abolish the slave trade through the Slave Trade Act of 1807. Despite his enslavement as a young man, he purchased his freedom and worked as an author, merchant and explorer in South America, the Caribbean, the Arctic, the American colonies and the United Kingdom.

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Triangular Slave Trade. (2017, Feb 02). Retrieved from

Triangular Slave Trade

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