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Lesson 3: The African Slave Trade

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1 Lesson 3: The African Slave Trade
Unit 5: The Economy of Resources


3 What do you think?


5 What is Slavery? Slavery is when a person owns or has complete control of another person or people. The African Slave Trade was a mass involuntary migration of Africans to the Americas.

6 Atlantic/African Slave trade
The Portuguese began exploring the western coast of Africa in the 1400’s. They were interested in Africa’s gold. They established trading posts along the western coast. Soon after they arrived, they also began to ship black Africans back to Portugal so they could sell them as slaves.

7 Atlantic/African Slave trade
At the time, the new world in the Americas was growing by leaps and bounds. European colonists were establishing plantations in North and South America. They wanted slaves to do the hard, undesirable labor. Portugal sold slaves to work on sugar plantations that its colonists had developed in Brazil. Spain also sold slaves to work on its sugar plantations in the Caribbean. As America’s colonies grew, Europeans wanted slaves to work there, too.

8 Atlantic/African Slave trade
But Europeans weren’t the first to buy and sell slaves. Africans sold slaves to Asia and Europe long before the Portuguese arrived. In most cases, the slaves were captured in warfare. The Portuguese and Spanish obtained slaves from black Africans who continued to sell their war prisoners. They would trade slaves for a range of goods, especially guns. Many Africans used guns when warring with neighboring peoples.

9 Atlantic/African Slave trade
European colonists tried to use Native Americans as slaves as well. However, most of these slaves became very ill. They couldn’t handle the foreign diseases brought over by the Europeans. Eventually, only Africans were used in slavery. From the 1500’s to the mid-1800’s, over ten million slaves were shipped across the Atlantic Ocean. The trip from Africa to the Americas took several months and the conditions were brutal. Slave ships were overcrowded and filthy. Over two million slaves died during the voyage.

10 Atlantic/African Slave trade
About 500,000 African slaves were brought to what is now the United States. Most worked in the south on cotton and tobacco plantations. By the mid 1800’s, one third of the south was inhabited by slaves. In 1807, it became illegal to import slaves into the United States. Not long after, other countries followed suit. Slavery was abolished in Europe. It was also banned in South America and the Caribbean.

11 Read and annotate Although other people, both white and Native American, have been held as slaves in North America, the experience of the African people who were forced to come to North America as slaves was more unusual, because there are more slaves living in the new countries they were being brought to than natives or European settlers…

12 What were they? The 5 W’s! Who? What? When? Where? Why?

13 Independent Work Write 10 sentences explaining what the 5 W’s. Make sure to include TWO pieces of evidence from the reading to show how you know what you’re talking about!

14 Exit Ticket (answers on an index card)
What was the Great Dying? Which continents were involved in the African Slave Trade? How do you know that the slave trade was involuntary? What is the most important fact you learned about the African Slave Trade today?

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