Digital History

The Origins and Nature of New World Slavery

The Impact of the Slave Trade on West and Central Africa Next
Digital History ID 3031



The trans-Atlantic trade profoundly changed the nature and scale of slavery in Africa itself. The development of the Atlantic slave trade led to the enslavement of far greater numbers of Africans and to more intense exploitation of slave labor in Africa.

While the trade probably did not reduce the overall population, it did skew the sex ratio. In Angola, there were just 40 to 50 men per 100 women. As a result of the slave trade, there were fewer adult men to hunt, fish, rear livestock, and clear fields. The slave trade also generated violence, spread disease, and resulted in massive imports of European goods, undermining local industries.

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