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 Source: Getty Images
Work on plantations was backbreaking. This drawing shows enslaved people harvesting sugar cane.
Development of the African Slave Trade
Profits from slave trading and plantations were enormous. As plantations produced more crops, the average prices for those crops decreased. More people were able to try sugar, coffee, and other plantation crops—and more people began to crave these items, which increased the demand for goods produced by enslaved people. As a result, the demand for labor and subsequently the slave trade grew larger and more complex.
The Triangle Trade Slave traders, importers, exporters, and smugglers all took part in the triangle trade. They bought, shipped, and sold raw materials, finished goods, and human beings. Because enslavement and plantation labor happened in faraway places, many ordinary consumers never considered the human costs of the products they bought. (For more about the Triangle Trade, see Topic 3.4.)
The Middle Passage Captured people working on plantations were only part of the human cost of the triangle trade. Before these enslaved people began work, they had to travel hundreds or even thousands of miles under inhuman conditions. The Middle Passage was one part of the triangular trade. It involved shipping enslaved Africans to the Americas and the West Indies. It was the largest sea-going forced migration in human history.
TOPIC 1.9 THE SLAVE TRADE 61




























































































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