Sweet History landmark (photo)

The Transatlantic Slave Trade

There are many resources that explore various aspects of the transatlantic slave trade (see links). This project focuses on the legacy of the trade on Bristol and its built environment.

From the late 17th century the city of Bristol was involved in the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans. This is sometimes called the ‘triangular trade‘.

The driving force behind the triangular trade was the profit that could be made from the sale of sugar, tea, coffee and other products. This played a big role in the growth of Britain’s industry, trade and economy and contributed to the development of the wealth of the city of Bristol.

The 3 Journeys of the Triangular Trade

The triangular trade was made up of three main journeys, but before the enslaved Africans were transported by ship they were captured and moved across their own continent.

African people were taken by force from their homes, separated from their families and friends and made to leave all their possessions and the life they knew behind. Many African people were taken by slave raiding parties or as prisoners of war. Some were sold because they were outcasts or had broken a law or because others could make money from their sale.

After being captured, large groups of men, women and children suffered long journeys across the countryside on foot. These journeys lasted up to a year and the slaves were forced to carry food supplies and goods to trade, whilst being joined together by chains or yokes around their necks.

Many African people didn’t even make it to the ports and onto the slave ships as they died from dehydration, exhaustion, disease and being badly treated during the journey across their countries.

Next: 3 Journeys of the Triangular Trade