Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database Worksheet
May 14, 2015
I have designed this exercise for you to explore an important resource utilized frequently by
professional historians. Follow the instructions below. Take notes. Experiment with the various
functions offered by the website. Learning how to ask good questions is one of the most
important skills for an historian to master—so get curious. Pose questions, and then try to use
the database to answer them. And challenge yourself to ask “big” questions.
1. Go to http://www. slavevoyages.org and , on the top toolbar, click on “Assessing the Slave
Trade.” Under “Essays,” read David Eltis, Introduction to “A Brief Overview of the Trans-
Atlantic Slave Trade.” (Be sure to take notes on a 3x5 notecard)
2. Click on “Estimates,” and explore the Tables, Timeline, and Maps. What patterns do you
see? (Remember time, place, and change over time).
3. Go back to the tool bar, and click on “Resources.” Peruse the Images and African Names
Databases. What do these resources make you wonder?
4. Given your newly-found knowledge of the Atlantic slave trade, what do you consider to
have been the most important contexts in its development and demise?
5. Come up with at least three analytical questions about the Atlantic slave trade that begin
with the word “why.” (Again, remember time, place, and change over time).
Trans- Atlantic Slave Trade
The important reason behind the trans-Atlantic slave trade that started in the early 15th century
was the requirement of labor by the Europeans and the Americas. They needed labor because the
Amerindian population had reduced. The reason behind the contact of Africans and the
Europeans were the slaves. The Europeans needed the tropical produce and precious metals and
cheap labor for their huge plantations. The trans-Atlantic slave trade increased because
Europeans could not have been enslaved by OTHER Europeans and enslaving the Africans was
easier as they were neither educated nor a developed society,
The North and South Atlantic currents also controlled the slaves to be transported from the
different regions of Africa to Brazil and Portugal and the English. The North wheel was
dominated by the English and the slaves were taken from West Africa. South wheel was under
the control of Brazil and Portugal and the slaves were picked from Angola.