Infographic titled the Atlantic slave trade 1514 to 1866.
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Based on this information, what percentage of slaves died during passage to the Americas? Where in the Americas did most slaves end up?

Millions of people in Africa were brutalized by the slave trade and slavery itself. Many others died during the horrific Middle Passage.

The Asante Kingdom

In some parts of Africa, the slave trade had little or no impact. In other areas, it disrupted whole societies. The slave trade triggered wars, increased tensions among neighboring peoples, and led to the rise of strong new states. The rulers of these states battled rivals for control of the slave trade.

The Asante kingdom (uh SAHN teh) emerged in the area occupied by present-day Ghana. In the late 1600s, an able military leader, Osei Tutu, won control of the trading city of Kumasi. From there, he conquered neighboring peoples and unified the Asante kingdom. The Asante faced a great challenge in the Denkyera, a powerful neighboring enemy kingdom. Osei Tutu realized that in order to withstand the Denkyera, the people of his kingdom needed to be firmly united. To do this, he claimed that his right to rule came from heaven, and that people in the kingdom were linked by spiritual bonds. This strategy paid off when the Asante defeated the Denkyera in the late 1600s.

Under Osei Tutu, government officials, chosen by merit rather than by birth, supervised an efficient bureaucracy. They managed the royal monopolies on gold mining and the slave trade. A monopoly is the exclusive control of a business or industry. The Asante traded with Europeans on the coast, exchanging gold and slaves for firearms. They also played rival Europeans against one another to protect themselves. In this way, they built a wealthy, powerful state.

The Oyo Empire

The Oyo empire arose from successive waves of settlement by the Yoruba people of present-day Nigeria. It began as a relatively small forest kingdom. Beginning in the late 1600s, however, its leaders used wealth from the slave trade to build up an impressive army. The Oyo empire used the army to conquer the neighboring kingdom of Dahomey. At the same time, it continued to gain wealth by trading with European merchants at the port city of Porto-Novo.

Slavery and the Americas

The slave trade brought millions of Africans to the Americas. The descendants of the early captives knew life only as slaves and had limited or no information about their African ancestors. By the late 1700s and throughout the 1800s, reformers in Britain, the United States, and elsewhere called for abolition, or ending slavery and the slave trade.

In 1807, Britain abolished the slave trade throughout its empire and abolished slavery itself in 1833. In the United States, the issue of the spread of slavery into new territories helped fuel tensions that ultimately led to the Civil War. In 1865, when the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified, slavery was officially ended in all parts of the United States.


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Table of Contents

World History Topic 1 Origins of Civilization (Prehistory–300 B.C.) Topic 2 The Ancient Middle East and Egypt (3200 B.C.–500 B.C.) Topic 3 Ancient India and China (2600 B.C.–A.D. 550) Topic 4 The Americas (Prehistory–A.D. 1570) Topic 5 Ancient Greece (1750 B.C.–133 B.C.) Topic 6 Ancient Rome and the Origins of Christianity (509 B.C.-A.D. 476) Topic 7 Medieval Christian Europe (330–1450) Topic 8 The Muslim World and Africa (730 B.C.-A.D. 1500) Topic 9 Civilizations of Asia (500–1650) Topic 10 The Renaissance and Reformation (1300–1650) Topic 11 New Global Connections (1415–1796) Topic 12 Absolutism and Revolution Topic 13 The Industrial Revolution Topic 14 Nationalism and the Spread of Democracy (1790–1914) Topic 15 The Age of Imperialism (1800–1914) Topic 16 World War I and the Russian Revolution (1914–1924) Topic 17 The World Between the Wars (1910–1939) Topic 18 World War II (1930–1945) Topic 19 The Cold War Era (1945–1991) Topic 20 New Nations Emerge (1945–Present) Topic 21 The World Today (1980-Present) United States Constitution Primary Sources 21st Century Skills Atlas Glossary Index Acknowledgments