Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Destinations and Statistics

The legacy of slavery in the Americas is one that is well known. What isn’t as well known are the exact numbers of just how many people (Africans) were involved and what happened to them. This chart shows the exact figures behind the trans-Atlantic slave trade destinations and statistics.

Before slaves could even get to the Americas, they first faced a treacherous path across the Atlantic.

The conditions on the trans-Atlantic slave voyages were downright dreadful. Slave traders packed the ships with as many slaves as they could. More slaves delivered equaled more profit.

This sometimes meant leaving slaves chained below deck with meager rations for the duration of the voyage. Through this brutality it’s estimated that about 1.8 million Africans didn’t even survive the crossing.

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Destinations and Statistics

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Destinations chart

While those raised in the United States tend to view slavery in terms of the slaves who eventually made their way to North America, the slave trade was much, much larger than that.

In fact, it’s estimated that only ~388 thousand out of a total of 12.5 million African slaves made it to North America. That’s only about 3% of the total – a tiny percentage.

A vast majority of African slaves were shipped to Brazil (4.9 million or ~39%). The massive influx of slaves was needed to support the growth of the burgeoning Brazilian sugar economy. In addition, once gold and diamonds were discovered, slaves were needed to mine the valuable deposits.

The Caribbean was the next top destinations for slaves. The area was flush with sugar, tobacco, coffee and other plantations that were in need of manual labor to power them. Haiti (French Empire) and Jamaica (British Empire) were two of the largest destinations for slaves.

Other destinations included the Dutch Americas, as well as Danish West Indies. A small number of slaves were shipped to other destinations, including Europe, as well as other locations in Africa.

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Source: Slave Voyages

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