Slavery Home What is Slavery? Suppressing the trade Slavery Timeline. Later, on the West African coast, these goods would be traded for men, women and children who had been captured by slave traders or bought from African chiefs. On the African coast, European traders bought enslaved peoples from travelling African dealers or nearby African chiefs. The traders held the enslaved Africans until a ship appeared, and then sold them to a European or African captain.
It often took a long time for a captain to fill his ship. He rarely filled his ship in one spot. Instead he would spend three to four months sailing along the coast, looking for the fittest and cheapest slaves. Ships would sail up and down the coast filling their holds with enslaved Africans. There were many cases of violent resistance by Africans against slave ships and their crews.
Once they had been bought, enslaved Africans worked for nothing on plantations. They belonged to the plantation owner , like any other possession, and had no rights at all. The enslaved Africans were often punished very harshly. Enslaved Africans resisted against their enslavement in many ways, from revolution to silent, personal resistance.
Some refused to be enslaved and took their own lives. Sometimes pregnant women preferred abortion to bringing a child into slavery. Whenever possible, enslaved Africans ran away. Also there were hundreds of slave revolts. Two thirds of the enslaved Africans, taken to the Americas, ended up on sugar plantations.
Sugar was used to sweeten another crop harvested by enslaved Africans in the West Indies - coffee. With the money made from the sale of enslaved Africans, goods such as sugar, coffee and tobacco were bought and carried back to Britain for sale. The ships were loaded with produce from the plantations for the voyage home.More...