The Atlantic Slave Trade

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The demand of commerce, goods, and wealth during the 18th century proliferated the Atlantic Slave Trade. Slave labor arose as the vital machinery that fueled the commercial enterprise of the European nations, making it the primary focus of European slave traders. Therefore, the facile access and opportunity of procuring human labor from the West Coast of Africa allowed this region to obtain a prominent stature among the Europeans. Accelerating Africa’s prominence in the Atlantic Slave Trade were its natives who, in pursuing the wealth and goods of the Europeans, readily participated in the practice of capturing other Africans and selling them as slaves on the Western Coast of the continent. Two West African regions contributing to the massive slave trade were the Bight of Biafra and Bight of Benin. Though these two regions lie in close proximity to each other, varying attributes concerning the structure of the slave trade can be assigned to each area. Such characteristics include the conducting of the trade by middlemen in response to the arrangement of each region’s governance, the means by which middlemen acquire slaves in each region, and the mortality rates of each area. The structure of authority of the Bight of Biafra and Bight of Benin had a profound effect on how the slave trade was conducted from these regions’ respective hinterlands to their coasts. As the writings of Antera Duke and Olaudah Equiano suggest, the Bight of Biafra consisted of scattered

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