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Triangular trade

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Triangular Trade Overview:
– Trade between three ports or regions
– Evolves to offset trade imbalances
– Operated between Europe, Africa, Americas from 16th-19th centuries
– Involved exchange of manufactured goods, slaves, commodities
– Routes influenced by winds, currents

Transatlantic Slave Trade:
– Operated from 16th-19th centuries
– Slaves purchased in Africa, sold in Americas
– Enslaved Africans worked on plantations
– European colonies occasionally traveled to Africa
– Controlled by UK, Portugal, France until 18th century

Colonial Molasses Trade:
– Involved trading of slaves, sugar, rum
– Merchants purchased sugar from Caribbean plantations
Sugar shipped to New England and Europe
– Goods bartered for slaves in West Africa
– Cycle of trade continued with profits

Ship Routes and Ports:
– European port to West Africa for trade
– Supplies included copper, cloth, guns, beads
– Slaves sourced from African communities, kingdoms
– Middle Passage to New World
– Export goods from West Indies, Virginia to Europe

Challenges, Statistics, and External Resources:
– Many slaves died during the Middle Passage
– Slave ships often arrived out-of-season in the Americas
– Ships returned with ballast due to varying cargo loads
– Cash crops transported separately from Europe to Americas
– Historical inaccuracies in portrayal of triangular trade

– An estimated 12.5 million slaves were transported from Africa to the Americas
– Top nations in the transatlantic slave trade were Portugal, Great Britain, France, and Spain
– Triangular trade patterns existed in ancient Greece, Egypt, and British colonies
– Trade involved raw resources, sugar, molasses, and manufactured goods
– American ships engaged in a new sugar triangle trade in the 1820s and 1830s

External Resources:
– ‘Slave Voyages, Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade – Estimates’ by Donald W. Jones
– ‘Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World’ by Mark Kurlansky
– ‘Bristol and the Atlantic Trade in the Eighteenth Century’ by Kenneth Morgan
– ‘Baltic Iron in the Atlantic World in the Eighteenth Century’ by Chris Evans and Göran Rydén
– Wikimedia Commons has media related to Triangular trade.

Triangular trade (Wikipedia)

Triangular trade or triangle trade is trade between three ports or regions. Triangular trade usually evolves when a region has export commodities that are not required in the region from which its major imports come. It has been used to offset trade imbalances between different regions.

Depiction of the classical model of the triangular trade
Depiction of the triangular trade of slaves, sugar, and rum with New England instead of Europe as the third corner

The Atlantic slave trade used a system of three-way transatlantic exchanges – known historically as the triangular trade – which operated between Europe, Africa, and the Americas from the 16th to 19th centuries. European workers outfitted Slave ships, and they shipped manufactured European goods owned by the trading companies to West Africa to get slaves, which they shipped to the Americas, in particular, to Brazil and the Caribbean Islands. First, in West Africa, merchants sold or bartered European manufactured goods to local slavers in exchange for slaves. Then crews transported the slaves, and remaining European manufactured goods, to the Americas where ship merchants sold the slaves and European manufactured goods to plantation owners. Merchants then purchased sugar and molasses from the plantation owners and crews shipped them to North American colonies (later the US), where the merchants sold the remaining supplies of European manufactured goods and slaves, as well as sugar and molasses from planations to local buyers, and then purchased North American commodities to sell in Europe, including tobacco, sugar, cotton, rum, rice, lumber, and animal pelts.

This trade, in trade volume, was primarily with South America, where most slaves were sold, but a classic example developed in 20th century study of the triangular trade is the colonial molasses trade, which involved the circuitous trading of slaves, sugar (often in liquid form, as molasses), and rum between West Africa, the West Indies and the northern colonies of British North America in the 17th and 18th centuries. The slaves grew the sugar that was used to brew rum, which in turn was traded for more slaves. In this circuit, the sea lane west from Africa to the West Indies (and later, also to Brazil) was known as the Middle Passage; its cargo consisted of abducted or recently purchased African people.

During the Age of Sail, the particular routes were also shaped by the powerful influence of winds and currents. For example, from the main trading nations of Western Europe, it was much easier to sail westwards after first going south of 30° N latitude and reaching the so-called "trade winds", thus arriving in the Caribbean rather than going straight west to the North American mainland. Returning from North America, it was easiest to follow the Gulf Stream in a northeasterly direction using the westerlies. (Even before the voyages of Christopher Columbus, the Portuguese had been using a similar triangle to sail to the Canary Islands and the Azores, and it was then expanded outwards.)

The countries that controlled the transatlantic slave market until the 18th century in terms of the number of enslaved people shipped were the United Kingdom, Portugal, and France.

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