Liverpool and the Slave Trade
At the heart of the institution of slavery was the TRIANGULAR
TRADE. This trade started with ships being loaded in Bristol
or Liverpool with goods such as salt, cloth,
weapons, hardware, beads and rum. These ships, known as slavers, would then
sail south to the west coast of Africa, to modern day Sierra Leone, Senegal
When they landed in Africa, the captains
traded these goods with African chiefs who gave the slavers able bodied men and
women in return.
The slaves were loaded into the holds of the ships and
transported across the Atlantic to America. This part of the trade was
known as the middle passage and about 25% of the slaves died during the voyage.
They were crammed together in the hold with no room to move, no sanitation and
they were kept in chains. those who died were hastily thrown over the side into
the sea. The voyage ended in the slaves being sold to the plantation owners of
the West Indies, and the southern states of the USA.
When the slavers had emptied their holds of slaves were then
filled with sugar, molasses, tobacco, rum and cotton. The ships now sailed back
to Bristol and Liverpool
where the whole process began again. Many fortunes were made in Bristol and Liverpool and
at least one Prime Minister's family fortune was built on the triangular trade.
It has been estimated that perhaps as many as 10 million
Africans were supplied to America
from Africa over period of 400 years.
The triangular pattern of the slave trade helped it to grow quickly. The money made from selling the products of slave labour in Europe was invested in further slave trading voyages. These then supplied plantations with more slave labour with which to produce more crops such as sugar, coffee, tobacco, rice and later, cotton.
read more: The Slave Trade