Published Date

January 30, 2016

Resource Type

AHA Resource, For the Classroom



AHA Topics

Teaching & Learning, Undergraduate Education


Africa, United States, World

This resource was developed as part of the AHA’s Globalizing the US History Survey project


By Cheryll Cody
Institution: Houston Community College
Location: Houston, Texas

One way to begin your understanding of the Atlantic Slave Trade is to view a series of maps from the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade website.  Take a few minutes and look through these maps you may enlarge them for detail.  Be sure to read the commentary with each map as well as look at the illustration.  This exercise seems to work most efficiently if you do this first.  Look at all of the Maps and answer the following questions about specific Maps.

Map 1: Overview of the Slave Trade Out of Africa (between 1509 and 1900)

  1. From which African region was the largest number of slaves exported?
  2. What were the destinations within Africa for the slave trade? in the Near East? in South Asia?
  3. What were the two major destinations for enslaved Africans in the western hemisphere?

Map 2: The Migration of Sugar Cultivation from Asia into the Atlantic

  1. When did sugar production first move from Persia through the Near East to Egypt and the eastern Mediterranean?
  2. What were the two main islands (one Spanish and one Portuguese) where sugar was introduced between the mid-15th century (1450s) and the late 16th century (1500s)?
  3. According to the commentary what percentage of captives carried from Africa were taken to sugar producing areas?

Map 6: Countries and Broad Regions of the Atlantic World Where Slave Voyages were Organized & Shares of Captives Carried Off from Africa 1501 – 1867

  1. What European nation organized the slave voyages which removed the most slaves? What percentage of slaves were removed by voyages which originated there?
  2. What were the seven largest ports involved in organizing slave trading expeditions? What share of the trade was handled through these ports?
  3. What New World colony organized the greatest percentage of slave voyages? What percentage of enslaved captives were transported on voyages organized from this colony? (You may have to do some addition here)
  4. What percentage of total captives were transported on voyages which originated on the North American mainland?

Map 7: Major Coastal Regions from Which Captives Left Africa, All Years

  1. What region supplied the largest number of enslaved captives? Approximately how many enslaved people left through that region? What river system was a likely avenue of slaves exported from this location?
  2. What region ranked second?
  3. What percentage of the total number of embarkations do the authors of these maps and website maps believe they has located in the records?

Map 8: Major Regions Where Captives Disembarked, All Years

  1. What region within the territory that became the United States received the largest number of enslaved Africans?
  2. What were the top four ranking islands in the Caribbean for the number of enslaved captives disembarked?
  3. What region received the greatest number of slave arrivals?

Map 9: Volume and Direction of the Transatlantic Slave Trade from All African to All American Regions

  1. What are the estimates for the number of slaves imported into the northern US colonies, the Chesapeake? South Carolina? Jamaica? Barbados?
  2. How many slave captives were exported from West Central Africa?