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IntroductionDepartureMiddle PassageArrivalAbolitionLegacy

Captive Passage: The Transatlantic Slave Trade and the Making of the Americas

Captive Passage
has been made
possible in part by:
National Endowment for the Humanities
Recognition of
additional sponsors
for this exhibition
can be found by
clicking on
ExhibitionSponsors.

Arrival: Life in the AmericasPreference for AfricansThe Slave Markets
European RewardsSlave Populations in the AmericasThe Ships Return to EuropeEconomics
Sugar IntroductionSlavery in North AmericaReligionSilver Mines of South America

European Rewards

Harlot's Progress
Harlot's Progress

Much of the social life of Western Europe in the 18thcentury featured the products of slave labor. In homes and coffeehouses, people met over American tea, and chocolate or coffee from the Americas sweetened with Caribbean sugar became fashionable. They wore clothes made from cotton cultivated in North America and smoked pipes filled with Virginia tobacco. They used furniture made from mahogany and other tropical woods.

Although profit and loss varied from voyage to voyage, many merchants and investors made fortunes from the trade. The profits of slavery and slave trading stimulated European and American economic growth and the growth of capitalism.