Middle Passage Facts

Painting of a slave ship
Slave Ship sailing the Middle Passage

Middle Passage Introduction

Chained together in the dark bowels of a dirty disease ridden cargo ship for weeks or sometimes months with little food or water was what millions of enslaved Africans had to endure on the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa to America or the Caribbean dubbed the Middle Passage. Countless slaves made this Middle Passage voyage from the 1600s through the beginning of the 1800s with many dying on the journey. This topic in Black Slavery History is important to know about to truly understand the cruelty involved in the Atlantic slave trade.

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On this page you will find a list of interesting facts including more information about how cruel the Middle Passage was, why this voyage was called the Middle Passage, and when and where these voyages took place. Both kids researching Black History Month papers and adults interested in this part of history should find this information helpful.

The sailing across the Atlantic from Africa to America or the Caribbean was called the Middle Passage because it was the middle (second) leg of the Atlantic triangular slave trade. The Three parts of this trading system are listed below.
  1. The first leg of the journey involved the ship traveling from somewhere in Europe to Africa where they would trade items such as guns, ammunition, and beads for slaves.
  2. The second leg of the journey (The Middle Passage) was from Africa to America or the Caribbean where the slaves were sold for products such as cotton, tobacco, and coffee.
  3. The last leg of the trading journey involved the ship returning to Europe with the products obtained from America or the Caribbean.

Interesting Middle Passage Facts