While there was slavery throughout World History, never has it reached such an epic proportion as during the Middle Passage/ transatlantic slave trade.Even today, historians do not know exactly how many Africans died at sea during the Middle Passage experience.Estimates for the total number of Africans lost to the slave trade range from 25 to 50 million.
The slave traders acquired their Africans in one of two ways.One technique involved the slave trader lying in wait until an African would come along, and capturing the unsuspecting native.The other method required the slave trader to make an alliance with a tribal chief.The tribal chief would then wage war on a neighboring tribe.Any of the enemy that the chief captured would then be traded for goods, such as tobacco, and liquor, with the slave traders.
The means of acquiring the Africans was satisfactory compared to how they were treated once aboard the slave ship.The more Africans the slave traders crammed into the ship, the more profit they would make once they sold their goods in America.Many of the ships were termed ‘loose packers’ or ‘tight packers’, describing the maximum capacity of the slave ship.Africans were chained together and made to lie shoulder to shoulder in the dark hull of the ship, where no fresh air ever found its way.So stifling was the air that some Africans actually suffocated during the long voyage.The stench of diseased and decaying bodies and unruly Africans thrown overboard lured sharks to the ships’ course.
The Middle Passage was a term used to describe the triangular route of trade that brought Africans to the Americas and rum and sugar cane to Europe.It was synonymous with pain and suffering.Smallpox, eye infections, gastro-intestinal disorders, and body sores affected slaves in the Middle Passage.”Fever” and “flux” were the terms used to describe common causes of death.

Do the African suppliers of slaves bear as much responsibility for the horrors of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade as the European traders?
The Trans-Atlantic slave trade is one of the most heinous of crimes committed against people in history.Many people including women and children were taken away from their homes and families forcefully to tend to the needs of the masters.Who should be blamed for such a terrible act?Many people are quick to place emphasis on the European slave trader's role in slavery because it is convenient to blame them but it must be remembered that African slave traders were just as involved in the capture and selling of slaves.
African kings, rulers and elders provided the most slaves to the European traders and obtained a good profit from this.There were four types of people that were used as slaves.There were the criminals who were being sold as punishment by chiefs, there were Africans obtained from raids, domestic slaves who were being resold and lastly, prisoners of war. The majority of which were prisoners of war.This set a precedent where kings or chiefs would deliberately go to war with other tribes to keep up with high demand for slaves.Captain John Hall of the British Navy reported "that an appearance of a slave ship at Old Calabar was the signal for the Africans to go upstream in their war canoes and they usually returned two to three weeks later with their canoes full of slaves." The monies that the Africans were receiving were consuming them and this is further substantiated by Olaudah Equiano, a former slave, in his memoirs of 1879 that "when a trader wants slaves, he applies to a chief for them, and tempts him with his wares…Accordingly, he fall upon his neighbours, and a desperate battle ensues…if he prevails, and takes prisoners, he gratifies his avarice by selling them." The African traders mainly, the chiefs and kings had betrayed their people…